Review: A Christmas Courtship by Shelley Shepard Gray

This was such a fun romance with two couples finding love as Christmas approached. One courtship was between two teens who had long admired each other and the other courtship was between a man and woman who were in their middle years. This is the third book in the Berlin Bookmobile series, however, I had not read the earlier two books and I had no trouble enjoying this one.

Atle was such a wonderful hero in this novel. He started out a bit awkward and was extremely nervous around Sadie. He had never courted anyone, yet had admired Sadie for awhile. Sadie was a widow with three children and the backstory for her family was complicated. Her husband carried a lot of anger and she and her children suffered through years of abuse. I really appreciated that Atle was compassionate and caring about this fact in the way he approached the entire family.

Hope and Cale were the young couple and they had a trying situation to overcome in the story. I really liked this couple, too, and think that what they went through made their courting relationship stronger.

This story was a fun addition to my Christmas reading this season. I liked the way the author incorporated snippets from the romance book that Atle read as he learned how to court Sadie. It was very clever. The only thing I wished for at the end was a bit of an epilogue a year or so into the future. But I hope that maybe there will be more books in the series and I can see these characters again.

(4.5 stars)

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.


A solitary sort, forty-two-year-old Atle Petersheim spends his time hard at work in his wood shop. But as the days get long, he realizes just how lonely he’s become. When his longtime crush, Sadie Mast, a widow and mother of three, asks him to help her build a room in their barn for her son Cale, Atle can’t say no. Eager to pursue Sadie at last, he turns to bookmobile librarian Sarah Anne Miller for courting advice. More than happy to help, Sarah Anne decides the best way to learn about love is through books—romance novels to be precise.

Between completing holiday orders for her flourishing food business, helping Cale navigate a dramatic new relationship with his boss’s daughter, and coming to terms with the trauma her late husband had inflicted upon her and her children—not to mention Atle showing up at her door with flowers—Sadie is in over her head. Though Atle’s efforts are initially clumsy and his declarations a bit awkward, Sadie can’t help but be charmed by him. He’s patient and kind…and at times even seems to know far more about romance than he’s let on.


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray writes Amish and Inspirational romances for Simon & Schuster, and KensingtonHarlequin, and contemporary women’s fiction for Blackstone Publishing. With over a million books in print, and translated into more than a dozen languages, her novels have been Holt Medallion winners and Inspirational Readers Choice and Carol finalists

Shelley has been featured in the Philadelphia EnquirerWashington Post, Time Magazine, and USA Today. She has also been interviewed on NPR as well as numerous regional radio stations. Publishers Weekly calls her Walnut Creek serie“A slow-burning, enjoyable romance… Embedded in this quaint story is a poignant message about the importance of community, compassion, and doing what’s right rather than what’s easy.” 

Shelley has hosted several well-attended ‘Girlfriend Getaways’ for Amish reading fans. Her most recent Girlfriend Getaway, hosted with bestselling novelists Amy Clipston and Suzanne Woods Fisher in Sugarcreek, Ohio, was filmed by BuzzFeed and highlighted on NetFlix’s Follow This episode on the popularity of Amish fiction.

Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned her bachelor’s degree in English literature and later obtained her master’s degree in educational administration. She now lives in southern Colorado near her grown children, walks her dachshunds, bakes too much, and writes full time. 


About Brittany

As a homeschooling mom and avid reader, I get great joy through reading and reviewing books. I focus my reading and my reviews on Christian fiction, primarily Christian romantic fiction. I also review sweet, clean fiction. I hope you will find my reviews helpful in your decisions on what books to read.
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