My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A young Amish couple gets a second chance at love in New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray’s final book in her Return to Sugarcreek series.
Randall Beiler is doing his best to put his family and the farm’s needs first, even forsaking love. But though he tries, Randall knows he needs help caring for his younger siblings and keeping the house together.
When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious—and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth’s heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.
Elizabeth wants to refuse—to stay far away from the man who hurt her—but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she’s older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong.
Randal, too, seems to want something more. But does he want Elizabeth because he truly loves her—or because he needs a housekeeper? If Randall sincerely wants something more, he must find a way to show Elizabeth—or risk losing his chance at love forever.
Joyful includes a P.S. section with a letter from the author, discussion questions, and a teaser from her next book.
This may be the first book in this series that I've read, but it definitely won't be the last! I fell in love with this book - the combination of the Amish lifestyle, faith, love, the witty conversations, importance of family, trusting God's plan for your life, etc., all contributed to the amazingness of this book.
I appreciated Elizabeth's feistiness, determination, caring nature, wit, and strength. She had been through so much in her relationship with Randall and I really felt bad for her. Yet she was determined to get on with life, helping her grandmother and find a way to pay the bills.
Randall was very stubborn, to say the least. He thought he was right, and didn't want to admit to being wrong. He was devoted to his family, but was he truly happy? Was he doing it for the right reasons?
I also really liked Levi, one of Randall's brother, and the reason Elizabeth and Randall got another chance at love. It was his plan that brought them together again, and boy did it lead to some humorous situations!
Joyful also followed two other stories. One of a divorced woman and one of a couple who struggled with wanting to adopt the foster child they had been taking care of. I enjoyed both of those perspectives and thought they were perfect additions to the book.
Joy can be found in many things. The joy of life, love, family, etc. What brings you joy? I know this book brought me joy! I laughed, cried, smiled, hoped, felt joy, along with every emotion of all of the characters throughout this book! While it was a shorter book, and I read it in one day, it contained a lot of joy and I highly recommend it, and look forward to reading the previous books in the series.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own.
About the Author
About the author: Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.