The Best People In The World!

Friday, September 12, 2014


For those of us that have come to love and call Sugarcreek our home away from home, best-selling author Shelley Shepard Gray, takes us back in her latest novel Joyful, the third book in the Return to Sugarcreek Series. This has definitely been one of my favorites because I feel like I have come to know each of the couples we deal with in this novel, like they're close family friends. I've had the opportunity to get to know them and the struggles they have had up to the point we are reunited with them once again. For me, it's like having a really great television series, that you have to wait for each next episode to air so you can come back again and again to a place you'd love to be a part of.

Randall Beiler and Elizabeth Holt have been seeing one another for the last two years, and Elizabeth is just waiting for the day when he will finally ask her to marry him and join the large Beiler family. Just when she believes that day is finally here, Randall gives her news she wasn't quite expecting. He tells her that he needs to spend more time taking care of his family, now that his older brothers and sisters have gotten married and moved on. Still taking on role of caretaker, mother and father, and older brother leaves him at a disadvantage with the house failing into a state of needing constant cleaning, someone to do all the cooking, and helping to raise nine-year-old Kaylene who feels being left at home with four older brothers is beyond what she can take. So Randall's solution is to call things off with Elizabeth.

Now heartbroken, Elizabeth struggles to figure out a way to help pay her bills taking care of her grandmother since her mother has moved away to begin her own life. She had originally planned to send money, but each month is seems like she is sending less and less, leaving Elizabeth with no choice but to find a way to supplement their income while still caring for her ailing grandmother who needs constant care. She had hoped that being married to Randall would solve things for them, knowing he could support not only them, but allowing her grandmother to move in with them, but that is not going to happen anytime soon. But will one unskilled bachelor be able to handle taking care of a house, cooking, cleaning and raising his siblings without any help, or will Randall realize he has simply bitten off more than he can chew?

I received Joyful by Shelly Shepard Gray compliments of Avon Inspire, a division of Harper Collins Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I absolutely LOVED where Shelley took her characters in this novel. As the title suggests, each of them will be forced into a situation in which they will have to find the joy in life once again, instead of dwelling on worries and things beyond our control at times. Too often we find ourselves taking on more stress and worry wondering what will happen, instead of simply enjoying what we have right in front of us, that we miss the joyful moments, of learning what it means to care for those we love, to help out our friends and family when they need it the most, and learn to appreciate what we have instead of wanting more that may never come. It causes the reader to reflect on those joyful moments in their own life, they may be missing simply worrying about tomorrow instead of enjoying today and one that I believe can cause us to change how we view our lives and see more joy instead of worry. I easily give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars. A reader's discussion guide is included as well as a sneak peek into Shelley's next novel Snowfall.

For more information about Joyful, Shelley Shepard Gray or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Shelley Shepard Gray on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Joyful, please visit Litfuse Publicity's book tour page.

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