Spring's Renewal: Seasons of Sugarcreek, Book Two Paperback – Apr 6 2010
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“Clara is a well-crafted and relatable character. You’ll soon be as partial to Clara as the author, especially as she develops and comes out of her shell.” (Romantic Times BOOKclub)
From the Back Cover
Tim Graber arrives in Sugarcreek to help his aunt and uncle with spring planting. At first, Tim doesnÆt fit in with his many cousins and their crowded lifestyle. But when he meets Clara Slabaugh, the local school teacher, he understands why the Lord brought him to Sugarcreek. Clara is shy and quiet. Scarred from a fire when she was small, Clara has resigned herself to living alone and caring for her mother, who tells her that no man will ever see past her scars, and that Clara needs to keep teaching in order to make ends meet. Her father passed away years ago, and her mother depends on her. But the scars mean nothing to Tim. He appreciates her quiet nature and her wonderful, loving way with children. Yet Tim has a sweetheart back home in Indiana. As these two hearts struggle to determine their path, tragedy strikes, and every other worry seems insignificant in comparison. Though they now face a life they never imagined, will Tim and Clara have the faith to step out and risk everything for a chance at true love?See all Product Description
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
One of the things I liked best was the calming effect the book had on me the a reader. It held my interest despite a lack of the gratuitous violence, terror and cruelty that so many authors build into their novels. The glue that held this book together for me was the fundamental human values shared by many of the characters -- love of family, respect for the truth, a regard for the needs of others, and a drive to become the best person they could be.
The book is obviously written from a heavily Christian perspective -- afterall, most of the characters are Amish. That particular world view does not resonate with me, but to Ms. Gray's credit, she presented it in a way that came across as honest and heartfelt, not preachy. She writes with a soft touch that will likely speak to readers of various religious persuasions.
In this story, we meet up with schoolteacher Clara who has the unfortunate fate of being scarred from an accident when she was young. She lives with her mother who seems to overly depend on Clara almost to the point of suffocation. There seems to be no hope for a better life and as the years go by and she gets older, Clara resigns herself to this life. Then Tim, a young man trying to find himself, arrives in their town and everything begins to change. While I found myself liking Clara immediately from the beginning, it really took me a while to bond with Tim. He just got on my nerves at first, I think it might be due to maybe the community he was from being a bit stricter. As it stood, I felt that Clara had a lot more daring in her and was more outspoken. Which is more than I could say about Tim's annoying girlfriend Ruby. Woo, what a...well let's just say there are choice words I could have said about her that aren't very nice.
The story focuses on Clara and Tim's relationship as well as their own personal lives. There's a bit of a drama scene at the end but it ties things together nicely. Also part of the story and returning from the first book in the series is pregnant teen Lilly. I was a tad disappointed at the way her story started off in this book. I just felt that after all the buildup from the first book, it felt like this book was such a downer. Still though, I do like Lilly and I am looking forward to reading more about her in the series. Reading about the Amish culture was lots of fun as well. There's lots of talk about food which I like very much and I would love to go visit the restaurant where Lilly works. I really enjoy Gray's books and I am eager for the final book in the series. If you like Amish fiction and are in the mood for a sweet read, this is a great series.
Clara, badly burned when she was a little girl, has tried to be satisfied with her lonely life. However, she can't help but long for someone who would love her for HER and see past her disfigured body.
Tim, visiting his aunt and uncle, is drawn to the quiet Clara, despite the fact that he has a sweetheart back home. Which woman is right for him?
Spring's Renewal is the second book in Shelley's `Seasons of Sugarcreek' series. I hadn't realized my mother in law had book 1, Winter's Awakening, until after I'd read this book.
I think Spring's Renewal was pretty self-explanatory, although after glancing at the back of Winter's Awakening, I'd like to read it to know the background behind several of the characters, mostly Lilly.
You shouldn't judge a book by its cover...but sometimes I judge the cover by the book, and I did not think the cover depicted Clara at all!
Clara has green eyes on the cover (brown in book) and she does not appear to have any burn scars. I could almost think her face was turned just enough not to have to portray the scarring, but her right hand is clearly shown.
So what? There's a part in the book that makes a big deal about Tim holding Clara's right hand and how most people avoid touching her or her scarred hand. Ok...so not really a big deal in terms of the book itself, but I often notice those little things.
So, besides the cover and the few grammar/editing errors I found, I thought Spring's Renewal was a fast and easy rainy-day read and look forward to Autumn's Promise, the next book in the series.
Check out more book reviews on my blog: thecreativesideofsteph DOT blogspot DOT com
SPRING'S RENEWAL, the second Amish inspirational romance in the Sugarcreek series after WINTER'S AWAKENING, has characters that will steal your heart, an exciting story with several intriguing twists, and a romance that renews one's faith. SPRING'S RENEWAL is my absolute favorite romance by this author. Clara is a superb romance heroine! A reader just wants to know her and roots for her. Clara is bright and independent but she has a sensitive heart as well. She is a wounded soul yet a woman strong in her faith. Tim is the perfect man for Clara, a man who sees her beauty inside and out. Although he makes youthful mistakes, he also has a steadiness and honesty with himself deep down. When push comes to shove, he knows when to stand up for love. In a brief romantic moment, Tim knows exactly how to reach Clara's heart. Without explicit details that are inappropriate for younger readers or those older readers wanting less graphic details but more romance, Shelley Shepard Gray creates the most memorable, heartwarming moments that stick with a reader long after the last page.
SPRING'S RENEWAL creates multi-dimensional characters and relationships. Shelley Shepard Gray does an excellent job in the portrayal of Clara's relationship with her mother. She does not gloss over the difficulties of this relationship, but rather creates emotional depth in their characters. She brings unique insights into her male characters as well. The ending of this romance is all the more powerful and satisfying because of the obstacles the young couple faces. Shelley Shepard Gray does an excellent job in her portrayal with the emotions and thoughts of youthful first love. For young readers, her vision instills hope, courage and comfort. For older readers, the generosity of spirit gives a new and hopeful perspective on one's own past.
For readers who have been following the series, one feels a special delight in revisiting familiar characters while getting to know the stories of newer characters. If you are new to the series and do not like spoilers, however, reading WINTER'S AWAKENING first would be the best plan of action because SPRING'S RENEWAL follows chronologically from the previous book. A series of reading questions will help book club or church group discussions as well as enrich an individual's own reading. Shelley Shepard Gray's Amish inspirational romances will appeal to romance readers across the wider Christian community. The author has the ability to develop meaningful themes of faith and spirituality that resonate within. Shelley Shepard Gray is an excellent storyteller. Here, faith emerges from the story itself and the life of her characters. SPRING'S RENEWAL is not only the best romance I have read by this author, but also the best inspirational romance this reader has read to date. Outstanding!
Courtesy of Book Illuminations
Tim Graber came to Sugarcreek as a favor to his aunt and uncle as they need help on the farm. He has a sweetheart back home whom he intends to marry, but when he meets Clara he is torn and confused about his feelings.
Clara's scars mean nothing to Tim who is charmed by her quiet nature and loving ways. But then tragedy strikes. What will it take for Tim and Clara to admit their love for each other despite their differences?
SPRING'S RENEWAL is the second book in the Seasons of Sugarcreek series. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first book, Winter's Awakening, though out of the two books, SPRING'S RENEWAL is the better. I am looking forward to Autumn's Promise coming in August of this year.
Readers will need to read these books in order. The main romances stand alone, but there is an underlying story that readers will need to start from the beginning to have any idea what is happening there.
I thoroughly enjoy reading Amish stories, and understand why they are so wildly popular. The characters are well developed, the story and plot lines excellently done. Discussion questions and a preview of Autumn's Promise are included at the end of the book. If you like Amish fiction, don't miss SPRING'S RENEWAL.
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