The Loyal Heart

The Loyal Heart

The Loyal Heart (Zondervan, July 2016)

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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  • I enjoyed reading this novel which takes place after the Civil War in Galveston, Texas. A group of Confederate soldiers were imprisoned in a Union Army POW camp on Johnson Island and made a pact to always be there for each other when needed. One of the men, Phillip Markham died of his injuries in the prison. Rumors are that the widow is in trouble and needs help. Robert Truax travels to Galveston to see how Markham’s widow is faring. I am anxious to read further novels in the series. Ms. Gray is one of my favorite authors and I try to read all of her books.

  • The Loyal Heart is book one in the Lone Star Hero’s Love Story series. This book was an amazing read and I loved every aspect of it. I love this author’s work and I hope to read many more works from this author real soon.

  • This was an enjoyable book set in the Civel War period in Texas. The author captured the time and place with such ease that you know she did a lot of research when writing this. Like most women in this time period Miranda was a strong woman. I enjoyed getting to know her and to follow her on her journey through life. It was very nice of Robert to help Miranda out. I also enjoyed following their relationship grow. I can not imagine all the things she had to go through. Although through her writing the author does a good job of escribing it all. A very enjoyable book.

  • 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 really liked parts of this book, while others I wish were a little different!….Sometimes I wished some scenes were shorter or not quite as well described and detailed. And there was one time when I felt it was repeating a scene a little…. However the characters are highly interesting and the sub characters are even more so!…..

  • Best Reads says:

    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.

  • The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray is book is A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story. Shelley Shepard Gray sure does know how to capture your heart with the story that she writes pulling you into the story hook, line and sinker.

  • Shelley Shepard Gray starts her newest series off with a mix of strong and memorable characters sure to delight and intrigue readers. In fact, the character I found most compelling – Ethan Kelley – is only in the present story briefly but he made such a vivid impression that I’m hoping he gets his own book later on in the series! The thread of suspense adds extra dimension and emotion to the plot of The Loyal Heart and keeps the story moving at a steady pace. The romance is quite simply delightful – blossoming from a friendship at a natural progression that made me smile and swoon interchangeably.

  • While the book was good, and I will read others of this series, I enjoyed the supporting characters more than I enjoyed the main characters. I like being taken on a ride while the main characters figure out how they feel about each other, but in this novel we were just told at the end how they felt, and didn’t see it throughout the novel.

  • A fantastic novel from start to finish – I did not want to put this one down! It was well written, developed at a great pace and always kept you guessing at what/who is the culprit for hurting Phillip’s name and Miranda’s life. A definite must read!

  • Love this book! Cannot wait to read more from Shelley Shepard Gray regarding this series! Don’t miss this historical book on the Civil War. You won’t be able to put this book down!

  • Civil War era books are not usually my thing, but I really enjoyed The Loyal Heart. It may be because it was set after the war and in an area I am familiar with, but the interesting story line didn’t hurt either. I couldn’t help but empathize with poor Miranda, dealt a life of ostracism for something her husband may or may not have done. It was interesting seeing how she was getting on in her life after her husband’s death through the eyes of Robert. I really enjoyed the touch of suspense and trying to figure out who started the rumors about Miranda and her husband

  • I was fascinated with the history of the war and how things were for people coming back from the war but mostly I loved the characters who came to life on the page.

  • Baker Kella says:

    Shelley’s The Loyal Heart will intrigue you from the start and keep you jumping as the pages turn. I willingly admit that I couldn’t figure out who the villain was until she revealed the person! I also thought Shelley did a fantastic job at describing depression, depicting it as she did. You don’t often read about characters who deal with this and, as someone who has struggled with depression, I found it to be well written and not over the top.

  • Her characters are always really likeable. They have good sense and you really root for them. This story is a bit of drama, mystery and romance. If you are a history buff, you will really enjoy the whole story. If you aren’t, you’ll still enjoy the storyline and characters. I definitely recommend!

  • This is a gentle romance with a steady pace and a thread of suspense. You’ll enjoy this post Civil War historical romance that addresses the prejudices and depression many struggled with after the war.

  • I really liked how I was able to see both sides of the story from Robert and Miranda’s viewpoints. The suspense and drama was woven into the plot seamlessly with a few surprises along the way. Faith was also an important factor but it was never intrusive. “The Loyal Heart” held my interest until the very end. I can’t wait for the next installment of this series.

  • I loved this story. It has a lot of action and suspicion throughout the book – readers will wonder who exactly can be trusted – but there is romance and gentleness throughout the book as well. I loved the characters.

  • At the beginning, I thought I wouldn’t like the book because the characters showed immediate infatuation to each other, and I’m not a huge romance fan. But though they were attracted to each other, it was not the main theme of the book. Being a Civil War fan, I enjoyed reading of the aftermath of the CW in people’s lives. The flashbacks to Johnson’s Island when the men were POW was also intriguing.

  • I have been reading Amish books by Shelley for a couple of years now and have always enjoyed them. I know Shelley has written other types of books, but this was the first book I have read and enjoyed by Shelly Shepard other than her Amish Books. I am going to be reading more of her books now for sure. I loved this book and finished it in 3 days.

  • Fic Gal says:

    I’ve read other books by this author so I had a feeling I’d probably enjoy it and I did. It does deal with depression and thoughts of suicide so if that triggers you this isn’t the book for you. I think that these topics were handled in a good way. Once again I’m enjoying another historical book that takes place during a war. It flips back and forth a bit between the end of the war and the present which shows the bond between the men that served and their loyalty to one another. Yay for friendships in books.

  • All in all, The Loyal Heart was just an “OK” read for me. The few characters whose moral compasses were in a gray area and a sluggish plot made this my least favorite novel by Gray. If you’re a fan of her historical novels, this could be a story worth reading on a lazy Sunday. At just over 300 pages, it’s a quick read.

  • I enjoyed this story and the uniqueness of the characters and their predicament. The story is an interesting look at life for a war widow, especially one who is thought to have been married to a traitor, is like. The story is interesting and I thought the characters were well written and come to life! I look froward to the next book in the series!

  • Shelley writes a well constructed and intriguing story. Yes, there is a bit of a love story in this book, however it is not your usual plot of struggle between two characters who finally fall in love. This story touches on the lasting effects of war, cruelty of man, and the saving grace of friendship.

  • As always, Shelley Shepard Gray writes a compelling book that really details the lives after the Civil War.

    This book really made me think about what the families, soldiers and widows had to go through after the war was over and sympathize with the South and all the rebuilding they had to do.

    This was a great historical fiction with a little romance added in – my favorite kind of book!

  • I really enjoyed reading this book. I felt there was just the right amount of suspense and romance but I was slightly annoyed with Robert’s initial deception when he arrived in Galveston. This is my own personal opinion but his deception really didn’t add anything beneficial to the story. I get why he did it but I felt that Miranda would have been open to opening up to a friend of her husbands. Otherwise, I really adored Mr. Robert Truax’s character. I felt that he had a strong presence and was genuinely a nice guy.

    Overall this is a 5 star book and I cannot wait to read the second installment!

  • Readers will be thrilled with Shelley Shepard Gray’s book one in the Lone Star Hero Series, The Loyal Heart. A beautifully written novel that is full of historic incites, loveable characters, and a love story that includes a passion and fierce loyalty not only to love but to protect. A huge fan of historical fiction, I immediately fell in love with this delightful story and its characters. Shelley’s research of the historical background of the story also shines through, bringing this novel to life. I would recommend this story to readers that enjoy books written by Shelley Shepard Gray, as well as fans of historical romance.

  • Moments says:

    “The Loyal Heart” is a book rich with historical detail and sweet romance. Shelley created characters whom are strong, compassionate, loyal and ones whom readers cannot help but root for and empathize with. Robert made a promise and is determined to fulfill the promise, but he finds his heart more involved than he thought possible as he finds he wants to help and protect Miranda as much as he can.

  • 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.

  • As always, this author writes with a deft pen and draws her readers in from page one. I find the Civil War time period very interesting and this book certainly kept me engaged.

  • The Loyal Heart is by turns suspenseful and romantic. Robert and the other members of the wartime pact are able to help Miranda redeem her reputation and Phillip’s honor, as well as keep her home and find happiness.

  • I LOVE Shelley Shepard Gray’s writing! Her style is so at ease, and it really pulls you in to the story. The characters are lifelike and so very real. The story line has a nice flow, and the ending isn’t obvious from the start, which I appreciate.

  • War has made people desperate, and those who come to the pages of this novel will be surprised by the many twists and turns this plot takes! Readers will also be surprised to watch new relationships develop between characters that seem determined to resist any romantic involvement at all! In short, this is a novel filled with surprises, and by the time you reach the end of the novel, you heart and mind will be well satisfied!

  • All in all, I really enjoyed this book, although at the beginning it was just a little bit slow going for me. It took me a few pages to really get into the story, but once I did, I really enjoyed every bit of it.

  • This book had a story of suspense running through the book that makes it a turn pager. We aren’t sure who is sending Miranda the threatening letters or who is spreading rumors about her. I also love the sweet romance that happens, too. Just a really good book that I know you’ll enjoy!

  • A wonderful story, masterfully crafted. Loyal bonds formed in times of war continue into peacetime. The after effects of dreams destroyed by war are sensitively portrayed.
    A fabulous story

  • Shelley Shepard Gray never seems to disappoint. I really liked this historical fiction book that was set in post Civil War Texas, It is combination of a love
    story and a mystery. Great story.

  • I have to admit I was disappointed in The Loyal Heart. I didn’t feel like Gray captured the South—the novel could have been set anywhere in the States after the Civil War. Robert and Miranda’s romance felt too predictable, despite Robert’s doubts about the differences between their backgrounds. There were no surprises; the bad guys were bad guys and the good guys were good guys.

  • There are some sensitive issues throughout the story, including the topic of depression and potential suicide. These matters were delicately handled by the author. As one might expect, the theme of loyalty (even in the face of betrayal) was well played in The Loyal Heart. Puzzled out in various ways, from wartime to friendship to familial bonds, this message rang loud and clear.

  • “The Loyal Heart” is an exceptional story with exceptional characters that you care for and so want them to get together. Don’t start this book late at night because you will not want to go to sleep until you have finished it. I can hardly wait for book two to see where Ms. Gray is going to take this series.

  • The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray was a book I knew I was going to love because of who wrote it. I can’t even count the numbers of books I have read by this author and so far I think I have enjoyed them all.

  • Filled with compassionate and sweet characters, a fantastic storyline, and an a fantastic setting, Shelley captures the spirit of civil war America perfectly!

  • This is a must read, and is a perfect read for the end of summer and early fall.

  • This book was different from other Gray books I have read. I had only read her Amish books which took place in Florida and they were a light read. This story kept you guessing and was unpredictable. Had more depth to it. I enjoyed it very much.

  • When I see the name Shelley Shepard Gray, I typically think of Amish fiction. I know she’s written some books that are historical fiction, but she is one of my go-to authors in Amish fiction. When I read her historical fiction, I am always impressed that she is able to write in two completely different styles and on such opposite topics.

  • I greatly enjoyed The Loyal Heart. The characters are well developed and the dual settings of Galveston and Johnson’s Island come alive. Miranda stole my heart and emotions, and Robert Truax is the kind of hero that makes me go weak at the knees.

  • I love historicals, and I enjoy reading Shelley Shephard Gray’s books! I am especially impressed when it’s evident that a setting and storyline is well-researched, as is the case in The Loyal Heart. This a captivating, hard-to-put down story, set during the Reconstruction. I’d recommend it to my history-loving friends.

  • I could NOT put this book down once I started. This book really grabs you and keeps you guessing. The characters in this book are real people with messy lives and I love that!

  • EmpowerMoms says:

    Good steady plot-clean fiction. I hope she will have more historical “Lone Star Heros” in upcoming books!

  • I love learning about history when it is told in a story format. Shelley never fails to disappoint me, I started the book this morning and couldn’t put it down until I read the whole thing. Since I had never even heard about Johnson Island prison before I googled it in order to learn more about it.

  • Knowing Shelley Shepard Gray’s writing best through her Amish fiction books I was ecstatic to find I loved her Chicago World’s Fair series. Based on my love of that series and the description of The Loyal Heart I knew I had to read this book. They seemed to have the same elements of mystery and intrigue with romance perfectly blended in. Now having read The Loyal Heart I can say I wasn’t disappointed. This book is great.

  • I have greatly enjoyed all the other books by Shelley Shepard Grey that I have read. The Civil War holds a special place in my heart and I was ecstatic to see this new book out by her. It doesn’t focus a lot on the actual war but rather some on a group of soldiers in a prisoner of war camp. Mostly the book focuses on a widow of one of these prisoners and the struggles she faces after the war.

  • History is always more interesting when it’s told in story format and you become invested in the lives of the characters, even when you know they are not real life people. Particularly when the author writes in such a way that they feel like real life people with real life problems, circumstances, and emotions.

    This book had history, romance, and intrigue, while dealing with post-war fall-out for both soldiers and the families affected long after the war was over.

    It was also a good reminder of the importance of reputation – both to build a good one of your own, and to avoid ruining someone else’s with gossip or unfounded accusations.

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