Book Review: An Uncommon Protector by Shelley Shepard Gray

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I loved this book! Both the hero and heroine were strong characters who drew you in to every aspect of their lives. I wanted to climb into the book and join their world, even in spite of the dangers and challenges they faced. Laurel Tracey is in a predicament. A recently orphaned single woman, she has only her two step-siblings left in her family, and their only concern is selling off the farm, left to Laurel by her stepfather, so they can take the money and run. Not ready to take the easy route, she decides to hire someone to help keep her farm safe. Sergeant Thomas Baker was a soldier in the Confederate Army until they lost the War. Now he is a convict, jailed for debts incurred while playing a high-stakes poker game. For one year of service, Laurel pays for his release, hoping that he will be what she needs to keep her farm afloat. However, those who seek to force her hand in selling her farm become violent, and Thomas becomes more than just a hired hand - he becomes Laurel's protector. Laurel and Thomas were wonderful characters! I felt connected to both of them. Laurel had a strong will but desperately needed someone to lean on, and Thomas was quite willing to be that person for her. He is my favorite type of hero - strong yet gentle, brave yet humble, and formidable yet willing to love. It's no wonder set both fell in love with each other. I also really liked that Laurel wasn't thought of this great beauty. It's nice to read about an "average" girl, who is not super thin with model looks. This is my first book by this author, and I look forward to reading more! She has a great talent in storytelling and bringing history to life. **I received a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

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