To Protect And Serve
The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray is a Christian historical romance and I loved it. It is set in the aftermath of the American Civil War. Bonds and vows sworn in war time were not easily broken. The novel follows the fortunes of one group of men who pledged loyalty to each other.
No matter who ‘wins’ the war, the reality is – everyone loses. Husbands, sons, brothers, fathers, friends on both sides perished. War changes people. Peace time can be hard to live through if loved ones are lost. The novel deals with the subject of deep depression and thoughts of suicide. “Perhaps today was not the day to die after all. ” War robs people of hope. People mourn the loss of their dreams. “Men and women of strong grit survived instead of giving up.” It takes courage and determination to live without ones loved ones.
God is at the heart of the novel. Miranda has faith in God but at her lowest moment cries out “Jesus why? I thought you suffered so much so I wouldn’t have to.” As Christians we are never promised that bad things and bad times won’t happen because they will. “The Lord never promised an easy life, only that He wouldn’t forsake her.”
Within the novel the past, present and future all interconnect. “The past always treads on our present.” Living through war means that one may have bad memories that surface without warning. It is PTSD but was not recognised as such in the 1860’s. People need love and help to survive. The future may look uncertain but “the future is already in God’s hands” – and that means there is hope.
The novel has the theme of loyalty. There is the loyalty of soldiers and the loyalty of a household. In tough times both support all their members.
There is a blossoming romance, gently unfolding throughout the novel. The reader becomes aware of it before the protagonists.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Loyal Heart. I enjoy all Shelley Shepard Gray’s writings and always know that I will be in for a cracking read.
A wonderful story masterfully crafted.
I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. No monetary compensation was received and all views expressed are my own.