Saturday, January 22, 2011
An Amish Love
Authors: Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, & Kelly Long
Two of today's most popular genres--Romance and Amish fiction--together in one volume.
"Healing Hearts" by Beth Wiseman: Levina Lapp and her husband Naaman are alone for the first time in 30 years. When Naaman left to visit cousins in Ohio, Levina wasn't expecting him to be gone a year. Now that he's back, will they be able to move beyond this estrangement and fall in love again?
"What the Heart Sees" by Kathleen Fuller: A tragic accident rocks a peaceful Amish community, leaving Ellie Chupp blinded and Christopher Bender's future shattered. But they find love and forgiveness in a place they least expect.
"A Marriage of the Heart" by Kelly Long: Rachel Yoder is tired of her Amish lifestyle and her domineering father's ways. When handsome Joseph Lambert comes back from the Englisch, she lies to force a marriage of convenience, providing the perfect means to escape her father's rule. But Rachel never imagined she'd fall in love with Joseph so quickly or irrevocably.
I was confused at first by the summaries. Goodreads listed them in reverse order from what you read in the book and on the back cover it is actually last, first, and then second. I don't understand why they would do it that way - specially since the stories do relate to each other. Characters overlap from one story to another and the changes from the first story are referred to in the third.
As for the stories themselves, one of the things I liked about them was that there was the kind of ending you expect in a romance novel and none of them were cliff hangers - making you wait for another story to see what happened. Although I appreciate this genre, I've read some that were so sad it turned me off the series - or they didn't resolve the story for our main characters until the entire series was over. So you had to wait three or four years to find out if your leading lady found love. Realistic maybe, but I read romances for... romance. :o)
These keep that wonderful atmosphere and feeling you get from Amish fiction without cliff hangers or depressing endings. Having said that, my favorite story was the first one. I think it was the most romantic. Abby, her father, and Joseph start off in a relationship based mostly on manipulation, self-preservation and distrust. They don't realize how badly they all need each other - and how much better life will be when they stop acting like a family and truly become one.
The story of Ellie and Chris was my least favorite. I don't think I really bonded with the characters as well as I should have. There was a lot of character growth and change that had to happen in a short amount of time. Some of the change was so sudden and I don't think I totally believed it. It was still a nice story with good themes about forgiveness.
The last story also dealt with forgiveness. It was confusing to me for a while because Naaman never seemed to give any good motivation for leaving home. He never seemed to understand it himself. I could relate very well to his children who resented his coming back after so long with no explanation and just picking up where he left off. Regardless of that - his love story with his wife and how they worked to re-build their marriage was very touching. I also liked the bit of mystery that was worked into this story.
If you like Amish fiction, it's a good bet that you'll enjoy this anthology. It was provided to me by Thomas Nelson as part of the Book Sneeze program with the understanding that I would give an unbiased review. I thank them for my copy.
Posted by Margaret Metz at 12:28 AM