The Caregiver

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The Caregiver

Families of Honor, Book One

Widow Lucy Troyer is traveling by train to Jacob's Crossing to visit and help her cousin, Mattie who is battling cancer. Lucy is only in her 20s and was only married two very long years when her husband died in an accident. Lucy has been a widow for a year but still has flashbacks to the abuse she endured. She is no longer the cheerful fun girl she once was and finds herself uncomfortable around men.

Calvin Weaver is also traveling by train to Jacob's Crossing. His sweetheart broke things off with him because she had fallen in love with his best friend, Will. Calvin's family decided that a trip to visit an uncle would do him good, especially if he took their much younger sister, Katie. Now, he's on his way home and trying to keep Katie from bothering Lucy.

Calvin doesn't succeed in keeping Katie from waking Lucy and the young Amish begin to talk. When the train breaks down and they find themselves with several hours to wait in Cleveland, they explore the zoo and begin a friendship.

That friendship is almost immediately put to the test when Calvin seems to loose his temper with a stranger. Lucy is afraid that she may have misjudged Calvin and he is actually more like her husband than he appeared. Calvin doesn't understand why Lucy overreacted so bad. He was just trying to get that horse owner to take care of his horse.

It doesn't matter. Lucy is only going to be in Jacob's Crossing for a month and her purpose is to help with Mattie. The fact that the Weaver's live next door to Mattie's family isn't important, or is it. It seems Mattie's best friend is Calvin's brother.

This is the first book in a new series by Shelley Shepard Gray called Families of Honor. It is a great introduction to a new town and some new families. There are several good possibilities for future books given in this one.

The characters were very well done. Lucy is far from perfect and she's dealing with her insecurities the best she knows how. Yet, Lucy hasn't turned from life. She knows that God will lead her to where she needs to go. Mattie is having more problems than dealing with cancer. She's sure God has turned His back on her. She's not sure what is happening or why but she does know that her mother is driving her nuts! Calvin is from a very loving family and is firm in his faith. However, he's not perfect either and in the month that Lucy is visiting learns a lot about how he deals with things and where he might improve.

The town and community were extremely realistic. From the ladies making fried fruit pies to earn money for medical expenses to needing to hire drivers to not interfering in marital abuse, everything felt right and proper. While things may not be what English do, it is what the Amish do.

Calvin's uncle has been living English and has his own part in this book. He's returned to Jacob's Crossing and finds himself torn between two cultures and two women. He's not sure where he's going but has found that prayer helps.

Mattie is battling cancer and is scared as her hair falls out and her body doesn't do as she wishes it to. Calvin's brother is able to crack her shell. Could something more than friendship be developing?

I truly enjoyed this story and enjoyed my visit to this Plain community. I'm left wanting more and can't wait to see where the subplots of this story end up. The characters and Jacob's Crossing feel so real that I'm sure that they are out there somewhere. I was almost immediately drawn into Lucy's life and problems and was thrilled to see her begin to relax and open up. Calvin, while not as developed as Lucy, still is interesting and I love how his character grows.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good, sweet romance and visiting the Amish. The Amish may appear old fashion but this romance is more timeless than outdated.


Book Blurb for The Caregiver

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?


Night Owl Reviews May, 2011 5.00