Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book review of ''Joyful'' by Shelley Shepherd Gray

 Joyful by Shelley Shepherd Gray
Here I am reviewing another Amish fiction story! My knowledge of Amish romances is not the best; I have only read The Guardian by Beverly Lewis, Forever Amish by Kate Lloyd and perhaps a couple more.
Joyful (Return to Sugarcreek #3)In this third novel in author Shelley Shepard Gray's Sugarcreek series, Amish girl Elizabeth Nolt must face unexpected changes to her supposedly perfect future! The book begins with Elizabeth's beau Randall Beiler announcing his devastating decision to Elizabeth that their courtship cease as he believes his young siblings are his priority. Follow Elizabeth through the book as she learns to deal with her emotions- even in the most unusual circumstances. Time after time she and Randall are thrown together in different situations and both must learn to cope with their emotions. They must learn to quell their interest in each other- or should they? Perhaps they were meant for each other after all?
The author is well-known for her Amish romances. She has received honor from the NYTimes and USAToday
  Now comes my personal opinion of the book. To be honest, I did not think it spectacular. The story was weak. I couldn't sympathize with the heroine, and I felt like the whole book was a waste of time since it starts with the couple's relationship being broken, but almost straightaway they come into contact with eachother. In one way, that is realistic since they lived in a close-knit Amish community.
I think the author made a serious blunder in the substories included in this book. Every few chapters focuses on characters other than Elizabeth and Randall, leaving the reader confused. I am hoping the author plans on incorporating those characters into her future books in the series, because I didn't think they helped this book flow.
Speaking of these characters, I didn't care for the restaurant owner ''Pippa'' who finds love in her ex-husband's best friend. Odd twist to include in an Amish story, even if ''Pippa'' isn't Amish.
This book just lacked point. The main characters do learn lessons about pride and such but they are vague lessons which don't stick with the reader after she has finished the book.
This book doesn't hold a candle to Beverly Lewis's works!

I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher and expected to state my honest opinion, whether positive or negative. 
Don't miss Shelley Shepard Gray's newest book in the Return to Sugarcreek series, Joyful. USA Today raved: "A sweet, straightforward story about how love can be tested by family, faith, and personal insecurity. Enjoyable and heartwarming."

Click the banner for a chance to win books 1-3 in Shelley's Return to Sugarcreek series! 
Winner announced on Shelley's blog on 9/30.