About the book:
Thankful, Book Two in the Return to Sugarcreek series
New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray captures the beauty, devotion, and warmth of Amish life in this engaging tale of family, commitment, trust, and love set in the beloved community of Sugarcreek.
Christina Kempf has always known that God chose Aden Reese to be her husband. As children, he was there to save her when she fell through the ice, and he's been by her side ever since. After his parents died in a car accident ten years ago, the Kempfs raised Aden as one of their own, and everyone sees Aden and Christina as brother and sister. But Christina has never given up hope that Aden will one day ask her to be his wife.
Aden always planned to court Christina. But losing his mother and father changed everything---except his love for her. Her parents generously welcomed him into their home and treated him like a son. He can't betray their kindness by admitting his feelings for the girl who is like a sister . . . yet so much more.
Pressured by her parents to court, Christina begins to accept the attentions of Sugarcreek's young men, and now, Aden must make a choice. Will he stand by and watch the love of his life slip away? Or will he risk losing the love and trust of the family he holds dear to tell Christina how he truly feels?
Thankful includes a P.S. section with additional insights from the author, background material, suggestions for further reading, and more.
Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/wAcFF
My thoughts: I enjoyed visiting Sugarcreek again and seeing how the characters that were introduced in the first book were. It was nice that the focus had been changed to someone else because it kept the story feeling fresh and kept it moving. This story addressed how strongly one can feel towards duty and obligation and how much one needs to follow the desires of his or her heart. Aden has loved Christina since they were 12 and 14 and she fell through the ice when they were skating. When her parents invited him to become a part of their family, he was glad to be near her, but has felt that he needs to steer clear of the love he feels as being raised in the same house has made the family consider him a brother and it would not be right. Christina has been waiting for Aden to feel about her as she always has about him, not knowing he has his own internal struggle about how it would seem if he asked to court her. Everyone has their own struggle with what is expected of them, and what they desire for their own lives. There is a delicate balance between making sure you follow your own desires and at the same time not offending those around you. Amish society seems to have a few extra layers of rules and procedures in place.
Along with the struggle these two are feeling are Judith and Ben, a couple introduced in the first book. Judith is unable to have children, so they have decided to pursue adoption. While no baby is available for adoption, their social worked asks them if they would be willing to foster a child born to a woman who is in prison. The two of them have to weigh their desire to love a child and to help against how it will feel if or when they must give the child back to his mother. Complicating this is that the child they will be caring for may not look like them. Can they love this child enough to care for him for whatever amount of time they are able to have him as a part of their lives.
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.