Guest Post: Shelley Shepard Gray on choosing Charm

I'm excited to welcome Shelley Shepard Gray to Just Commonly  to talk about the setting for her new series, The Charmed Amish Life.  If you've read my review of A Son's Vow, you know how much I enjoyed it. Without further ramblings from me, here's Shelley!

      I believe it was simply a matter of time before the Lord led me to write The Charmed Amish Life Series! Charm is very close to Sugarcreek, Ohio, where I’ve placed seven novels. It’s also just south of Berlin, the site of my Days of Redemption series. All of that means that I’ve been driving through Charm a lot over the years. I was familiar with the area, the lumber mills, the fried pies, and the many cows and sheep that graze in the fields.
     However, I knew God was nudging me toward this area when I impulsively decided to spend the night in a local inn where my Amish friend’s girlfriend worked. The inn was beautiful, and it was a pleasure to meet a friend of a friend.
      However, the memory that I will always cherish was the amazing breakfast that was served. Yes, the food was wonderful, but it was the proprietor’s talk that touched my heart. Before leading us in prayer, he told a story of a man needing to reach out not only to God but to the special people in his life for support. It was a lovely tale and it resonated with me.
     When I began to plot the four books in this series, I realized that I was inspired by that proprietor’s story. I decided that the books would begin after a terrible tragedy at a lumber mill, and that the only way for my characters to recover was to reach out to each other and to the Lord.

     It’s been a pleasure to write the series. It’s brought back some wonderful memories, too! Below are a few places that a new visitor to Charm might want to check out!
  1. Keim Lumber Mill 4465 State Route 557.  While Keim Lumber is comprised of a number of warehouses, there is an extremely large retail showroom that is open to the public. It’s over 125,000 square feet and has a number of attractive displays and even a small café in it. Visitors will notice the beautiful woodwork and floor the moment they enter the building. 
  2. Charm Harness and Boot 4432 County Road 70.  This store used to only sell harnesses for horses. Now it has all kinds of outdoor and western footwear. I love that a person can find both Red Wing and UGG boots here.  
    Images from 
  3. Millers Dry Goods 4500 State Route 557. This store is right by Keim’s and looks deceptively small. However, inside it’s a perfect place to find fabric, locally made crafts, and Amish made wall hangings and quilts.
  4. Hershberger’s Farm and Bakery 5452 State Route 557. I love visiting Hershberger’s, mainly because they have these awesome little goats that you can feed. They are so cute! You can also buy all sorts of things, including some exceptionally good fried pies.
    Hershberger's Farm & Bakery
    image from
   I hope everyone will have the chance to visit Charm one day soon. In May, I’ll be hosting a girlfriend getaway there with author Vannetta Chapman! If Charm is simply too far away to visit, I hope people will enjoy reading about it in the Charmed Amish Life Series!     


Thank you, Shelley!! Charm sounds great, and I sure hope I'll be able to visit soon! 

For more information on the Girlfriends Getaway with Shelley & Vannetta Chapman, click on the image below:


Title:  A Son's Vow (The Charmed Amish Life Series, Book 1)
Author:  Shelley Shepard Gray
Publisher:  Avon Inspire, an imprint of HarperCollins
Release Date:  January 26, 2016



Shelley Shepard Gray’s first book in her Charmed Amish Life series is set in the quaint Amish village of Charm, Ohio, and tells the stories of the Kinsinger siblings who are each struggling to find both forgiveness and love in the face of tragedy.

Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family. Darla’s father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm’s lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn’t looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger—with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.

Now her brother’s anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn’t change soon, Darla fears it will cost her—and her family—even more.

Lukas Kinsinger wants to mourn the loss of his father, but he can hardly find the time to breathe. Suddenly the head of his father’s lumber mill and responsible for taking care of his three siblings, he’s feeling the pressure. He has also never felt more alone—especially with the new tension between he and Darla. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can’t simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs.

As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla’s love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?



Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), The Protector, recently made the New York Times bestseller list.  A native of Texas, she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in Colorado and taught school for ten years.  She and her husband have two children and live in Southern Ohio.  

CONNECT WITH SHELLEY: website, twitter, 




  1. Thank you for sharing this great post, ladies. The Girlfriend Getaway sounds like so much fun! I visited Charm, Ohio, several years ago, and it is lovely. I hope to visit again one day! Until then, I will enjoy the Charmed Amish Life Series! :)

  2. I just finished this book this morning and can't wait until the next book!! I couldn't put it down!!! I'm going to do a review on Goodreads in a moment

  3. I know Britney! Sure sounds like fun! And I would love to visit more Amish towns besides Lancaster!

  4. I know Lori! I loved A Son's Vow. Shelley doesn't disappoint. Looking forward to the next one in a few months!


Thank you for commenting. If you don't have any of the accounts listed in the pull down menu, just comment using "Anonymous" and put your name/nickname in the comment. Happy reading!