Counting Your Blessings
Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray is an Amish romantic mystery and I really enjoyed it. It is the first book of The Amish Of Hart County which promises to be a cracking series.
Her Secret has many themes including that of secrets. Secrets are never a good idea. They may become burdensome. Secrets need to be brought out into the light and burdens shared. “Even if the truth hurt, it was always better in the end.”
There is the topic of anxiety. Anxiety can ruin our lives. Anxiety can trap us into a prison of our own making. Anxiety links to worry. “It ain’t a good idea to go around worrying about the future.” God tells us to worry about nothing and to pray about everything. Fear is the opposite of faith. “Faith is believing when you don’t have proof.” Faith is handing our fears over to the One who has conquered death.
Dealing With The Past
An Amish Family Christmas by Shelley Shepard Gray is a contemporary Amish romance. It is the fourth book in the Charmed Amish Life series but can be read as a stand-alone. It is a perfect read for any time of year and not just for Christmas.
The novel deals with the theme of running away. Julia and her six year old daughter Penny have been running away for six years. Julia is letting her past define her and have a hold on her life. “Running from problems didn’t solve anything.” She needs to face her demons and deal with them.
Tying into that theme of running away is the difficult topic of domestic abuse. It is the reason Julia is running and the reason she has trust issues. It is not always easy reading but Shelley Shepard Gray has sensitively portrayed it.
To Protect And Serve
The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray is a Christian historical romance and I loved it. It is set in the aftermath of the American Civil War. Bonds and vows sworn in war time were not easily broken. The novel follows the fortunes of one group of men who pledged loyalty to each other.
No matter who ‘wins’ the war, the reality is – everyone loses. Husbands, sons, brothers, fathers, friends on both sides perished. War changes people. Peace time can be hard to live through if loved ones are lost. The novel deals with the subject of deep depression and thoughts of suicide. “Perhaps today was not the day to die after all. ” War robs people of hope. People mourn the loss of their dreams. “Men and women of strong grit survived instead of giving up.” It takes courage and determination to live without ones loved ones.
A Daughter’s Dream by Shelley Shepard Gray is an Amish romance and book number two in the Charmed Amish Life series. It can however be read as a stand-alone.
There are a great many themes within the novel and a major one is grief. Grief comes in many forms, none of them are right or wrong. Everyone grieves in different ways. Lukas and Rebecca are still coming to terms with the loss of their factory owning father (book one). Lilly Yoder is recovering from the sudden death of her parents. The town is still feeling the effects of the loss of the men in the factory fire (book one). Everyone needs support and in a small close knit community, they all try to help each other.
Families are another major theme. Family members stick together. They help each other. The extended Amish community seems particularly good at supporting and loving its members.