Ever since his father died in a tragic fire, Levi Kinsinger has felt adrift. Newly returned to Charm, Ohio, Levi is trying to fit into his old life, only to discover he seems to have outgrown it.
But when Julia, his young widowed neighbor, asks for his help with a Christmas project, Levi finds a sense of purpose for the first time in months. She and her daughter are new to Charm and could use a friend, a job Levi takes personally. Soon enough, friendship grows into attraction, but Levi can't help having doubts. There's something about Julia that doesn't ring quite true . . .
Like Levi, Julia Kemps has survived her fair share of hardships---but only by hiding the truth of her past. Being an unmarried mother in an Amish community was unthinkable. Feeling hopeless, Julia did the only thing she could do: she moved to a new town and pretended to be a widow. But meeting Levi, she's hopeful for the first time. Little by little, she begins to imagine telling him her darkest secret, and eventually . . . perhaps even sharing her life with him.
Christmas is a time for family, and as the holiday draws closer, Julia and Levi will have to face their pasts together . . . in order to find the healing, support and love they so desperately desire.
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, 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.
I loved this book because although it is an Amish novel, it takes a direction that other Amish books I've read haven't taken. It made the book so interesting and took me in a totally different direction than the other book I read just before by Shelley Shepard Gary, A Sister's Wish.
Julia and her daughter, Penny, have moved into a little house in Charm. Julia has been running away from an abusive man and has changed her identity. Penny thinks her father is dead and it's just the two of them. Julia has scrimped and saved to get this house on a not so nice street in Charm but it's a big step up from the motel room they lived in for years.
Levi is dealing with his own heartaches. He lost his mother at a young age and then his father was killed in a suspicious fire at their lumber mill. Levi left the area because it was how he needed to deal with it and now he's back trying to do what he can to help his family. He leads a rather lonely life across the street from Julia because he's trying to give his siblings the room they need in their new relationships and marriages.
When Julia locks herself out of her house, it begins a relationship between Julia and Levi that had me cheering all the way. It's not an easy relationship because of their past but I so wanted them to be together and find the happiness they both deserved!
I loved the relationship between Julia and Penny. Julia is such a loving, protective mother and I loved their interactions. It was so sweet to see the relationship between Penny and Levi, too. He has such a tender heart for her and she looks up to him with adoration.
This is a very emotional story that I just couldn't put down. It was such a great story with great characters. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.
*This book was provided to me for my honest review by LitFuse Publicity Group
Blessings - Julie