It seems that no matter our age and circumstance, most young girls, especially those of us that have grown up in homes teaching Christian virtues, do not see themselves as having any beauty, and yet look on their peers as having more than they do. Miriam is a typical young girl in this way. It does not help the situation when the young men, in looking for someone to marry judge others also by this criteria, and thus the conflict. The novel Hopeful reminds us all that not only is beauty only skin deep, it is also in the eye of the beholder.
Shelley has the talent to bring her novels to the reader in such a way that we feel like we see life through the main characters, and the scenes come alive in her choice of vivid images. This novel is the first one in the Return to Sugarcreek, and I look forward to the next one continuing the saga of those I met this time.
I received this book free from Amy and Chris at Litfuse Publicity Group and HarperCollins Publishers in exchange for an honest review. A positive critique was not required. The opinions are my own.
A story of hope in so many ways. All her life Miriam hoped Junior would notice her. Junior had lost both his parents and was raising his brothers and sisters. Kaylene, his youngest sister, was struggling with reading and school. The school teacher, Mary Kathryn, was running from an abusive relationship. All she wanted was free to live her life.
Miriam gave up hope of ever having a relationship with Junior and was working to move on. But as she did, life changed. Dreams happened. Life became complete.
Mary Kathryn was about to run again when her life turned upside down. She got her chance to move on.
Judith finds life and happiness after overcoming grief of a miscarriage and being told she could not have children.
You will renew your hope and courage to be yourself through reading this book.
"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.
In Hopeful, Shelley Shepard Gray has started another enjoyable Amish series set in Sugarcreek, Ohio. Some of the characters are familiar from her earlier Sugarcreek series, while the main characters are first introduced in this story.
Fans of light Amish fiction should enjoy this charming story. Miriam is a delightful character to get to know, and you can't help but care about her feelings that range from discouragement to hope. She strives to accept whatever situation she finds herself in and be a good friend, even in the middle of her own disappointments. Junior, Mary Kate, little Kaylene, and others each add their own delightful voice to the story.
Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
The characterizations throughout Hopeful represent many personality types, covering a broad spectrum. Miriam is a comforter, saddened by the fact that she is still single, but finds comfort in helping others. Junior is mature beyond his years, having been the father/mother figure for his numerous siblings since both parents died. Mary Kate is a newcomer to the community of Sugarcreek, and harbors secrets from a past tainted relationship. Her past admirer is overbearing and devious. As these characters intermingle throughout this story disappointment and anguish create depression and unhappiness, but hope is what inspires them to continue moving forward.
The author has revealed a complex set of relationships throughout this book, and has created a realistic depiction of disappointment, heartbreak, compassion and an underlying hope that life will somehow become more satisfying and joyous. Family is an important element throughout, evidenced by a young couple who recently discovered they cannot have children of their own, as well as others seeking companionship and a life shared with someone they can love and honor. The Amish way of life is woven throughout this book, creating a community of people who share the same beliefs and expectations that we've come to respect through these examples. I enjoyed the interactions between the diverse characters in this story, and look forward to the sequels in this series.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.