This week I shared the first line from An Uncommon Protector on my #FirstLineFriday post. I am happy to report that I have finished the book. Or maybe I should put that I’m sad….I didn’t want the story to end! It was so wonderfully written and I found myself daydreaming just a little bit about Sargeant…..don’t judge until you’ve read 🙂
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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.
There are love stories that happen quickly, and there are over stories that happen over time. Two individuals develop a strong feeling of trust and belonging and don’t even recognize that it’s love. This is that kind of story. Rather than focus on the characters together in love, the author chose to focus on who there were individually and how they came to be who they are. She wrote in a way that will capture your heart, and remind you of the good that are in people, even those we least expect it from.
When people hear the name Shelley Shepard Gray, they will not longer only think of Amish fiction. She has found her mark in the historical fiction genre and I hope she stays. Her writing is eloquent and vivid, and in this story she easily brings the Red Roan Ranch to life. The chapters that held glimpses of the POW Camp that Thomas Baker was held at were captivating. Little by little you saw his rough edged character come to life and began to understand his reasoning behind the things he did. I loved watching him and Laurel growth, both separately and together. Ms. Gray did a spectacular job writing these characters, their emotions, and their reactions.
Any historic fan is sure to enjoy this book, along with the first in the series. This can be read as a stand alone, so if you haven’t caught the first one yet, don’t fret! You’ll be able to follow along just fine. I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Fiction Guild. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
What is a recent historical fiction book that you have enjoyed?