by Shelley Shepard Gray

August 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-147447-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Inspire
Trade Paperback

Winnie Lundy is awakened one evening by strange noises. When she and her brother Jonathon goes to investigate, they find their barn on fire. Winnie is trying to rescue the goats when part of the barn collapses on her, badly burning her feet and breaking a leg. Jonathon is able to pull her to safety, but Winnie is forced to spend several days in the hospital.

Samuel Miller is a former Amishman, and a family friend of the Lundy’s and when Winnie is hospitalized near his home, he makes it a point to go in and visit her on a daily basis, and cheer her up. Soon Samuel and Winnie start to develop feelings for each other. But a relationship between them is impossible, since Winnie is a member of the Amish community and Samuel is not.

Jonathon doesn’t mind the friendship between his sister and Samuel, but he is having trouble forgiving the unknown individual who accidentally set fire to the barn by smoking in it. Will he be able to find the forgiveness he needs to demonstrate? And what about Samuel and Winnie’s relationship? How can they find a way to make it work?

Forgiven is the final book in Ms. Gray’s Sisters of the Heart series. I think this story is the best in the collection. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Winnie and Samuel while catching up on the other characters whose romance was featured in the previous books. Forgiven easily stands alone, so even if you are new to this author you will have no trouble understanding what is going on.

Winnie was a realistic heroine, a hard working Amish woman who had a hard time being confined to bed or a wheelchair. I was a bit bothered by how easily Winnie accepted some English means of entertainment, but that caused me to do some research on the Amish and I discovered a lot of previously unknown information. We’ll just say that they are not as separate as we are led to believe.

Forgiven is a very excellent written story that held my interest from beginning to end. Discussion questions and a preview of the first book in Ms. Gray’s newest series, Winter’s Awakening, is included. I am looking forward to reading this next book. Don’t miss Forgiven. It is truly a great read.

Reviewed in December 2009 by Laura.

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