In Shelley Shepard Gray’s fourth book in her Charmed Amish Life series, an unlikely Amish romance reveals that Christmas is a time for family, miracles—and love.
Ever since his father died in a tragic fire, Levi Kinsinger has felt adrift. Newly returned to Charm, Ohio, Levi is trying to fit into his old life, only to discover he seems to have outgrown it.
But when Julia, his young widowed neighbor, asks for his help with a Christmas project, Levi finds a sense of purpose for the first time in months. She and her daughter are new to Charm and could use a friend, a job Levi takes personally. Soon enough, friendship grows into attraction, but Levi can’t help having doubts. There’s something about Julia that doesn’t ring quite true…
Like Levi, Julia Kemps has survived her fair share of hardships—but only by hiding the truth of her past. Being an unmarried mother in an Amish community was unthinkable. Feeling hopeless, Julia did the only thing she could do: she moved to a new town and pretended to be a widow. But meeting Levi, she’s hopeful for the first time. Little by little, she begins to imagine telling him her darkest secret, and eventually…perhaps even sharing her life with him.
Christmas is a time for family, and as the holiday draws closer, Julia and Levi will have to face their pasts together…in order to find the healing, support and love they so desperately desire.
I’m often asked about how I decide where to set my novels. Sometimes, like with Pinecraft, I choose a setting based on a conversation. Other times, such as with the Families of Honor or the Crittenden County books, I discover something that spurs my imagination while doing research on the internet.
For this year’s series set in Charm? It seems I couldn’t stay away from it.
Charm is a very small village. It’s nestled near Sugarcreek, Walnut Creek, and Berlin. This means I’ve driven through it numerous times. I’ve even gotten hopelessly lost in the middle of it. Once, I was so turned around by the winding roads surrounded by acres of farmland that I had to stop and ask an Amish man for directions.
But then last year two things happened: I discovered there is a popular store in Charm called Hershberger’s. They sell all sorts of things there…and just happen to have cute little goats that climb on the top of their barn. You can even feed them, which I enjoyed probably a little too much. Soon after that experience, I learned all about Keim Lumber Mill. A beautiful, amazing complex that is both a lumber yard and retail store.
It seemed a popular tourist attraction and a family owned lumber mill were all I needed in order to make up a new series. Well, those two things and the fact that I had some of the best fried pies ever in Charm!
I hope you’ll enjoy visiting Charm with me through the eyes of the Kinsinger family. This fictional family happens to own a very large lumber mill that serves as the backbone of the community. They-and several other families in the area-are recovering from a tragedy. Everyone just happens to have more than a couple of secrets.
I so enjoyed writing these books. I fell in love with the rolling hills and the quaint schoolhouse and the goats, too. I hope you will enjoy The Charmed Amish Life Series as much as enjoyed writing it. And, if, by chance you have the chance to visit Charm before I do? Have a cherry fried pie for me. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.