Review: The Loyal One by Shelley Shepard Gray

Title: The Loyal One by Shelley Shepard Gray
Walnut Creek Series Book Two
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary, Amish, Romance
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


The New York Times bestselling author of the Walnut Creek series crafts a moving and evocative novel of secrets, friendship, and second chances—perfect for fans of Kathleen Fuller and Beth Wiseman. 

When Katie Steury hires her old friend Harley Lambright to remodel her rundown old house into a charming bed and breakfast, she does so with trepidation. Though they are longtime friends, they’ve always had a rocky relationship, thanks to her being partly responsible for his most recent breakup. But while they may not always get along, she needs someone to trust with her secrets, and Harley is nothing if not trustworthy and loyal.

Katie has always reminded Harley of a bright hummingbird—she is small and flighty, moves a mile a minute, and she possesses a very sharp beak. He’s hesitant to accept the job because of his history with Katie. But when he realizes that Katie’s been hiding her mother’s hoarding, he agrees to help her because it’s clear she needs someone on her side.

Both soon discover that clearing the debris in one old house also means they have to do some clean-up in their lives, forcing them to reevaluate their past and their future. This somewhat painful process reveals that Katie isn’t the only one with secrets. As the house gets a second chance, so, too, does their relationship. Now all they have to do is open their hearts—and hope and pray that their new bond will also stand the test of time.


The Loyal One by Shelley Shepard Gray is a heartfelt and uplifting Amish romance. This second installment in the Walnut Creek series can be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend the other books in the series.

With her dream of turning her family home into a bed and breakfast within reach, Katie Steury  turns to friend and home remodeler Harley Lambright for help.  Their longstanding friendship is a bit troubled but she hopes she can smooth over the problems she caused for him a few years earlier. Katie is not a malicious person but she often speaks without thinking through the consequences of sharing her thoughts.   She is truly regretful for any pain her comments might have caused, but will Harley be receptive to her attempt to move on from her past mistakes?

Katie is a caring young woman whose penchant for speaking her mind is well known by her friends and family. But oddly enough, she has been hiding a secret about her family that she would rather not become public knowledge.  With their uneasy truce barely in place, Katie is hurt and dismayed when she believes Harley has betrayed her.   Will Katie give Harley the benefit of the doubt and allow him to explain his side?

Harley is the oldest of his siblings and he feels immense pressure to live up to his stern father’s expectations. He is self-contained and tries to keep his emotions in check at all times. Harley often finds himself at a loss for words when dealing with Katie since he would rather not make things worse between them.   As he spends more time in her company, Harley is surprised when he realizes his feelings for her have deepened beyond friendship. Is there any chance he and Katie will find a way to make a romance between them work in light of their sometimes fraught history?

Harley’s younger brother Kyle is also facing a difficult decision about what to about his feelings for Gabby who is not Amish. He is very concerned about how his parents will react when he tells them about her. Is there any chance a relationship between them will work out considering the differences between them?

With a lovely undercurrent of faith, The Loyal One is a beautiful novel of friendship, family and love. Katie and Harley are appealing characters who both undergo considerable growth as their friendship evolves into a touching romance.  They both also learn that communication is vital as misunderstandings threaten to derail their burgeoning relationship.  Katie and Harley continue to rely on their close-knit circle of friends to provide them with thoughtful insight to the issues they are dealing with.  Old and new fans of Shelley Shepard Gray’s Walnut Creek series are sure to love this engaging and thought-provoking novel of healing and love.

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Filed under Amish, Contemporary, Gallery Books, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Shelley Shepard Gray, The Loyal One, Walnut Creek Series

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