Thursday, September 18, 2014

Joyful: Return to Sugar Creek Book 3 by Shelley Shepard Gray Litfus Blog Tour

About the book: A young Amish couple gets a second chance at love in New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray's final book in her Return to Sugarcreek series.

Randall Beiler is doing his best to put his family and the farm's needs first, even forsaking love. But though he tries, Randall knows he needs help caring for his younger siblings and keeping the house together.
When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious---and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth's heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.
Elizabeth wants to refuse---to stay far away from the man who hurt her---but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she's older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong.
Randal, too, seems to want something more. But does he want Elizabeth because he truly loves her---or because he needs a housekeeper? If Randall sincerely wants something more, he must find a way to show Elizabeth---or risk losing his chance at love forever.

Purchase a copy: 
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My thoughts:
I enjoyed visiting with the characters in Sugarcreek again.  Finding out how Miriam and Junior are doing in their new marriage and Christine and Aden in theirs.  How Ben and Judith are doing with their foster son and other assorted family and friends in this small Amish community.
This time around the focus of the story is on Randall and Elizabeth.  They have informally courted for years and both thought they would one day be married, but then Randy broke things off after his three older siblings left the family home to start their own lives and he felt he needed to step in and be the head of the parentless family.  Elizabeth is blindsided and hurt, but too proud to talk about it. 
After getting sick of having the same thing for dinner every night, Randy's brother, Luke, offers Elizabeth a job at their home, cleaning and cooking for the four brothers and one sister who still live there together.  This puts the two back into each other's daily orbit and forces them to deal with their unfinished business.
Watching both of them work to be polite and to keep their own personal feelings out of their interactions is a bit painful.  Feeling abandoned and left behind again by Randy, just as she was when her mother remarried and moved away, Elizabeth holds her feelings in.  When Randy is injured at his construction job and needs someone to care for him, Elizabeth gets a chance to see what life is like in his family home and what it would be like to have a large family, instead of the way she grew up as an only child.
In order to grow and change we need to trust that things will work out the way they are supposed to which can be the hardest thing of all, but we also need to be honest and true in all that we do to present our best selves to the world and others to allow this to happen.
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.

Find Shelley online: website, Facebook
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