- Expected 5 May 2020
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray returns to the charming and evocative Walnut Creek Series with an unforgettable novel following one broken young woman whose search for peace leads her back to her hometown, where she rediscovers her faith and reconnects with those she loves most.
Kendra Troyer always knew she would leave Walnut Creek the first chance she got. When she was accepted into design school, she tried her best not to look back at the four siblings she was abandoning, but ahead to Columbus, where she was determined to stay—far away from her abusive home and far away from Nate Miller, the boy she vowed to despise for the rest of her life.
Though she suffered through dark times in Columbus, Kendra found her faith in the Lord again, and years later, when she learned one of her good friends had died, she realized it was time to go home to those she left behind.
Back in Walnut Creek, Kendra has a life she never could have imagined: her own design shop, a pretty little house, and a tight-knit group of friends. After she settles down, though, unexpected visitors come knocking and dark memories begin to resurface. Complicating things even further is the ever-present Nate Miller, who now owns the hardware store two doors down and whose very presence stirs in Kendra a fierce need to turn away and hide from her past. But Nate is persistent in setting things right between them.
As Kendra tries to come to terms with the anger she holds from her childhood, will she be able to open her heart to forgiveness and find the comfort she has always longed for in Walnut Creek?
Gray (The Patient One) wraps up the Walnut Creek series with an uneven outing. The Amish Troyer sisters, Kendra and Naomi, reconnect in Walnut Creek, Ohio, years after each of them left their abusive childhood home. As the eldest sibling, Kendra bore the brunt of their father's anger and mother's neglect, and while she obtained an education and created a new life for herself, she must still deal with the emotional scars that prevent her from trusting the kind attention of handsome Nate Miller. Naomi idolizes Kendra but struggles to make friends at her high school. When she finds out that her sister has a hidden past that forced her to leave Walnut Creek, Naomi's dreams are shattered. In order to save their relationship and be able to allow other people into their lives, both must learn the meaning of forgiveness and faith. While Gray's biblical themes are nuanced and well integrated into the narrative, a subplot about a second childhood tragedy (told through Kendra's journaling) comes across as disjointed and unnecessary. Only series completists need apply.