Book Review (and a Giveaway): An Amish Family Christmas by Shelley Shepard Gray

October 20, 2016 Amish, Christian, Christmas, contemporary, giveaway, romance, Shelley Shepard Gray 10

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Shelley Shepard Gray’s superpower is WRITING, for sure and certain. She just released the last two books in her The Charmed Amish Life series – nearly back to back – and she’s already hard at work on her new series which releases next March. (And it’s another Amish mystery/suspense set in KENTUCKY – yaaaaay! I totally fangirl clapped when I found out!)

But right now, let’s talk about The Charmed Amish Life series. I have loved each and every book. These characters – the Kinsingers and their supporting cast – have moved into my heart and set up shop. Even though the series is now concluded (wail!), it won’t be leaving me anytime soon.

Before I review An Amish Family Christmas, here’s a bit about A Sister’s Wish (one of my faves in the series) –

about the book

In Shelley Shepard Gray’s third book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a respectable young woman finds herself falling for an Amish man from the wrong side of the tracks.

Amelia Kinsinger is the perfect Amish woman—at least according to her neighbors. And while Amelia takes pride in her role as homemaker, she’s also harboring a secret: She’s been in love with bad boy Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. Too bad he’s about as far from “perfect” as an Amish man could get . . . but that’s exactly why she’s so drawn to him.

Life hasn’t been kind to Simon. He ran away from an abusive home at fifteen and things went downhill from there. Eventually, Simon landed in prison. But the experience changed him. Now back in Charm as a grown man, he’s determined to make a new life for himself and not think too much about his wild past . . . unless it pertains to Amelia.

He’s loved Amelia for years. To him, she represents everything good and kind in the world. When he realizes that she returns his affections, he starts calling on her in secret, even though her older brother Lukas—who just happens to be Simon’s best friend—has made it perfectly clear that Amelia deserves better. Simon disagrees and believes he’s the only one who can truly make her happy.

But when Amelia gets hurt, it sets off a chain of events that forces them to consider their future together—and face their past mistakes. There’s a chance for love . . . but only if Simon dares to trust Amelia with the secrets of his past.

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SERIES: The Charmed Amish Life #3
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Avon Inspire
RELEASE DATE: September 27, 2016
PAGES: 272

Read my review here

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Now let’s look at the final book (wail!) in The Charmed Amish Life series, An Amish Family Christmas…

about the book

In Shelley Shepard Gray’s fourth book in her Charmed Amish Life series, an unlikely Amish romance reveals that Christmas is a time for family, miracles—and love.

Ever since his father died in a tragic fire, Levi Kinsinger has felt adrift. Newly returned to Charm, Ohio, Levi is trying to fit into his old life, only to discover he seems to have outgrown it.

But when Julia, his young widowed neighbor, asks for his help with a Christmas project, Levi finds a sense of purpose for the first time in months. She and her daughter are new to Charm and could use a friend, a job Levi takes personally. Soon enough, friendship grows into attraction, but Levi can’t help having doubts. There’s something about Julia that doesn’t ring quite true . . .

Like Levi, Julia Kemps has survived her fair share of hardships—but only by hiding the truth of her past. Being an unmarried mother in an Amish community was unthinkable. Feeling hopeless, Julia did the only thing she could do: she moved to a new town and pretended to be a widow. But meeting Levi, she’s hopeful for the first time. Little by little, she begins to imagine telling him her darkest secret, and eventually . . . perhaps even sharing her life with him.

Christmas is a time for family, and as the holiday draws closer, Julia and Levi will have to face their pasts together . . . in order to find the healing, support and love they so desperately desire.

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SERIES: The Charmed Amish Life #4
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Avon Inspire
RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2016
PAGES: 288

“Of all the people on her street, Julia couldn’t believe that he was the person who came to her rescue.”

an-amish-family-christmas-book-reviewI keep saying this … but it’s because it’s so true. Shelley Shepard Gray writes with such heart that her characters and their stories become part of you.

The Kinsinger family is no exception. I fell in love with them in A Son’s Vow and eagerly reunited with them in A Daughter’s Dream and A Sister’s Wish. Now, saying goodbye to them in An Amish Family Christmas is a bit bittersweet after all. In the best possible way. (Though I do admit that I got a bit sentimentally teary at the last scene.) These characters have become dear friends, and their stories have touched my heart.

Levi has dealt with grief in his own way, perhaps not the healthiest way. First, escaping to a different state and then escaping to a different house once he did return to Charm. The memories hold him hostage and are just too much to handle. Julia is held captive by her own set of painful memories as well as some secrets she’s desperate to keep.  Yet, both of these characters have such life in them, a vibrancy that brightens even more in the presence of Julia’s adorable daughter Penny.

My favorite parts of An Amish Family Christmas? Spending more time with Simon – he is truly one of my favorite characters in this series. Watching Levi and Julia fall in love. (Levi in love is just plain sweet, which is exactly what Julia and Penny need.) The friendships, the family, and the community. AND the authenticity of the characters and their lives – they are real and flawed and they face painful and ugly situations just like the rest of us.

Bottom Line: An Amish Family Christmas may be the last book (wail!) in Shelley Shepard Gray’s The Charmed Amish Life series, but the Kinsinger family and their friends won’t be leaving your heart so quickly. Their faith and love and humor blend beautifully with the realities of life in a broken world. While it can easily be read as a standalone novel, you don’t want to miss out on the other books either.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / Loved it!

KissingBook Level: 2 / warm rosy glow of sweetness

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about the author

shelley-shepard-gray

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, 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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Carrie

10 Responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway): An Amish Family Christmas by Shelley Shepard Gray”

  1. Jackie McNutt

    Carrie, Thank you for great reviews of Shelley’s books. She is among my very favorite authors!

    • Carrie

      Mine too!! Her books are always such a pleasure to read & review

  2. Andrea Stephens

    More books to add to my list. I did read the first on in this series, I don’t know what happened to cause me not to read the others. I’ve become more distracted as I’ve gotten older. That’s probably it.

    *I did at least create an Andrea wishlist so hubby no longer gets the “inspired by your wish list” books. 😀

  3. Carolyn Astfalk

    Even though I’m not a big fan of Amish fiction, I’ll have to give one of these a try. I loved her Heart of a Hero series! And, my goodness, what a prolific author! If I’m counting correctly, according to her website she put out 7 books in 2015! I can’t even imagine.

    • Carrie

      I’m telling you, writing is her superpower lol. My very fave series of hers is The Secrets of Crittenden County

  4. Connie Saunders

    Shelley’s books are some of my favorites and I would to visit Charm this Christmas! Thanks for sharing this review and giveaway.
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail (dot)com