Book Review: "Winter's Awakening"" by Shelley Shepard Gray
As winter winds blow, three young people wonder where God will lead them. Amish Joshua Graber is expected to marry Gretta Hershberger---but then Englisher Lilly Allen catches his eye. Gretta wonders what's gotten into Joshua. Would Roland Schrock be a better match? And Lilly is attracted to Joshua. Will her dark secret drive him away?
I have been a big fan of Shelley Shepard Gray's Amish fiction. Her previous series, Sisters of the Heart, was really fun to read because I felt that they were comfort Amish reads. I never feel as if the Amish lifestyle is being pushed on me. Instead reading Gray's books are more of an introduction to the Amish as opposed of making me feel bad for not living like them. In this new series, we are shown what happens when the Amish and English world come together. I was really happy with how that was handled in this book. No one in the book wants to leave the Amish, no one wants to join the Amish. In fact there weren't very many cliches that are found in other Amish books which made me very happy.
The main characters in this book are all in their late teens and early 20s so this book has cross over appeal with a young adult audience as well. Even though Gretta is totally Amish, I felt like I could relate to her and I really liked her character. To be honest, I was not a fan of Joshua and how he treated Gretta. I was actually rooting for her to get over him, maybe not with Roland but anyone else. Still though I really pleased with how the story fleshed out. I found myself sympathizing with Lilly due to the way her parents were treating her. I understand why they acted the way they did but I think they might have taken it too far. Therefore it was an interesting contrast at how Joshua's family reacted when they found out about her situation.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Even if you don't normally read Amish fiction, if you enjoy a light contemporary read, this is a good one for you. It's not preachy or trying to push any agenda. The story just gives a good look into the Amish lifestyle while being able to embrace the outside world as well. One huge plus for me was the talk of food, which I always greatly enjoy when I read about the Amish. This is another wonderful comfort read from Shelley and I know I'll be looking forward to to spending more seasons with this community.
I had the opportunity of being able to meet Shelley at the RWA Literacy Signing last summer in DC. You can read about here as well as see a picture of the two of us!
Winter's Awakening by Shelley Shepard Gray is published by Avon Inspire (2010)
This review copy was provided for a blog tour with TLC Book Tours