Yesterday I told you all about the first two books in Shelley Shepard Gray’s Amish Brides of Pinecraft series – The Promise of Palm Grove and A Proposal at Siesta Key. I also mentioned the novella A Wish on Gardenia Street and promised you my review. While released a couple of months after Proposal, the events in the novella take place parallel to the end of the second book. You can read my review of A Wish on Gardenia Street on Goodreads by clicking here.
Tonight, let’s put on our best outfits because we’re going to a wedding!
Emma Keim was heartbroken when her husband, Sanford, passed away, leaving her to raise three young daughters alone. Though several years have passed, her relatives have made it no secret that they expect Emma to remain a widow, mourning Sanford indefinitely. But when she meets Jay Hilty—a handsome widower with three young sons of his own—Emma is delighted to have a new friend who understands her struggles. Still, she is dismayed that her family is so opposed to their friendship—and the idea of it ever becoming anything more. She honors her husband’s memory every day, but is she destined to be alone forever?
Emma’s gentleness with Jay’s boys stirs something in his heart that’s been quiet for far too long. But when his oldest son becomes engaged to a local woman, suddenly Jay, Emma, and their children are swept up in wedding preparations. Witnessing his son’s joy, Jay wonders if it’s time for him to move forward, too, and find happiness again.
Once again, love has come to Pinecraft. But can these two parties of four become a happy, healthy family of eight?
Each of these books in the Amish Brides of Pinecraft series is better than the last … and I have loved all of them, so that’s saying a lot! A Wedding At Orange Blossom Inn is the best so far, in my opinion. Bursting with adorableness and humor and romance (oh such sweet romance!) and scenes that will make even the toughest heart get a bit weepy, this third book reminds me again why Shelly Shepard Gray is one of my go-to authors.
First – the kids (or kinner, as the Amish would say). Emma’s girls are just so sweet and bring moments of delightful humor and tenderness to the story. In particular, Annie’s pure cuteness (her scenes with Jay – be still my heart!) and Lena’s precociousness had me alternating between outright laughter and melting inside. Not to be forgotten, William and Mandy had their grin-inducing moments as well!
I don’t want to say too much about the romance(s) in this book because I don’t want to spoil things for you. But suffice it to say, both had me swooning at times. I even teared up a couple of times, especially during a speech very near the end. I know I keep saying this, but Shelley Gray writes with such talented heart that you just can’t help but be drawn to her characters and invest a part of yourself in their stories.
The star of the show was by far Frankie, the beagle!! Oh my stars, he gives Serena a run for her money. Quite literally, at one point, as a matter of fact 😉 In case you ever do venture down to Pinecraft for a visit, keep a wary eye for this adorable hund just in case he does happen to be there. And by all means, guard your food with your life!
My favorite character in the series, Beverly, played a large background role in A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn again, which makes me quite happy. I’m dying to see her have a “happily ever after” and I have a feeling it’s just around the corner for her. (Can you see me grinning??)
Bottom Line: Even as beloved and familiar characters pop in to say hello, the characters you will meet on the pages of A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn will also quickly become favorite friends. Amish fiction fans and non-fans alike will be captivated by this warm and charming story of second chances and independence. The series’ theme of trusting God with your life’s path rings true in this book as much as the others, and Gray’s trademark exquisite writing style hooks you instantly and keeps you engaged all along the way.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
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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.
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