In “Seeds of Hope”, Barbara Cameron story is one of conflicting life styles. Miriam Troyer is a young Amish woman who has had a crush on Mark Byler since they were children. Mark is English since his father left the Amish and brought him up in the English world. However, Mark is very attached to his Amish grandfather and spends quite a bit of time helping on the farm when on vacation. John Byler wants his grandson to take over the farm for him to keep it in the family. Miriam has looked after John for a number of years, seeing that he has food and that he is well.
When Mark finds himself out of a job because of some adverse publicity, he joins his grandfather at harvest time and helps with the harvest and daily chores. Miriam continues to bring food and to make sure that John and Mark are doing well. It is no secret that she has eyes only for Mark and has spurned many other Amish suitors because of her love for him. Mark, however, is deeply entrenched in the English world. He is a successful lawyer for a prestigious firm, engaged to a socialite, owns a great condo, and drives a BMW. While he is with his grandfather and living the Amish life, he has time to consider what God has intended for him. It would be a tremendous upheaval to leave the English world to become Amish.
Ms. Cameron does a wonderful job of comparing the two life styles during the course of the novel. Can Miriam’s devotion to Mark and his grandfather spur something in Mark that will make him take heed of what God has provided? “Seeds of Hope” is a very compelling novel.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from LitFusePublicity.com in return for my honest review.
“The Gift” by Shelley Shepard Gray is a novel from the series The Amish of Hart County. The Schwartz family has just purchased a farm in Hart County, Kentucky’s cave country. Since they have been living in a very small home and now have a farm and the house to go with it. Susanna Schwartz has just dropped her little sister off at a friend’s home and is returning to her home when shots ring out repeatedly, frightening her horse into racing away and causing the buggy to overturn. She is injured and comes to as a young man helps her and makes sure the authorities are called. Neil Vance and his family have sold their farm to the Schwartz’s and Neil’s father is a bitter man because he thinks they were cheated.
After Susanna’s accident with the buggy, other sinister occurrences take place which seem to be part of a campaign to get the Schwartz family to move away. These “accidents” become more deadly as they continue and no one has been found to be responsible. Susanna and Neil team up to find the culprit or culprits and find more than that.
I enjoyed reading this novel and thought it was very well written. Ms. Shepherd gave nothing away until the very end and I welcomed that…it kept me reading long into the night.
I received a print copy of this book from LitFuse.com in return for posting a review.
I was anxious to read “The Beloved Christmas Quilt” by Wanda, Jean and Richelle Brunstetter for the Barbour Review Crew. I love the topics and looked forward to reading more from the Brunstetters.
I’m sorry to say that I was very disappointed in this book. I thought the story premises were very good and would be great to read. However, I thought each book depended mostly on the mundane daily life of the characters. More to the point, each book consisted mostly of conversations about things that would be talked about in a normal family. I did get that there were problems disclosed, discussed, and solved at the end, but I got really tired of reading who said what. I’m sorry that I cannot give the great review I was expecting to give, but I have to be honest. This book was a disappointment to me in many ways.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
I enjoyed reading “Belle” by Sarah Price. It is written in the theme of the old story “Beauty and the Beast”, but as an Amish fable. I thought that the theme might be contrived or senseless, but I thought Ms. Price did a good job of incorporating the beauty and beast story. I thought that her characters were not stereotyped from the original, but really quite refreshing. I needed a lighthearted novel to lighten my mood and this was it.
I am looking forward to the next in the series, “Ella: An Amish Retelling of Cinderella”. Ella was one of the characters in this book and I am anticipating a good read.
I received a complimentary Kindle copy from NetGalley.com for reading and review.
The third book in Cindy Woodsmall’s The Amish of Summer Grove series, “Gathering the Threads” continues the story of Skylar and Ariana as they come to terms with the fact that they were switched at birth and brought up in totally different ways. Ariana comes back to her Amish family, but with different ideas that cause discord with her Amish parents and siblings. She is trying to determine just who she is after knowing she comes from Englisher parents and brought up in an Amish home with their plain and strict ways. The bishop of her community is determined to make her knuckle under and conform to the way Amish women are treated. She is resisting and the subsequent dramas that follow make up the story.
I was in total agreement with Ariana throughout the book because I know that my stubbornness and independence would totally rebel at the condescending way women are treated as subjects, not individuals. I thought this book gave much to think about and I was glad that I read it.
I received a print copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers, but was under no obligation to post a review.
In “The Seekers” by Wanda E. Brunstetter, we see how the Amish lifestyle can provide good experiences for those in the community. Heidi Troyer has been married for a few years to Lyle. They have no children, much to her dismay and Lyle is away quite a lot for his business. Heidi tries to fill her days with housework and gardening, but you can only clean so much and hoe the weeds until the garden is well tended. Then what is she to do? Heidi is a wonderful cook and she hears from her aunt who has started a quilting class for any and all who sign up. She decides to start a cooking class and advertises in the community. Not thinking she will have too many takers, she is quite surprised when she finds that five people are interested. Charlene is engaged, but can’t boil water. Kendra is pregnant and alone because her parents ordered her out of their house. Loretta is a widow with two children and wants her kids to grow up in a simple lifestyle. Eli is a widower who is very lonely after the death of his wife and always hungry because he can’t cook a lick. Ron is a Vietnam Vet whose reasons for being on the Troyer farm are nefarious and we see how being with these others transforms him. This is an interesting group of people and we find that all have shortcomings, but under the tutelage of Heidi, not only do they learn to cook, but they find acceptance and solutions to the problems that beset them.
I always enjoy books by Mrs. Brunstetter. She is a favorite voice of Amish novels and stories. I received a print copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
“Titus Returns” by Amy Lillard tells the story of an Amish man who is sentenced to prison for five years. He was the driver in an accident that killed two friends and sentenced another to life in a wheelchair. Although he has not told the true story, he paid the price for his bad decisions. After his release, he returns to his home of Wells Landing. His time in prison was hard and he now has to decide whether or not he will remain Amish or leave the community.
He finds life on the outside is not easy to adjust to, even with his family. His former girlfriend has married another but is convinced that Titus should run away with her and live “Englisch”. She thinks that she is still in love with him.
Abby King, on the other hand, doesn’t want anything to do with Titus because it was her twin brother who was one of the friends who was killed. Life for her family has been very hard since the accident. Her parents are suffering from deep depression and the farm is showing signs of neglect. Abby it trying to do it all and bring the farm back to the way it was, but she is struggling. Titus decides that it is his duty to help her and the King family recover. The story continues with Titus being pulled in many different directions. He must decide what his future holds and make decisions for everyone’s good and find forgiveness for himself.
I enjoyed the book and I think that Ms. Lillard is a gifted writer. I am anticipating reading the next book in the Wells Landing series.
I received a print advance reader’s copy of this book from NightOwlReviews.com in return for my honest review.