cover image Her Secret: The Amish of Hart County

Her Secret: The Amish of Hart County

Shelley Shepard Gray. Avon Inspire, $12.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-246910-6

Gray (Hopeful) begins a new contemporary series with innocent young Hannah Hilty being stalked by an aggressive man. Hoping to keep the stalker away from Hannah, her family flees Ohio for an Amish community in Kentucky. Hannah tells no one outside her family about the stalking and becomes known as the Recluse, as she rarely ventures out of the house. Although she is scared and traumatized, Hannah realizes she must overcome the predicament and slowly begins to warm to her new locale. Isaac, the Hiltys’ new neighbor, is attracted to Hannah and draws out her secret, divulging his own past trauma in exchange. Hannah’s parents and sister hide secrets, too, undergirding Gray’s strong moral concern with the needless suffering that arises from unexplained mysteries. The novel, peppered with Low German to lend authenticity, fits with popular, predictable Amish romances and—despite the harrowing setup—will leave readers pleasantly satisfied by the end. Although the book is as hortatory as Anne of Green Gables (each chapter a lesson worthy of Sunday School), Gray does convey one truth well: finding community is better than hiding alone. (Mar.)