Grace, Sisters of the Heart Series, #4   -     By: Shelley Shepard Gray
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Grace, Sisters of the Heart Series, #4

Avon Inspire / 2010 / Paperback

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It's Christmastime at the Brenneman Bed & Breakfast, and everyone is excited about closing down for the holiday. Anna and Henry will be celebrating their first Christmas as a married couple, and for Katie and Jonathan Lundy, it's their first Christmas with baby Stefan. Winnie and Samuel Miller plan to stop by as well for a wonderful two weeks of family and rest.

But when two unexpected visitors show up, hoping to stay for Christmas, the family must test their commitment to hospitality. Levi is a widower who lost his wife four years ago and can't bear the thought of another Christmas alone. And Melody is a young pregnant woman who won't open up about how she ended up on her own at Christmas at almost nine months pregnant. Anna, who knows a thing or two about keeping secrets, doesn't trust her, and strives to find out the truth about these two strangers who have disrupted their holiday.

But as the Christmas spirit descends on them all, along with a snow that traps them at the inn, a healing and hopefulness takes over, allowing new relationships to be built, and the boundaries of family to be extended.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Avon Inspire
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 7.17 X 4.71 (inches)
ISBN: 0061990965
ISBN-13: 9780061990960
Availability: In Stock
Series: Sisters of the Heart

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Publisher's Description

It's never too late to go home

It’s Christmastime at the Brenneman Bed and Breakfast, and everyone isexcited about closing down for the holidays. But when two unexpectedvisitors appear seeking shelter, the family’s commitment to hospitalityis tested. First Levi arrives, sullen and angry . . . but insisting on staying for five days. Next Melody shows up. She’s almost nine months pregnant, but won’t say a word about why she traveled all the way from Kentucky by herself. As the two strangers settle in, the Brennemans try to make the best of an uncomfortable situation, except for Katie, who and knows a thing or two about keeping secrets. She is determined to learn the truth about these two strangers . . . all while keeping her own secret safely hidden away.

All is revealed when a snowstorm traps them at the inn.

Author Bio

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.

ChristianBookPreviews.com

Shelley Shepard Gray extends the traditional "dark and stormy night" story into a full week of blizzard conditions in her Christmas novel Grace. It's December 20th and the Brenneman Bed and Breakfast is ready to close for the holiday season. Sisters-in-law Katie and Anna are set to go do some last minute holiday shopping, while Katie's parents shut down the B & B so that everyone can just be home for the holidays, enjoying the privacy of a traditional family holiday gathering.

But then the family's Christian charity is put to a test. Out of nowhere arrive two guests who are desperate for shelter, food, and rest. One is a girl named Melody from Kentucky who is alone, nine months pregnant, and baffled about what to do to help herself and her forthcoming baby. Also arriving is a brooding, gruff-speaking older man named Levi Bender, who is secretive, suspicious, even surly.

The home begins to look like Noah's ark as the clan of relatives starts pouring in: Katie and her husband Eli and their three children; Anna and her new hubby Henry; Jonathan and his sister Winnie and her husband Samuel; Mother and Father; and, now, two unexpected houseguests. And before anyone can volunteer to leave or be asked to leave, a blizzard blankets the county, trapping everyone indoors for the next five days. (This, obviously, gives a modern day spin on the pregnant girl finding "no room in the inn.")

Katie cannot help herself from probing and questioning and prying into the lives of the two strangers. She wants to know their hidden secrets and what chain of events led them to the Brenneman home at the Christmas holiday season. We readers do, too, so this becomes a mystery story as well as a home-and-hearth tale. The characters learn much about each other, about what it means to share, love, and care openly, and how and when to be "my brother's keeper." Gifts of Christmas are not just the packages that are wrapped and placed under the tree. Even greater gifts are acts of mercy, forgiveness, kindness, understanding, and sharing.

This plot moves at a rather slow pace, but that allows the author to showcase several of the central characters and also to portray rural American life. The dialogue is sprinkled with German verbs and nouns to give an Amish feel to the setting. Readers longing for an old-fashion Christmas without blaring televisions, flashing neon lights, silly outdoor blow-up reindeer fixtures, and endless holiday advertisements, will find relief in this story. High art this isn't, but relaxing reading it is. – Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com

Editorial Reviews

“Gray’s latest embodies the meaning of Christmas. It is a reminder that all situations — good, bad or inconvenient — happen for a reason: It is God’s plan.”
Featuring beloved characters from Gray’s “Sisters of the Heart” series, this simple, homespun love story is sure to please fans.”

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