Shelley Shepard Gray is most certainly one of my favorite writers! The very first book of hers I read was Hidden. That was it. I was hooked.
Since that time, I have read more and more of her books and with every one, I become a bit more of a fan.
I picked up Joyful and I simply could NOT put it down. It is that fantastic a story!
Joyful shows the growth of an author who has honed her craft over the years but it also holds the same talent that has always been there.
Shelley excells at taking a normal, average story that we could read anywhere and draw us in to it. This is a story that we could just as easily read about from a contemporary viewpoint but Shelley’s love of Amish culture brings an extra special touch to it.
We first met the Beilers (in this new series anyway) in Hopeful and we have had three books now to see their special circumstances, and isn’t it amazing how many parallels there are between Hopeful (the first book in the series) and Joyful (the third) – A Beiler man who is ferhuddled by a young woman from the Sugarcreek community…
And yet there are so many differences as well. Miriam and Elizabeth are two very different women, with two very different temperaments and very different life experiences.
In Joyful, we get a close look at the Beiler family again. This wonderful family has such heart and the members of it will capture yours.
If Shelley decides to continue with Sugarcreek (and I truly hope she does…), she has plenty more characters we would all LOVE to know more about in the years to come.
At least I know I would.
And if they’re even half as terrific as Joyful, she’ll have even more fans flocking to snatch up her books!
Here is a bit more about “Joyful”:
A young Amish couple gets a second chance at love in New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray’s final book in her Return to Sugarcreek series.
Randall Beiler is doing his best to put his family and the farm’s needs first, even forsaking love. But though he tries, Randall knows he needs help caring for his younger siblings and keeping the house together.
When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious—and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth’s heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.
Elizabeth wants to refuse—to stay far away from the man who hurt her—but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she’s older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong.
Randal, too, seems to want something more. But does he want Elizabeth because he truly loves her—or because he needs a housekeeper? If Randall sincerely wants something more, he must find a way to show Elizabeth—or risk losing his chance at love forever.
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