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January 14, 2023

Her Heart's Desire by Shelley Shepard Gray ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"If being  wallflower is the correct term for it, then that fits me perfectly.  That's what I've been doing for years now - standing off to the side and waiting to be noticed." (p 15)

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of Amish romance novel Her Heart's Desire by Shelley Shepard Gray
January 2023; Revell; 978-0800742683
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); Amish romance

I don't read a lot of Amish romance but I thought that I'd give this new book a try.  One of my reading goals this year is to read some different genres plus I needed a light easy romance to start the year off after the business of the Christmas season.  This was a perfect book for me right now -- it was a light easy read with great characters and sweet romances with happily-ever-after endings.

Mary Margaret is a wallflower in her Amish community and has been bullied for her entire life.  She hopes that a trip to Pinecraft Florida will help her make some decisions about her future.  Pinecraft is referred to as the Amish snowbird community in Florida.  Over 5,000 Amish and Mennonites visit Pinecraft every winter to enjoy the sun and the sea.  On the bus trip, Mary meets Betsy and Lilly, who are also traveling from their Amish homes to Florida by themselves, and they immediately become great friends.  Since they are all staying at the same place in Pinecraft, they decide to spend their two weeks together as they spend their first time away from their families.  Mary meets Jayson on her first day in Florida and they are quite attracted to each other, and though she becomes friends with the carpenter, their relationship can never go any further due to his responsibilities at home.   When a girl from Mary's hometown shows up at their bed and breakfast, Mary knows that her fun vacation is over because the newcomer is the person who bullied her relentlessly at home.

Will Mary be able to overcome her past and move into a happier future?  When the four young women return home will they fall back into their old lives that made them unhappy or will they take what they learned on their vacations to help make them happier women?

I really enjoyed this sweet romance.  It was nice to see Florida and the ocean through the eyes of these very sheltered women.  Everything was an adventure for them.  There were several romances that happened but they were all very innocent with a kiss being the ultimate for each couple.  The characters all had flaws and had to learn to depend on their religion and their friends to get them through the tough times.  I'm looking forward to the next book in the trilogy - A Season in Pinecraft which publishes in June 2023.

Buy Her Heart's Desire at Amazon

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.  

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