Review: Joyful by Shelley Shepard Gray PLUS a Giveaway!



Randall Beiler is doing his best to put his family and the farm’s needs first, even forsaking love. But though he tries, Randall knows he needs help caring for his younger siblings and keeping the house together.

When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious—and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth’s heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.

Elizabeth wants to refuse—to stay far away from the man who hurt her—but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she’s older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong.

Randal, too, seems to want something more. But does he want Elizabeth because he truly loves her—or because he needs a housekeeper? If Randall sincerely wants something more, he must find a way to show Elizabeth—or risk losing his chance at love forever.


It was wonderful to return to Sugarcreek, OH and catch up with the characters from the previous two books in this series, Hopeful and Thankful. In Joyful, there are three relationships that the reader gets to follow. Elizabeth and Randall are the main characters, Judith and Ben continue their experience with fostering a child, and Pippa Reyes, owner of the Sugarcreek Inn, gets her own happily ever after. I enjoyed all three storylines, and found them emotionally fulfilling.

The book begins with Randall breaking Elizabeth’s heart. Randall has so much growing to do in this book. Although his goal of taking care of his siblings is a worthy one, he is prideful and unwilling to accept help or guidance from others. Randall has a lot to learn about the danger of self-reliance, being too proud to ask for help, and how he treats others. It is painful to see how his actions have hurt Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is such a sweet character. The way Randall breaks her heart at the beginning of the book, and what she endures throughout the book, endeared her to me. She is not perfect, of course, but my oh my, she has a lot of patience and forgiveness in her! It was hard to watch her hurt for much of the story, but when she realizes that through all the hurt she has experienced, she was never alone, that God was with her, it is a truly joyful occasion.

These Return to Sugarcreek books have been very fast and enjoyable reads for me. The stories just flow so well and I always want to see what happens next. Shelley Shepard Gray keeps me turning those pages! An enjoyable story for fans of Amish fiction. (4 stars)

My thanks to Avon Inspire and Litfuse Publicity for the book that was provided to me in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.



Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Find Shelley online: website, Facebook

Don’t miss Shelley Shepard Gray‘s newest book in the Return to Sugarcreek series, Joyful. USA Today raved: “A sweet, straightforward story about how love can be tested by family, faith, and personal insecurity. Enjoyable and heartwarming.”

Click the banner for a chance to win books 1-3 in Shelley’s Return to Sugarcreek series! 
Winner announced on Shelley’s blog on 9/30.


Visit the Joyful blog tour landing page at

About Brittany

I am a homeschooling mother of four children. I am an avid reader and have been for as long as I can remember. I truly enjoy reading and reviewing books I focus my reading and my reviews on Christian fiction, primarily Christian romantic fiction. I hope you will find my reviews helpful in your decisions on what books to read.
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