Daybreak begins Shelley Shepard Gray's The Days of Redemption series in good style. The story is filled with interesting characters who have a lot of issues to deal with.
Viola learns that things are not always as they seem -- in her own family and in others -- and she finds that her quick-to-judge attitude may need a little adjusting. Ed is surprised to find his father doing so well in the retirement home and has adjustments to make as he comes home for a while.
The story of Viola, Ed, and the others is an engaging one, with several twists thrown in for interest. Fans of Amish fiction should enjoy this story, which I give 4 stars out of 5.
Once again Shelley Shepard Gray has written a wonderful story with DAYBREAK the first book in her new series THE DAYS OF REDEMPTION. I loved DAYBREAK it was spellbinding. intriguing and an engaging page turner with the hint of mystery with the Keim family secrets being revealed. In the mist of the uproar Viola Keim and Edward Swartz fall in love. Their relationship brings each one to make a big decision that will change their lives, especially for Viola. Once Lovina's (Lorene's mother) secret is revealed Lorene goes to John Miller whom she broke up with 10 years ago because of her mother to ask for forgiveness. They find they still love each other and want a life together. I can't wait to read book 2, RAY OF LIGHT especially after reading the excerpt.
A multi-generational story that revolves around the complexities of family life. There are so many layers in this book I don't know where to start. Gray does a wonderful job of weaving diverse stories around a common thread.
While Viola and Ed take center stage in Daybreak, the reader is invited into the lives of other members of the Kiem family as well. They aren't your stereotypical Amish family and Gray provides a realistic, sometime gritty view of dysfunction and how it affects generations.
The first in a series, I'm anxious to continue the Kiem's family saga in future books. Gray excels at creating a satisfying standalone story in the midst of a series with common threads. While my reader's heart is immensely satisfied by the conclusion, my interest is piqued over some unanswered questions. Gray always leaves me wanting more.
What if everything you ever believed about your upbringing and the life your parents had lived was nothing but a lie? What would that make you think about all the decisions you've made that were called wrong when instead they could have been right, if only the true were allowed to shine through? Now you have the premise behind the latest novel from Shelley Shepard Gray in her new series The Days of Redemption. In the first book, Daybreak we are introduced to the residents of Daybreak Retirement Home where Viola Keim has been working in Mennonite community. Even though she herself isn't a Mennonite, but a New Order Amish, she finds herself wondering just how children can abandon their parents to live out the rest of their lives in the care of strangers instead of living at home with them.
She finds herself particularly drawn to an elderly man named Atle Swartz who is wheelchair bound but is ornery as they come and lately only Viola can dish it back to him in a manner that creates a wonderful relationship despite the age difference. However when Atle shares the letters from his son volunteering in mission work in Nicaragua, she isn't pleased when Edward returns home to see his father. She has a hard time coming to terms between the differences in caring for aging parents and feels obligated to share her concerns with him. However it seems there might be more sparks there than just anger but can they work through their differences before Edward has to return to Nicaragua?
When Viola learns that even her own family has been hiding secrets of their own, it opens her up to the possibilities that not everything as it appears on the surface. She learns that her own mother was born English and have hidden the facts of their lives before marriage from their children. Now Viola's parents have to come to terms that what people think about them as the perfect family isn't really true and that those same standards they have placed on their children growing up has made life more difficult than they could have imagined. What implications will that have not only on their immediate family but in the Amish community as well? Will this new knowledge help Viola move towards having a softer heart towards Edward and his own father?
I received Daybreak by Shelley Shepard Gray compliments of Avon Inspired, a division of Harper Collins Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review. Once again Shelley does an exceptional job at writing a series that defines some valuable lessons in between, about judging a book by its cover! In this instance Viola is judgmental when it comes to how Edward deals with his father based on her own values in growing up Amish, but she doesn't understand what has motivated them to make the decision that worked for them. Much like how she has judged her own parents based on what she saw on the outside without really knowing the truth about their own pasts. I LOVED novels that offer a duality about them, incorporating an wonderful story with some valuable life lessons we can all relate to. I rate this one a wunderbaar (wonderful in Amish) 5 out of 5 stars and can't wait for the next book Ray of Light in this heartwarming The Days of Redemption series. You get a teaser chapter at the end of this one!
Daybreak by Shelley Shepard Gray is an Amish love story and unlike most it is of the New Order as opposed to the Old Order Amish. The people in this story have more freedoms and can more decide on their own what path they wish to take in life. This is the first of a new series called the Day of Reckoning. The Keim family is much looked up to in this community but like any family they are not as perfect as would seem from the outside. The generations which follow the first have difficulties attempting to maintain perfection and this is the story of their failure to attain perfect as well as how they try to cope. Viola Keim is of the 3rd generation and at the age of 22 is beginning to feel that she may never find love until she meets the son of one of her favorite residents at the Mennonite retirement home where she works. Her family life has begun to crumble as they attempt to deal with her father’s drinking as well as her twin sister’s failing eyesight. The family has just found a picture of their family matriarch dressed as an Englisher and she continues to deny any explanation of why she had her picture taken and why she is dressed in a graduation gown. Dark secrets from the past continue to be uncovered as the family try to cope. I liked this book. It seemed believable as opposed to the perfect life often depicted in Amish love stories. The story is a quick read—I read it in a couple of settings. I enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the 2nd installment of the series. I received this book from HarperCollins Publishers for this review.