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In the Amish town of Sugarcreek love comes in many forms But will it come at all for Miriam?Miriam Zehr has worked at the Sugarcreek Inn longer than she cares to admit The restaurant is a favorite of town residents as well as the many tourists who come to taste the famous Amish fare Though she always tries to have a smile for every customer deep down Miriam knows something's missing a family of her ownMiriam has never felt particularly beautiful especially because she's always been a bit heavier than other girls her age When Junior the man she's pined for all her life suddenly seeks her out she's thrilled to be noticed until she realizes he's only asking her to help get the attention of Mary Kathryn Hershberger her pretty friendIf Miriam helps Junior court Mary Kathryn she'll get to spend a lot of time with him but she might lose him in the process Are these few stolen moments worth a lifetime of sacrifice? Is Miriam right to even hope for the life she dreams of?


10 thoughts on “Hopeful (Return to Sugarcreek #1)

  1. says:

    I was first attracted to this book because of the basic premise that closely resembled English courting which is very different from what I see in the usual Amish fiction Usually you don’t see the boy pursuing the girl as much as Junior goes after Mary Kate This is what we usually see in much younger people in the English world This lends a kind of divergence to this book where the main characters are acting as adults at their jobs or in caring for their families but are very much still juveniles when it comes to courting and relationships It was sweet to see something in adults that we usually only see in young kids anyI most identified with Miriam in this book I too was never a skinny girl and always felt left out I wondered at first why Miriam didn’t clarify the situation with her parents but after reading I realized that she was probably so tired of feeling like she had disappointed them This is even apparent when she finds herself helping Junior’s youngest sister and relishing the whirlwind that the larger family constantly lives inI was interested to see the topic lean towards obsession and stalking something that probably is not talked much about in the Amish world While I am not pleased to see the real world problems intruding in their lives I’m glad that Gray has included aspects of our “fancy” lives that could definitely take place in the “plain” worldI enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next book in the Return to Sugarcreek seriesI received a copy of this book in order to provide a review All thoughts are my own


  2. says:

    Junior Albert Beiler oldest brother of eight children and the head of the house since the death of their parents; he is responsible hard working and loyal to his family and friends He has worked hard to keep the family together not allowing various extended family members to divide the eight of them up Miriam Zehr is determined and distracted a friend to everyone and a self proclaimed wall flower She has a good heart and would do anything for a friend She wants from life than just working; she wants what many of her friends have love a family and a life She is convinced that she needs to leave Sugarcreek to find it since the one person she has always had a crush on does not notice her at allThe road to love for Junior and Miriam is a sweet and heartwarming one They both want in their lives and are struggling with how to find it Miriam is helping Junior’s youngest sister with reading and she loves Kaylene but it makes it hard knowing that junior does not return her feelings Along the way Junior realizes that he has been looking for the wrong thing The sub plots are hard facts of life thought provoking and handled with grace This is the first in a new series and one that I will surely be following I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my honest review


  3. says:

    Miriam Zehr is a single Amish woman in her twenties Even though she seems happy working at the Sugarcreek Inn she longs to be married and have her own family She has liked Junior Beiler for as long as she can remember and is excited when he asks to see her Miriam is in for uite the disappointment when she finds Junior only wants to see her because of her best friend Mary Katherine whom he would like to court Miriam is heartbroken but agrees to help Junior in his effort to court Mary Katherine What a great book this was It was easy to get into and from the first page I felt as if I had known the characters forever The characters are all likable and real but I could especially relate to Miriam She is the type of girl you would want to be friends with I'm sure everyone knows someone who is like her I liked Junior too even though I wanted to ask what he was thinking at timesThe story flows smoothly from beginning to end I found myself wanting to read faster to find out what happens but at the same time wanting to read slower so the book wouldn't end I really enjoyed the time I spent with these characters I am definitely recommending this book to anyone who likes Amish fiction Christian fiction or just a good clean book to read


  4. says:

    You won't be able to put this book down The two main characters in this book are Miriam Zehr and Junior Albert BeilerMiriam has a wonderful giving spirit and is liked by everyone She works as a cook and waitress at the Sugarcreek Inn and though she is a hard worker she just can never seem to get to work on time Miriam has wanted Junior to notice her all her lifeJunior is a hard working man who took on the role of head of household after the death of their parents There are eight Beiler children of which Junior was child number two All of his siblings are grown now except the youngest little eight year old KayleneOne day at the restaurant Miriam see's Junior with one of his friends sitting at a table motioning for her She went to the table with coffee pot in hand Junior wanted to come by her house and talk to her Could her dreams be finally coming true? Is the man she longs for finally noticing her?Hopeful is a book about just that hope Miriam's hope for a future with Junior Junior's hope forwhat? Read this wonderfully written book by USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray to find out You won't want to put it down


  5. says:

    I absolutely love love love the first book in the Return to Sugarcreek seriesI immediately feel in love with main character MiriamHer personality warm smile and kindness makes her BFF materialshe’s definitely one of my fave characters in fictionThis storyline was super fun Miriam is crushing on Junior but he wants her to play Cupid for him and match him up with her good friend Mary KateMary Katherine seems almost the opposite of Miriam very self absorbed in ways but her mysterious past had me empathizing with her although Miriam was my favoriteJunior has his own set of responsibilities in caring for his siblings after the death of his parentsHe’s very mature level headed and practical in ways but does he really know his own heart and will he give Miriam the chance at love I think she deserves???You’ll have to read to find outDefinitely the start of what I anticipate to be a fave new series


  6. says:

    Entering Sugarcreek in Shelley Shepard Gray's Hopeful we meet is Miriam Zehr as she is rushing to work How often we all find ourselves rushing and not seeing what God has blessed us with in our lives Junior Beiler laden with the responsibility of raising his 7 siblings after the early deaths of their parents Aren't we also often so concentrated on our responsibilites we are unable to see those who God has placed in our lives? Mary Kate Herschberger and Judith Knox both suffering with pain and fear from recent events in their lives; not unlike any other person who has turned their pain into shame These charcters lives meet and intertwine through chance through friendship and in God's timing Hopeful gives us insight into the beauty of hope and what can happen when even the smallest flicker of hope is carried in our hearts Shelley takes us into the simple lives of an Amish community and shares how they too are not immune to life's complexities and problems


  7. says:

    This book confused me Several chapters in random chapters started to appear about a random chick named Judith I also felt like the author went into a lot of detail about how certain characters were related Then when the Judith chapters seemed to have nothing to do with the main storyline and started info dumping about character back stories I didn't even care about I knew A little digging and I realized Gray had written another series of books about Sugarcreek that featured all the random characters I didn't care about going in to this book If I had known that I probably wouldn't have read this book If Gray wanted to revisit her old characters she should've written a separate book about them rather than trying to cram them into this otherwise cute story It just bogged things down and made them needlessly complicated I recommend doing this for people who are Shelley Shepard Gray super fans and have read her other books


  8. says:

    I had waited for the release of this book for uite sometime and had fully intended to read it over the course of a few days perhaps a weekBut once I began to read and was transported back to Sugarcreek I could not put this book downMiriam Zehr is both known and well liked by all in her community She has a lot of friends including Junior Beiler and schoolteacher Mary Kathryn HershbergerThe story focuses on the lives of these three young people who have hopes and dreams that at times seem out of their reachShelley Shephard Gray brings new characters to life and brings back beloved characters from her Seasons of Sugarcreek seriesThis is one of those books that you will want to share with your mothers sisters daughters and friends that enjoy a wholesome and a very well written book


  9. says:

    When a book can make me laugh cry love hope and appreciate values then it has done its job Hopeful by Shelley Shepard Gray has all the ualities that a book needs to keep you reading for The hope and faith you see throughout these pages makes you just feel good Miriam is hopeful in so many ways and shares her love with everyone The way she steps up to help Kay and also Mary Kate during their times of trouble shows what a true person Miriam is This book was very hard to put down when it was time to fix dinner A book full of HOPE A definite must read


  10. says:

    Webster's dictionary defines hopeful as exciting hope; promising advantage or success and in her latest series Return to Sugarcreek Shelley Shephard Gray does just that for two remarkable characters in her book Hopeful Miriam Zehr wants to have hope Being twenty five among the Amish and without any romantic aspects in her future she is considered a bit of an outcast by both friends and her family That make Miriam all the subconscious about being a little overweight and not the prettiest young woman in her opinion In fact no one has ever given Miriam a passing glance She finds solace in working as a waitress and baker at the Sugarcreek Inn but even there she comes up short she can't even make it to work on time It's a good thing she is such a great baker and hard worker or she would have lost her job awhile ago But something has to change for herWhen Junior Beiler arrives at the Inn and asks to meet with Miriam at her house after work she finally feels that God is about to answer her prayers She thinks Junior has come to court her She has had her eye on Junior for uite some time and is finally willing to believe something good is coming her way Even her parents are thrilled to hear that Junior is making plans to come to the house to talk to Miriam However when Junior arrives all he wants to know is if Miriam can help set him up with her best friend Mary Kate In one instant all her hopes and dreams are dashed in pieces Yet Miriam will never let anyone know that she set herself up believing for one minute that Junior was interested in her and plays it off in front of her parents and Junior To Junior she is willing to be that friend he needs to get to Mary Kate but she can't let her parents and family think that Junior doesn't want to court her so she begins to live a double life of sorts not being honest to anyone but most of all not even herselfJudith Graber has learned after her last miscarriage that she can no longer have any babies and she wonders just what kind of wife can she be to Ben if she can't give him the family he has wanted No matter how much Ben assures her that his only concern is for her to get better no amount of love seems to be enough for Judith to come to terms with only being a wife to Ben and not a mother of his children She's isn't even willing to consider adoption Knowing many women who have lost babies she believes she might find the answer with another doctor but what if this is the choice God has in store for her to remain childless Can she live with that fact forever?I received Hopeful by Shelley Shepard Gray compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Avon Inspire for my honest review I did not receive any monetary compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own I found myself relating to Miriam's character uite a bit willing to put her true feelings on the back burner to make everyone else happy She is undoubtedly a people pleaser I can see her struggle with her own self image and when things don't work out the way she likes it seriously affects her self esteem She finds herself second guessing herself at virtually every turn I see so much of myself in Miriam's character I felt like Shelley was writing about me For me this was one of the closest character parallels I've ever come across in a novel It was like watching myself in this novel I love how it turned out and I won't give this one away but trust me you'll want to check this one out I personally give this a 5 out of 5 stars