The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard GrayThe Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray

The Loyal Heart

byShelley Shepard Gray

Paperback | July 12, 2016

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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.

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.  ...
Title:The Loyal HeartFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.4 × 5.5 × 0.86 inPublished:July 12, 2016Publisher:ZondervanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0310345391

ISBN - 13:9780310345398


Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Interesting Plot I 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.
Date published: 2017-05-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from a shelter to those in need of a resting place Saturday, September 10, 2016 The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray, © 2016 Lone Star Hero's Love Story, Book 1 Historical fiction is my very favorite genre. I appreciate the research the authors do to place their characters within the happenings/events of the time period. So much more than we might have learned in school. This story is centered in two locations; an officer prisoner of war camp in Ohio and two years later at the Texas home of the widow of a perished officer. The story gives an insight into both locations as a backstory. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 Miranda Markham: I have lost so much in my life ~ my husband to the turbulence of war, my reputation to rumors, my solitude becoming a prison of sorts, especially with my best friend, Mercy Jackson, turning her back on me. Nowhere to turn, so little to look forward to ~ a dim day indeed. Robert Truax: The Civil War has ended and regathering hope for many lost. I was with Phillip Markham near the end of his life. He loved his wife Miranda so ~ regaling her virtues to us, her kindness, her concern for others. The five of us made a pact together that we would uphold those left behind after the war. It is requested that I be the one to go to see about Miranda Markham, Phillip's widow. Their home in Galveston, Texas, known as the Iron Rail, is now a boardinghouse, a shelter to those in need of a resting place. Winter, 1867 ~ A warring at home continues as hostility and contention nurture mistrust along the Strand in Galveston, Texas, crowding out faith and rebuilding. There is some repetition within the story as different characters are told what is happening. The house staff is concerned as the ups and downs in moods of their employer are seen. Mrs. Markham has a lot to consider as she is taunted when she goes out in public as if she doesn't exist. Being alone without just cause and being labeled from opinion causes her to use caution in whom to trust. Reaching out to the law enforcement initially does not get a positive response. A woman alone making choices and apparently without funding beyond her own means and decisions. Instead of coming alongside, the town seems divisive without a spokesperson willing to seek truth in place of hearsay. ***Thank you to Fiction Guild for sending a review copy to me of Shelley Shepard Gray's first book in her new series, A Lone Star Hero's Love Story. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
Date published: 2016-09-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Compelling read An exciting new series (A Lone Star Hero's Love Story) by an author I adore! I love the premise of the series -- desperate men in a desperate situation making a pact to watch out for one another even after the war ends. It speaks of their honour and valour and put this reader into a bit of a tailspin 'cause there's nothing so swoony as a take charge hero who's got your back. Gray tackles the difficult subject of depression in The Loyal Heart. Miranda has been victimized and subjected to relentless cruelty for so long that it's taken its toll. She's in a vulnerable place when Robert arrives on her doorstep. I love the way she is able to draw from his strength and kindness. It's like a rebirth slowly takes place over the course of the novel and Miranda comes out better, stronger and more sure of herself than ever before. Wonderful growth -- both in character and in the relationship that sparks between the Lieutenant and the widow. Robert is a self-made man who dons the veneer of gentlemanly manners with ease. He's a delicious contradiction of cold steel and passionate heat. And gallantly devoted to easing Miranda's pain. He's half in love with her before he even steps over the threshold of her boarding house -- at least with the impression her enamoured husband has left with him. I think it's fair to call Robert noble. He wouldn't agree since he's of lowly birth and had to scrape for a living until he joined the army. Such a deliciously complicated man and the perfect complement for Miranda. The suspense is intriguing and it take outsiders to cut through the tangled web of deceit which has trapped more than just Miranda in its sticky mess. Compelling secondary characters -- both purely evil and divinely good -- flesh out this captivating read. Eagerly awaiting book two. My thanks to Zondervan Publishing and Litfuse Publicity for providing me with a copy of this book.
Date published: 2016-08-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An Interesting Story, But... I just finished reading a book by the well-established but new-to-me author, Shelley Shepard Gray, and honestly, I’m not sure what to think of it... As the first book in the new “Lone Star Hero’s Love Story” collection, “The Loyal Heart” was published by Zondervan in the summer of 2016. Although the storyline was unique and interesting, several other elements just didn’t quite measure up to my standards of well-written Historical Fiction. Let me explain... As I mentioned before, the plot of “The Loyal Heart” is quite captivating. Told from two primary (and at least one secondary) characters’ points of view, a tale of deception, courage, and unravelled dreams is carefully woven. Although several inappropriate references are made to the activities of less-than-honorable women, that is not the novel’s only flaw. The WAY the tale is told also leaves much to be desired for two glaring reasons.... 1) The characters act and converse in a flat, uninspired, and sometimes unnatural manner for their time period. Although the heroine of the story was greatly esteemed by her now-deceased husband, I truly did not notice much in her character that was exemplary. Apart from seeming unrealistic, she also seemed rather selfish. 2) The second annoying factor is the way in which the dialogue was written. One character would make a statement or ask a question, and the second character would then have a lengthy (several paragraphs long) internal process of remembering or otherwise thinking, and THEN make a reply. By that time, I often forgot what the initial comment was! Perhaps some readers wouldn’t mind this technique, but I did. In the end, if you are looking for an interesting story set in the aftermath of the Civil War and told from the perspective of the South, I do recommend this book. Apart from that, however, I can’t say too much in its favor... Poorly developed characters, a difficult and bumpy writing style, and several unseemly and dark references mar this Historical Fiction novel enough that I do not intend to read it again. But what will you decide? Does a compelling story that captures your interest warrant reading the entire novel, even if it is annoying and lackluster? Or is it the writing style and character development that truly make a novel worth your time? I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Date published: 2016-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Evil Greed Miranda Markham is having a rough time, and has seriously considered taking her life, she can’t take it any more, but who is sending the letters that are pulling her down. She also has to deal with her late husbands, Lieutenant Phillip Markham a Confederate Officer in the Civil War, Mother and Sister. They are angry and nasty women, but do they have a right, the house they want back was built by Phillips father, and has always been their home. There is some help on the horizon for Miranda when Robert Truax, a Second Lieutenant, and friend of Phillips. Unknown to Miranda the men Phillip served with made a pack to help each other families if the unimaginable happened. So when word reaches the men Robert is sent to look into the situation, and you will not believe how a southern city of Galveston, Texas is treating a war hero’s widow! Will help come in time to save Miranda and her beloved help that run her boarding house with her? Who is so evil to want to take her home, when she has actually made the ultimate sacrifice? Answers are here and you are going to be surprised why this is happening, or maybe not, but once that first page is turned you will not want to put it down. I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Zondervan, and was not required to give a positive review.
Date published: 2016-07-16