The Loyal Heart
by Shelley Shepard Gray
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
Released: July 12, 2016
Source: Review copy from the publisher through BookLook.
Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
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 travels to Miranda's home in Galveston, Texas. 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. Miranda seems hopeless, lost, and so very alone. Robert makes it his duty to protect Miranda, turn her reputation around, and to find some way to help her smile again.
The Loyal Heart is historical fiction. One part was set in 1865 in a POW camp on Johnson's Island, Ohio. These scenes had a vivid setting, good character development, and helped set up later motives. The main story occurred in 1867 in Texas. Except for the clothing and some comments to remind us of the time period, the main story could have happened after any war. Some words, phrases, and even behavior were a bit modern for the actual time.
As for the romance, much of the book focused on how much Phillip had loved Miranda and developed their romance story. Robert was in love with Miranda before he even met her because he longed for a love like Phillip's. Miranda felt so alone that Robert's willingness to stand up for her (even though it didn't help her reputation) made him seem like her savior. By the end of the book, they still hardly know the other person yet are certain they love each other.
The book sounded like it had mystery/suspense: Robert needs to track down who started the false rumors and stop them. In the book, once he finally started this task, it took one short scene (10 pages long) to reveal the who and why. The answer wasn't surprising as there were only a few possible candidates. But there was some suspense during their attempt to capture the miscreant.
In the main story, each character spent a lot of time thinking, mainly about the past. A person would ask a question, the next few paragraphs would be thinking, and then the scene continued. One time the thinking lasted four pages before the question was answered. This really slowed the flow of the action and made the story drag for me.
The Christian element was basically references to prayer. There was no sex or bad language.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.