Friday, August 22, 2014

Book Review: The Caregiver by Shelley Shepard Gray - 4 Stars

**Quick update before diving in to this review ---

Do y'all have any idea how much I've missed this?!?!  I haven't really written down my thoughts about any books in oh...  A WHOLE YEAR!!!  I'd just about given up that I'd ever have the time to do it again!  While I don't anticipate having nearly the time to devote to it as I used to, I plan to be here a little more frequently than I used to be.  :)  I hope y'all will forgive my plodding along as I get back in the swing of things.

I have stacks and stacks of books that I'd committed to reviewing, so I don't plan to accept any additional books for... maybe ever.  :)  I just have too much other stuff on my plate to heap more on top of it.  So, some of what I'll be posting will be books that were released a couple of years ago, and probably little to none that are brand new releases.  I'm ok with that if you are.  *wink*


About the book:

Two lives converge one stormy night on a train headed to Cleveland.

Lucy is traveling by herself via train to Jacob's Crossing to help care for her cousin Mattie, recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Trying to overcome the sudden death of her husband, she's glad to get away and focus on someone else for a while.

The only other Amish people on the train are Calvin Weaver and his little sister, Katie. When their train breaks down outside of Cleveland, Calvin and Lucy band together to face the outside world. But Calvin also carries the weight of past hurts. When an altercation brings both their wounds to light, they question whether they can trust each other.

Once in Jacob's Crossing, Lucy is occupied with caring for Mattie, while Calvin does his best to run his family's farm. But they can't stop thinking about those special hours spent together. Will the bond they formed last? And will Lucy and Calvin be able to put away the pain in their pasts to recognize the happiness that is suddenly in their grasp?

My review:

I had prepared myself early on to just read this one and be done with it.  I've been of the opinion that Shelley's books are good, but sometimes too rushed and lacking in substance and so I've struggled to really enjoy them.  After reading The Caregiver, my faith in her writing has been restored!

The Caregiver was such a touching novel, but also a difficult one to read because the author dealt with the very sensitive subject of physical abuse between a husband and a wife. It felt like my heart was literally aching when I read some of the scenes with Lucy and her husband. That was my first indication that this was going to be a fulfilling read...not because I take pleasure in reading about such a topic, but rather knowing that I wasn't going to be reading another book filled with warm fuzzies.

As the story progressed, I met Calvin, who was really the perfect person for Lucy after the death of her husband. (Don't worry...that last tidbit happens very early in the story, so I'm not spoiling anything for you. *wink*) Calvin had such a tender heart and concern toward Lucy that was like a balm to her soul.

As if there weren't enough emotions churning within me, there was also the addition of Lucy's cousin, Maddie, who was struggling from one day to the next with a cancer diagnosis. Since I just recently read a novel with cancer as the focus, I had a better idea of how excruciating this disease really is, and how the things that you think are the day-to-day norm suddenly become some of the hardest things to do.

There were enough secondary plots in The Caregiver to entice me to read the rest of this series, and I'm so happy that I didn't give up on Shelley's books!

4 Stars

**Many thanks to Avon Inspire for providing a copy for review.

Southern?  No
Sassy?  No

 Be sure to grab a copy of this book while it's 64% off the original cover price!!


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