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Thankful: Return to Sugarcreek, Book Two

Thankful: Return to Sugarcreek, Book Two

4.8 16
by Shelley Shepard Gray

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New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray captures the beauty, devotion, and warmth of Amish life in this engaging tale of family, commitment, trust, and love set in the beloved community of Sugarcreek.

Christina Kempf has always known that God chose Aden Reese to be her husband. As children, he was there to save her when she fell


New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray captures the beauty, devotion, and warmth of Amish life in this engaging tale of family, commitment, trust, and love set in the beloved community of Sugarcreek.

Christina Kempf has always known that God chose Aden Reese to be her husband. As children, he was there to save her when she fell through the ice, and he’s been by her side ever since. After his parents died in a car accident ten years ago, the Kempfs raised Aden as one of their own, and everyone sees Aden and Christina as brother and sister. But Christina has never given up hope that Aden will one day ask her to be his wife.

Aden always planned to court Christina. But losing his mother and father changed everything—except his love for her. Her parents generously welcomed him into their home and treated him like a son. He can’t betray their kindness by admitting his feelings for the girl who is like a sister . . . yet so much more.

Pressured by her parents to court, Christina begins to accept the attentions of Sugarcreek’s young men, and now, Aden must make a choice. Will he stand by and watch the love of his life slip away? Or will he risk losing the love and trust of the family he holds dear to tell Christina how he truly feels?

Thankful includes a P.S. section with additional insights from the author, background material, suggestions for further reading, and more.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestselling author Gray continues her Sugarcreek series with this braided tale of second chances. Christina Kempf and Aden Reese remember clearly Christina’s disastrous fall through the ice a decade earlier, both fighting the memories and trauma in their own ways. The pair were raised as siblings, though Christina knows Aden is the man for her, and Aden feels the same about her. Can they overcome fear of each other’s rejection to find happiness? A second plot strand features Sugarcreek Inn owner Jana Kent, who wants to move ahead after 12 years of living her late husband’s dream of running a restaurant, but wonders how to do so. In the third subplot, Amish couple Judith and Ben Knox are longing for a child. They begin fostering a baby whose mother is in prison. These interwoven stories create what will surely be a popular addition to the Sugarcreek series. Agent: Mary Sue Seymour, Seymour Agency. (May)
Romantic Times BOOKclub - 4 stars
Shelley Shepard Gray brings readers into the Amish world with style and grace.
USA Today
“A sweet, straightforward story about how love can be tested by family, faith, and personal insecurity. Enjoyable and heartwarming.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Return to Sugarcreek , #2
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510 KB

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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Thankful (Return to Sugarcreek Series #2) 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We have a different book, darling. ^^
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Thankful, the second book in the Return to Sugarcreek series. If you have not read the first, don’t worry, Thankful can stand alone. This was such a sweet story. Christina and Aden are both really likeable characters. Right from the beginning I felt connected to them and really wanted everything to work out for them. The chemistry was very strong between them in the story and watching Aden attempt to pull away from that attraction made for a very interesting book. I loved the way Aden and Christina’s relationship played out and was so happy with how they ended up coming together. A side-story that is a continuing thread from the first book of the series, Hopeful, follows Ben and Judith into unknown territory as they begin their journey into adoption and foster care. I was a little nervous as I read about Judith’s emotional state through part of the story. I wasn’t sure how things would play out for them, but the author did a great job of showing God’s grace and allowing Judith to see that He had a plan for their family that was bigger than just Judith’s wants or needs. It was a very touching addition to the book. I loved this book from start to finish and recommend it to fans of Amish fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
VicG More than 1 year ago
Shelley Shepard Gray in her new book, “Thankful” Book Two in the Return to Sugarcreek  series published by Avon Inspire takes us into the lives of Christina Kempf  and Aden Reese. From the back cover:   From bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray comes a tender story of faith, family, and finding love with the Amish of Sugarcreek Christina Kempf has always felt that God chose Aden Reese to be her husband. When they were children, Aden was there to save her when she fell through a patch of thin ice, and he’s been by her side ever since. After his parents died in a car accident ten years ago, the Kempfs raised Aden as one of their own, and everyone sees Aden and Christina as brother and sister. But Christina has never given up hope that Aden will one day see her as the perfect woman for him . . . and ask her to be his wife. Despite what his heart wants, Aden can’t find it in himself to repay the Kempfs’ kindness with an admission that his feelings for Christina have only ever been romantic. But when she’s pressured by her parents to court more broadly, Christina begins to accept the attentions of Sugarcreek’s young men. Now Aden must make a choice. Will he stand by and watch the love of his life slip away? Or will he risk losing the love and trust of the family he holds dear to tell Christina how he truly feels? I made a mistake.  I did not read the first book in this series, “Hopeful”.  But that is okay as Ms. Gray did a wonderful job in keeping this a stand alone within the series.  It helps if you know what happened in the first book however it does not detract from the current goings on.  I do not believe that I have ever read a plot like this one.  Aden is in love with Christina and she in love with him.  Due to tragedy Aden moves in with the Kempfs and is seen as part of the family.  Now Aden is torn as Christina is forced to court but he doesn’t want to seem disloyal to the family.  This is an exceptional story with exceptional characters that you care for and so want them to get together.  I liked it a lot and am so looking forward to the next book in this series. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
busymomoftwo More than 1 year ago
I recently read Thankful by Shelley Shepard Gray. This is the second story in her Return to Sugarcreek series. She writes such a nice straight-forward, easy to read story. The style works well for putting down and picking back up several times over a couple of days without having to flip back to remind yourself where you were - which was perfect for the way I read. Again, the characters in Thankful are warm and the type that you can't help but feel a connection to and find yourself rooting for things to turn out the 'right' way. The story moves easily between characters and their stories and progresses nicely. One nice thing is that the characters from the first book, Hopeful, returned in this story - some simply in the background, and others finding their story continue to progress. I always love to continue to watch stories evolve for those that you came to know in another book - it makes me feel somehow complete. As with Hopeful, Thankful is set in Sugarcreek, Ohio - which, as I mentioned before, I think is fun, because it is an actual community and one that I have visited. I have been there a few times - not enough to recognize any landmarks from the storyline, but I still felt connected knowing I had been there. The main story could have been set almost anywhere and with any community of people, with it's universal theme. How close is too close for love? As children, Aden and Christina always had a special bond and saw the other as a likely future spouse, but when he came to live with her family and were raised almost as siblings, can they ever be more than friends? And, what might be the cost to each if they do? One of the other main stories that was developing was the continuing story of Judith and Ben, who as we learned in Hopeful, can not have children of their own. As they proceed down the path of adoption, they decided to participate in the foster system. They find themselves having to come to an inner peace with being foster parents to a baby that is not from their community and from a mother that is in the prison system. I liked that the book was more about the story's characters and what was going on in their lives, rather than being about them being Amish. There were some non-Amish in the story because of where they live and work and because of their need for transportation, but it wasn't full of Englisher influence or support. I enjoyed reading this second book by Gray and look forward to reading the future books in the series. A complimentary copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Its_Time_Mamaw More than 1 year ago
Return to Sugarcreek Christina Kempf surrendered her heart to Aiden Reese when they were young children.  He was her hero, best friend and protector.  He was taken in by her family after the tragic death of his parents.  They have not revealed the depth of their love for for each other fear the other only carries the love of a sibling.  Christina makes the move to court other young Amish men at the persistence of her parents.  This rips a hole in Aiden's heart. He is afraid of loosing her but also fears loosing the respect of Christina's parents if he were to reveal his true feelings for their daughter.   This story touched my heart to the point I had to keep a box of tissues in my lap while reading the book.  In fact it did not take me long to read the book because I refused to put the book down until the very end.   This story had so much to offer me as a reader. It was tragic, romantic and it had dedication to family and community.  Lessons were learned in trusting God without fear and to pray He for Him to lead us to the life He has planned for us. I highly recommend this book. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from HarperCollins /Avon Inspire/ Litfuse Publicity Group for an honest review.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
I can honestly say that any book that I see that is written from Shelley Shepard Gray will be one that will find a permanent home in my growing collection of her books. In her latest novel from the Return to Sugarcreek Series, Thankful compromises a couple of stories with being thankful as their central theme. My favorite is that of Christina Kempf and Aden Reese, who experienced a tragedy one day when ice skating, as Christina fell through the ice. Aden successfully saved her but would be the one link that keeps them from moving forward in life. Aden joined the Kempf family when he lost his parents as a child and has spent the last ten years growing up feeling like part of the family. Only the one thing that hasn't changed is his feelings for Christina go deeper than brotherly affection. But how can he find a way to court her while still living under the same roof where her family views him as more of a brother to Christina than a suitor? Christina spends her time working as a server at the Sugarcreek Inn ran by Jana Kent. It's the promotion she's been waiting for and Jana is hoping to make some changes in her own life. Running the restaurant since her husband's death has left her with virtually no time for anything else except wondering how she will make ends meet. She doesn't even have time to visit her now grown children, since there is no one else to help her manage it. Her friend Pippa suggests that she might be ready to find a partner to share the burden of running the restaurant as well as give her some extra time for a life outside of her job. It seems like the ideal suggestion especially when she notices the attention of Ross Capshaw, the newest officer to join the police force in Sugarcreek and it seems he is just as interested in her as well. Judith Knox has been dreaming of being a mother since she married Ben but it seems as it God has other plans. When she finally comes to terms with not being able to conceive, Ben suggests that they consider adoption. Just when she thinks all the pieces are going to fall into place and their social worker, Bernie finds them a child, she learns that he is only available to foster. The baby's mother is serving time in prison and she needs to find someone to care for him as soon as possible. Just as soon as Judith and Ben agree they are in for another surprise, the baby Bernie has in mind for foster is an African American baby named James. Judith had hoped she wouldn't have to answer any questions about her decision to foster over adopt and now it's going to be quite apparent that the baby isn't Judith and Ben's. But a mother's love shows that love goes beyond the color of our skin! I received Thankful from Shelley Shepard Gray compliments of Avon Inspired Books, a division of Harper Collins Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I absolutely love the theme of thankfulness appearing in uniquely different ways through these three situations with the characters in Sugarcreek. It reminds us that we need to take time in our busy lives to be truly grateful for all our blessings, even the not so perfect ones as Shelley reminds us. Life is simply too short to think we will be granted with the possibility of a tomorrow and God reminds us that thankfulness is something that we should practice more often throughout our day. Shelley also includes a recipe for Peanut Butter Pie and a Reader Discussion guide at the conclusion as well as a sneak peek into book three coming soon. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars and can't wait to go back to Sugarcreek again soon!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At the same time Aden and Christina are working through their tests in life; Judith and Ben Know, waiting to adopt a child have been asked to be foster parents for a baby. Will they be able to care for this little one, knowing he will return to his mother once she is released from prison? What other surprises and tests might be placed in their lives with this foster child? Jana Kent, owner of the Sugarcreek Inn, is ready to move on years after her husband's death. Will her children support her? How will she do this?  Thankful is filled with real life tests and how families and faith intertwine as we face those tests. Thankful, is also a beautiful reminder; there is reason to be Thankful for each and every person in our lives, for the tests God places in our lives. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thankful is the second story in the Return to Sugarcreek series. Just like all of the other books by Shelley, I loved reading it and was sad when it was finished. Christina and Aden have known each other since they were young children. Aden was taken in by Christina's parents, and to everyone else they are just like brother and sister. If life was only that simple!! Christina and Aden have a beautiful connection that goes beyond just mere friendship, but even they can't seem to let each other know how they truly feel. Once again, Shelley Shepard Gray writes a beautiful love story that has you cheering for the victories and also sensing the frustration when life just doesn't go as you planned. Even though this story belongs to Christina and Aden, you will become acquainted with Jana. She is the owner of the Sugarcreek Inn. She is working to keep her husband's dream alive, but now that her husband has passed, she is ready for what her life now has to offer. Enter the handsome policeman, Ross. Is he ready to make this journey with her? And, Judith and Ben, who are familiar faces with the Sugarcreek books. They have now come to terms with the fact that they might never have their own baby. With much love to offer, they decide it would be worth it to become foster parents to James. Thankful is a story about God's timing and how important it is in our everyday life. When we leave our problems and circumstances in the hands of the One who is able to make everything work out we find that we have a lot to be thankful for. In the story of all the characters in Thankful, we see that this is case. Don't hesitate to try all of Shelley's books. You will not be disappointed. :)
moonlilly More than 1 year ago
Thankful is the second book in the Return to Sugarcreek series. Once again Shelley Shepard Gray has written a story that will touch your heart, and pull you right into the lives of her characters right from the very first page when we meet Aden Reese and Christina Kempf. From the moment Aden saves Christina's life she knows he is the one for her, but because her parents have taken Aden in and raised him as one of their own, they both struggle with their feelings for one another as they are raised as siblings. We get to re-visit with Ben and Judith Knox and learn more about their struggles of not being able to have children and their decision to foster a child, and something a little surprising that I was not expecting was we get to learn more about Jana Kent who is the owner of Sugarcreek Inn and how certain events in her life have brought her to where she is today and some of the things she is struggling with. Thankful is a story about facing fears and being able to push through them whether those fears are founded from heartache, pain, or fears that they face every day. Some of them are faced alone and some together, but once they have faced their fears they all find that they are "Thankful" for everything that God has blessed them with. Thankful is a beautiful heartfelt book. I enjoyed getting lost in Sugarcreek again. This book definitely is worth the read.
AnnKietzman More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this story. It has been a long time since a story pulled on my heartstrings and this one captured me from page one. Aden and Christina have loved each other since they were children, but an accident has placed a barrier between them. Will they learn to overcome the obstacles or will they continue through life without confessing their love? Judith and Ben have wanted a child of their own for a long time, but circumstances have prevented it from becoming a reality. Can they learn to love a foster child and provide him a stable home even though they might lose him in the end? With the Lord's guidance they weather the storm and decide with His help, they can withstand anything. Jana, the owner of Sugarcreek Inn, has been a widow for twelve years. Will she finally be able to find love? Shelley Shepard Gray has written a moving story that will capture your heart. Once I started reading this book I couldn't put it down. I was sad when the story ended, because I wanted to remain immersed in the character's lives a little while longer. This book is definitely a winner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shelley Shephard Gray has written another masterful novel. Two of the central characters in this book are Christina Kempf and Aden Reese, both strong but also somewhat vulnerable. They are bound by friendship and family but also by the love they have for each other. Shelley has created new characters as well as bringing back characters that we have known and loved since the Seasons of Sugarcreek series. The characters are endearing and engaging; important to the story and some of them are at a crossroads in life where they must make a big decision that will affect not only themselves but others in their lives, too. In the inimitable style of Shelley Shephard Gray the characters are brought to life by her ability to make you feel as though you are at The Sugarcreek Inn eating pie and having a cup of coffee with the staff and the customers. Or walking through the snow and even ice skating! She creates characters that are realistic, charming, and sometimes fragile but ones you always want to get better acquainted with. Shelley takes us through the heartache of a childless couple desperately wanting a baby, new relationships and always does it seamlessly.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
I feel in love with some of these characters in the first book in this series Hopeful, and Thankful the second book, does not disappoint. We are reunited with Judith and Ben and their desire to have a child, and how their lives become full of joy. The main characters in this book are Christina Kempf and Aden Reese; these two have been raised together as brother and sister. Now how can that go further and they fall in love? When you are raised as siblings and under strict religious circumstances, how can they come together in any other way? I so enjoyed this return visit and the author has done a wonderful job making me feel like a part of the community. We also have a side story of Jan who is the owner of the Sugarcreek Inn, where Christina works. She is at a crossroads in her life, and we get to enjoy some the things that come wrapped in roses to her. I never wanted this to end, but am so happy that the third book in this series, Joyful, which is scheduled for release in September. Don’t miss this wonderful read, am so glad I was blessed to have read it! I received this book through Edelwiss, and the publisher Avon Inspire, and was not required to give a positive review.
CindyLinth More than 1 year ago
Another 5 star read by Shelley Shepard Gray. It's always fun to continue reading about characters from the Sugarcreek series and see where life has taken them this time. In this second book of the series, they learn how to be thankful and what being thankful really means. A widow thankful for love and family, a childless couple thankful for fostering, two young Amish people thankful for each other. Thankful isn't just something you are at Thanksgiving. It is something you are every day of your life. Grab a copy and a few tissues - you'll need them, believe me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stalker Mode. Activate. *Turtleshell.*