Joyful (Return to Sugarcreek Series #3)

Joyful (Return to Sugarcreek Series #3)

by Shelley Shepard Gray


$12.77 $12.99 Save 2% Current price is $12.77, Original price is $12.99. You Save 2%. View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Friday, February 28
39 New & Used Starting at $1.99


A young Amish couple gets a second chance at love in New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray’s final book in her Return to Sugarcreek series.

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.

Joyful includes a P.S. section with a letter from the author, discussion questions, and a teaser from her next book.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062204509
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/02/2014
Series: Return to Sugarcreek Series , #3
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 271,072
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About 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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Joyful (Return to Sugarcreek Series #3) 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this story Thank you
busymomoftwo More than 1 year ago
Most recently, I finished reading Joyful by Shelley Shepard Gray. This is the third book in her Return to Sugarcreek Series. As with the last book, it was nice to be able not only to explore the story of the two main characters, Randall Beiler and Elizabeth Nolt, but also to spend some time catching up with Judith and Ben and their foster child James and the other characters that were included in the first two books. But don't worry, there is no requirement to have read the first two to be able to enjoy this story. There is something so appealing about the characters that Gray develops. As I read the book, I couldn't help but feel a connection to them, to want to influence the situations in their favor. The strength of the bonds that they share with their family is something that I admire. Having come from a large extended family, I love spending time with family and love to see that in the book. The themes of love, loss, self discovery, and celebration are universal, the fact that the characters are Amish seemed to be more of a backdrop or setting for the story than something that was a focus. If you enjoy a good romance, then you will enjoy this book. (a complimentary review copy was provided)
WonderousReviews More than 1 year ago
This may be the first book in this series that I've read, but it definitely won't be the last! I fell in love with this book - the combination of the Amish lifestyle, faith, love, the witty conversations, importance of family, trusting God's plan for your life, etc., all contributed to the amazingness of this book. I appreciated Elizabeth's feistiness, determination, caring nature, wit, and strength. She had been through so much in her relationship with Randall and I really felt bad for her. Yet she was determined to get on with life, helping her grandmother and find a way to pay the bills. Randall was very stubborn, to say the least. He thought he was right, and didn't want to admit to being wrong. He was devoted to his family, but was he truly happy? Was he doing it for the right reasons? I also really liked Levi, one of Randall's brother, and the reason Elizabeth and Randall got another chance at love. It was his plan that brought them together again, and boy did it lead to some humorous situations! Joyful also followed two other stories. One of a divorced woman and one of a couple who struggled with wanting to adopt the foster child they had been taking care of. I enjoyed both of those perspectives and thought they were perfect additions to the book. Joy can be found in many things. The joy of life, love, family, etc. What brings you joy? I know this book brought me joy! I laughed, cried, smiled, hoped, felt joy, along with every emotion of all of the characters throughout this book! While it was a shorter book, and I read it in one day, it contained a lot of joy and I highly recommend it, and look forward to reading the previous books in the series. I received a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Shelley Shepard Gray in her new book, “Joyful” Book Three in the Return to Sugarcreek  series published by Avon Inspire takes us into the life of Elizabeth Nolt. From the back cover:   Return to Sugarcreek with bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray for a heartwarming story of second chances with a young Amish couple Randall Beiler will sacrifice anything to take care of his younger siblings and the family farm, even if it means forsaking love. But when his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job cleaning and cooking for the family, Randall is furious—and feels guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth’s heart. Then he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet and he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone. Elizabeth wants to refuse but she needs the work. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that her love for Randall still burns strong. And though Randall keeps his distance at first, time and teamwork reveal that something deeper still connects them. Elizabeth isn’t sure what to think: Does Randall want her because he truly loves her, or because he needs a housekeeper? And if his feelings have changed for sure, Randall must find a way to show Elizabeth what she really means to him or risk losing his partner in life and love forever. I think “Joyful” is the best book in this series. Ms. Gray, I believe, has woven into the story-line elements of the Biblical book of Ruth and I think that it added tremendously to the plot.I liked the theme of a second chance with the possibility of blowing that as well. Ms. Gray has given us real people in Elizabeth and Randall and watching them grow individually and then together is a real treat. The other characters from the first two books are in play here as well but the primary focus is Elizabeth and Randall. “joyful” is an exceptional story with exceptional characters that you care for and so want them to get together. 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.”
barbjan10 More than 1 year ago
WILL ELIZABETH AND RANDALL FIND JOY? When I realized this was the third book in this series, I was surprised that I did not know about the first two in the series.  Shelley Shepard Gray is an exceptional writer.  Her stories are easy to follow and she eloquently expresses the feelings of the characters whether negative or positive.   It was easy to understand Elizabeth’s confusion as to Randall’s feelings toward her.  She had far more maturity than Randall.  Randall seemed to be short sighted, which is comprehensible in the way he felt so much responsibility for his siblings.  He believed he did not have time for romance and dropped Elizabeth without being able to explain with honesty his purpose in doing so.  In my estimation, he made thoughtless decisions in many areas as well as being insensitive toward Elizabeth as well as his siblings.  Elizabeth put her whole heart into caring for her grandmother.  Since her mother had remarried after her father’s death, she seemed to leave Elizabeth to her own devices to earn money enough to care for herself and her grandmother.  Randall’s brothers devised a plan to bring Randall and Elizabeth together, hopefully reuniting them and help Elizabeth earn money.  Elizabeth’s patience with Randall and willingness to do her finest job is to be marveled.  Frankly, I lost patience several times with Randall and wondered what Elizabeth saw in him in the first place. The two sub-plots were interesting, but I felt a bit frustrated whenever we were drawn away from Elizabeth’s story.  Although I could identify with Judith and Ben wanting to adopt James as their own child – I have three adopted children and could never give either of them up – I had empathy for James’s mother as well.  Pippa’s story was sweet and not long, but there was more I would have liked to learn about her and Bud’s story.  Perhaps Ms. Gray has in mind another story for her in the future. Overall, I liked this story very much.  There are a lot of surprises and definitely much soul searching.  Ms. Gray’s imagination proved lively as she added fun and on again, off again chances for romance between Elizabeth and Randall.  You will need to read this story for yourself to find out all the answers you want to know.  You will fall in love with Elizabeth’s grandmother and her expressions of wisdom.   Particularly interesting are the discussion questions at the end of the book.   Even though I had not read the first two books in this series – Joyful is a stand-alone story.  Is there real joy in the end?  That’s for you to find out.  I am so thankful that God gives writers such splendid inspirations to write about.  You will never be bored with a book written by Shelley Shepard Gray! I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.
PianoLady831 More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed all three books in the Return to Sugarcreek series. These aren't complex or dramatic stories, but just plain good reads with a cozy feel. Shelley has an easy style of writing and the ability to make me become invested in the character's lives. I also enjoy how she brings back previous characters and interweaves multiple storylines. The main story revolves around the sweet romance between Randall and Elizabeth, a couple who had broken up two years earlier. Randall could be frustrating at times, yet I admired his loyalty and sense of responsibility to family. But his downfall was in believing that he bore the family's burdens alone, and while his motives were right, his actions were misguided - and that's something to which I could relate. One of Elizabeth's strengths is also loyalty, for she was willing to sacrifice her own happiness in order to help others - but she let pride interfere when it came to asking for her mamm's financial help. And in all honesty, I must confess to a little envy when it comes to Elizabeth's remarkable housekeeping, cooking, and organizational skills! The two other storylines involve the returning characters of Pippa, Hispanic owner of the Sugarcreek Inn who is waiting to be embraced by the community, and Judith. In the way they handled an agonizing situation with baby James, Judith and Ben reminded me that we have to be willing to let go of things that are most precious so God can do His work. I love this old saying that Ben shares with Judith:  "Reach up as far as you can. God will reach the rest of the way." I think one reason I enjoy Amish fiction so much is simply the love and support of "family" - and one moving scene that beautifully exemplifies this is Judith's extended family being present in mass when little James' aunts came to visit. We see spiritual and relational growth throughout the narrative, and, in Shelley's words, all three of these storylines "revolve around the idea of finding joy in unexpected places, as well as the joy that God’s love can bring to a person." Joyful is a fulfilling conclusion to the series - but, of course, I'd like to return to Sugarcreek and read the stories of other characters. Thank you for a heartwarming and inspirational series, Shelley. Recommended to all fans of Amish fiction. Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
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. 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.
Janine_S More than 1 year ago
“Joyful” by Shelley Shepard Gray is the third book in her 'Return to Sugarcreek' series and I hope that it is not the last we see of Sugarcreek. If anyone is an emotional reader, such as I am, I would like to warn all of those emotional readers to have plenty of tissue on hand. For me this was a heart-wrenching book to read from the first chapter to the last page, not because it is depressing but because it is wrought with emotions that go from one end of the scale to the other. Not only are the readers taken back to Sugarcreek, Ohio but they are able to see more of the Beiler family where there have been some major changes since “Hopeful”. Some of these changes are for the better and some need re-working to make the changes work better. This is a story of those changes and how they all work out. There are three story-lines in the book, the major story-line is between Randell and Elizabeth, the series story-line with Ben and Judith and a minor but still very sweet story-line between Pippa and Bud. There are only four point of views so even with all the different story-lines going on, it is not overwhelming or confusing to keep everything in order. Actually I thought the story-lines all worked really well with each other, though honestly at times it seemed as if it was more of a flash fiction than anything else for the scenes were so short. That didn't stop me from enjoying the story, just a bit of a disappointment at times. Randell and Elizabeth have some major issues to deal with especially since he broke her heart, and now she is working for him. They have so much in common at times that it is almost comical if it wasn't so sad. Sad in the way that they refused to see the problems in themselves, and wouldn't talk about the issues with each other or anyone else for that matter. These two alone took me on my biggest emotional roller-coaster for they just couldn't seem to make up their minds at times, which really created a wonderful conflict of the story. During this book both Randell and Elizabeth learned some pretty important lessons that changed them. Ben and Judith's story is finally concluded and frankly the ending did not come out as I expected, and as a result the tears flowed freely. Judith learned a couple of lessons about faith, strength and doing what is right no matter the cost. Pippa's story was probably the happiest story of the whole book for it is a story of taking that step in starting again after being knocked down. Maybe happiest is not the right word for Pippa's story, maybe not so emotionally charged is the best way to describe her story. As I said Pippa's story is a story of taking that first step, and the courage she showed just to do that was so inspirational. This is a book that was such a joy to read regardless of the amount of tears that fell, it was a light read that took no time at all to enjoy and read through. I hope that we come back to Sugarcreek and the Beiler family again sometime in the future, for I have fallen in love with Levi and little Kaylene. I would love to see more of those two, not to mention a few other who have been introduced throughout the series. I hope all who read this book enjoy it as much as I did.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
For those of us that have come to love and call Sugarcreek our home away from home, best-selling author Shelley Shepard Gray, takes us back in her latest novel Joyful, the third book in the Return to Sugarcreek Series. This has definitely been one of my favorites because I feel like I have come to know each of the couples we deal with in this novel, like they're close family friends. I've had the opportunity to get to know them and the struggles they have had up to the point we are reunited with them once again. For me, it's like having a really great television series, that you have to wait for each next episode to air so you can come back again and again to a place you'd love to be a part of. Randall Beiler and Elizabeth Holt have been seeing one another for the last two years, and Elizabeth is just waiting for the day when he will finally ask her to marry him and join the large Beiler family. Just when she believes that day is finally here, Randall gives her news she wasn't quite expecting. He tells her that he needs to spend more time taking care of his family, now that his older brothers and sisters have gotten married and moved on. Still taking on role of caretaker, mother and father, and older brother leaves him at a disadvantage with the house failing into a state of needing constant cleaning, someone to do all the cooking, and helping to raise nine-year-old Kaylene who feels being left at home with four older brothers is beyond what she can take. So Randall's solution is to call things off with Elizabeth. Now heartbroken, Elizabeth struggles to figure out a way to help pay her bills taking care of her grandmother since her mother has moved away to begin her own life. She had originally planned to send money, but each month is seems like she is sending less and less, leaving Elizabeth with no choice but to find a way to supplement their income while still caring for her ailing grandmother who needs constant care. She had hoped that being married to Randall would solve things for them, knowing he could support not only them, but allowing her grandmother to move in with them, but that is not going to happen anytime soon. But will one unskilled bachelor be able to handle taking care of a house, cooking, cleaning and raising his siblings without any help, or will Randall realize he has simply bitten off more than he can chew? I received Joyful by Shelly Shepard Gray compliments of Avon Inspire, 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 LOVED where Shelley took her characters in this novel. As the title suggests, each of them will be forced into a situation in which they will have to find the joy in life once again, instead of dwelling on worries and things beyond our control at times. Too often we find ourselves taking on more stress and worry wondering what will happen, instead of simply enjoying what we have right in front of us, that we miss the joyful moments, of learning what it means to care for those we love, to help out our friends and family when they need it the most, and learn to appreciate what we have instead of wanting more that may never come. It causes the reader to reflect on those joyful moments in their own life, they may be missing simply worrying about tomorrow instead of enjoying today and one that I believe can cause us to change how we view our lives and see more joy instead of worry. I easily give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars. A reader's discussion guide is included as well as a sneak peek into Shelley's next novel Snowfall.
moonlilly More than 1 year ago
Joyful is the third book in Shelley Shepard Gray's beloved Return to Sugarcreek series. From page one you will be caught up into a beautifully woven story with the Beilers, Nolts, Grabers, and the new owner of The Sugarcreek Inn. You can't help but feel what her characters are feeling, through their struggles of growing and trusting in God's will, through their tears as both heartache and happiness filter through their lives, and realizing just how strong a family can be in times of trial. I also realized as I read this heartfelt story that there are times when you can catch glimpses of your own life within the pages. Joyful was like that for me. I definitely recommend this book! Be forewarned though you might need some tissues with this one. Thank you Shelley Shepard Gray for sharing your beautiful stories with us.
auntangela More than 1 year ago
It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Shelley Shepard Gray and her books. Each book that she writes delivers exactly what I hoped for and, and in some cases, didn't even know I wanted. She has the beautiful gift of making you feel like you are right there, in Sugarcreek, with all of these unbelivable and terrific characters. Joyful is no different. This is the third and final book in the series, and you guessed it; I loved it. I loved the premise of this book, I fell in love with the character of Elizabeth. What a patient and humble person! Randall is the character that makes you want to shake your head and just "wake him up" and help him realize the error of his ways faster. Your heart aches for Judith and Ben, and all the while I am reading their stories I can picture it all in my mind with the vivid descriptions and beautiful way the stories are told. You need to take the time and pick up this Return to Sugarcreek series. You will be grateful to me that you did, and might even leave a comment thanking me. :) What a pleasure to be the reader of one of Shelley's books.
KMorgan73 More than 1 year ago
Set aside plenty of time to read Joyful. Once you start reading you won't want to stop until you've reached the end! This, the third and final book in the Return to Sugarcreek series, is a fast paced read that will keep you interested from beginning to end. I immediately liked the characters from page one. They were so well-written that I felt as if I had known them forever. I especially liked Elizabeth and wanted her to have a happy ending to her story. I liked Randall too even though at times I thought he needed a good shaking. The problems they had weren't just limited to the Amish but could very well be had by any couple, no matter their faith. I must admit I like Amish fiction where they have the same problems and issues as the English. I like seeing how they handle the situations compared to us. I couldn't read this book fast enough as I wanted to know how it ended. The book was easy to stay interested in and soon I found myself at the end of the story. I will miss the people of Sugarcreek and hope there will be a chance to visit them again in the future. I recommend this book to lovers of Amish fiction or anyone looking for a nice sweet, clean romance.
faithsnana More than 1 year ago
In this third book of The RETURN TO SUGARCREEK series we are taken back to the Beiler family, raising themselves and caring for the family farm since the death of their parents; Elizabeth Nolt whose mother moved to Pennsylvania with her new husband leaving Elizabeth and her grandmother alone; and Ben and Judith Knox and their foster baby James whose birth mother Kendra is in prison, is later diagnosed with cancer and dies there. You can’t help but feel a part of the ups and downs of Randall and Elizabeth’s relationship.  You’ll feel frustration towards Randall and sadness for Elizabeth.  One of Randall’s brothers devises a plan to help Elizabeth out financially and possibly help Randall and Elizabeth’s relationship.   You’ll also feel anxious and sad right along with Judith at the very real possibility of losing James with the death of his birth mother.  Ben handles the situation better than Judith does but it also saddens him and would break his heart too.  Will one of Kendra’s sisters take James away? You’ll have to read this wonderfully written book by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Shelley Shepard Gray to find out what happens in the lives of these characters.  Will you feel JOYFUL at the end?   Once again Shelley has written a book you can’t put down!  Thank you Shelley for another five star read! I always look forward to your next book!!!  
Wilani More than 1 year ago
Another great hit by Shelley Shepard Gray.  This book is a page turner and heart stirring. The importance of family, and trust in God are important themes in this book.  I must admit there were times I wanted to knock some sense into one of the characters, but in the end he straightened out without my interference. I do love a book where I become invested in the characters.  The book has its very tender and tear jerker moments which is a good thing. Thank you, Shelley, for another great book.
CindyLinth More than 1 year ago
Shelley Shepard Gray hits another homerun out of the ballpark with Joyful. After just reading the first few pages, I felt like I was back sitting around the kitchen table with the Beilers and Grabers, sharing their sorrows and joys, and also wanting to slap Randall upside his head a few different times. Shelley's writing makes you feel like part of the family. You feel everything they go thru like you are one of them. You know by the end of this book that the title is spot on. Through all the hurt and turmoil, in the end, God brings everyone the JOY they need. Believe me, once you start reading, you won't want to put this story down. So find yourself a cozy little corner to curl up in with Joyful and enjoy.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
I just finished the third book in Joyful: Return to Sugarcreek, Book Three, I loved the book, but didn’t want the series to end. This is the story of Elizabeth Nolt and Randall Beiler, and how he breaks her heart. I felt he was really tactless in how he handled the breakup. He sure didn’t seem to have his head screwed on right, as he wasn’t at all thinking, especially seeing what his other members had done previously. We also have Judith and Ben, who are still caring for little James, and growing in their love for him. Will their hearts be broken, will Kendra change her mind and let her sister’s raise her baby. Then there is Pippa who is enjoying managing the restaurant, but after her divorce, skeptical about having a relationship with Bud. Can she overcome her disappointments and begin to accept Bud’s attention? Through all of these relationships you see people struggling with using their own will and not listening to God. When they begin to yield to God, things don’t always happen the way they want, but it is the way it should be. How I enjoyed this great read, and will miss these people that I have come to love, and be involved in their lives. Made me want to move to Sugarcreek, and in particular live among the Amish. I can’t wait for the new series to start! Thank you Shelly Shephard Gray! I received this book through Edelwiss and the Publisher Harper Collins, and was not required to give a positive review.
KLouiseHansel More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Shelley Shepard Gray's books. They are books that anyone can read and not have to worry about swear words and sex. There is always an element of romance and mystery or suspense. It would make a good book club discussion because of the questions at the back of the book. Once I read the first book of the trilogy, I can hardly wait until the next is published.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sorry, l've been out camping with my girl scout troop. Da<_>mn, l missed being here. Well, l'm back now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well you should