A Lone Star Hero's Love Story: The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray

"Love isn't full of conditions or threaded with threats and pain." (246)

Title:  A Loyal Heart
Series: A Lone Star Hero's Love Story, Book 1
Author: Shelley Shepard Gray
Publisher:  Zondervan 
Release Date:  July 12, 2016
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction

Robert came to Galveston to fulfill his promise to a dying man and look after his widow. He didn't 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 Miranda's home in Galveston, Texas, things are worse than he imagined. Phillip's 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. He's 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 doesn't prove to be an easy task---Robert knows something about Phillip that could shake Miranda to the core and alter her view of the man she thought she knew so well.

Fantastic!  The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray is a fabulous story of life, promises, loyalty and dreams.  What can easily be a morbid tale (it does take place during and right after the Civil War), in the hands of Shelley gave way to the honor of life and loyalty, among friends, compatriots and fellow human beings.

So rich with details and character developments, I am shocked by how I fell in step with The Loyal Heart, and just kept turning the pages.  I guess I really shouldn't be. Shelley have never failed me once, with all the novels I've read of hers.  The Loyal Heart is no different. I am instantly drawn by the promise set forth early by the unit, as well as the follow-through that is the basis of this first book in the series. Lieutenant Robert Truax was the skeptical one, yet he's our first protagonist in this series, having to protect his comrade, Phillip Markham's wife, Miranda. What ensues are a series of "unfortunate events" that showed the heinous side of human nature. Plus there is a mystery to solve with more than one budding romance to root for. The arrival of Robert and Phillip's other comrades gives strength to the pact and the meaning of loyalty.

What I find so endearing about The Loyal Heart are the encouragement and inspiration for the good of people and God's grace, from the get go.  Captain Devin's motivation to the unit on the first page, to the last page (which I won't share - in case of spoilers), we see the goodness of these people, and what it can mean for others. With emotions on high, touching on topics as PTSD, not only in the sense of soldiers, but all who suffered, and depression, there's much more than a little romance in The Loyal Heart. The depth of what it means in the title and in each of the soldiers in Captain Devin's unit, grant readers a story worth reminiscing, not to mention some great characters to root for!  I just love this bottom quote!

NOTE:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own. For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.



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.

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