About the Book
Joshua Graber knows his future is set. He′s expected to work at his family business, the Graber Country Store. He′s expected to marry Gretta Hershberger, who he′s been courting for several years. But when a new English family moves next door and their lovely teenage daughter, Lilly Allen, catches his eye, Joshua wonders if all the plans for his future are too set in stone.
Gretta doesn′t know what′s going on with Joshua. When they argue and later stew in silence, it feels a lot like the frosty atmosphere at her home. After promising herself to never have a marriage like her parents, she wonders if perhaps another man might be a better match. A man such as Roland Schrock. He′s steady and kind and somewhat boring. If she marries him, she won′t ever have to worry about loving him and getting hurt.
Meanwhile, Lilly is enamored with the Amish way of life, and especially her handsome neighbor Joshua. But despite being drawn to him, she has a secret that will only drive him away. Her family moved to Sugarcreek to hide her pregnancy from their community back home. Once she′s had the baby, they plan to send her off to college without anyone from their old neighborhood knowing the truth. But as Lilly becomes wrapped up in the simplicity and graciousness of the Amish people, she begins to question what′s expected of her, and whether giving up her baby, and leaving Sugarcreek, is what she truly wants.
As the coldest winter on record blows into Sugarcreek, these three young people must struggle to determine the path of their futures.
This is the first book I've read by Shelley Shepard Gray. I really enjoy Amish novels and was happy to be introduced to a new author of that genre.
We meet Joshua and Gretta, two Amish teens whom the community believes will be spending their lives together. As it is in their community, it's almost a given as to who will marry whom as the kids grow up together. But is that how it should be? Is that what they truly want? That's exactly what Joshua and Gretta come up against.
When the new neighbors are introduced to Joshua's family, he isn't sure what to think of their teenage daughter. She brings thoughts into his head that he didn't know existed and starts to look at Gretta differently. In turn, Gretta's life is turned upside down by the new revelation that maybe she and Joshua aren't meant to spend their lives together.
The new neighbors, Englischers, have their own issues to deal with. Every family has their secrets and they are in Sugarcreek to keep hidden what they know. Of course, with Joshua and his family being neighbors, it's hard not to be neighborly, especially with kids that are the same age!
I enjoyed the Winter's Awakening. To be honest, it was hard for me to get involved in the story when I kept getting caught up in the Amish words. They are used in every story about the Amish that I've read, but somehow it seemed overdone to me. That is, at the beginning. After a while, I was able to get more involved in the lives of Shelley's characters.
I liked how Gretta and Joshua grew throughout the story. They were able to come to a place where they could just be who they are. They are able to explore their feelings and options in a way they never had before and I think it's a great example for the rest of us. Does life have to be the way it is just because that's what everyone expects?
Winter's Awakening was an enjoyable novel. I was able to settle in and enjoy my time at Sugarcreek.
About the Author
Before writing for the inspirational market, Shelley wrote several novels as Shelley Galloway. During this time, her books appeared on the Waldenbooks bestseller list, and she also won the prestigious Reviewers’ Choice Award from Romantic Times magazine.
Before writing professionally, Shelley taught school for 10 years. She taught fifth and sixth grade in Arizona, Texas, and Colorado. When her family was transferred to Ohio, her husband encouraged her to finally give writing a serious try. He even found a local writers meeting for her to attend! After a lot of hard work and a lot of luck, she sold her third manuscript.
Shelley is an active member of her church. She volunteers on steering committees, helps with rummage sales, and helps out at the welcome center. She and her husband are also part of a small group that has been instrumental in guiding her faith.
When not writing, Shelley can usually be found with her family. Her two teenagers keep her busy and happy. They all also love to travel.
Find out more about Shelley Shepard Gray and her books at her website.
Win Winter's Awakening
Leave a comment telling me if you've ever bought anything Amish. I haven't bought anything Amish, but my aunt has a Mennonite store by her cabin and I enjoy going there. It's different, and just a small little grocery "store". It's built onto a house, so it's not bigger than a living room.
Giveaway is open to US residents at least 18 yrs old. You must leave a way to contact you with an email or have it available in your profile. No email/contact = No entry. Void where prohibited. Giveaway ends 3/5 at 10pm CST.
I'd like to thank Trish at TLC Book Tours for my review copy of Winter's Awakening.