GRAY, SHELLEY SHEPHARD
Two lives converge one stormy night on a train headed to Cleveland.
Lucy is traveling by herself via train to Jacob's Crossing to help care for her cousin Mattie, recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Trying to overcome the sudden death of her husband, she's glad to get away and focus on someone else for a while.
The only other Amish people on the train are Calvin Weaver and his little sister, Katie. When their train breaks down outside of Cleveland, Calvin and Lucy band together to face the outside world. But Calvin also carries the weight of past hurts. When an altercation brings both their wounds to light, they question whether they can trust each other.
Once in Jacob's Crossing, Lucy is occupied with caring for Mattie, while Calvin does his best to run his family's farm. But they can't stop thinking about those special hours spent together. Will the bond they formed last? And will Lucy and Calvin be able to put away the pain in their pasts to recognize the happiness that is suddenly in their grasp?
Exceptionally well written, Gray ventures into an area I haven't read in context with the Amish. This definitely isn't a 'sweet' Amish romance though there are some very sweet moments. But there are gritty ones too and they'll pull at your heartstrings.
Lucy's struggle with her past and the loss of her 'self' is honest and rings of truth. She grieves for what was, nearly swallowed whole by the heartache from her past. Hoping that distance from her own community will help her gain a better perspective she eagerly embraces the role of caregiver for her ill cousin.
This story is as much Mattie's as it is Lucy's. In fact, Gray introduces us to a variety characters that all clamor for our loyalty. By the time I had completed The Caregiver I was totally invested in the series, Families of Honor. Thankfully the second book, The Protector is due out this summer.
Reminder: We're entering the last week of my April Giveaway. If you would like a chance to win The Caregiver by Shelley Shepard Gray leave a comment below. A draw will be held on April 30 for all the books I read and review here this week.