The war for American freedom is over, and the British have gone back to England. Not knowing what has become of his family since he was forced into the Continental Army nine years earlier, Myles Cunningham wants to go home as well. He returns to the Mohawk Valley with the understanding that he is believed to have been shot for deserting—fiction that might be made real if anyone recognizes him as the son of a Tory and a King's Ranger.
Everything is wonderful in the growing community along the Mohawk River, except Nora Reid is still alone. With her brother happily settled and both her younger sisters starting families of their own, Nora feels the weight of her twenty-four years. A long walk leads her to the overgrown rubble of the Cunningham homestead where a bearded stranger begins to awaken feelings she'd lost hope of ever experiencing.
With secrets abounding—including whether Myles even cares for her—Nora must determine what she is ready to give up and how far she will go to secure his affections. She begins to break through his defenses, but Myles can't risk staying. Not if he loves her.
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This is the emotional conclusion of Angela Couch's Hearts at War Series, one which definitely had me crying happy tears at the end. I've never seen a series wrapped up so well and so honestly. Post American Revolution culture didn't immediately let bygones be bygones. And honestly, even in today's culture it isn't realistic, even if it is painted as such in so many books. That is what I love about this story. You see a realistic look at relationships of people who lived and fought on opposite sides. The struggle to come to terms with each other. The struggle to love someone who believes differently than you. Beliefs so different, it was possible to have fought on opposite sides of the battle line. If you haven't read the other three stories, it is possible to read this one as a stand-alone, but you'll have a great more appreciation for the story if you have.
Set in post-Revolutionary War New York, The Return of the King’s Ranger finds the elusive Myles Cunningham in search of his younger siblings. Being a loyalist, he keeps his true identity hidden from everyone, including the beautiful Nora Reid. Nora is convinced that at 24 she’s missed her chance at love but when she meets Myles, she believes he may be just the man for her. As Myles is drawn toward Nora, he fears his secrets will bring dangerous repercussions upon her and his family. Myles is a complicated hero. I love that Couch walks a thin line with this character. He is broody and stands on the wrong side of history, but his inner struggle with ghosts from his past elicit sympathy from the reader and make you root for him to overcome his demons with Nora’s steadfast kindness and understanding. The romantic tension between Myles and Nora is palpable. Couch really upped the ante in this installment of the series. My gut twisted wondering how she would bring these two protagonists together when so many obstacles stand in their way. One of my favorite things about Couch’s writing is her beautifully descriptive prose. She has a gift for transporting the reader back in time. Infused with historical details, The Return of the King’s Ranger has settings so real you can not only see the Reid farm but smell the musty hay and hear the horses hooves clop on the dusty roads. Forgiveness is the major theme that stands out to me in The Return of the King’s Ranger. Anger rages in Myles over the war and its effects on him and his family. His inability to make peace with the past leads to terrible unrest and nightmares and nearly costs him the woman he loves. His journey to find peace reminds us that unchecked resentment hardens the heart and makes the soul bitter. No matter how wrong one has been treated, Christ calls us to forgive as He has forgiven us. The Return of the King’s Ranger is a strong finale to this amazing Revolutionary War series that I strongly recommend.
This is the fourth book in the Hearts at War series, but can be read as a stand alone. (Although you should definitely read them all :)). As always Angela Couch creates authentic, engaging characters that draw me in. Her characters each face their own moral dilemmas that challenge the way they see the world, leaving me wondering up until the end how they will resolve the conflict they face. I can't wait to read more from this author. If you like Revolutionary War era history and love heartwarming fiction, you'll love this book.