Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Sister's Wish and An Amish Family Christmas by Shelley Shephard Gray

A Sister's WishAn Amish Family Christmas   -     By: Shelley Shepard Gray

Shelley Shepherd Gray completes her CHARMED AMISH LIFE series with two delightful, warm
stories.  A SISTER'S WISH focuses on Amelia, the youngest sister in the Kinsinger family featured throughout the series.  While all the other siblings are busy with either jobs and spouses or both, Amelia is left to tend the large house, made all the more empty by the death of both their parents.  Without telling her brother Lukas, Amelia has begun to see Simon Hochstetler, Lukas's boyhood friend.  But Simon has a troubled past and secrets from the years he left Charm, and when Lukas finds out his little sister has been seeing the prodigal Simon, Lukas wants it to stop.

Amelia and Simon's story actually continues a bit in AN AMISH FAMILY CHRISTMAS, but most of this Christmas novel features Levi Kinsinger, the brother who had left the family mill after the large fire that took their father's life.  Levi has decided to return to Charm and begin work at the mill again, but he can't make himself move back into the large family home.  Instead he rents a small, run down cottage near the mill.  Soon he notices the young woman and child who live across the street.  A newcomer to town, Julia tells everyone she is a widow, but that is not the truth.  When she and Levi become close, her lies, originally told to keep her daughter and herself safe, threaten to crush any hopes of happiness.

The scars of domestic abuse, the destructive powers of secrets and lies, and the even stronger power of forgiveness, truth, and new chances are the dominant themes of these entertaining novels.  For readers who have not started the series, I recommend getting all four books; you'll want to know all members of the Kinsinger family.  Plus they are quick reads; I read each book in just a few hours.  While I always have minor problems reconciling what the Amish characters do (and don't do) in Amish fiction with the strict behavior of our real life Old Order Amish neighbors, I thought Gray's books were well written and entertaining.  If you know someone who likes Amish fiction, this series would be a great Christmas gift.  The themes of forgiveness and starting over make them solid choices for church libraries.  I received copies of this novels from Litfuse.

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