Monday, February 10, 2014

HOPEFUL by Shelley Shepard Gray Book Tour: My Review

Susan Heim on Writing is pleased to be a stop on the tour for Hopeful, the first book in the Return to Sugarcreek series by Shelley Shepard Gray. Read on to learn more about this book, as well as my thoughts on it!

About this book:
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?

My thoughts:
I loved the character of Miriam. She was so … normal! A little chubby, not gorgeous, just a nice girl. But, even among the Amish, the men seem to go for the beauties first! And so Miriam finds herself wondering if any man will ever appreciate her own fine qualities. I’m sure that many women can relate to Miriam’s plight, especially when the man she likes, Junior, develops a crush on beautiful Mary Kate, despite it being obvious that she is all wrong for him. Will Junior -- or any man -- ever look past the surface and realize what a fabulous catch Miriam is? A smaller storyline in the book involves a married Amish woman named Judith who finds out she can’t bear children of her own and ultimately decides to pursue adoption. Although it is a sweet story, and fits the theme of the story’s title (Hopeful), I felt it was an unnecessary part of the book, and I would have preferred just to read about Miriam and Junior. Their emotional development is realistically portrayed and gives “hope” to anyone who despairs of ever finding “the one”!

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. Learn more about Shelley at:

Enter to win one of FIVE copies of the book.


    Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 23rd. All winners will be announced February 24th at Shelley's blog.

    Enter today and be sure to visit Shelley's blog on the 24th to see if YOU won one of the books!

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