This book delivered everything I hope for in historical fiction. Our wounded hero is admirable and likeable even though he’s a bit rough around the edges and our heroine is strong and lovely and in need of a friend. The unlikely pair finds themselves thrown in the middle of a mystery and threatened by an unknown enemy. This Post-Civil War tale had me glued to the page.
I’ve really enjoyed this entire series. I’ve liked getting to know these ex-Confederate brothers-in-arms and the women they fall in love with. Thomas made friends for life with his fellow-prison mates following the war. Their bond and friendship really blesses the story with a sense of family and healing for these men who’ve suffered a great deal. Watching his friends come to his rescue was endearing and comforting. They’re true friends and each of them added to the story.
I also enjoyed watching the attraction between Laurel and Thomas spark to life quickly. The dilemma of their circumstances made for a unique storytelling twist. I loved how their weaknesses and strengths complimented each other and how they were willing to sacrifice for love. Their story really has it all – charm, humor, adventure. I have no doubt my fellow historical fiction readers will love this book.
I received a free copy from the publisher. No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of running a ranch on her own, Laurel Tracey decides to hire a convict—a man who’s just scary enough to take care of squatters and just desperate enough to agree to a one year post.
The years following the war have been hard on Laurel Tracey. Both her brother and her father died in battle, and her mother passed away shortly after receiving word of their demise. Laurel has been trying to run her two hundred acre ranch as best she can.
When she discovers that squatters have settled in her north pasture and have no intention of leaving, Laurel decides to use the last of her money to free a prisoner from the local jail. If she agrees to offer him room and board for one year, he will have to work for her to pay off his debt.
Former soldier Thomas Baker knows he’s in trouble when he finds himself jailed because he couldn’t pay a few fines. Laurel’s offer might be his only ticket out. Though she’s everything he ever dreamed of in a woman—sweet and tender-hearted, yet strong—he’s determined to remain detached, work hard on her behalf, and count the days until he’s free again.
But when cattle start dying and Laurel’s life is threatened, Thomas realizes more than just his freedom is on the line. Laurel needs someone to believe in her and protect her property. And it isn’t long before Laurel realizes that Thomas Baker is far more than just a former soldier. He’s a trustworthy hero, and he needs more than just his freedom—he needs her love and care too.
Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), The Protector, recently made the New York Times best seller list. A native of Texas, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Colorado and taught school for ten years. She and her husband have two children and live in Southern Ohio. Visit her website at www.shelleyshepardgray.com Facebook: ShelleyShepardGray Twitter: @ShelleySGray