14 July 2016

Review: A Loyal Heart by Shelley Gray

Not Gray's Best

Amazon Description

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.

My Review

Shelley Shephard Gray writes Amish fiction under her full name, and historical romance with a touch of suspense as Shelley Gray. I’m not a fan of Amish fiction so haven’t read any of those, but I’ve read several of her previous historical romance novels and been impressed. I watch out for her new Shelley Gray releases, and was pleased to be given the opportunity to review A Loyal Heart.

But I have to say it wasn’t up to the standard I have come to expect from Shelley Gray (or from her publisher, Zondervan). The plot was an excellent combination of romance and suspense, but I was underwhelmed by the plot twist which revealed who was behind the threatening letters widow Miranda Markham had been receiving for the last year, and that meant the novel ended with less than a bang.

I also wasn’t impressed by the editing. There were spelling mistakes, a couple of irritating anachronisms (especially strange, as Gray’s books are usually well researched), and lots of annoying dialogue tags—which perhaps shouldn’t have distracted me, but they did. I was left wondering if I was reading a pre-proofed review copy (which I sometimes do get, but which are usually marked as such). If not, are the spelling and writing errors the fault of the author, or of the editor and publisher?

So while the plot and writing weren't up to the high standard I expect from the author and publisher, the characters were excellent. Miranda Markham blossomed as she got to know Lt Robert Truax, who was a true hero and proved that there is more than being a gentleman than being born into money and influence. I found the growing romance between the two as interesting as the suspense plot, but the romance had a better and more believable resolution.

Thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

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