Shelley Shepard Gray
Avon, Mar 8 2011, $12.99
For two years, Paul abused his wife Lucy. She concealed the bruises from friends and families; however those aware of his viciousness also pretend all was right with the couple. Now Lucy feels relief since Paul fell off a ladder to his death although it is one year since he died and she still remains frightened of men.
Lucy rides the train to visit her ailing cousin Mattie in Jacob’s Crossing. Timid Lucy meets Amish siblings extroverted Calvin and precocious Katie on board. The train breaks down near Cleveland, which allows additional time for Lucy to become less frightened with Calvin. He notices how comfortable she is with his younger sister but is wary of him. When they reach Jacob’s Crossing, they learn they are neighbors, but her focus is on her relative suffering from breast cancer while he concentrates on his family farm. He hopes to help her move past the big hurt that has her acting like a scared cat around him but fears giving her his heart.
The first Families of Honor tale is a terrific and stunning story as Shelley Shepard Gray makes a case that even in the most pious communities abuse occurs and is often ignored by those who should intervene. Lucy makes the plot work as she is afraid of men yet attracted to Calvin; while she also remains a true believer, in contrast her cousin is losing her faith in the Lord. Character driven, readers will enjoy this insightful look at an abuse victim starting to heal due to her faith and people showering her with love.