I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Peace: A Crittenden County Christmas Novelby Shelley Shepard Gray
Published by Avon Inspire on October 22, 2013
Genres: Adult, Amish Fiction
Buy the Book • Goodreads
After a year of secrets and scandal, will this Amish community finally find peace under the bright promise of Christmas?
Beth Byler has a secret. Ever since she met Englischer Chris Ellis while helping out at the Yellow Bird Inn, she can't stop thinking about him. She knows a relationship could never go anywhere—Chris was working undercover in Crittenden County as a DEA agent. That meant he faced danger daily and carried a gun, making him completely unsuitable for an Amish woman like herself. But she knew he felt the attraction, too. It was the reason he left so suddenly, promising never to see her again.
Then, three days before Christmas, while Beth is taking care of the inn, Chris returns. This time, he is bleeding and in need of a place to hide. Against her better judgment, Beth takes him in and tends to his wounds. She also promises to keep his presence a secret. Before long, it becomes clear that nothing between them has changed—a relationship is inevitable. But are they ready to sacrifice everything for this chance at love?
I’ve really been loving both Amish fiction and Christmas fiction this year, so I was super excited when I received Peace in the mail for review. Beth Byler is working for Christmas, holding down the fort at the bed and breakfast owned by her friend Frannie. She’s not expecting any guests until a knock at the door reveals Chris, a DEA agent and Englischer who has been badly wounded. He’s seeking refuge from a job gone bad. In need of stitches, without a place to stay, Beth decides she must take him in– but her heart is in more danger than she imagined.
Chris is looking for some peace and a chance to heal. But he has walls up that must be kept there to protect himself and Beth. He hasn’t seen his family in years for fear they will be ashamed of what he must become when he goes undercover, and for fear they will pay consequences if he is followed. But his time at the Yellow Bird with Beth may be just what he needs to sooth his soul.
This is a cozy novel that helps you believe in destiny, and the need to forgive. There is a definite romance element but the author keeps it clean, which I truly appreciate . It moves along slowly enough to fit the genre and characters perfectly. The pacing is good, but I wasn’t a fan of moving between two different story lines.
Alongside the main plot, is a subplot of another Amish family in the community trying to muddle their way through a murder and the imprisonment of the perpetrator. Lots of guilt and bitterness to be worked through. I had a hard time connecting with it, as I wanted to know just how the victim, Perry, lost his life and what role each person played. There were details left undone that left me a bit confused. The motivation for murder, the reasons behind it and how it played out were all left sketched, but not filled in. Maybe a follow up novella, or deleted scene with flashback would be a great solution for me on the unanswered questions.
Overall, this is the best Amish fiction I’ve read yet and I would recommend it to adults looking for a light seasonal romance. I’m happy to have found the Avon Inspire imprint and new author to follow!
I grew up in Houston, Texas, went to Colorado for college, and after living in Arizona, Dallas, and Denver, we moved to southern Ohio about ten years ago.
I’ve always thought of myself as a very hard worker, but not ‘great’ at anything. I’ve obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree…but I never was a gifted student. I took years of ballet and dance, but I never was anywhere near the star of any recital. I love to cook, but I’m certainly not close to being gourmet…and finally I love to write books, but I’ve certainly read far better authors.
Maybe you are a little bit like me. I’ve been married for almost twenty years and have raised two kids. I try to exercise but really should put on my tennis shoes a whole lot more. I’m not a great housekeeper, I hate to drive in the snow, and I don’t think I’ve ever won a Monopoly game. However, I am the best wife and mother I know how to be.
Isn’t it wonderful to know that in God’s eyes that is okay? That from His point of view, we are all exceptional? I treasure that knowledge and am always so thankful for my faith. His faith in me makes me stand a little straighter, smile a little bit more, and be so very grateful for every gift He’s given me.
I started writing about the Amish because their way of life appealed to me. I wanted to write stories about regular. likeable people in extraordinary situations-and who just happened to be Amish.
Getting the opportunity to write Inspirational novels is truly gratifying. With every book, I feel my faith grows stronger. And that makes me feel very special indeed.