Avon Inspire (January 6, 2009)
This book caught my eye because it is yet another author writing stories set amongst the Amish settlements of America. These folks live in a simplified manner compared to what we â€œEnglischersâ€ (as they refer to those in the outside world) are used to and consider necessary. Travel is primarily by horse and buggy despite all the automobiles surrounding them and if transportation over longer distances is needed there are usually locals with a vehicle willing to accommodate their â€œplainâ€ neighbors.
Many of the teens in these communities feel a need to at least get a taste of the outside world by running around with â€œenglischâ€ teens during their rumschpringe (or running around). Some of them are enticed into that world for longer or sometimes forever but many soon realize that they prefer the life they have known for over a decade already and soon join the church and their communities as a full member. Katie is one of the second type though like many of us she made mistakes during the time she was a part of that outside world that can and will haunt her until she makes peace with them and the people affected by them. She is lucky in that although the circumstances of the opportunity are not what anyone would wish she is given this opportunity by people she expected to never hear from or see again.
Katie wants to make amends but doesnâ€™t want to give up her community and family or a man she loves though may never have the privilege to wed for a man who loves her but that she could never consider more than a friend. Will Katieâ€™s faith pull her through the trials she is about to encounter and will forgiveness be granted for her hasty choices made in the midst of teen uncertainties and exploration? Will she ever experience her dearest dreams of a home and family with the only man she truly loves other than her God?
This author brings a hint of adventure and mystery to a story and setting that can often become austere and plainer than the society in it. Gray brings us characters that show the commonality amongst all cultures and societies while encouraging each person to embrace their differences of faith and community that we have the freedom to express and enjoy here in America. For an uplifting story of love, faith, cultural acceptance and even a hint of adventure as characters grow and discover themselves as God intended for them to be grab a copy of Shelleyâ€™s 2nd installment in the Sisters of the Heart series. While this is not the first book, I did read it without having read the 1st and can hold its own quite well as a standalone. Personally I prefer reading series in their entirety and in order so highly recommend grabbing a copy of Hidden while you are at it. I still need to get my hands on a copy of that book but look forward to reading it when I do as well as book 3 of this series, Forgiven, when it becomes available. (ISBN#9780061474460, 272pp, $12.99)
Click the bookcover above to purchase your own copy as well as read more about the book.