Happy Valentine's Day! I hope all of you are having a very special day. A Death in the Dales by Frances Brody was released today. It is the seventh book in A Kate Shackleton Mystery series. It is a historical mystery novel (can be read alone). I will be reviewing it this week.
An Uncommon Protector by Shelley Shephard Gray is the second book in A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story. It is July 1867 in Sweetwater, Texas. Laurel Tracey has a hard time running the Red Roan Ranch. Laurel has seen squatters on her land, and she needs someone who is strong and forceful (and a little scary) to assist her with the running of the ranch. Laurel gets an idea when she overhears the prisoners, who have been working on her ranch, talking about when one of them is eligible for release. A convict can get early release at a type of sale. A person can “buy” the prisoner for one year. They are provided lodging and food while they work the next year to pay off their debt. Laurel decides that Thomas Baker (a former Sergeant) would be the perfect person to assist her. Thomas is glad for the chance to get out of jail especially after the whipping he received from guard, Foster Howell. Laurel purchases Baker despite opposition. Laurel’s stepsiblings object to Baker’s presence at the house (the moochers), and they are backed by neighbor, Landon Marshall. Laurel refuses to back down and her stepsiblings immediately depart (for which Laurel is very grateful). Baker’s presence proves valuable when a dead calf is left on Laurel’s doorstep. Someone poisoned the poor animal. This is just the beginning of troubles for Laurel. Someone is trying to drive her out, and they will do whatever it takes to achieve their goal. Baker is not going to let someone drive Laurel off her land. He telegrams his old unit for assistance in fighting these bandits. But who is behind these attacks? As time passes, Laurel sees the good man behind the rough exterior and starts to fall for him. Baker admires Laurel and cannot help falling her for her. But he does not feel worthy of such a lady. To find out what happens, you will need to read An Uncommon Protector.
An Uncommon Protector is the second book in the series, but it can be read alone. The author does provide updates on the characters from The Loyal Heart (first book in series). I found An Uncommon Protector to be well-written and it has good characters. It has a nice, light Christian theme (it was just right). I did find that the romance was predictable (you knew they would end up together in the end). I give An Uncommon Protector 3 out of 5 stars. I could identify the party behind the attacks very early in the book (it was very obvious). The take down of the bad guys was a little rushed and a bit of a letdown. The pace of the book is a little slow especially during the “thinking” sections. There are many areas of the book where the two main characters are thinking (mostly about each other). I did not enjoy the flashbacks into Baker’s time in the POW camp during the Civil War. These sections provide insight into Thomas Baker’s character, but there were too many of them. I felt they took away from the book (the reader just gets into the story and then we go back in time). Please be aware that there is violence against animals that is very disturbing (and upsetting). I am not the right audience for An Uncommon Protector. I do, though, look forward to reading other novels from Shelley Shepard Gray in the future (I love her Amish novels).
I sincerely hope you have a magical Valentine's night. I will return tomorrow to review Always by Sarah Jio. I have to finish cooking dinner and then I am going to relax (and enjoy my chocolates). I am currently reading Twelve Angry Librarians by Miranda James (it is good). Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
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