Monday, September 20, 2010

Amish and English Romance

Reviewed by Phee Paradise

Autumn’s Promise
By Shelley Shepard Gray

I’ve never lived in Pennsylvania or Ohio, so I have no experience of the Amish. But I always thought they lived pretty separate from the people they call the English. In Autumn’s Promise, that isn’t the case. It’s set in a small town in Ohio where the English live next door to the Amish and both work for the Mennonites. It’s a pretty eclectic community and the story is about both the Amish and the English.

Autumn’s Promise is half a romance and half a coming of age story. The two plots run parallel and coincide from time to time. Lilly Allen is an unmarried nineteen year old English girl who is recovering from a miscarriage. Her next door neighbor, Caleb, is a sixteen year old Amish boy who is considering leaving the order. While their stories are told in a parallel fashion, the two are moving in opposite directions. Lilly falls in love with an Amish man and knows that if their relationship will go anywhere, she must consider becoming Amish. Caleb, on the other hand is exploring the English world.

While Lilly does what she can to help Caleb find his answer, she has to find hers within herself. She is apparently a Christian, but her faith is not discussed. But she knows that marrying Robert would mean coining his church, learning his language and changing the way she lives. In the end, they both find the right answer for them, but they struggle to get there.

The book is the third in a series and past events are mentioned throughout the book. It’s done in a way that informs the reader without making you feel that you’re missing something important. But I would recommend that you look for the others in the series before you read this one.

Pros: The main character faces an interesting dilemma that seems to have no solution. The resolution is satisfying, but not completely predictable.

Cons: The story is simple and would have been more gripping with a more complex plot.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Autumn's Promise
Avon Inspire (August 3, 2010)


Shelley Shepard Gray


Since 2000, Shelley Sabga has sold twenty-six novels to numerous publishers. She has written a seven book contemporary series for Avalon books. She also published The Love Letter, a western for Avalon. Five Star Expressions published Suddenly, You in February of 2007. This novel is a historical western set in the mountains of Colorado.

Shelley has written nine novels for Harlequin American Romance. Cinderella Christmas, her first novel with them, reached number six on the Waldenbooks Bestseller list. Her second book with them, Simple Gifts won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice award for best Harlequin American Romance of 2006. The Mommy Bride, was chosen by Romantic Times Magazine as one of their TOP PICKS for May, 2008.

Under the name Shelley Shepard Gray, Shelley writes Amish romances for Harper Collins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire. HIDDEN and WANTED the first two novels of her ‘Sisters of the Heart’ series, were chosen to be Alternate Selections for the Doubleday/ Literary Guild Book Club. FORGIVEN, book 3, has received glowing reviews. Avon Inspire is releasing four novels by Shelley this year.

Before writing romances, 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 and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two teenagers, and is an active member of her church.


Some promises are meant to be broken...

Until Robert Miller met Lilly Allen, his world had been dark. A widower after only two years of marriage, he'd been living in a haze, feeling that, at twenty-four, his life was already over.

But thanks to his friendship with Lilly, he now has new reasons to wake up each day. He knows his connection to her doesn't make sense. She's only nineteen, with a past the whole town talks about. Even more, she's not Amish, like Robert. A marriage between the two of them could never happen.

Lilly's heart is drawn to Robert, not to his faith. No matter how much she admires his quiet strength and dependability, she doesn't think she could ever give up her independence and reliance on the modern world. Is their love doomed before it even begins?

To read the first chapter of Autumn's Promise, click HERE.

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