New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray’s latest Christmas novel in her Amish of Hart County series.
It’s set to be a white Christmas in Hart County, and Grace King is pet-sitting in a beautiful home with only a difficult dachshund for company. Just as she starts to miss the bustle of her large Amish family, Grace runs into a familiar face. Living right next door is John Michael Miller. He’s a fireman now, but five years ago, he had courted her older sister, then broke her heart. Seeing him again stirs Grace’s anger, but also reminds her of deeper feelings she’s done her best to deny.
The infatuation John Michael once saw in Grace’s eyes is long gone, though his complicated attraction to her remains. He had walked away all those years ago when he realized he was falling in love with the wrong sister. Now, as suspicious fires are set in their community, that’s not an option. Grace dismisses his warnings, and John Michael vows to keep an eye on her. But he can’t help wondering if he’s reconnected with Grace, only to risk losing her again.
Now all John Michael wants for Christmas is to keep Grace safe, in the hopes that they can one day have a future together.
Gray (Her Fear) invites readers into the normally quiet Amish community of Hart County, Ky., in this cozy yet exciting novel. Nineteen-year-old Grace is the quietest of her large, rollicking family and finds her role in the family as the home and pet sitter perfectly tailored to her disposition. That is, until the holiday season, when she begins sitting for a temperamental, spirited dachshund named Snooze while her own family and friends are away. One snowy night, she discovers that her new next-door neighbor is none other than John Michael, the man who broke her sister Beth's heart and captured Grace's own heart years ago. John Michael, now a volunteer firefighter, regrets that he had to break off his relationship with Beth but holds the reason secret. With everyone else away, the two reconnect over Snooze's antics (a dachshund is no match for a brawny firefighter), but when mysterious fires begin popping up near Grace's home, John Michael dedicates himself to finding who is responsible and proving his commitment to her. Combining the warmth of old friendships, the humor of Grace's dog-sitting antics, and a hint a mystery surrounding the fires, Gray's inspirational Christmas mystery will appeal to any fan of Amish fiction.
His Promise by Shelley Shepard Gray is the sixth tale in The Amish of Hart County series. Grace King is pet sitting, Snooze while his owners are on vacation. She is enjoying the quiet time away from her large and rambunctious family, but Grace had not anticipated so much of it. Her grandparents came down ill with the flu so her whole family packed up and headed to Ohio to take care of them and spend the holidays together. Grace’s best friend, Jennifer and her family have also left town for the holidays. Grace is out walking Snooze when he darts off. She is hunting for the little rascal when Grace encounters John Michael Miller who lives next door. John Michael had courted Grace’s sister, Beth three years ago and left her with a broken heart when he ended the relationship abruptly. Grace had been sixteen years old at the time when she was quite smitten with John Michael and did her best to keep her feelings under wraps. John Michael (what a mouthful) is a fire fighter for Hart County Fire Department and helps his parents with their farm during his downtime. He broke up with Beth when he realized he was courting the wrong sister. After helping Grace locate Snooze, he walks her home where they see strange footprints in the snow that circle the house. John Michael is worried about Grace’s safety especially with the number of questionable fires in the area and suspicious robberies. He is not about to let something happen to Grace now that he has reconnected with her. Will a dangerous situation lead to a happily ever after? Christmas is a time for miracles.
His Promise is a part of The Amish of Hart County series, but it can be read alone. I thought His Promise was well-written with steady pacing. Grace is a kind yet naïve woman who has a pet sitting service. She is the quietest member of her family and, while she loves her family, she needs some time alone now and then. Grace’s generosity comes pouring out of the pages as she goes out of her way to help someone in need. John Michael felt he at home with the King family, but he felt he needed to stay away after he broke things off with Beth. John Michael now realizes that he handled the breakup of his relationship with Beth incorrectly (he was too abrupt). John Michael is a firefighter which is a dangerous and unusual professional for someone who is Amish. Some of the Christian themes prevalent in His Promise are honoring God, prayer, have faith, helping others and all things are possible with God. The Christian elements are woven into the story seamlessly. His Promise has a lovely ending that readers will appreciate. I did not understand why John Michael nor Grace ever spoke with their parents, a deacon, or the Bishop when someone in their community needed assistance. I like that they were helping the individual, but it was not a long term solution. Part of the Amish culture is the sense of community so this seemed out of place. I am giving His Promise 4 out of 5 stars. There are recipes at the end of the book along with discussion questions. His Promise contains romance, suspense, mystery, faith, family, generosity, a cute dog, and the spirit of Christmas.