Monday, August 22, 2016
The Loyal Heart- Shelley Shepard Gray
Description: 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 Thoughts: My favorite thing about this book was that it dealt with the crippling issue of depression. Miranda's situation has driven her to her lowest point, tempting her to simply end it all. Those scenes where Miranda struggled were rather powerful and emotional, as was Robert's admittance that he had once thought the same.
However, while I really liked the characterization of Miranda and enjoyed her relationship with Robert, I found myself wondering why it took so long for her situation to be resolved. No explanation is given as to why it took Robert so long to show up, and then once he does, he manages to solve most of her problems in around a week just by asking simple questions of people who Miranda already interacted with regularly.
As well, toward the end, two of Robert's war friends arrived, both of whom had seemed to have little reason to be there other than to remind the reader how good of a person Miranda's dead husband, Philip, was. The end itself felt somewhat off when a number of unnamed characters started out unwilling to help Miranda, only to suddenly change their tune once they were informed of how great Philip had been.
There were definitely parts of this book I enjoyed, and I will likely try the second especially since I have read other books by this author and really liked them. While it is not perfect, it does have its good moments and despite some of the darker points, it is a fairly easy read.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.