Friday, October 21, 2016

Reviews: A Sister's Wish and An Amish Family Christmas by Shelley Shepard Gray

 About the book:

A Sister's Wish (Avon Inspire, September 2016)

In Shelley Shepard Gray's third book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a respectable young woman finds herself falling for an Amish man from the wrong side of the tracks.

Amelia Kinsinger is the perfect Amish woman---at least according to her neighbors. And while Amelia takes pride in her role as homemaker, she's also harboring a secret: She's been in love with bad boy Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. Too bad he's about as far from "perfect" as an Amish man could get . . . but that's exactly why she's so drawn to him.

Life hasn't been kind to Simon. He ran away from an abusive home at fifteen and things went downhill from there. Eventually, Simon landed in prison. But the experience changed him. Now back in Charm as a grown man, he's determined to make a new life for himself and not think too much about his wild past . . . unless it pertains to Amelia.

He's loved Amelia for years. To him, she represents everything good and kind in the world. When he realizes that she returns his affections, he starts calling on her in secret, even though her older brother Lukas---who just happens to be Simon's best friend---has made it perfectly clear that Amelia deserves better. Simon disagrees and believes he's the only one who can truly make her happy.

But when Amelia gets hurt, it sets off a chain of events that forces them to consider their future together---and face their past mistakes. There's a chance for love . . . but only if Simon dares to trust Amelia with the secrets of his past.

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My Review:

A Sister’s Wish is a story about Amelia, a young Amish woman who is still in love with her childhood crush, Simon.  Simon has come back to town after being gone for a while, including spending time in prison and he is dealing with some past demons.  He also desires to have a relationship and future with Amelia, unfortunately her family is not for them.  Amelia is the youngest of four siblings and all of them are still reeling from the loss of their beloved father.  Amelia is ready to stand on her own two feet and begins to grow bitter with the way her siblings are treating her. 

There is a lot of deep issues going on in this novel, one of them being that if you are forgiven are you really a new creation, or does your sins forever taint you, maybe not with God, but with others?  There are also issues of abuse and when should a community step in?   I liked seeing Amelia growing sure of whom she is by getting a backbone and standing up to her siblings and even Simon instead of continuing being a doormat. 

This was a very good Amish romance and I have been enjoying Shelley Shepard Gray’s writing.  I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity.  The views and opinions expressed are my own.

 About the book:

About the book: 

An Amish Family Christmas (Avon Inspire, October 2016)

In Shelley Shepard Gray's fourth book in her Charmed Amish Life series, an unlikely Amish romance reveals that Christmas is a time for family, miracles---and love.

Ever since his father died in a tragic fire, Levi Kinsinger has felt adrift. Newly returned to Charm, Ohio, Levi is trying to fit into his old life, only to discover he seems to have outgrown it.

But when Julia, his young widowed neighbor, asks for his help with a Christmas project, Levi finds a sense of purpose for the first time in months. She and her daughter are new to Charm and could use a friend, a job Levi takes personally. Soon enough, friendship grows into attraction, but Levi can't help having doubts. There's something about Julia that doesn't ring quite true . . .

Like Levi, Julia Kemps has survived her fair share of hardships---but only by hiding the truth of her past. Being an unmarried mother in an Amish community was unthinkable. Feeling hopeless, Julia did the only thing she could do: she moved to a new town and pretended to be a widow. But meeting Levi, she's hopeful for the first time. Little by little, she begins to imagine telling him her darkest secret, and eventually . . . perhaps even sharing her life with him.

Christmas is a time for family, and as the holiday draws closer, Julia and Levi will have to face their pasts together . . . in order to find the healing, support and love they so desperately desire.

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My Review:

An Amish Family Christmas continues following the Kinsinger family, this time from the viewpoint of brother, Levi.  Levi has come back to Charm, Ohio at the request of his family and he is trying to step back into his new normal way of life after the very sudden death of their father.   Levi is having a hard time adjusting and is still very much grieving.

One cold evening on his way home, he comes to the help of his “widowed” neighbor and her little girl when she locked her keys up in the house.  Julia and her daughter are new to town and very private; she has secrets she is not willing to share.  Levi becomes interested in the pretty young woman who he is not aware is not at all who she says she is.  This novel deals with abuse at the hands of a loved one and Julia is hiding from the father of her child.  There is a sense of foreboding danger as Julia’s former beau, a very controlling man, has not given up on finding her. 

This story takes place around Christmas time and is a great novel to read with a hot drink during the upcoming holiday season as the author has a way with her vivid descriptions.   

I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity.  The views and opinions are my own honest ones.

About the author:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

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