The Caregiver by Shelley Shepard Gray is the first book in the Families of Honor series. Lucy Troyer is traveling alone on a train to Jacob's Crossing to help care for her cousin Mattie who is battling cancer. Lucy's still trying to get her life back after the death of her husband, Paul, a year ago. Although they were only married for two years, Lucy was permanently changed by his constant and brutal physical and verbal abuse. She's no longer the independent, strong and happy woman she once was. She meets Calvin Weaver and his little sister, Katie, on the train, and the trio lean on each other when the train has technical problems, creating a bond in the midst of adversity. Calvin and Katie just happen to be from Jacob's Crossing, which Lucy sees as a sign of God's hand. Calvin is still smarting from the betrayal of his best friend and girlfriend who fell in love with each other, leaving him humiliated in front of the community. Calvin and Lucy both tentatively connect through their enforced time together, but misunderstandings leave them both disturbed by the other's behavior. Still, neither can deny the connection between them, and their hesitant and sweet romance is the strength of the book. Mattie's battle with cancer and the ensuing depression and distance from the Lord adds depth and complexity to the plot. Without her, the story would seem almost too sweet, but Mattie makes Lucy speak her mind and face the truth, even when it's uncomfortable. The two young women come to see that they have much in common: both were placed in terrible situations where they questioned God's will and their lives were irrevocably changed by it. Gray has filled Jacob's Crossing with a variety of interesting characters who will surely make the series an enjoyable read. While Lucy and Calvin's romance is delicate and sweet, Mattie's anger is very real and gritty, and her relationship with Graham is an enigma. Plus John, Calvin's uncle who left the faith twenty years ago, has returned and is torn between an Englischer woman and an Amish widow with a son. There's a lot to love about this series. Gray is one of my favorite writers of bonnet fiction; she really makes the characters come to life.
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About the reviewer
Christy Lockstein (ChristysBookBlog1)
I'm a happily married mother of three. I review books daily on my blog Christy's Book Blog. I love to read, and I love the Lord. Those four things really define my life.
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Praise for Shelly Shepard Gray's 'Sisters of the Heart' series: ''Shelley Shepard Gray writes with honesty, tenderness, and depth. Her characters are admirable, richly layered, and impossible to forget long after the story is done.'' --Jillian Hart--This text refers to theAudio Cassetteedition.