Feb 12

Hopeful by Shelley Shepard Gray

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I received a copy of this book in order to provide a review. All thoughts are my own.


Return to Sugarcreek, Book One

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?

Purchase a copy and learn more at Shelley’s website


My review:

I was first attracted to this book because of the basic premise that closely resembled English courting, which is very different from what I see in the usual Amish fiction.  Usually you don’t see the boy pursuing the girl as much as Junior goes after Mary Kate.   This is what we usually see in much younger people in the English world.  This lends a kind of divergence to this book, where the main characters are acting as adults at their jobs or in caring for their families but are very much still juveniles when it comes to courting and relationships.  It was sweet to see something in adults that we usually only see in young kids anymore.

I most identified with Miriam in this book.  I too was never a skinny girl and always felt left out.  I wondered at first why Miriam didn’t clarify the situation with her parents, but after reading more I realized that she was probably so tired of feeling like she had disappointed them.  This is even more apparent when she finds herself helping Junior’s youngest sister and relishing the whirlwind that the larger family constantly lives in.

I was interested to see the topic lean towards obsession and stalking, something that probably is not talked much about in the Amish world.  While I am not pleased to see the real world problems intruding in their lives, I’m glad that Gray has included aspects of our “fancy” lives that could definitely take place in the “plain” world.

I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next book in the Return to Sugarcreek series.


About the author:


Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, 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.


HOPEFUL by Shelley Shepard Gray | Win a copy!

Welcome to the blog tour for Hopeful, the first book in Shelley Shepard Gray’s new series, Return to Sugarcreek. Critics have already given their thumbs up for Hopeful: “Lovable characters and a good story, full of romance and suspense . . . a must read.” (Library Journal)

Enter to win one of FIVE copies of the book. 

Five winners will receive:

  • Hopeful by Shelley Shepard Gray

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 23rd. All winners will be announced February 24th at Shelley’s blog.

Enter today and be sure to visit Shelley’s blog on the 24th to see if YOU won one of the books!



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