ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Shelley Shepard Gray is the beloved author of the Sisters of the Heart series, including Hidden, Wanted, and Forgiven. Before writing, she was a teacher in both Texas and Colorado. She now writes full time and lives in southern Ohio with her husband and two children. When not writing, Shelley volunteers at church, reads, and enjoys walking her miniature dachshund on her town’s scenic bike trail.
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ABOUT THE BOOK:
When her mother passes away, Ella’s forced to auction off her family’s farm. Her father died years ago, and she could never manage the fifty acres on her own. But after she moves to town, she can’t deny the pain she feels watching the new owner, Loyal Weaver, repairing her family’s old farmhouse—everything Ella had once dreamed of doing.
What Ella doesn’t know is that Loyal secretly hopes she will occupy this house again…as his wife. He begins inviting her over, to ask her opinion on changes he wants to make. As their friendship blooms, Ella starts to wonder about Loyal’s intentions, especially when her best friend, Dorothy, hints that Loyal is not who he seems. There’s no way the golden boy of their close-knit Amish community could be interested in Ella, long the wallflower, hidden away caring for her ailing parents.
Should she trust the man she’s always yearned for, or the friend who’s always been by her side? When one of them threatens to disrupt the independence she’s finally achieved, Ella is faced with a choice. She can protect her heart and keep things the way they’ve always been. Or she can come out of her shell, risk everything for the love she’s always wanted, and finally have a place to call home.
The Protector is the second book in Shelley Shepard Gray’s Families of Honor series. Revisiting the town of Jacob’s Crossing, The Protector features Ella Hostetler and Loyal Weaver and continues several subplots that began in The Caregiver, the first book of the series.
“Plain Ella” has spent most of her life on the fringes due to her shyness, lack of confidence, and later the isolation of caring for her ailing mother. After her mother’s death, the property was sold to Loyal, one of the most popular young men in the area. When Loyal begins to seek out Ella’s companionship, she doubts his motives and even he is surprised by his own actions. As their friendship grows, Ella’s friend and landlord Dorothy becomes increasingly agitated and Ella’s newly gained peace turns to fear.
The Protector is another fine example of Gray’s writing gift. Her characters are real with believable emotions and reactions. The story is laced with just the right amount of drama, action, humor, romance, and faith and a pinch of suspense thrown in for good measure. Stories like this are one reason I will continue to read Gray’s novels even when I become weary of much Amish fiction.