Monday, March 13, 2017

HER SECRET by Shelley Shepard Gray

Publisher:    Avon Inspire
Published:   March 14, 2017
ISBN:        978-0062469106
Genre:       Amish, Romantic Suspense, Young Adult
Format:     Print
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina


For most of her life Hannah Hilty was happy and content. When a man named Trent showed interest in her she was flattered. He asked her questions about her life and how the Amish lived and he gave her flowers…daisies because they made her happy. But then he changed…he began demanding and possessive…or maybe he was always like that. His actions became more and more sinister until one day he sent her a package of photographs—photographs of herself, but in private settings. His actions became so invasive and threatening the Hilty family moved from their community in Berlin, Ohio to a small community in Kentucky. There, despite being away from Trent, Hannah became more and more reclusive. She would not leave her home unless she had to until one day her mother tells her she needs to step out, to take a walk. Not one to disobey her mother, Hannah does so and while she is out she meets neighbour, Isaac Troyer.

Isaac and Hannah’s initial meeting doesn’t go all that well. He asks too many questions and she isn’t ready to trust. Bit by bit though, Hannah begins to trust Isaac and they form a close friendship. That friendship is tested when first some upsetting news come to the Hilty family and then when Trent shows up back in Hannah’s life. This time Trent is not going to take no for an answer.

I’ve seen any number of Shelley Shepard Gray’s Amish romances but have never picked one up to read. When HER SECRET arrived for review along with a note that it was the beginning of a new series I thought I’d give her a try.  I’m glad I did.

HER SECRET is billed as a romantic suspense and initially within the parameters of a young adult, it is. When Trent arrives in town it becomes a full blown, breath holding, thriller.  Gray delves into the mind and machinations of a stalker and with each turn of the page you wonder what he will do next.  When it becomes clear just what is going on I mentally yelled at her to run. 

The author takes you into a family with secrets, secrets meant to protect but ultimately cause more problems. Reading how the characters resolve those problems and build a stronger family made for a read that gives you something to think about in your own lives be it family, friends or work.

As I said, I’m not a fan of Christian fiction, however, while it is part of the fabric of the story, it is not overwhelming. If it’s not your thing, it’s not preachy and infrequent enough you can just skim those parts.

Die hard romantic suspense fans may find the writing and characters somewhat immature. I’m not sure if that’s because of the Amish aspect or simply because that’s how Gray writes. That said, it is a good read and a good introduction to romantic suspense for a young adult if there is one in your home.

In her author notes at the end of the book (something I always read and am never disappointed with what the author has to share) Gray talks about the Amish of Hart County series and how while each of the books are connected in some way, they are completely standalone stories. I have a feeling that each book is going to get better and better and I can’t wait for the next one. I do find myself asking “how have I missed this author until now.”

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.


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