When manager Beverly Overholt’s beloved Orange Blossom Inn is broken into, she’s shaken to the core. The inn has been her whole life since arriving in the quaint Amish vacation town of Pinecraft, Florida. Hoping to repair what’s been lost, Beverly calls Eric Wagler, the inn’s handsome owner. To her surprise, he promises to be on the next flight out of Philadelphia.
Ever since her fiancé jilted her, Beverly’s been closed off to love. However, with Eric things feel different. She can’t help but be hopeful that their work relationship will turn into something more—even though they are from different worlds. She grew up Amish and is now Mennonite. Eric, on the other hand, grew up on the city streets of Philadelphia. How could they ever find common ground?
But as Beverly and Eric put the inn back together, prepare for Christmas, and even witness romance blossoming for another couple, the trust—and love—between them grows. Will Christmas bring a second chance for Beverly? And if it does, will she be brave enough to take it?
I have been WAITING for Beverly’s story ever since book one! While I’ve enjoyed each of the characters in every book so far, Beverly has always been my favorite. The words Shelley Shepard Gray uses to begin the series with Beverly are referenced again as the last words in the series and tied it all up so beautifully! If I really must say goodbye to Pinecraft and Beverly and the Orange Blossom Inn, this is exactly how I wanted to do so.
But not only have I been waiting for Beverly’s story, I’ve been waiting to read Eric’s part in it as well. I knew he would be involved somehow – and I knew how I wanted that to turn out – but I didn’t know if the author and I were on the same page. After all, Mattie’s story in A Wish on Gardenia Street didn’t go at all like I expected but it did end up much better than it would have if I’d been in charge so I did know this – however Shelley Gray chose to weave Eric’s and Beverly’s stories together, it would be beautiful.
And it was.
Beyond Beverly and Eric, most of the characters from previous books pop in to say hello even if only briefly. We’re able to catch up on their lives since last we saw them, and we come away from our encounter with the feeling that their lives will continue on even though the series is ending.
The themes in A Christmas Bride in Pinecraft will touch your heart as much as the characters do… maybe because the themes and some of our most beloved characters are intertwined. Forgiveness, redemption and second chances share the page with abuse, neglect, and secret pasts. And as she always does, Shelley Gray pens each word with such heart and grace that you can know the difficult stuff is treated just as gently and honestly as the warm fuzzies.
Bottom Line: If we have to say goodbye to the Amish Brides of Pinecraft, I can think of no better send-off. A riveting plot, beloved characters, and warm prose bring back everything that’s dear about the series for one final hug. If you like Amish fiction (and even if you don’t), A Christmas Bride in Pinecraft needs to move to the top of your TBR pile!
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Todaybestselling author, a finalist for the ACFW’s 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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