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Tuesday, January 3, 2023



Mary Margaret Miller needs an escape from her small Amish community. She boards a bus, all alone, for a vacation in Pinecraft, Florida. Meeting Betsy and Lilly on the way, she's amazed to find two kindred spirits. They become fast friends and determine to have the best two weeks of their lives. For Mary, it starts when she meets Jayson Raber. The handsome and charming carpenter is taken by Mary from the get-go, but he has responsibilities back home in Kentucky--including a girl he's supposed to marry.

When someone from Mary's past shows up in Pinecraft, it seems like her perfect vacation is ruined. But that's nothing compared to what's coming when she realizes what Jayson has been hiding.

Take a vacation with 
New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray as she explores what happens when we allow our pasts to define our futures in this story of friendship, romance, and new beginnings.


This has been such an enjoyable book to read. I could feel the excitement as Mary steps on the bus to get out of her comfort zone. She needs this break to regroup and to  hopefully find a direction for her life. I loved how the  author introduces Betsy and Lillie to the story. Three young women traveling on the same bus going to the same place had to be a God thing. They quickly become friends and I adored the place they were staying at. The adventures they planned sounded exciting and their mutual desire to be friends was good for each of them. 

It is hard to say which character I liked the best because they each offer an adventure as they figure out where God is calling them. Mary seems to be the most unsure of her future and tends to hold onto things from the past. At times I thought maybe she was running away so she didn’t have to face her insecurity. I liked the interaction she has with Jayson and how their friendship developed slowly and respectfully. The author illustrates how hard forgiveness can be.  I loved reading how Mary and a friend from home run into each other in Pinecraft. I thought it took real courage for Esther to face Mary knowing how hurtful she has been to her. Mary finds it hard to forgive Esther but with God’s guidance we witness how freeing it can be to release bitterness and forgive. 

The story is filled with a look at how faith will guide you as you listen to God. He has a plan for each of us. Some of the characters find it hard to wait on God’s direction but when they try to move ahead of Him, they stumble and hurt feelings happen. Jayson is a good example of being afraid to stand up for what he wants. He is so focused on making others happy, he finds that he could miss the opportunity to find love. The author gives us a range of emotions from unhappiness, loneliness, forgiveness and finding  peace. I’m excited that this will be a series and can’t wait to follow the characters on their journey as they step out in faith. 

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