Title: The Protective One by Shelley Shepard Gray
Walnut Creek Series Book Three
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational, Romance
Length: 302 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
From a “skilled storyteller who reminds the reader that faith can help us survive the ups and downs in life” (RT Book Reviews), Shelley Shepard Gray weaves a moving and unforgettable exploration of love and friendship.
The tragic and untimely death of an old friend has made Elizabeth Anne rethink not only her priorities but her courtship with David, her longtime neighbor and suitor. Though he’s Mennonite like herself and has her parents’ approval, she feels that a spark is missing. Desperate for a change, she breaks things off—wondering if, perhaps, she’s the one who’s missing a spark.
When her family becomes upset with her decision, E.A. turns to her friends for support. One of them is Will, a man with a good heart who has always been there for her. As the two bond over their shared struggle to navigate a future that everyone else seems to have figured out, they are surprised to realize that they have feelings for each other.
But E.A.’s world takes a sudden turn when she realizes that she’s not the only one struggling—Marta, one of her sewing students, is in desperate need of protection. With the aid of Will and several other friends, Elizabeth Anne begins a journey that is more difficult and rewarding than she could have ever imagined…one that ultimately enables her to find everything she’s been searching for.
In this latest installment in the Walnut Creek series that “both delights and surprises” (Leslie Gould, bestselling author), Shelley Shepard Gray pens a powerful and poignant tale of friendship, courage, and love.
The Protective One by Shelley Shepard Gray is an emotionally compelling Inspirational romance. While this third full-length addition to the Walnut Creek series can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend the previous installments as well.
When twenty-four year old Elizabeth Ann “E.A.” Schmidt decides to break up with her beau, David Brennan, her life undergoes unexpected but welcome changes. Although a bit dissatisfied with her boss, she is greatly touched by her fledgling friendship with sewing student, Marta Miner. She is uneasy about her suspicions about Marta’s home life, yet she freely offers her support. E.A. is also very happy that she and her circle of friends are making more of an effort to be there for one another. But the biggest change is E.A.’s new relationship with longtime friend, Will Kurtz. As they spend time in one another’s company, a surprising romance begins to blossom.
E.A. is a wonderful young woman with a big heart and nurturing soul. She is unsure exactly how to deal with David’s strange and slightly ominous behavior after she ends their relationship. Fortunately, Will turns out to be a surprising source of strength as she navigates this new chapter in her life. A little disquieted with her uneasiness about Marta’s husband, E.A. is very happy with the changes she is beginning to see in her friend and student. But she is also growing more concerned about Marta’s safety. E.A. is very much up to the challenges she is facing, but she is grateful for Will’s assistance with the more difficult problems she is dealing with.
Although very happy for his friends, Will is a little unsettled by the changes in his friendships due to their marriages and job promotions. He is a calm port in a storm and the first to cheer on his loved ones’ when they are graced with good fortune. Will is a little dissatisfied with maintaining the status quo, so he is very eager to spend time with E.A. However, Will proves to be up the challenges occurring in both his professional and personal lives.
The Protective One is a beautifully written Inspirational romance that realistically deals with domestic abuse. Will and E.A. are wonderfully drawn characters who are both compassionate and caring. Their romance is very sweet and it is incredibly joyful to watch their friendship evolve into love. Marta’s marriage is quickly becoming untenable yet she is finally strong enough to take back control of her life. The characters grow throughout the story as they find hidden strengths within themselves as they are faced with difficult situations. Shelley Shepard Gray brings this heartwarming romance to an uplifting conclusion that is sure to delight old and new fans of the Walnut Creek series.