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.
Suzanne Woods Fisher is a renowned author of Amish fiction. “The Devoted” is the third novel in her The Bishops’s Family series.
Ruthie Stoltzfus is the daughter of Bishop David Stoltzfus. She is 17 and one of six children. She is the sometimes girl friend of Luke Schrock. Luke is a wild child and frequently is in trouble with the Amish community and the law. Ruth is not satisfied with her life in the community and is toying with the idea of leaving for the English world. She has her GED and has saved her money. Even though she is ready to leave, she just can’t quite bring herself to do it. In the meantime, Patrick Kelly, a new candidate for the Amish life comes to Stoney Ridge to stay for a month to see if he will fit in. Ruth is asked to be his Pennsylvania Dutch tutor.
Luke Schrock is determined to win Ruth back, but it seems that Patrick is always in the way. True to form, Luke devises a plan to put Patrick out of commission. He has played with danger for a long time and has addictions that need to be addressed.
The questions are, will Ruth leave the Amish, will Patrick stay, and will Luke finally see the light?
I received a complimentary print copy of this book from Revell Reads.
“The Angel of Forest Hill” by Cindy Woodsmall is a wonderful holiday book. Of course, Ms. Woodsmall is a great writer of Amish romance fiction and this book is one of those.
Rose Kurtz is the only daughter of twelve children in the Kurtz family. She has been doing the work of a grown woman since she was seven. Her mother is definitely NOT the motherly type, mostly finding fault with everything that Rose does and is. Rose has learned to keep her emotions and concerns to herself, saying nothing, which spares her further condemnation and humiliation. The bishop of the Amish community comes to the Kurtz’ farm and asks if Rose would be willing to help out another Amish family in Appalachia. The mother is not recovering after the birth of her third child, the other two being toddlers. The father needs help that the community cannot continue to give him, so after being with the children for a few weeks, Rose is asked to marry Joel, but have a marriage in name only.
The story continues and after a few years Joel finds that he is in love with Rose. Before he can talk to her and convince her that their marriage should be a true one, the community gets involved and things get out of hand. The resolution to their dilemma is simple and it is satisfying when they find they are of the same mind.
I received a complimentary print copy of this book from Penguin Random House.
Set during the Prohibition, “The Silent Order” by Melanie Dobson is a book filled with suspense, murder and mobsters. Nikki and Liz Cordano are discovered in their father’s secret room in his restaurant, Mangiomo’s. They were not supposed to be there and were definitely NOT supposed to overhear what their brother and his henchmen were planning. Their family has no problem disposing of its own members if they are suspected of double-dealing.
Nine years later, Detective Rollin Wells is one of the team of police who are determined to stop the mob and its dealings with bootlegging. He and his partner witness a meeting of the mob bosses where they see a mob leader killed. They follow the clues to an Amish settlement near Cleveland, but is brought face to face with carloads of gunmen seeking to get rid of him. At this point Rollins doesn’t know whom to trust. The police are probably in cahoots with the mob and he cannot even count on his partner. Being wounded in a gun battle, he makes his way to a barn where he is discovered by a young Amish mother, Katie Lehman. She knows of the mob dealings and persuades her aunt and uncle and the whole Amish community to hide the detective from the gangsters who are trying to find him.
The reader’s discovering the reasons that Katie is so knowledgeable about the detective is the plot of the story. I thought that Ms. Dobson portrayed this time period very well while incorporating the Amish way in its story line. I was unable to stop reading this novel until I finished it. I love Ms. Dobson’s writing and have read other books that she has written. I highly recommend it as a book of historical fiction.