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The Loyal Heart #1, A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story series by Shelley Shepard Gray
It was a favor Robert Truax owed his friend – to care for the widow Phillip Markham had left behind when the war claimed his life. Now Robert is determined to fulfill his promise and then put his own life back together. But things quickly become complicated when he meets Miranda. Shunned by her neighbors because of rumors about Phillip, Miranda seems to be only a shadow. Robert is determined to help her live again, despite the secret he knows about Phillip.
Number of Pages: 320
Publication Date: 2016
|Dimensions: 7.17 X 4.71 X 1.04 (inches)|
Series: Lone Star Hero's Love Story
Robert came to Galveston to fulfill his promise to a dying man and look after his widow. He didnt expect to find love in the unlikeliest of places.
Robert Truax, former Second Lieutenant and Confederate officer in the Civil War, made a promise to his comrade Phillip Markham. If anything happened to Phillip, Robert would look after his beloved wife, Miranda. She was his life, his world, his everything.
After the war, Robert is left to pick up the pieces and fulfill his pact. When he arrives at Mirandas home in Galveston, Texas, things are worse than he imagined. Phillips name has been dragged through the mud, everyone in town believes him to be a traitor, and his widow is treated as an outcast. Even more disturbing is her emotional well-being. Miranda seems hopeless, lost, and so very alone.
Robert had thought his duty would be simple. He would help Miranda as quickly as possible in order to honor a promise. But the moment Robert laid eyes on her, his plans changed. Hes mesmerized by her beauty and yearns to help her in any way he can.
He makes it his duty to protect Miranda, turn her reputation around, and to find some way to help her smile again. But it doesnt prove to be an easy taskRobert knows something about
Phillip that could shake Miranda to the core and alter her view of the man she thought she knew so well.
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail. Find Shelley on her website, www.shelleyshepardgray.com, on Facebook: ShelleyShepardGray, and on Twitter @ShelleySGray.
theLadyLeighAge: 25-34Gender: female3 Stars Out Of 5Hoped for more...June 30, 2017theLadyLeighAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 3Value: 3Meets Expectations: 2I was really excited to get into The Loyal Heart as I had enjoyed Shelley Shepard Grays short story that was a part of the book Among the Fair Magnolias. Its not every day anymore that you get a western theme novel so I was excited to see this story set in Texas!
This story has a really intriguing premise, Robert Truax, former Confederate Officer and war prisoner has some to Galveston to check in on the widow of his former comrade and to make sure she is comfortable and secure. What he finds when he arrives at Maranda Markhams home turned boarding house is that everything is far from okay. Maranda is in a deep depression, her home threatened by her mother-in-law, and worse of all her husband, Philips, name dragged through the mud after being branded a traitor after his death.
Robert wants to honor the promise he made to Philip and the other men in his company to watch out for and care for each other after the war but he hardly knows where to start after discovering the position Maranda is in! As he begins to remedy the situation she is in he finds himself in danger of losing his heart- something that was never part of the mission!
I thought this was a nice story from start to finish. However- It really didnt draw me in or delight me the way that the previous stories of the author that I have read and that surprised me and rather disappointed me. The story moves both quickly in the development of the characters feelings for each other, and slowly, in the way that the plot progresses. Something that was really frustrating was the repeating of information over and over again. I really dont feel like once a detail has been revealed and explored that its necessary to repeat it again a few paragraphs of chapters later. Readers are intelligent and want to be pushed to explore, not talked down to and a number of times I kinda felt that way.
I would say give this book a go if you are looking for a light vacation read that doesnt take a lot of time or concentration!
Final Rating: 3
BethAge: 25-34Gender: female3 Stars Out Of 5Loved the Chivalry & BrotherhoodMay 13, 2017BethAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 3Value: 3Meets Expectations: 3I was excited to read The Loyal Heart, and while I don't really feel like the novel lived up to my excitement, overall, I still liked it and enjoyed the read.
My favorite thing about the novel is the brotherhood between former Confederate soldiers, which the series itself is build on, which is a plus. Robert Truax and his friends and fellow soldiers were captured in course of the Civil War and made a pact to always be there for one another, even after the war is over. The details of their time spent as prisoners of war is saddening and compelling, setting the groundwork for the friendship that would carry them through imprisonment and beyond.
I also loved the aspect of chivalry that is present throughout the novel. It's refreshing to have a male lead that's a bit rough around the edges but still determined to do the right thing. I also love the other men, Devin Monroe and Ethan Kelly. I was hoping that Ethan's story was next, but alas, it's one of the men that are not featured in this book, Thomas Baker. I do hope we'll see both of them again in future books.
Miranda Markham was not a main character that I connected with strongly, and that lack of emotion did color how I read the story. I actually preferred Belle, her maid, ha! I did appreciate that Miranda dealt with bouts of melancholy, but I didn't care for the way that people tiptoed around her when it was unnecessary to do so. The plot is a bit meandering as well, with mystery being focused on too late into the story. I thought the mysterious letters would be a big part of the story, but once all is found out, it kind of fizzles out rather quickly. I did like how once the men decided to act, they were very decisive with their actions and words.
The Loyal Heart was a quick read, and I like the post-Civil War time period. Although I didn't love this one, I do plan on reading at least the next book in the series
Seasons of GraceAge: 35-44Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Interesting PlotMay 6, 2017Seasons of GraceAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4I mostly enjoyed this post Civil War Era story. This is the first book in the series and the only one I have read so far. It begins with several Confederate soldiers in a prison camp, making a pact as they bury one of their own. They will stick together til the war is over, and they will be there for each other even after the war has ended. One of them, Philip, has a wife, whom he is madly in love with and she seems to be up on a pedestal. All the men admire her and may even be a bit jealous that he has something so lovely and gentle to go home to.
Sadly, Philip doesn't make it, and Miranda his wife is left alone to pick up the pieces of their lives and do her best to make ends meet. Philips memory is tarnished by some rumors that have sprung up, and Miranda is suffering in the aftermath. True to their pact, the Captain and Robert decide to find out for themselves what is going on and discretely attempt to help Miranda without giving away the truth about their identities, and their relationship to her former husband, or what they know about his role in the war.
There were some things I liked and some I didn't quite as much about the book. To a certain extent it seemed to drone on a bit too long, and there were a few things that just didn't add up. Some parts of the story were a bit vague and I had a hard time connecting a few of the characters. Robert Truax often put himself down mentally, as a man who didn't deserve to be happy, so to speak. Miranda's maid seems very forward with people and divulging facts about her employer's personal life. However the plot was good, and kept me interested. Shelley addresses some tough issues such as PTSD and depression, as well as a few references to suicide related to the previous conditions. Miranda struggles to get past her husbands death, and the town's peoples talk, and becomes a bit of a recluse. Oppression from her mother and sister in law doesn't help matters much.
I would certainly try this author again. Shelley peaked my curiosity in relation to other characters introduced in the book, such as the captain and others who were in the prison camp with Philip. I would like to see how their stories play out.
I was provided with a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and Fiction Guild to read. I was not asked to review it positively and all opinions are my own.
Amanda B5 Stars Out Of 5Great start to the seriesMarch 21, 2017Amanda BQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5While Phillip Markham was imprisoned with fellow Confederate soldiers and officers during the Civil War, he made them promise him that if anything happened to him, they would look after his beloved wife, Miranda. After the war, Robert Truax traveled to Galveston, TX to check up on Miranda. He found that Miranda was being threatened, was hopeless, and that Phillip's reputation had been tarnished by rumors of him being a traitor. Robert planned to helped Miranda and move on with his life as quickly as possible, but things didn't turn out as he planned.
This was a great book, and I enjoyed reading Phillip and Miranda's stories. Phillip and Miranda both needed something to live for after suffering as greatly as they both did during the war. They are able to find healing and hope in each other.
The only thing I wish for in the book, was a little more of a peek into their lives in an Epilogue.
I actually read this series out of order - I read book #2, An Uncommon Protector, first, and then read this book second. This did not take away from my enjoyment of the series at all.
Thanks so much to the Thomas Nelson/Zondervan Fiction Guild for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Anna MaeAge: Over 65Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard GreyMarch 17, 2017Anna MaeAge: Over 65Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5A heartwarming story of loyalty and love among several men who fought together in the Civil War and had seen many horrific acts of war and death.
While POWS in a Yankee prison just before the end of the war, they formed a pact that no matter where they were or what they were doing, they would come and be there for each other to help each other.
One of the men in the pact, Phillip Markham, died in the prison and the others were concerned about his widow, Miranda, as disturbing reports had reached them. They determined to help her and help her they did.
Robert Truax, one of the pact, quit his good postwar job and went to Galveston to see what he could do. He was shocked at what he found. Sweet Miranda was shunned by friends and neighbors and rumors about her deceased husband being a traitor were everywhere.
Robert felt that he needed more help and wrote Devin Monroe, who was a member of the pact and his captain in the war.
Without giving the story away, in a short time these strong loyal friends of her deceased husband straightened out the culprits responsible for making lovely Miranda miserable... and the ending was great. Pick up this exciting book. I promise you won't be disappointed. Shelley is a great story teller and I look forward to reading more of her books in the future.
I read this book out of sequence but it can stand alone.
I would like to thank Fiction Guild for introducing me to Shelley Shepard Grey.