Wanted by Shelley Shepard Gray

Wanted by Shelley Shepard Gray
Sisters of the Heart, Book Two
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Full Length (166 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

For a split second, Katie feels certain she’s about to receive everything she’s ever wanted. . .

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 allow herself to accept God’s love, forgive her past, and receive everything she’s ever wanted?

Sometimes, a book just speaks to you. You read it at the right time in your life and it holds a deeper meaning than it probably was written to do, yet, that’s what Wanted did for me. Katie, the heroine, made mistakes and like her friend Anna, in Hidden, the past must be dealt with. The doing of it, facing and reconciling with the past in order to have a better, brighter future is a hard thing to do. It’s the main conflict in this book and I think it will resonate with many readers. The best thing though is the message; forgiveness is healing and freeing. A person just has to take those brave, courageous and difficult first steps to get the ball rolling. It’s that kind of journey that Katie takes which makes this book worth reading.

What made this story so special to me were the inspirational words and prayers written within. It’s not preachy or trite. They’re heartfelt and earnest and key to the spiritual nature that is integral to the Amish community that’s being written about. And yet, as divergent as I am, being an Englisher and all, some of the passages in this book eerily echoed the message in my own pastor’s recent homily. To be able to stare at the words, and see how Ms. Gray incorporated them into living life, in a seamlessly believable and honest way, spoke volumes to my heart. This is a romance story, pure and simple and it’s a good one. But it’s also filled with a simple joy, a humble view on life without all the discord and confusion that the pursuit of materialism can bring. Ms. Gray boils it down to respect of a man for a woman and a woman’s pride in doing her best to show how she cares for those she loves. It’s not the words; it’s her actions, her grace and her willingness to do these things without expectation of reward. Doing the right thing does not always end up being its own reward, but sometimes, it is and does.

The external conflict comes from a past that Katie must face. It is actually sad and poignant and full of emotion. It’s an aspect that gave this novel depth and significance. How the author made it come full circle was well done Ms. Gray wrapped it up with a warm and satisfying happy ever after to come. I say ‘to come’ because every step of a romance in Katie’s Amish community seems cherished and respected and never rushed. It’s a given that Katie and Jonathan have found their way to each other and the courtship will be done according to the Amish way, but by doing so did not leave me unsatisfied. If anything, it gave me a gentle pleasure, a warm smile and confidence that all is as it should be. I found Wanted to be an emotionally fulfilling read with characters, both main and secondary that touched my heart. It’s a solid romance.

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