The Patient One

The Patient One

by Shelley Shepard Gray


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781982100872
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 04/09/2019
Series: Walnut Creek Series , #1
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 81,163
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Shelley Shepard Gray is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over sixty novels, translated into multiple languages. She lives in southern Ohio with her family and writes full time.

Read an Excerpt

The Patient One

  • “The first thing you all should remember about Andy was that he was afraid of snakes,” Katie said with a grin, her voice cracking slightly. “He was also really embarrassed by that. Which, of course, is why one afternoon, back when we were fourteen, all eight of us decided to go for a walk in the woods.”


    “This little house isn’t much, and I can’t say I’m real thrilled about its location, but I suppose it has a certain amount of charm,” Marie’s mother said as she ran one manicured nail along the granite kitchen countertops. “These are sure pretty.”

    Marie smiled with pride. “Thanks, Mom. The kitchen is the reason I snapped the place up. That, and the amazing amount of closet space.”

    “It really does look better on the inside than on the outside.” Mom looked out the window, frowning at the chain-link fence surrounding the yard. “Are you sure this area is perfectly safe?”

    “Mom, it’s Walnut Creek. Of course it’s safe. This place is going to be just fine. I’ll be fine.”

    “Well, you’re right, I suppose. Most of Walnut Creek is perfectly safe, almost like something out of Mayberry.” Still staring out the window, she added, “This street doesn’t have a real good look to it, though. Be sure you lock your doors at night.”

    “I’ll do that.” Like she didn’t already.

    After giving the weed-filled yard one last glance, her mother turned back to her. “I hate to bring it up again, but I still don’t understand why you transferred over to that branch out in New Philly and elected to drive there from Walnut Creek. You had a nice life in Cleveland.”

    “You’re right. I did.” Her mother wasn’t wrong. After going to college and majoring in English, she’d had a hard time finding work. She’d finally landed a job as a teller at Champion Banks and discovered she loved it. One thing led to another, and by the end of her first year, she’d been promoted and was actually making pretty good money.

    Good enough that she’d leased a lovely loft in picturesque Chagrin Falls, a well-to-do suburb east of Cleveland. She’d decorated it pretty and met a nice group of girlfriends. Just a couple of months ago, she’d started dating. Many of her customers were single, eligible men who her parents would have been thrilled to meet.

    It was all good. All things she knew she should be happy about. Her parents were proud of her, too. Not only was she living on her own and supporting herself, but they were also sure she was eventually going to bring home a nice man who was a lot like them, i.e., wealthy and good-mannered. Then, in no time, she would settle down, get married, have her two children, and eventually raise her own homecoming queen.

    Though all of that hadn’t been exactly her goals in life, Marie knew it was a possibility. Maybe she would have done all that, too, if she hadn’t begun to realize that everything she had wasn’t actually everything she’d ever wanted.

    After Andy died, she’d decided to stop contemplating change and actually make one.

    Three months ago, when John B. had asked them all to make a promise to reconnect, she had agreed immediately, knowing that both her heart and her soul needed these friends of hers. Needed them more than a fancy future or even making her mother’s dreams a reality.

    And then, of course, there was John B.

    After living most of her life in his periphery, wanting to be more than just his friend, but feeling sure that he would never want the same thing, she’d decided to give things between them one more try.

    It might be a pipe dream. John might never look beyond their differences or want to put her in front of his family’s wishes. But Marie knew that if she didn’t finally make her desire known to him, to simply lay it all out there and hope for the best, she would always regret it.

    Treating her to the intense look Marie was oh so familiar with, Mom said, “Are you ready to tell me the truth about why you moved back to Walnut Creek?” She suddenly frowned. “You aren’t having bad dreams again, are you?”

    Her mother was referring to the same reoccurring dream she’d had since childhood. She used to wake her parents up at least once a week with her cries. “Some, but they haven’t been too bad.”

    “Are you sure? I bet I could call around and see if Miss Flemming is still in practice.”

    Miss Flemming had been her therapist for two years back when she’d been in middle school. She was a nice lady, but she’d been old even then. “I hope she’s still not practicing, Mom. I saw her years ago. She needs to be sitting on a beach somewhere instead of listening to everyone else’s problems, don’t you think?” she joked.

    Her mother didn’t crack a smile. “She helped you learn to relax, Marie.”

    No, Miss Flemming had helped her learn how to cope when things happened that were out of her control. “I’ve been doing my breathing exercises. I’ll get better. It’s just been a really difficult time, Mom.”

    “I know. I still worry about you. Dad and I love you.”

    “I know. And I love you, too. That’s one of the reasons I’m glad I’ll be here in Walnut Creek. It will be nice to see you both more often. I also have a really good group of friends here. I want to live near them. The rest of the Eight feel the same way.”

    Her mother’s expression softened. “They were good friends to you. Good kids, too.”

    “We’re all adults now, Mom.”

    “I know that. It’s just that when I think of the Eight, I can’t help but remember the way you all would run around together.” Her lips twitched. “My goodness. You all were so loud! Always laughing. Always in a hurry. Dad used to call you guys a pack of hounds. Practically inseparable.”

    That comment should’ve made her feel better. Instead, it only served to remind her that they’d drifted apart . . . and they’d suffered for it, too. Especially Andy.

    Not wanting to start crying again, she cleared her throat. “See? Relationships like that don’t come along more than once in a lifetime. They need to be nurtured, don’t you think?”

    “Dear, you’re only twenty-four. You’ve got years and years to make more really good friends.”

    “I made new friends in college and in Chagrin Falls, but they weren’t the same as the Eight.”

    “Marie . . .”

    Hating that her mother was likely to launch into a well-meaning but misguided lecture, Marie hardened her voice. “Mom, I don’t want to make more new, good friends. I want to work on keeping the ones that I have.”

    Her mother’s expression softened. “I’m not saying that you shouldn’t all still be friends, Marie. It’s just that sometimes you have to accept the fact that people change and they choose their own path. Just because they were a part of your childhood doesn’t mean they need to be a part of the rest of your life.”

    Before she could interrupt, her mother continued. “Then, too, there’s the fact that while you might be grown up, none of you have married yet. Things change when you get married.”

    “I know that.”

    A pair of lines formed in between her mother’s brows. “Then there’s the fact that some of you simply don’t have anything in common anymore. You’ve each gone down your own paths.”

    “We do, though. We talked a lot at Andy’s funeral.”

    Her voice gentled. “Marie, I’m very sorry about Andy. He was a wonderful person. I know you’re heartbroken about his death. Dad and I have been keeping his parents and Tricia in our prayers. But I’m also talking about how some of those ah, adults, now live a completely different lifestyle from you.”

    “Because some of the Eight are Amish?”

    “Well, yes.” Her gaze hardened. “And don’t go acting like it doesn’t matter. It does. If your Amish friends haven’t been baptized yet, they soon will be. Then their paths will be set. I know it’s hard, but it’s a fact of life. Sometimes childhood friendships are best left as good memories.”

    She shook her head. “Mom, as much as it makes me feel like I’m sixteen again, I’m going to have to tell you that you don’t understand.”

    Her mom chuckled. “I actually do recall you telling me that a time or two, back in the day.”


    “And, at the risk of repeating what I used to tell you, I’m going to have to say that I might understand more than you think.”

    “I love you, Mom.” She reached out and gently squeezed her mother’s hand, hoping the words and the gesture would ease her obstinate tone.

    After giving her a squeeze back, her mother dropped her hand. “I love you, too, Marie. And unlike when you were sixteen, you’re a grown woman now. I’ll try to keep my opinions to a minimum.”


    Seeming to come to grips with herself, her mother said, “All right then. I told your father I wouldn’t be home until close to seven. That means we’ve got all afternoon to turn this place into a little home for you. What do you want to do first?”

    “Can we work on my living room? I think I need something to store things in. And maybe a new lamp.”

    “I saw some cute shelving units we can put together over at the Walmart in Millersburg. Want to head over there?”

    Before her mother reached for her purse, Marie flung her arms around her. “Thanks, Mom.”

    Her mom wrapped her arms around her, too. “For what?”

    “For not arguing with me.”

    After pressing her lips to her brow, her mother started chuckling. “You might know the Eight the best, but I know you pretty well, too. And you always were as stubborn as all get out.”

    Thinking that her stubbornness might finally get John B. to notice her, Marie smiled. After all, that was what she was counting on.

  • Customer Reviews

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    The Patient One 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
    Lorraine Alexander 2 days ago
    Life happens and the “Eight” didn’t get together as often as they used to. They’re together now though. Well, seven of them are. They’re at a funeral. Andy’s funeral. Not only one of their own but their leader. The worse part, he killed himself. This story starts out on a sad note and is filled with so many emotions. Anger, blame, hurt, love. Promises were made. Promises to stay better connected with each other. Questions, so many questions. How could Andy have done that? Why didn’t he reach out to any of them? They were a close-knit group of life-long friends. How did they not see he was troubled? This story captures your attention from the first paragraph and keeps you wanting more. You can’t put the book down. You have to see how these friends, from three different cultures, help each other deal with their loss. Follow the lives of the remaining “Eight” and watch friendships get stronger. Some even turn to more. See who makes sacrifices to be with the one they love.
    Anonymous 6 days ago
    This is the first in a new series from Shelley Shepard Gray. In the beginning of this book we start of with the death of Andy who was the leader of the "8" which are friends: some Amish, some English, and some Mennonite. After drifting apart for a few years and Andy's death they decided to try and get together more. A few are starting to think of each other as more than friends. Then comes another twist in the book when an accident occurs. Pick up your copy of this book to see who was in the accident and what happens to them.
    KrisAnderson_TAR 8 days ago
    The Patient One is a touching story about friendship, love, patience, family, and faith. Will, Elizabeth Anne, Harley, Logan, Katie, Marie, John and Andy plus Andy’s little sister, Tricia have been friends since childhood. The fact that they were from different religions does not bother them (Old Order Amish, Mennonite, English and New Order Amish) or affect their friendship. The group is devastated when Andy kills himself. They do not understand why he did not talk to one of them. The group had drifted a little as they took on adult responsibilities and jobs, but they would drop everything for one of the group (as we saw in Friends to the End). Marie has moved back to Walnut Creek, and she wants to finally explore her feelings for John Byler. Their relationship will be complicated since John was raised Amish, but he has not been baptized. Molly Byler, John’s younger sister, became paralyzed after a buggy accident when she was nine. She is now sixteen and wants to be treated as any other girl her age. Molly is thrilled when Danny Eberly wishes to spend time with her. I like that the characters are from different backgrounds. As John and Marie explore their romantic relationship, their differing views come into play. It provides interest and depth to the book. Logan and Tricia (their story began in Friends to the End) are included peripherally in the story. There are updates on their progressing relationship. We get to see how this group of friends deal with the loss of a close friend. The friends must deal with grief, guilt, anger, and confusion. None of them understand why Andy did not confide to one of them. I hope we get answers about Andy in future books. The Patient One has Shelley Shepard Gray’s signature writing style which drew me in right away. The story is well-written with pacing that suits the book. The characters are complex along with their situations. I look forward to learning more about each character as the series progresses. Patience is a recurring theme in The Patient One. Patience with people, situations and life. All things happen in His timing, not ours. My favorite line in the book was “even in the darkness of times there was always a glimmer of light”. I recommend reading Friends to the End before embarking on The Patient One. The Patient One is an insightful and emotional story that will touch your heart.
    BarbTRC 8 days ago
    The Patient One by Shelley Shepard Gray is the 1st book in her new Walnut Creek series. The Patient One was a nice story revolving around a group of friends who come together after the tragic suicide of one of their group. However, the group went their own way for a number of years, hardly seeing each other, and now with the suicide, they each feel the guilt that they should have been around for their deceased friend. Those who left Walnut Creek return and they are determined to unify their close friendship and help one another. The mixed group of 7 men and women, are Amish, Mennonite, and English, but that never bothered them, as they all remain good friends. The 7 friends each deal with their grief, but this story centers around John (Amish) and Marie (English) as they rekindle the attraction they had for each other. John deals with his desire to become more English, and leave the Amish life. He lets his family know, and they accept his desire, knowing that he will remain close to them, as they knew this was his desire long ago. Marie having moved back to Walnut Creek, learns later about John‘s decision and is very happy. Together they will work on their future, as well as learn how to deal with the grief of losing their friend. The other 5 members are close to John and Marie, and they all help support one another. There was also a side story showing the friendship building between John’s 16 year old sister, Molly who due to an accident is confined to a wheel chair, and Danny, a local 17 year old boy. Danny befriends Molly, who works part time at the library, and despite John’s negative reaction, their friendship grows. This was a nice feature to see Danny bring out Molly to go out and enjoy her friends. There was also another accident with some students which also bring about handling the loss of life. The Patient One was a story of friendship, bonding, guilt, grief, love and struggling to deal with the emotions of tragedy. I this was a nice simple story of life, and well written by Shelley Shepard Gray.
    KaileyBechtel 9 days ago
    I truly loved this book! I’m still trying to process my feelings for it. Shelley Shepard Gray did such a great job taking a very difficult topic and writing about it. There’s a beautiful lesson in this book. I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of this series. I have a feeling that this might be my new favorite by her. It was so good! I was given a complimentary copy of this ebook from the author, but was not required to write a review. The thoughts and comments are my own
    MaureenST 10 days ago
    The author gives us a story none of us ever want to deal with, suicide, but this fellow was the glue that held an unlikely group of 8 childhood friends together. Now this group is unusual in that it includes Amish, Mennonite and English, just because of their beliefs they are usually very separate with their lives, undue influence. As they all get together to remember their dear friend, and what they, or could have done, if only, so much guilt and self-lack of forgiveness, and then the forgiveness rears its head again in another senseless act. I did enjoy the seeing of people as they are and not looking at a disability, and the surprise when one helps a customer at the library! This is a real look at the emotions most of us have, but we put names and faces on those involved, you really don’t want to miss this! I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Gallery Books, and was not required to give a positive review.