Monday, May 27, 2013

"Ray of Light" by Shelley Shepard Gray a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author (Review & Giveaway)

About the book:  Best selling author Shelley Shepard Gray brings inspirational romance to life in this sweet tale of love in the Amish community, Ray of Light, the second installment of her Days of Redemption series.

Roman Keim just wants a break from the family drama at his snowy Ohio home when he heads to an Amish snowbird community in Florida. There he meets Amanda Yoder and her daughter Regina who soon are warming his heart. But will Roman return to Ohio or will he stay and help the young widow embrace a second chance at love?

The author of the series Sisters of the Heart and Seasons of Sugarcreek, Shelley Shepard Gray delivers an honest, tender love story in Ray of Light, featuring the challenges of faith, family, and romance.

My thoughts: The opening pages of Ray of Light tended to be somewhat confusing and disappointing to me in that the characters were alluding to personalities and events undiscernible at that point in the story. However, eventually it all fit together like a good story should with all the pieces basically falling in place.

I think we "Englishers" tend to compartmentalize the Amish in nice little farming or village situations far removed from our world. However, the more one reads about them, the more like us they seem.  They have problems, disappointments, secrets which they hide, secrets which when revealed create major discord, joys, and pleasures in a variety of things. We learn, too, that they tire of the cold. Tire of sorrow. Tire of family problems. And they, too, must take refuge away from it all.

Our story opens with Roman Keim on the beach in Pinecraft, Florida, which is an Amish snowbird community. In the house next door, a lovely Amish widow and her young daughter, Regina, are also taking a few days of refuge.

It is soon revealed that Roman's world back in Ohio is not only cold in Winter, but there are problems, secrets, hurts which have caused him to need to get away and apart. And for the widow Amanda next door, she has been grieving for two years the loss of her dear husband and father of Regina after a long illness.

The demands, spoken and unspoken, of the Amish communities on each of these young adults must be addressed in how they individually will react. A sweet attraction develops quickly between Amanda, Roman, and the sweetie, Regina. But Amanda is criticized for not grieving longer.

I absolutely fell in love with the sweetie - little Regina. She steals Roman's heart as well.  And in the mix, Amanda finds her heart is reaching out to a new life.

A very good, clean read which I can heartily recommend to teens and adults alike.

GIVEAWAY: Our friends at Litfuse Publicity Group have graciously provided a giveaway copy for one of Chat With Vera's readers. All you have to do is enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Begins May 27  & ENDS June 12 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: A complimentary review copy was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the Avon Inspire an Imprint of Harrper Collins Publisher and the author, Shelley Shepard Gray in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and no compensation was received for this review.

About the author: Shelley Shepard Gray is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the "Sisters of the Heart", "Seasons of Sugarcreek", "Secrets of Crittenden County", and Families of Honor series. 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.  Learn more at


  1. Vera, I take it when you say Beth, you are meaning Shelley. She lives in Ohio and has two kids, but she was raised in Houston, Tx.( Just next door to where I live.) She has lived in 4 states and says she has never won a game of Monopoly. LOL Hoping to win this book of hers. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

    1. Oops! Maxie, you're right! That's one of the disadvantages of taking advantage of the advantages of Rafflecopter. You can 'Oops! it up' good fashion!

  2. Hi Vera,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read Ray of Light! Thank you for giving away a copy of the book, too. I really enjoyed writing the novel, it was fun to have much of it take place at the beach in Florida!

    With many blessings to you and your readers, shelley

    1. I am honored to be a reviewer for you, Shelley, and really appreciate your taking the time to stop by Chat With Vera. I grew up in Wilmington, NC, which is only a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean and enjoyed many a day and evening on the beach. The days of the quiet, restful beach are virtually gone now, but it can truly be a place of rest and solace.

  3. I would love to read Shelly's books. I visited her website and The Sisters of the Heart series look great.

    Katie J.

  4. Wish I were closer to Hudson, OH for her book signing at The Learned Owl this Saturday! :) Enjoy the Indians game and time with family!

  5. Shelley started writing about the Amish because their way of life appealed to her.

  6. I would love to be Shelley's friend. Although she is confident in God's grace, it seems she feels as though she never quite measures up. I would tell her she is beautiful............she has most people her age I know beat as far as youthful looks! She looks like she's 20! But I know that can't be because she's been married for almost that long. She is genuine & "real". I would love to read some of her books.

  7. From what I read, Shelley seems to believe that writing inspirational fiction is a privilege and a blessing.
    may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

  8. Shelley has written over 20 books
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com Maryann

  9. She lives in Ohio


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