My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it
In Shelley Shepard Gray’s fourth book in her Charmed Amish Life series, an unlikely Amish romance reveals that Christmas is a time for family, miracles—and love.
Ever since his father died in a tragic fire, Levi Kinsinger has felt adrift. Newly returned to Charm, Ohio, Levi is trying to fit into his old life, only to discover he seems to have outgrown it.
But when Julia, his young widowed neighbor, asks for his help with a Christmas project, Levi finds a sense of purpose for the first time in months. She and her daughter are new to Charm and could use a friend, a job Levi takes personally. Soon enough, friendship grows into attraction, but Levi can’t help having doubts. There’s something about Julia that doesn’t ring quite true…
Like Levi, Julia Kemp has survived her fair share of hardships—but only by hiding the truth of her past. Being an unmarried mother in an Amish community was unthinkable. Feeling hopeless, Julia did the only thing she could do: she moved to a new town and pretended to be a widow. But meeting Levi, she’s hopeful for the first time. Little by little, she begins to imagine telling him her darkest secret, and eventually…perhaps even sharing her life with him.
Christmas is a time for family, and as the holiday draws closer, Julia and Levi will have to face their pasts together…in order to find the healing, support and love they so desperately desire.
A wonderful and finale to the Charmed Amish Life series! I loved seeing Levi work his way back into the community and his family, even though he doesn't quite feel like he fits in while he's struggling with his intense grief over his parents. He's so different from the accusatory hothead that abandoned his family in the first book. His compassion for Julia and her daughter is endearing and brings a special light into their lives.
We see a few scenes from the point of view of Tess, Simon's sister, and her work establishing a community resource center for abused women and children. My favorite part of the book actually was her fumbling beginnings of a relationship with a local cop who finds her irresistible. The nervous tension from them both created a sweet anticipation of good things to come. Just loved it!
This book was a bit different from the others in that there is a villain worked into the plot that creates some suspense as he gets closer to destroying the life Julia has built in Charm. The siblings from the previous books and their spouses play a significant role in helping Levi and Julia feel at home in their community. Highly recommend to fans of Amish fiction and those who enjoy following family members in a series.