The Protective One

The Protective One by Shelley Shepard Gray

Published:  January 2020 – Gallery Books

Book provided by the publisher


The tragic and untimely death of her old friend has made Elizabeth rethink not only her priorities but her relationship with David, the man her parents have been encouraging her to see. Desperate for a change, she breaks things off with David in an effort to just focus on herself for a while.

But when her family becomes upset with her decision, Elizabeth turns to her friends for support. One of her most supporting friends is Will, who has long secretly harbored feelings for her. And when Elizabeth’s ex unexpectedly raises some trouble, Will decides to step up to the plate for his long-time friend. Can their friendship survive this difficult time or will it actually change for the better? (publisher)

Guest review by Katie (Bookfan daughter)

I’ll admit, when my mom, Bookfan, asked me to review an Amish book, it sat on my bedside table for a month. I brought it along on two different weekend trips but I never opened it. I am a firm believer in the idea that we read each book at the exact time we are supposed to read it. Well, the day the world shifted and I became a homeschooling mother of three young children, unable to go anywhere or see anyone, I opened up The Protective One.  And what a gift it was on that first weekend of The Virus. This book was like a breath of bright crisp spring air after a long winter (or quarantine.)  I quickly came to enjoy our heroine, E.A. and her strong sense of self, sensitivity to the needs of her friends and her willingness to say what needs to be said. The author beautifully wove together E.A.’s own romantic relationships with that of her English student, Marta. This is a story of friendship, love, family, grief and triumph.  I stayed up late into the night to immerse myself in this world. It was the perfect escape from all of the other digital distractions vying for my attention. I loved this book so much that I immediately purchased the Kindle versions of the first two books in The Walnut Creek Series, The Loyal One and The Patient One. I wasn’t ready to leave Walnut Creek or E.A.’s group of lifelong friends, The Eight.  I am so excited that the fourth book in this series is coming this spring.

About the author:

Since 2000, Shelley has sold over forty novels to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Harlequin, and Abingdon Press. She has been interviewed by NPR, and her books have been highlighted in numerous publications, including USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

Under the name Shelley Shepard Gray, Shelley writes Amish romances for HarperCollins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire. Her recent novel, The Protector, the final book in her “Families of Honor” series, hit the New York Times List, and her previous novel in the same series, The Survivor, appeared on the USA Today bestseller list. Shelley has won the prestigious Holt Medallion for her books, Forgiven and Grace, and her novels have been chosen as Alternate Selections for the Doubleday/Literary Guild Book Club. Her first novel with Avon Inspire, Hidden, was an Inspirational Reader’s Choice finalist.

Shelley also writes historical, western inspirational romances for Abingdon Press as Shelley Gray. Her first novel with Abingdon, A Texan’s Promise, was released in October 2011 and has earned glowing reviews.

In addition to her writing as Shelley Shepard Gray, Shelley has written a dozen novels for Harlequin American Romance under the pseudonym Shelley Galloway. Her first novel with Harlequin, Cinderella Christmas, reached number six on the Waldenbooks Bestseller list, and her second book for the American Romance line, Simple Gifts, won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Harlequin American Romance of 2006.

Her written essays have appeared on

Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two children in college, and is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and currently leads a Bible study group, and she looks forward to the opportunity to continue to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.

When she’s not writing, Shelley often attends conferences and reader retreats in order to give workshops and publicize her work. She’s attended RWA’s national conference six times, the ACFW conference and Romantic Times Magazine’s annual conference as well as traveled to New Jersey, Birmingham, and Tennessee to attend local conferences.

Shelley is a member of RWA’s Published Author chapter, ACFW, and the Faith Hope and Love Chapter of RWA.  Please visit to learn more about Shelley and her books.