“Hopeful” by Shelley Shepard Gray | Return to Sugarcreek series book 1

"Hopeful" by Shelley Shepard Gray“HOPEFUL” is the long-anticipated first book in Shelley Shepard Gray’s Return to Sugarcreek series!

Looks like the mystery bug has rubbed off on Shelley. After writing the original Seasons of Sugarcreek series as romance, “Hopeful” is a step in a different direction. Not a complete turn, just a step.

Don’t worry, there’s still PLENTY of romance.

But there is also a definite air of mystery surrounding Mary Kate Hershberger – the community’s new schoolteacher.

I wish the synopsis had given me a bit more warning that I was reading a suspense/mystery. Not that I would not have read the book – I would have anyway, it just would have been nice to know going in.

Isn’t it nice that you have me? You are fore-warned. But DEFINITELY read it!

It’s a terrific story! And the mystery/suspense woven around Mary Kate is done extremely well.

It has been a long time since a book kept me up half the night simply because I could not put it down. And not just because of the suspense either – I found myself desperate to find out what happened between Junior, Mary Kate and Miriam.

And I wasn’t about to stop reading until I found out!

I do think that either Shelley or her editor perhaps mixed up a few things about the Amish… or maybe it’s simply artistic license – As far as I know, from my own research, the Amish do not toss off comments about calling relatives like it is a common occurrence. It’s anything but – for them. And I was not aware that Amish ever retired. But I could be wrong – or it could be that Miriam’s parents worked for a company that required them to retire at a certain age. Whatever it was, it didn’t really detract from the story…more like caught my attention and had me going “Hmm…”

Maybe that was the idea. Sneaky… And clever.

It’s a GREAT story and a COZY and INTRIGUING read and Shelley Shepard Gray is DEFINITELY one of my all-time favorite authors! Now I just have to go back and read her other suspense/mystery series.


Here is a brief summary of the story from GoodReads:

In the Amish town of Sugarcreek, love comes in many forms. But will it come at all for Miriam?

Miriam Zehr has worked at the Sugarcreek Inn longer than she cares to admit. The restaurant is a favorite of town residents as well as the many tourists who come to taste the famous Amish fare. Though she always tries to have a smile for every customer, deep down Miriam knows something’s missing: a family of her own.

Miriam has never felt particularly beautiful, especially because she’s always been a bit heavier than other girls her age. When Junior, the man she’s pined for all her life, suddenly seeks her out, she’s thrilled to be noticed . . . until she realizes he’s only asking her to help get the attention of Mary Kathryn Hershberger, her pretty friend.

If Miriam helps Junior court Mary Kathryn, she’ll get to spend a lot of time with him, but she might lose him in the process. Are these few stolen moments worth a lifetime of sacrifice? Is Miriam right to even hope for the life she dreams of?

See what I mean… absolutely no HINT of mystery or suspense. Maybe it’s another cleverly disguised ploy… Devious. 😉

HERE is a link to get more info about the Litfuse blog tour

HERE is a link to the GoodReads page.

HERE is a link to Shelley Shepard Gray’s website.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity book review program in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Happy Reading



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