My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it
In Shelley Shepard Gray’s third book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a respectable young woman finds herself falling for an Amish man from the wrong side of the tracks.
Amelia Kinsinger is the perfect Amish woman—at least according to her neighbors. And while Amelia takes pride in her role as homemaker, she’s also harboring a secret: She’s been in love with bad boy Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. Too bad he’s about as far from “perfect” as an Amish man could get… but that’s exactly why she’s so drawn to him.
Life hasn’t been kind to Simon. He ran away from an abusive home at fifteen and things went downhill from there. Eventually, Simon landed in prison. But the experience changed him. Now back in Charm as a grown man, he’s determined to make a new life for himself and not think too much about his wild past…unless it pertains to Amelia.
He’s loved Amelia for years. To him, she represents everything good and kind in the world. When he realizes that she returns his affections, he starts calling on her in secret, even though her older brother Lukas—who just happens to be Simon’s best friend—has made it perfectly clear that Amelia deserves better. Simon disagrees and believes he’s the only one who can truly make her happy.
But when Amelia gets hurt, it sets off a chain of events that forces them to consider their future together—and face their past mistakes. There’s a chance for love… but only if Simon dares to trust Amelia with the secrets of his past.
I would definitely consider this to be a family saga series. There is a focus on how siblings relate to and affect each other, in positive and negative ways. Amelia is the main character in this book, but Lukas and Rebecca from the previous books play integral roles with their "support" aka meddling. Amelia and Simon have a sweet romance blossoming, so I missed that their relationship often took a backseat to the emotions caused by the sibling dynamic. I loved the message of redemption, repentance, and forgiveness. Each character, including Simon, had to work through accepting his past and moving beyond it to the man he is now- which was easier for Amelia than her brother and sister. Simon's reunion with his own estranged sister was heartwarming and added another layer to his character arc and the plot. Looking forward to the next and last book in the Charmed Amish Life series!