Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hopeful: Return to Sugarcreek Book One by Shelley Shepard Gray (Litfuse Blog Tour)

About the book: 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?

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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.

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My thoughts:
Miriam has been the only child left at home with her parents since her much older brother and sister married and started their own families.  She is beginning to feel like an old maid, with  no one ever having come to court her.  For years she has had a crush on Junior Beiler.  Four years ago Junior's parents died and the family of eight children was left with Junior as the oldest.  He has taken the responsibility of his siblings very seriously, especially his youngest sister, Kaylene, who is now eight.  One day at the restaurant where Miriam works, Junior requests to visit her at home to talk.  She thinks he finally  noticed her, but her hopes are crushed when she discovers that he just wants to talk to her about her new friend, Mary Kate the new teacher.
Miriam puts herself second and tries her best to help Junior in his quest to get to know Mary Kate, all the while feeling her own pain inside that she can't share with anyone else.  Miriam helps people because she is so genuinely good inside.  She puts her own hopes and desires aside to try to help both of her friends.  Mary Kate is holding onto her own secrets and fears, and the only person she feels comfortable confiding in is Miriam,
We all have hopes and dreams, but sometimes love means putting someone else first.  By not thinking of herself, Miriam was completely selfless, but her sacrifice does not go unnoticed.  Many of her neighbors and friends have noticed how she is easy to talk to, always willing to lend a hand when needed and reliable, except for her habit of being tardy!  Miriam prays for guidance and tries to follow knowing that there is a greater plan at work that she might not know, but needs to believe in.

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