Litfuse Blog Tour: Hopeful by Shelley Shepard Gray

Hopeful (Return to Sugarcreek, Bk. 1)
by Shelley Shepard Gray
Copyright 2014
Avon Inspire:
ISBN: 9780062204462
The Story:
In the Amish town of Sugarcreek, love comes in many forms. But will it come at all for Miriam? 

Miriam Zehr has worked at the Sugarcreek Inn longer than she cares to admit. The restaurant is a favorite of town residents as well as the many tourists who come to taste the famous Amish fare. Though she always tries to have a smile for every customer, deep down Miriam knows something's missing: a family of her own.

Miriam has never felt particularly beautiful, especially because she's always been a bit heavier than other girls her age. When Junior, the man she's pined for all her life, suddenly seeks her out, she's thrilled to be noticed . . . until she realizes he's only asking her to help get the attention of Mary Kathryn Hershberger, her pretty friend.

If Miriam helps Junior court Mary Kathryn, she'll get to spend a lot of time with him, but she might lose him in the process. Are these few stolen moments worth a lifetime of sacrifice? Is Miriam right to even hope for the life she dreams of?

My Thoughts:
As much as I enjoy almost all Amish fiction these days, I've found that some authors just know how to bring the Plain people to life more than others. Shelley Shepard Gray is one of those authors. Her previous series, Seasons of Sugarcreek, is still one of my all-time favorite series'. I was excited to find that with this new series, the community of Sugarcreek and some of the characters featured in Seasons of Sugarcreek stories were being brought back along with some great new characters. While I loved seeing old friends and I really enjoyed getting to know Miriam Zehr, this book fell a bit flat for me.

Miriam herself is a delight. I think I like her because in spite of being Amish, she is very easy to relate to. Twenty-five and single, seeing all her friends get married off while she's pining away for someone who doesn't know she exists...yeah, I think a lot of us have been there or have girlfriends who've been there! Junior Beiler on the other hand is not one of my favorite romance heroes. From the very beginning he rubbed me the wrong way. Sure, he was caring and kind to his family, especially his baby sister, but when it came to Miriam, he took advantage of her feelings towards him. By the end of the story, he did improve some but not enough to be a likable hero! Robert from Autumn's Promise and the Seasons of Sugarcreek series is a tough guy to compete with in the swoon worthy hero department and I'm afraid Junior fell short of the mark.

Hopefully, the next book in the series will have a hero who's easy to like. If that is the case Shelley Shepard Gray will have another winning series on her hands! I enjoyed all other aspects of this story, including some of the secondary characters and the setting, so if you're looking for a quick Amish fiction fix, this might be the book for you!

~ My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ~

*I receive complimentary books for review from the publisher. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*

To read what others are saying about the book, go HERE.

Purchase a copy of the book HERE.

Meet the Author:
Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, 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.

Giveaway Details!

Welcome to the blog tour for Hopeful, the first book in Shelley Shepard Gray's new series, Return to Sugarcreek. Critics have already given their thumbs up for Hopeful: “Lovable characters and a good story, full of romance and suspense . . . a must read." (Library Journal)

Enter to win one of FIVE copies of the book. 


Five winners will receive:
  • Hopeful by Shelley Shepard Gray
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 23rd. All winners will be announced February 24th at Shelley's blog.

Enter today and be sure to visit Shelley's blog on the 24th to see if YOU won one of the books!

Happy Reading!


  1. Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts about this Amish fiction, Renee. I would have disliked Junior's behavior toward Miriam as well.

  2. Thank you, Suko! I always appreciate you reading and taking time to say hi. :-)


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