HAPPILY EVER AMISH by Shelley Shepard Gray
SERIES: The Amish of Apple Creek #1
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary/Amish Romance
RELEASE DATE: October 25, 2022
Combining the appeal of a small-town Amish setting and favorite romance tropes, New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray—one of the most beloved voices in inspirational romance—presents the first in a heart-warming new series perfect for fans of Beverly Lewis, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Charlotte Hubbard.
Addie Byler may be Apple Creek’s resident wallflower, but she knows she has a lot to offer—and much to be grateful for. Raised by her loving grandmother, she lives a life filled with good friends and hard work. Wary of romance, Addie assumes no man will look beyond her glasses and her tendency to talk to her rescue donkey, Snickers—until the day she finds a note from a secret admirer. A prank, most likely. But then, a second note arrives . . .
It’s not that Daniel Miller doesn’t like Addie, he just doesn’t want to court her. She’s too willful, too chatty, too odd. Yet when he learns she’s been teased because she’s never had a beau, he decides to send a little note of encouragement. One note leads to another. And when Addie begins replying with thoughtful messages of her own, he’s struck by her sweetness and warmth.
As chilly winter melts into spring, what began as a gesture of sympathy becomes something much deeper. Daniel fears revealing the truth, but with courage, faith—and a helping hand from their close-knit community—Apple Creek’s most unlikely couple may find their path to happiness . . .
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“Everything has its beauty – but not everyone sees it.”
If I had to sum up Shelley Shepard Gray’s writing style with one word it would be ‘heart’, and the same can be said of Happily Ever Amish. Not only does the author’s heart shine through in the narrative and in the warmth of her characters, but the theme of this story is all about heart, too. Specifically, bypassing all other factors and looking at the heart of a person to form your opinion of them.
Addie Byler is a wallflower, partly by choice and partly by circumstances. From her glasses to her therapy donkey (yes you read that right) and lack of parents, Addie doesn’t quite fit the mold of an Amish girl in Apple Creek. Get ready, though, because her slightly-lonely-but-mostly-contented-life is about to get turned on its head! I loved Addie’s character, and I really loved her rescue donkey Snickers. The author gave him such personality for a nonverbal character, and he just made me smile every time he was on the page. Speaking of animals with big personalities, Daniel’s dog Bob also delighted me. Gray always does such a stellar job creating her four-legged supporting characters, and Happily Ever Amish has two great ones.
For his part, Daniel Miller goes with the flow. While he’s never been mean to Addie, he begins to feel badly that he also hasn’t gone out of his way to befriend her. He doesn’t want to court her (famous last words!) but he wants her to know that she’s valued nonetheless. Daniel has such a good heart (there’s that word again), and his intentions to encourage Addie with a ‘secret admirer’ note are honorable if perhaps a bit short-sighted. Watching these two form a sweet friendship outside the letters they’re exchanging (unbeknownst to Addie) is everything warm and charming, and the little ‘You’ve Got Mail’ twist was icing on the cake for me.
Bottom Line: Happily Ever Amish may not be a fairy tale retelling in its truest sense, but it has some fairy tale elements tucked away between the lines, and I’m here for it. Gray’s writing voice draws you in and keeps you invested in this tender story, rooting for Addie & Daniel to find their happily-ever-after despite some bumps along the way. The supporting characters – both the two- & four-legged varieties – add humor and depth to the story, and I look forward to seeing where the series goes from here!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!
KissingBook Level: 3+ / will forget to breathe on occasion
Shelley Shepard Gray is the two-time Holt Medallion Award-winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over one hundred novels. Her novels have been translated into multiple languages and highlighted in the Philadelphia Enquirer, The Washington Post, Time Magazine, NPR and USA Today. An active member of her church and the mother of two young adults, Shelley lives with her husband in Colorado and writes full time. Please visit her online at ShelleyShepardGray.com.
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