Ben Knox has returned to his hometown of Sugar Creek for one last time. With his father gone, it was left up to Ben to sell the family house that he had grown up in. Ben had lost his mother when he was still quite young, leaving his grieving father to take out his frustrations on Ben. His sister, who was two years older than him, had been only too glad to let him take the punishment instead of her. She had stayed and helped take care of the house until she finished school. Then she left town and no one knew where she was now. With no one to love him, Ben had acted out and gained the reputation of the town’s bad boy. But he had always loved Judith Graber, even though he felt that she was too good for him. Two years ago, Ben had left town under a cloud of shame, after rumors had spread that he had acted scandalously during his rumspringa. Most people did not know he spent a great deal of his time reading books. No one had ever given him the benefit of the doubt, only believing the worse in him. But now he was back, with one final chance to see Judith before he leaves town for good.
With the holidays, business at the family store had increased. But with her family members needing to spend time away from the store, Judith’s father knew they needed help. So he did something he had never done before; he hired someone outside of the family to help with the store until Christmas. Without asking Judith’s opinion, he hired Ben, who turned out to be an excellent employee. The store made more profit than they ever had. Working together, she saw that he was different than what people said about him. Wanting to take care of her, Ben even stayed late to see her safely home. This soon became a routine with Ben staying for dinner and getting the chance to see a loving, boisterous family in action. Judith knew she was falling in love with Ben, but how could she convince him to stay in Sugar Creek when he seemed so eager to leave? Would this be a Christmas she would always remember with joy, or would a secret from the past ruin not only Christmas but any chance they might have at a future together?
An ideal Christmas story, CHRISTMAS IN SUGAR CREEK, the fourth book in gifted author Shelley Shepard Gray’s SEASONS OF SUGAR CREEK series, is a heartwarming, emotion-packed inspirational Amish romance. I could not put it down until I reached the wonderful ending and completed it in one sitting. This is the first novel I have read by Shelley Shepard Gray, but I look forward to reading more of her works. With compelling and engaging characters, humor, secrets, unforgettable gift-giving, innocent love, family dynamics and some insight into the Amish way of life, this is sure to become a Christmas favorite. This novel also follows the lives of some other couple in Sugar Creek, giving followers of Shelley Shepard Gray a chance to revisit characters from her previous books. But even though this book is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone. I highly recommend CHRISTMAS IN SUGAR CREEK. Do not miss it!