What an outstanding follow-up to the first Lone Star Hero’s Love Story, The Loyal Heart. When the first Lone Star Hero called on his band of brothers for assistance, one of them was unable to answer the call. This is his story, and we quickly learn why Thomas Baker was unavailable – he was in jail.
He needed to get out of jail like he needed to breathe. Though he had few choices about what to do with his life next, most of them were a far sight worse than helping a woman in need for one full year. (p.43)
When Laurel Tracey sees Thomas for the first time, as part of a chain gang working on her ranch, she is fascinated. Left to run her family’s ranch alone after the devastation of the Civil War, she soon finds herself hiring the attractive convict out of jail to help her.
There is both adventure and peril in store for this pair as they fight against those who would force Laurel to sell her farm, as well as a bit of flirting and sweet romance. Laurel is spunky and relatable, a heroine you want to root for. Thomas is honorable, endearing, humble, and just the hero for Laurel.
He wasn’t smart. He had no money. He didn’t have any family. But he had friends who valued him, and he also had done something worthwhile.
He realized then and there that even if he died in his sleep tonight, he had already become the kind of man he could be proud of. A faithful man. A Christian.
Featuring two people from different backgrounds who find what they need in each other, this is a wonderful story. I found the little bit of back story on one of the villains interesting and, a bit perversely, I really enjoyed Laurel’s spoiled and selfish half-brother and half-sister. I have one little quibble, however, in that Thomas seems to have stopped aging. In 1865, while a POW on Johnson’s Island in Ohio, he is 22. When he is in Texas it is 1867 and he is still 22.
Highly recommended for those who enjoy historical fiction with sweet romance. I devoured this book in one sitting and I am so looking forward to the stories of the remaining members of this group of former Confederate soldiers who promised to always help each other when imprisoned together during the Civil War. I just hope it comes out on a weekend, as it is likely to be another book that has me up reading past 2am.
An Uncommon Protector (A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story, #2) by Shelley Shepard Gray | Zondervan, Feb 2017 | paperback, 320 pages
This review refers to a copy received from Thomas Nelson and Zondervan’s Fiction Guild, in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.