About the book:
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.
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The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray is my first read of hers, but I soon plan to change that. This is a story that takes place after the Civil War as the whole nation tries to get back to a new normal way of life. What I really liked about this one was the comradeship of some Confederate soldiers who were caught and imprisoned on Johnson’s Island, Ohio out in Lake Erie. That little fact alone interested me so much and again I appreciate a book that I learn something new from. These men make a pact to keep in contact with each other all their lives and to help each other out when needed. One soldier, Phillip Markham has a wife that he loves very much and he exacts that same promise for her. Jump ahead a few years and Miranda Markham, his widow, is now the town pariah. With in-laws who can’t stand her, friends who have turned their backs on her, a whole town believing rumors of both her and her late husband, and added to that are the threats. Miranda is seriously depressed and hopeless.
However, unbeknownst to her, Phillip is still looking out for her from his grave through the help of his comrades. In particular, Robert Truax has come to see that everything is made right for Phillip’s widow. Phillip was a man Robert admired greatly. As Miranda learns to depend on Robert and dreads the day when he will eventually leave, she is unaware of the troubling secrets he carries about her husband. Surrounded by her staff and Robert, Miranda now has new reasons to live.
I was really intrigued by this first book in the series with its slow burning romance and the thread of mystery and suspense that was woven into it. There was another budding romance that I hope in a future book we hear more about and I am very interested in the soldier by the name of Ethan Kelly and the secrets he carries. I hope there are more!
I received a copy for an honest review through Litfuse Publicity and the TNZ Fiction Guild. The opinions are my own.
About the author:
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.