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.
In January 1865, a group of Confederate soldiers made a vow to look out for each other once the war was over. At the time, they were prisoners in the Johnson’s Island POW camp in Ohio. Although the war would end just three months later, not all of them would leave the camp alive. One of the deceased was Lieutenant Philip Markham, who had spoken often to the group of his wife and made the men also promise to look out for her. Two years later, Miranda is not in a good place. Her in-laws want her out of the family’s home, the townspeople accuse her of running a house of ill repute, and Philip’s reputation is so bad his name is left off the town’s war memorial.
This is the setting for Shelley Shepard Gray’s latest novel, and it’s the start of a new historical series set in Texas about this group of POWs. From its bleak opening, you get a real sense of how the war and its ending impacted both Confederate soldiers and the inhabitants of the rebel states. Some were pragmatic about the loss while others saw it as a huge blow to southern pride. There’s a cast of varied characters, and it’s hard to tell who may or may not be behind the plot to make Miranda’s life such a misery. I particularly liked Miranda’s maid, Belle, and would’ve liked to have known more of her backstory. Galveston is elegantly described although the hurricane of 33 years later was on my mind as I was reading. Finally, the plot is such that just when you think everything has been resolved there’s a new development that could endanger everyone!
Thank you to TNZFiction and BookLook Bloggers for my complimentary copy of The Loyal Heart, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read The Loyal Heart? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Zondervan (a division of HarperCollins Christian)
Publication Date: 12 July 2016
Page Count: 320