Forgiven (Sisters of the Heart Series #3)

( 20 )

Overview

Tragedy strikes-a brother and sister find themselves facing a situation that will shape the rest of their lives.

When a fire destroys the Lundys' barn, Winnie is injured trying to get the animals to safety. Confined to a hospital for weeks, out of touch with her loved ones who live too far away to visit by buggy, she must depend on Englisher Samuel Miller to keep her company. Though his family is part of Winnie's tight-knit Amish community, Samuel left years earlier to pursue a ...

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Forgiven (Sisters of the Heart Series #3)

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Overview

Tragedy strikes-a brother and sister find themselves facing a situation that will shape the rest of their lives.

When a fire destroys the Lundys' barn, Winnie is injured trying to get the animals to safety. Confined to a hospital for weeks, out of touch with her loved ones who live too far away to visit by buggy, she must depend on Englisher Samuel Miller to keep her company. Though his family is part of Winnie's tight-knit Amish community, Samuel left years earlier to pursue a university education. Through conversations, and Samuel's dedication to her recovery, a friendship forms. But despite their growing attraction, Winnie knows it can never develop into something more as long as Samuel chooses to remain in the outside world.

When Winnie returns home, she finds her brother, Jonathan, struggling with his own dilemma. Cigarette butts were discovered in the debris of the barn and Jonathan is determined to find out who is responsible for destroying his property and putting his family at risk. But in a community founded on grace and forgiveness, will his unwillingness to move on eat away at the trust that is the foundation of their lives?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061474477
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/11/2009
  • Series: Sisters of the Heart Series , #3
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 601,998
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, 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.

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Read an Excerpt

Forgiven (Sisters of the Heart, Book 3)

Chapter One

Crack.

Jerking awake, Winnie opened her eyes. What was that? It was most unusual to hear anything in the middle of the night. Their farm was miles away from the city. By and large, the only noise to echo around their home was the impatient bleating of Nellie the goat or one of the horses.

Her eyes slowly focusing, she turned to look at the clock on her bedside table. Two A.M. Maybe she had imagined it.

Winnie lay back down. Well, perhaps the good Lord had summoned her awake for no reason at all. Slowly, she closed her eyes and tried to relax and remember her prayers.

But then it came again.

From the cozy comfort of her bed, Winnie turned toward the window, the cotton sheets tangling around her legs as she shifted. Beyond the window, a fierce wind blew, creating an unfamiliar howl in the darkness.

Ah, a storm was coming in. Well, the horses wouldn't care for that much.

Just as she closed her eyes, another snap rang out. A sharp pop followed seconds later. Sharp and loud, like the clap of a rifle. Winnie bolted upright.

Something was terribly wrong.

Outside, a low roar floated upward from the ground, mixing with the high, panicked scream of a horse.

Winnie ran to the window and pulled back the thick plain curtain. Shooting flames and clouds of smoke greeted her.

Oh, sweet heaven! The barn was on fire!

She clasped a fist to her mouth as she watched Jonathan frantically run to the barn. Flames ate the opposite side.

She grabbed her thick robe, then flew down the stairs. She opened the front door just in time to see her brother throwa blanket over the top of Blacky's head and lead him out. "Jonathan!" she called out.

He didn't so much as look her way...the rage of the fire had swallowed her words.

Smoke choked the sweet spring air. A chalky black haze blurred everything around her . . . mixing with the cool gray fog of the early March night. Winnie stood motionless, stunned, feeling like she'd stepped into a dream.

Another crack screamed through the near dawn, drawing her attention to the pens next to the barn, where the goat and chickens slept. She'd just lifted the lever to free the squawking hens when the sky was suddenly alight with flames. The force of the explosion threw her to the ground. Sparks and ash fell through the air as she pulled herself to her feet to run toward cover.

Winnie couldn't seem to move. The soles of her bare feet burned, were blistered and hot. Smoke ran thick. Her chest tightened. She coughed, the sound of it echoing in her ears as her vision blurred. Blazing pieces of hot, burning wood nicked her back and shoulders, bringing her down...just as if the devil himself was behind her. The pain was fierce. Crippling.

Terrifying.

She was barely aware of Jonathan yanking her by her shoulders and pulling her to safety.

Jonathan watched his friend Eli Miller arrive at the farm just as an ambulance skidded to a stop in front of their farmhouse. After Jonathan motioned him forward, Eli hurried over. "Jonathan, I'm glad to see you whole and unharmed. I came as soon as I could. The flames of your barn lit up the night sky."

Jonathan knew there were a great many things he should say to ease his friend's worries. But his heart seemed to have no room left in it for others. He was too stunned about the barn. And too worried about Winnie.

But if Eli was bothered by his quiet, he didn't act like it. Looking around, he frowned. "Where're Winnie and Katie and the girls?"

"Katie took the girls to her parents' inn for the night, so they're safe, thank Jesus. But Winnie . . ." Jonathan pointed to the inside of the ambulance. "She is in there."

"In the ambulance?" Eli's normally assured manner faltered. "Is she hurt bad?"

"Jah. She's in . . . She's in poor shape."

"That's terrible news."

"It is." Jonathan wasn't surprised by his friend's reaction. For as long as he could remember, he and his family had known the Millers. Eli's brother Samuel and his sisters had played with Winnie when they were small, and Jonathan had helped their family with spring planting more than a time or two. Winnie was like another sister to Eli, just as Jonathan felt like an older brother to Eli's youngest brother, Caleb.

Eli attempted to control his voice. "What's wrong?" Staring at the last of the flames, he murmured, "Is she badly burned?"

"I think I got her out before she was too injured, but I'm not certain." Jonathan tried to school his features, but it was difficult. "Some boards must have hit her . . . she fell . . . her feet are in a bad way, too. One might be broken. I . . . I had to carry her away from the area." Pain-filled eyes teared up before he wiped them impatiently with a hastily bandaged fist. "She's a fair sight."

Around them, the barn was still smoking and animals were howling their displeasure. Eli grasped his arm. "What can I do?"

"Well, now, I . . ." The question seemed to push away a portion of Jonathan's shock. After looking at the charred remains surrounding them, he reached out to touch the shiny red side of the ambulance. "Would you go with her to the hospital? Would you mind leaving your brother Caleb alone?"...Jonathan stepped toward the barn, toward the crowd of firemen talking to a man dressed in a coat and tie..."I canna leave. I have to speak with these men. And Katie and the girls will likely return soon. I'll need to be here for them."

"Of course you need to be here for your daughters. And your wife."

Forgiven (Sisters of the Heart, Book 3). Copyright © by Shelley Shepard Gray. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 20 )
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  • Posted May 11, 2011

    Great Series!

    I have enjoyed reading all 3 books in this series. Very good plots. Easy reading and good plots to follow!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent End to Series

    I've been a big fan of the books in the Sisters of the Heart series since I picked up book one. For some reason, they read differently from other Amish books. It's fresh and light, yet takes into account realistic views of both the Amish and English world. I think what I like best is that there are those who do get a taste of the outside world but their decision to choose the Amish lifestyle is not forced or fake. I've read other books where the choice seemed to put the Amish world as a paradise or utopia as opposed to the sinful worldliness of mainstream America. These books put a refreshing spin on that topic and I applaud them for it.

    In this story the focus is on Winnie, the sister of Jonathan and sister in law of Katie. From the last book in the series, we learn that she has just gotten over a failed courtship and is attempting to move on. Unfortunately she's been severely limited due to being injured from a fire at Jonathan's farm. Therefore Sam, a university professor who left the Amish years ago, comes to her rescue and offers to take care of her while she's ailing. I really liked Sam and it was fun seeing him in both of his conflicting worlds. He fits comfortably in both, which is a nice change from seeing an Amish person so out of place in the English world. I really liked the chemistry between the two of them and it was realistic enough to understand how if affected Sam's final decision. I was also pleased with the conditions of his decision as it was realistic, again with small details that other books fail to mention.

    There are two other story lines that are taking place in addition to Winnie's and Sam's relationship. Jonathan is trying to find out who set fire to his barn and struggles with forgiving that person. It's understandable about his anger because his entire family could have been killed and the guilty party still won't fess up to the crime. Also taking place in the background is the upcoming wedding between Anna and Henry. I really liked seeing this even take place as it ties together the entire series and brings it around full circle. I really have enjoyed reading this series and I think it's one of the best Amish series that's out there currently. I'm going to be looking forward to the next series by Shelley when it comes out later this year.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A very nice ending book to the series

    This book wrapped up the whole storyline of the series in a very nice way. It was interesting to learn about the Amish way of life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Sisters of the heart Series

    Excellent reading.

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  • Posted August 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    terrific tale

    The fire devastated the Lundy barn and injured Winnie Lundy when she tried to rescue trapped animals. Her brother Jonathan (see WANTED for his tale) saves her life. An ambulance takes the severely burned Winnie to the hospital, which is too far from her loved ones to visit her by carriage. Family friend Eli Miller accompanies her to the hospital. The marshal tells them cigarettes caused the inferno.

    Eli arranges for his English brother Samuel Miller, who left their Amish community for the university, to visit Winnie at the hospital so she has companionship while healing away from her family. Soon after he began seeing her, Winnie and Samuel fall in love, but though they believe in the Lord, their belief systems are different. While they seek a common faith, Jonathan cannot turn the other cheek like he knows he should forgive the transgressor and his wife Katie encourages him to do so; instead he obsesses over who smoked the cigarettes. Also Anna and Henry pray her mom will come around

    The third Sisters of the Heart inspirational Amish romance is a terrific tale with three subplots that tie together around the theme of forgiving the FORGIVEN for their sins. The cast is strong as an obstinate Jonathan cannot move past the fire with his sister so badly hurt; Samuel and Winnie need to forgive one another if they fail to find common ground; and Anna cannot move past her mom's rejection of her embracing love and faith in Amish country. Shelley Shepard Gray writes a strong inspiring tale as to err may be is human but to gracefully hug the forgiven is truly divine.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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