Reviewer: Connie Payne
Title: Forgiven Ė 3rd in the Sisters of the Heart Trilogy
Author: Shelley Shepard Gray
Publisher: Avon Inspire
Release Date: August 2009
Genre/Sub-genre: Inspirational Romance
Year/Setting: Present day, Ohio
Overall Rating: 3.0
Sexual Content Rating: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: None/Negligible
Shelley's Website: www.shelleyshepardgray.com
In the final story of this trilogy destruction hits the Lundy household. Their barn is completely destroyed by fire and Winnie is seriously injured while trying to save some of the animals.
Jonathan is devastated. Even more so to learn that cigarettes may have played a part in starting the fire. Who would want to use their farm to sneak a cigarette? Who would want to cause harm to his family, his sister? As he struggles to come to terms with the questions and the loss he accepts the help of Sam Miller.
Sam, who once lived as Amish but turned to learning and teaching instead of embracing the Amish way of life, will stay near Winnie as she recuperates in the hospital. He offers the family frequent updates on Winnieís condition and keeps her company. Itís during this time both Winnie and Sam discover some things about themselves that have them questioning the direction theyíre taking with their lives.
As Winnie and Sam grow closer, Jonathan is continuing to have a hard time coming to terms with the devastation he feels, the anger thatís roiling within him at the person who caused such a tragedy. His wife Kate gently talks to him about forgiveness, but forgiveness seems insurmountable at this point. What will he do when faced with the person responsible?
I must say initially I was slightly disappointed with this story. My expectations were of Winnie being given her own story. Yes, she was a main character in this story, however, Kate and Jonathan, Anna and Henry, who as couples had their own stories, have significant roles in this book. In this readerís opinion it took away from Sam and Winnieís story, their growing relationship, the personal questions they needed answers to. With the others taking such a part in the story I felt it minimized Sam and Winnieís relationship.
Yet to be fair, Ms. Gray has written a story based on a powerful emotion and equally powerful act; anger and forgiveness. Who hasnít experienced anger and hurt? Who hasnít had the burden, the internal struggle of forgiving someone? Anger and hurt come with being human, but what can set us apart and ease our burdens is the act of forgiving. Ms. Gray stirs those reminders and provokes the thoughts in the embers and ashes of the Lundy tragedy.
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