I so enjoyed The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray! I was a little timid choosing it to read because I have never read anything by Gray and I have the tendency to be a Historical Fiction snob. Historical Fiction, for me, must feel accurate, tell a page turning story, and include a romance. It is a tall order, but Gray does it!
The Loyal Heart is the first book in Gray’s A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story series. Novels based in Texas are always fun to read because of the culture and dynamic of people who live there. In The Loyal Heart a war widow, Miranda Markham, is struggling to continue life without her husband Phillip. They were married just before he left to fight. Though they had little time together, their match was a true love story. Phillip’s comrades made a pact to care for Miranda in the instance Phillip didn’t make it home. Robert Truax, who served with Phillip, travels to Galveston to see to Miranda and investigate her circumstances. Robert makes it his mission to see Miranda’s life made better and in doing so finds himself falling for her.
Author Shelley Shepard Gray does many things right in this novel. Gray created interesting and believable characters I really enjoyed reading…and spent many late nights doing so. She also did an amazing job telling the back story, the one a reader often doesn’t get. Not only did she tell the back story, but she did so through flashbacks and she managed to do it well. I did not feel lost or confused and I feel like the chapters that look back enrich the story.
As a picky Historical Fiction reader, I give this novel an easy five stars. It has been a long time since I have read something I enjoyed so much. Gray has a new loyal reader in me. I was given a complimentary copy of this book by BookLookBloggers in exchange for an honest review. I have not been compensated and all opinions are my own.