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Monday, March 1, 2010

Winter's Awakening...Review

About the book:
Joshua Graber knows his future is set. He′s expected to work at his family business, the Graber Country Store. He′s expected to marry Gretta Hershberger, who he′s been courting for several years. But when a new English family moves next door and their lovely teenage daughter, Lilly Allen, catches his eye, Joshua wonders if all the plans for his future are too set in stone.

Gretta doesn′t know what′s going on with Joshua. When they argue and later stew in silence, it feels a lot like the frosty atmosphere at her home. After promising herself to never have a marriage like her parents, she wonders if perhaps another man might be a better match. A man such as Roland Schrock. He′s steady and kind and somewhat boring. If she marries him, she won′t ever have to worry about loving him and getting hurt.

Meanwhile, Lilly is enamored with the Amish way of life, and especially her handsome neighbor Joshua. But despite being drawn to him, she has a secret that will only drive him away. Her family moved to Sugarcreek to hide her pregnancy from their community back home. Once she′s had the baby, they plan to send her off to college without anyone from their old neighborhood knowing the truth. But as Lilly becomes wrapped up in the simplicity and graciousness of the Amish people, she begins to question what′s expected of her, and whether giving up her baby, and leaving Sugarcreek, is what she truly wants.

As the coldest winter on record blows into Sugarcreek, these three young people must struggle to determine the path of their futures.

As a rule, I enjoy Amish-themed books. Shelley Shepard Gray is a new-to-me-author, and I enjoyed this first installment of her Seasons of Sugarcreek series. The friendships that are formed in the book are, at first, unlikely: first Joshua's befriending of a young English teen and then Gretta's friendship with her as well. But, as the story progresses, they each find solace and comfort, as well as understanding and listening ears in those friendships.

The idea of Lilly's family moving to hide her pregnancy and their attempt to force her into giving her child up for adoption seemed very parochial in our liberal day and age. Although, when her parents finally share their reasoning, it fit the situation a bit better. Lilly learns to follow her heart and stand up for what she wants. Joshua and Gretta do the same.

The author explored the idea that the Amish and English communities, while separate and distinct, still struggle with the same issues: parental influence, teenage rebellion and unhappy families.

An easy read, perfect for an afternoon curled up on the couch. While is would appeal to anyone, it seems geared more for older teens or young adults. I enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, Spring's Renewal. Along with new characters Lilly, Joshua and Gretta all return.

Thanks to Trish at TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins Avon Inspire for the opportunity to review this book. You can check out other tour stops here. You can learn more about Shelley Shepard Gray here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 2/10

* * *
3/5 Stars


  1. I have been enjoying your book reviews! I am very cautious reader. I usually stuck to my religous books. I knew they were 'safe'. But with my book club I have been able venture into different genres. My sil gave me your blog address and told me you are very particular about the books you read, too. So, thank you! I have added quite a few to my "Goodreads" list!

  2. Hi Holly! I recently found your book blog and I have enjoyed reading it over the weekend. I can relate to being a mom of two who reads to relax! I live in the amish country so I enjoy reading about my neighbors! I have a book site at www.thereaderschat.wordpress.com if you ever want to check it out!

  3. I'm glad you liked the book! A light, quick read is sometimes EXACTLY what I'm looking for. :)

    Thanks for being on this tour!