Monday, January 5, 2009

Wanted by Shelley Shepard Gray

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Avon Inspire (January 6, 2009)
Shelley Shepard Gray

Twenty-year-old Katie Brenneman has always quietly fancied Jonathan Lundy. So when the brokenhearted widower asks her to help him take care of his two young girls, Katie knows it will be a trying time-yet she cannot pass up a golden opportunity to get to know this man better.

Just as she's settling into her new life, a message arrives from Katie's past, threatening to expose her darkest secrets. During her Rumspringa, her running-around years, she experimented with activities forbidden in the Amish way of life. Frightened by how far she'd strayed from her values, Katie ran back home, vowing to cut all ties with the outside world. Now her transgressions are coming back to haunt her, just as Jonathan seems willing to welcome her into his heart.

Will the past destroy Katie's chances for love? Or will Katie finally allow herself to accept God's love, forgive her past...and receive everything she's ever wanted?

If you would like to read an excerpt of Chapter 1 of Wanted, go HERE.

Hidden is Shelley’s first foray into inspirational fiction. Previously, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelors and masters degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio where she writes full time. Shelley is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and is part of the Telecare ministry, which calls homebound members on a regular basis. Shelley looks forward to the opportunity to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.

This is the second book in the Sisters Of Heart series. The first was Hidden.
I know what you're thinking....."oh no, another Amish book! Heidi is way too hard on them!"  Living among the Amish, I really don't understand the obsession with them - it's frustrating when you go into a Christian bookstore and there are so many Amish books, by so many authors.  That being said, though, this book was just fine.  I'm not going to pick the storyline apart at all. 
I had previously read the first book in this series - Hidden.  When I heard that the 2nd book had been released, I was looking foward to reading it as well.  I didn't have big issues with the way the Amish were portrayed in either of these books.  I enjoyed reading Katie's story and watching her budding romance unfold in a subtle way.  I will definitely pick up book 3 - Forgiven - when it is available.  I like Shelley's writing style - her books are simple to read and don't add a lot of extra "fluff" just to make the story longer.  Her descriptions of things are good and allow for some imagination to be used (I appreciate that).
My issues with this book lie with Harper Collins and their Christian division - Avon Inspire....  the editor missed several mistakes that were fairly obvious.  I know there were at least 5 grammatical/spelling errors that I picked right up on.  I try not to be too picky, but that type of thing just bothers me and I'm finding it in more and more books that I read lately.  Secondly, the cover on this book really bugs me - I have NEVER seen an Amish girl wearing make-up, yet Katie (as she is portrayed on the cover) is wearing a great deal of eyeliner and (colored) lip gloss.  Though the cover model is pretty and fits the description of Katie in the book, I think they would have been smart to leave the make-up off, or at least went for a more natural look.  My daughter picked up the book and immediately asked if this girl was being shunned!  I just really think it's important for a publisher to pay more attention to details.
I'll close by saying that if you are one who really enjoys books about the Amish, this is a series I'd actually recommend (and that's saying something!)

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