The Proposal at Siesta Key
By Shelley Shepard Gray
Amish Brides of Pinecraft, #2
Avon Inspire, 2015
A young Amish woman, yearning for freedom, crosses paths with a handsome Mennonite celebrity in a deeply moving tale of friendship and self-discovery---the second installment in the unforgettable New York Times bestselling author's new Amish Brides of Pinecraft series.
Penny Troyer rarely disobeys her parents. In the years since her sister's tragic death, they've wanted nothing more than to keep her safe...even if it means never leaving the house.
But tonight, she's bending the rules because Michael Knoxx, the most famous member of The Knoxx Family Singers, a traveling Mennonite Evangelical family ---is scheduled to speak. Penny has heard of Michael---how he lost part of his leg in a terrible accident and uses the experience to inspire others---and knows she must meet him. So, for the first time ever, Penny stands up to her parents and goes out on her own.
Though he speaks about living life to the fullest, Michael knows he needs to take his own advice. Life on the road is grueling and Michael wants to slow down, to rest...to perhaps meet someone who sees him as a man, not just a celebrity. So when a twist of fate allows him the chance to stay a little longer in Pinecraft, Michael knows God is showing him a new path, especially when he discovers how much he and Penny Troyer have in common.
But new friendships can't stop time. Soon, Michael's time in Pinecraft will be over and he'll be back on the road. Her time with Michael has brought her happiness, but will she be able to follow her heart? Or will she be faced with the one thing she's sure she'll never have the courage to do?
To put it simply, reading a Shelley Shepard Gray story is pure pleasure, and I have eagerly anticipated book #2 in The Amish Brides of Pinecraft series. The Proposal at Siesta Key is technically Amish fiction with strong romantic elements, but its strength is in characterization, relationships, and a vivid sense of place. Pinecraft, the small Amish community in the heart of Sarasota, Florida, offers a different, more relaxed atmosphere than most traditional Amish fiction. Shelley has made this community come alive and I'd love to have an ice cream treat at Olaf's, pie at Yoder's, and shop at the produce market. And much thanks to the design team for a cover that captures the essence of Penny Troyer and the Siesta Key setting.
This series revolves around the Orange Blossom Inn, capably managed by Beverly Overholt. I am intrigued by Eric Wagler, the inn's owner, and love watching the relationship between these two grow. With all the story opportunities from relatives and guests at the inn, I doubt I would ever tire of this series.
"The lure of having a home and stability and to
simply live? Those things are as valuable as diamonds
and gold to some people." (Penny)
Penny and Michael, both with traumatic experiences in their background, are so likeable and easy to relate to. Penny's parents are reclusive and have sheltered Penny, refusing to see her as a grown woman. As the story opens, Penny has come to realize that "everyone at some point in their life had to stop being someone's child and start being their own person." Michael, due to the popularity of his evangelistic personal testimony, has almost become a larger-than-life character to many people. To the world, he is "a symbol of invincibility, capable of withstanding pain and all kinds of human frailties" It was good to walk along with Penny and Michael as they gained insight into all that God had in store for them and the courage to reach for it.
Penny expressed a gem of godly wisdom when she said, "Sometimes, the hardest path to take was the only path worth walking on." That reminds me of another nugget I once heard, "You've got to get out of the boat to walk on water." As a person who loves her comfort zone, I can nonetheless testify that those expressions are so true of life.
I enjoyed the easy reading of The Proposal at Siesta Key and recommend it to fans of character-driven stories with sweet romance. Please click on the title, The Promise of Palm Grove, to see my review of book #1 in this series.
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.
Connect with Shelley online at shelleyshepardgray.com, Facebook, and Twitter.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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