Books reviewed prior on this site prior to March 2019 were provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. Reviews beginning March 2019 come from a variety of sources: advanced copies, library loans, and my own purchases. All reviews are my honest opinions.

October 31, 2016

An Amish Family Christmas {Shelley Shepard Gray}

an amish family christmas shelley shepard gray
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.

My Thoughts:
We finally get Levi’s story! When Levi came home in the third book I was so excited he had rejoined his family, and I could not wait to get his story.

Levi has moved out of his family home and lives in a small rental in town. He meets his neighbor, Julia, and I felt like sparks immediately began to fly. But, as usual, it took the characters longer to figure out their feelings. Julia has a past that does not quite add up, but Levi seems to be falling for her anyway.

To watch the relationship between Levi and Julia grow was exciting, but once the secrets began to come out, the suspense heated up in this one. We learn about Julia’s past long before Levi does, and I was so disappointed at Levi’s reaction to the admission. I felt his love for Julia had not been real, and I was heartbroken.

At the risk of spoiling the ending, the level of drama rises and it seems truth and consequences come to a head just in time for Levi to figure out how he really feels. It had me turning the pages quickly because I had to know how it would all turn out.

The ending of this story brought a smile to my face. To finally know all four siblings and see how their lives turned out after such tragedy was a perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit.

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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