Author of Sugarcreek fiction
to speak at Medina luncheon
Shelley Shepard Gray, prolific author of Amish-themed fiction, will be featured at the Medina County District Library’s Writers Live Author Luncheon, from noon to 2:30 p.m. May 1 at Weymouth Country Club, 3496 Weymouth Road, Medina. The $25 cost includes lunch. Call 330-273-4150.
Gray’s new novel Hopeful is first in the “Return to Sugarcreek” trilogy, which brings back some of the characters in the three 2010 “Seasons of Sugarcreek” books (Gray added a Christmas novella in 2011).
Miriam is 25 and single, and in a rut. Working as a waitress and baker at a Sugarcreek restaurant, she has watched all her friends get married while she harbors a secret crush on handsome Junior Beiler. When Junior asks to call on Miriam one night at her home, she’s thrilled, until she learns the reason: He wants her to hook him up with her friend, pretty schoolteacher Mary Kate.
Miriam hides her chagrin and her massive self-esteem complex and agrees, figuring that at least she’ll get the opportunity to spend some time with Junior. Junior knows nothing about Mary Kate and is attracted to her only because she’s pretty, but he’s not a shallow man; he’s distracted by raising his younger brothers and sisters. While Mary Kate seems distant and cold, she, too, is distracted by a problem from her past. Despite her mother’s remarks about Miriam’s “little bit of extra weight,” she seems just as appealing as any other young woman.
Though Gray is well known as a writer of Amish fiction, there are fewer references to the Amish faith in this book than in most of her works; no buggy rides and no bishops’ decrees. One of Junior’s brothers is getting a little frisky on Rumspringa and a couple of characters talk about making phone calls that have nothing to do with emergencies, so they probably are New Order Amish, but this book could easily be set in the “English” world.
Hopeful (225 pages, softcover) costs $12.99 from Avon Inspire, and includes a preview of Thankful, the next book in the trilogy, out May 6. Shelley Shepard Gray lives in Loveland, in southwest Ohio.
Medina County author Mary Ellis also is known for her popular Amish fiction, but takes on a new challenge in The Quaker and the Rebel, first in her new “Civil War Heroines” series.
The leading lady is Emily Harrison, a genteel, plainspoken Ohio Quaker whose reduced circumstances force her to take the position of governess in a Virginia home where some of the servants are slaves, and some are free people of color. Emily is distressed by the situation, but soon finds that she can use it to help escaping slaves on the Underground Railroad.
When Emily meets her employer’s nephew, he appears to be the layabout son of wealthy horse farmers who has paid a substitute to take his place in the military. Alexander is a paradox: intelligent and cheeky. Alexander also has a secret — he is the Gray Wraith, leader of a group of partisan rangers who purloin Union supplies for the Confederate Army. Of course they will fall in love, but who will learn the other’s dangerous secret first?
The Quaker and the Rebel (346 pages, softcover) costs $13.99 from Harvest House. The second book in the series, The Lady and the Officer, is scheduled for August.
Her Last Breath, fifth in Linda Castillo’s series about a Holmes County police chief, has been nominated for a Thriller Award as Best Novel by the International Thriller Writers; her competition includes Stephen King and Lee Child. The awards will be presented in July at the annual conference in New York.
Kent Free Library (312 W. Main St.) — Bob Grau discusses and signs Five Million Steps on a Journey of Hope: Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail, 7 to 8 p.m. Monday.
GriefCare Place (4499 Darrow Road, Stow) — Iris Llewellyn Angle reads from and signs her book Tell Your Story Walking, about her son’s 1992 suicide and her work in suicide prevention, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Fairview Park branch, 21255 Lorain Road) — Novelist Claire Gebben, author of The Last of the Blacksmiths, presents “A Hidden Heritage: German Immigrants of the 19th Century,” based on research from her book, 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday.
Oakwood Cemetery Chapel (2420 Oakwood Drive, Cuyahoga Falls) — Mary McClure gives a slide presentation and signs her pictorial history Silver Lake Park, about the 19th-century amusement park, 10 a.m. Saturday.
Learned Owl Book Shop (204 N. Main St., Hudson) — Children’s author Mike Hooley reads from his book Penelope Skunk Has Junk in Her Trunk, 11 a.m. Saturday.
House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., Cleveland) — About 40 authors, mostly of romance and romantic suspense, are expected at the Cleveland Author Event. The early session has sold out; tickets to attend from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday are $9.19. See www.clevelandauthorevent2014.com for tickets and the list of authors.
The Bookseller (39 Westgate Circle, Akron) — Mary McClure signs Silver Lake Park, 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday.
— Barbara McIntyre
Special to the Beacon Journal
Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or email@example.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.