Once again Shelley Shepard Gray takes us from a Civil War POW camp off the shores of Lake Erie to Sweetwater, Texas, just south of Fort Worth, in “An Uncommon Protector.”
Sgt. Thomas Baker is serving time in jail for his inability to pay off poker debts. Strong and a hard worker, Thomas is sent with a group of fellow prisoners to work on Laurel Tracey’s cattle ranch, which she’s working hard to keep afloat. When she starts to face troubling issues, including squatters, she decides to pay off the handsome and intriguing Thomas’ debt, ensuring he must work for her for one year.
As more and more scary and dangerous situations arise on her ranch, and a possible romance begins to bloom, Laurel must learn to rely on and trust Thomas. And Thomas must learn to trust in himself and his ability. When things become deadly, Thomas reaches out to his old Civil War buddies for help in figuring out who is sabotaging Laurel and her ranch.
Alternating between 1865 in the POW camp and 1867 in Sweetwater, “An Uncommon Protector” is a delightful romance story with a touch of suspense. As we get to know Thomas’ story, we are also reacquainted with former characters featured in the series’ first novel, “The Loyal Heart.”
But besides being filled with a great plot and great characters, “An Uncommon Protector” also tackles several great themes — everyone deserves kindness; trusting the wrong people versus misjudging the right ones; knowing when to ask for help; accepting we can have a happy and fulfilling future; and clinging to one’s values. The biggest theme, though, which threads itself throughout the entire novel, is worth — knowing and accepting that we all have worth, and not belittling ourselves.
This book could definitely be read as a standalone, but I’d encourage you to read the first novel, too, as it’s just as lovely of a story.
Five stars out of five.
Zondervan provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.
“An Uncommon Protector” (Lone Star Hero’s Love Story, #2) by Shelley Shepard Gray