Sunday, September 14, 2014

"Joyful" by Shelley Shepard Gray

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.

Joyful includes a P.S. section with a letter from the author, discussion questions, and a teaser from her next book.

Buy "Joyful" on Barnes & Noble 

"Joyful" was released in September 2014
This is a well love library book that was reviewed

“Joyful” by Shelley Shepard Gray is the third book in her 'Return to Sugarcreek' series and I hope that it is not the last we see of Sugarcreek. If anyone is an emotional reader, such as I am, I would like to warn all of those emotional readers to have plenty of tissue on hand. For me this was a heart-wrenching book to read from the first chapter to the last page, not because it is depressing but because it is wrought with emotions that go from one end of the scale to the other.

Not only are the readers taken back to Sugarcreek, Ohio but they are able to see more of the Beiler family where there have been some major changes since “Hopeful”. Some of these changes are for the better and some need re-working to make the changes work better. This is a story of those changes and how they all work out.

There are three story-lines in the book, the major story-line is between Randell and Elizabeth, the series story-line with Ben and Judith and a minor but still very sweet story-line between Pippa and Bud. There are only four point of views so even with all the different story-lines going on, it is not overwhelming or confusing to keep everything in order. Actually I thought the story-lines all worked really well with each other, though honestly at times it seemed as if it was more of a flash fiction than anything else for the scenes were so short. That didn't stop me from enjoying the story, just a bit of a disappointment at times.

Randell and Elizabeth have some major issues to deal with especially since he broke her heart, and now she is working for him. They have so much in common at times that it is almost comical if it wasn't so sad. Sad in the way that they refused to see the problems in themselves, and wouldn't talk about the issues with each other or anyone else for that matter. These two alone took me on my biggest emotional roller-coaster for they just couldn't seem to make up their minds at times, which really created a wonderful conflict of the story.  During this book both Randell and Elizabeth learned some pretty important lessons that changed them.

Ben and Judith's story is finally concluded and frankly the ending did not come out as I expected, and as a result the tears flowed freely. Judith learned a couple of lessons about faith, strength and doing what is right no matter the cost.

Pippa's story was probably the happiest story of the whole book for it is a story of taking that step in starting again after being knocked down. Maybe happiest is not the right word for Pippa's story, maybe not so emotionally charged is the best way to describe her story.  As I said Pippa's story is a story of taking that first step, and the courage she showed just to do that was so inspirational.

This is a book that was such a joy to read regardless of the amount of tears that fell, it was a light read that took no time at all to enjoy and read through. I hope that we come back to Sugarcreek and the Beiler family again sometime in the future, for I have fallen in love with Levi and little Kaylene. I would love to see more of those two, not to mention a few other who have been introduced throughout the series. I hope all who read this book enjoy it as much as I did.

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