When I started reading this I forgot it was book two in a series, but I don't think it mattered. The main character of the first book didn't play a part in Texan's Honor but did appear in flashbacks. The story didn't play out as I had expected it would and it had a couple surprises and twists in it.
Will McMillan survived the Civil War under the command of Clayton Proffitt (the main character of the first book) and now in 1874 finds himself as an undercover agent who has successfully infiltrated the notorious Walton Gang. For almost two years he has been a part of the band in order to bring them and those that aid and abet them to justice. He's very close to fulfilling his mission when a train robbery does not proceed as planned and a woman is held hostage.
As third in command Will takes charge of Jamilyn Ellis, the young, innocent and pretty hostage. Scout is second in command and while a deadly killer, he doesn't cotton to killing or abusing innocent women and children, so he backs Will up and keeps her from the other gang members. He even hints that Will should escape with her to protect her from the others when the situation on the train starts to get dicey.
One reviewer thought this a rather dark story with lots of bad guys. I didn't find this to be the case though. It is a poignant tale of the depths of human depravity and the transforming power of love, forgiveness and grace. Only problem though is that it's not God's love, forgiveness and grace that does the transforming, but rather a woman's. Which isn't exactly realistic and likely.
Now I'm not saying that a woman can't inspire a man to be a better man. After all Proverbs 30:18-19 (NIV84) says, "There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand:_ the way of a man with a maiden." In Wild at Heart John Eldredge's thesis is that "in the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. _ There is nothing so inspiring to a man as a beautiful woman." (p. 9 & 15)
But in the end it is only God's transforming grace that can be the catalyst for the type of transformation we see begin to take place in one guy's heart. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ" (2 Corinthians5:17-18 NIV84)
Another message that the story makes clear is that everyone has worth and matters. Several people struggle with this in different ways and the author does an excellent job showing that. I really enjoyed this story and can't wait to read book three because that story will be about Scout who played a big part in this book. Overall a fun, clean, adventure packed read.
Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.
Miss Jamilyn Ellis was taken hostage by the notorious Walton Gang when her train was hijacked for its cargo of silver. While it is apparent that some members of the gang would like nothing more than to do her harm, Will McMillan steps in to protect her, with the permission (but not the approval) of Scout Proffitt, the gang's second-in-command (and the younger brother of Clayton, from A Texan's Promise). After Will and Jamie escape from the train, Scout is sent to find and silence them, but his search is distracted by Kitty, who has suffered years of abuse from her stepfather.
Similar to the characters in A Texan's Promise, Will is another person who has been deeply affected by the war, someone who perceives that the war and the choices he has made have broken his character. This made me wonder about the current war - how many young men and women of good character are being broken by the things they are seeing, and what affect will this have on their futures? Will appears different to the other gang members, as though he is hiding something. Again, this made me think of the consequences of war, of having lived through a time so difficult and dangerous that making a living as a train robber almost seems like a moral improvement.
Overall, A Texan's Honor is a darker book than A Texan's Promise, as the story focuses on two men who have made bad choices. Call me shallow if you like, but I usually prefer the lighter stories. It is a testament to Shelley Gray's ability as a writer that I actually found both books equally good, equally enjoyable and equally challenging. I especially liked her sensitive way of dealing with some difficult themes, without sensationalising them or being unnecessarily graphic in her descriptions, but at the same time, not diminishing the abuse or glossing over the damage it caused. She struck an excellent balance between horror and restraint, particularly as these books are (I assume) quite different to her previous books, which were set in the Amish community.
A Texan's Honor is the second book in the Heart of a Hero series, following A Texan's Promise. Thanks to Abingdon Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
Jamilyn was on a train to go live with her aunts because her parents had died. The train was captured by the Walton Gang and she was taken hostage. Jamie feared she was going to die or be violated. When Will who is one of the gang steps in and keeps her from harm she is not sure if she should trust him or hate him.
Will is a U.S Marshall and deep undercover in the Walton Gang. He takes it upon himself to keep Jamie safe and finds along the way that his heart is slowly falling for her. Will these two walk away a live and will they find true love along the way?
This is one of my top 5 favorite authors and I love her books but I did not like this book as much as I had hoped.
What I liked: This is a western historical novel and I always enjoy reading about this time period. It was interesting to read about a gang. I was particularly interested in Scout.
What I did not like: To me this was kind of a dark novel. Lots of bad guys. I had trouble connecting with the two main characters and found myself more interested in Scouts story then theirs. The chemistry between Jamie and Will seemed mediocre.
Over all this book was just okay to me. I did enjoy reading it but did not get attached to the main characters which made it a little harder for me to read. I did find myself very interested in Scout and I am hoping the third book will be about him. The book was well written but the story was just not what I had hoped but I am looking forward to the third book of this series due out later this year. This book is getting very high reviews from others and is very well written. So please be sure to read other reviews as well. I really wanted to love this book but like I stated above this story line was just not as interesting to me.