Book Review & Giveaway: His Guilt, Book 2 of The Amish of Hart County by Shelley Shepard Gray

"He'd spent most of his life trying to do the right thing in the worst of sort of circumstances." (12)

Title: His Guilt
Series: The Amish of Hart County, Book 2
Author: Shelley Shepard Gray
Publisher:  Avon Inspire, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Release Date:  July, 2017
Genre: Amish Contemporary Fiction


A suspenseful tale of an Amish man who will risk all to protect the woman he loves.

Mark Fisher has returned home to Hart County, determined to put the past behind him. Two years ago, after being wrongly accused of assault, he left the Amish community, though never forgot his home. When the one person who had helped him through his rough times asks for help, Mark returns. But it is pretty Waneta Cain who makes him want to stay...
Neeta is one of the few people in Hart County who doesn't believe Mark is guilty of hurting anyone. However, his worldliness and tough exterior do make her uneasy. As she begins to see the real man behind all the gossip and prejudice, she wonders if he is the man for her.

Just when Mark starts to believe a new life is possible, a close friend of Neeta's is attacked. Once again, everyone in the community seems to believe he is guilty. But what hurts most is Neeta's sudden wariness around him. When another woman is hurt, a woman who is close to both Neeta and himself, Mark fears he knows the real culprit. And time is running out. Will Mark be able to find him before Neeta becomes his next victim?

There's always a dilemma when I read a new book from Shelley Shepard Gray. Like many of the author's books, His Guilt, the second book in The Amish of Hart County series leaves me elated with having read a very satisfied read, but with the question of figuring out which one of the author's is my favorite. I'm particularly fond of this series with its cryptic suspense, flawed characters and the secondary theme of gossiping and its ramifications.

"I think you are being judgmental. You are casting stones without a care about who they hurt. . ." (60)

As the past haunts our main character Mark, gossip and standing up for what (and who) she believes in marks Neeta's struggles in His Guilt. How easily are we affected by hearsay or easily we conclude that we know about a person based on their past or what the majority thinks? It's easy to point fingers or feel victimized, but what if you're the one behind all the gossip or what if your past casts a dark cloud over you constantly? I closed the last page of His Guilt with more than elation of having a satisfied conclusion, but a desire to look into my heart and be wary of my action and thoughts. Isn't that what makes a good story - when it gives a reader more than just a story, but meaning?

". . . memories hurt, but I don't want them to define me." (75)

 "There's a big world out there. It is filled with pain and hurt. . . But it's also filled with opportunities and wonderful people. And love. If you dare to step out of your prison." (191)

There's a certain amount of darkness shown that's quite different than typical Amish fiction. Scenes of physical abuse described and possible rape mentioned. Yet, it was written in a way that holds true to its genre, as well as for readers looking for realism in fiction.  In all, His Guilt gives a whole new meaning to how words can hurt, how trust and faith heals and forgiveness relieves the tension that burdens deep into one's soul.  Sometimes, the romance plays second fiddle, and that's fine, because simplicity still shines at the right moments.

" '. . . You mean something to me.' She didn't know whether to give him a hug or burst into tears. His words were heartfelt." (145)

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.
Please note, all quotes are taken from ARC (essentially an uncorrected proof). Please do not share quote or if do, please make note that it is taken from an ARC. 

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.



BOOKS IN THE AMISH OF HART COUNTY SERIES (Click on the covers to take you to my review / Goodreads)

Book 4: His Risk

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.

CONNECT WITH SHELLEY: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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  1. Replies
    1. Me too! Read it on the flight back from seeing you! Awesome story!

  2. Annie, I enjoyed the first book in this series and I'd so looooooove to read this book. How do I inquire about getting a copy?

    1. Hi Lori, thanks for stopping by. This is indeed a great story. If you're a blogger/reviewer, you can try Netgalley. Or I'm sure authors and publishers would greatly appreciate it, if you request it at your local library or preorder it. It's currently on sale at all participating retailers at the preorder price. Next, you can always try your luck in this giveaway. =) Good luck!

  3. I hope it is okay... I linked up to your review on my book tour post. Loved your comments on the theme of gossip!


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