Monday, May 2, 2011

Plain Wisdom Review

I really enjoyed this book filled with short stories and inspirational thoughts from Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud.

Each chapter features a theme and usually both women write their personal feelings or share a personal story. Scriptures are included through out the book and how they have impacted their personal lives.

I found this book easy to read and it was nice to just be able to pick it up and read a chapter or so since they are written independently. I enjoyed learning about both of these women lives and more about the Amish culture.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Journey

Discover along with Titus Fisher how life can begin anew in Christian County, Kentucky. Moving from Pennsylvania, finding rewarding work, and leaving a broken romance behind is the best decision Titus ever made. But is he ready to consider love again when he meets two women: one who seems perfectly suited for any Amish man and one who challenges long held ideas of the woman’s role. Who will Titus chose, and will it be the right choice? (Goodreads summary)

I enjoyed reading sort of a continuation of the Fisher family from the Daughters of Lancaster County series. I liked that this story focused on one of the twins. Suzanne Yoder is granddaughter to the owner of the woodworking shop where Titus is working in Kentucky. I thought it was refreshing how she was unable to cook, not interested in finding a husband, and wanted more than anything to join her male family members in the family's woodshop. Suzanne grows in this book, but ultimately stays true to herself. I was really impressed by this novel and am excited to read the rest of the series.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of the book for review.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Review: The Missing

The second book in the Beverly Lewis series Seasons of Grace The Missing answered a few questions that still lingered for me from the first book The Secret. Still away from her family in Ohio, Lettie Byler is looking for answers. Forced to give away the child she had as a teenager, Lettie stumbles upon an Amish woman her takes her into her home. There in Baltic, Ohio she is able to find the midwife that helped her deliver her baby. The midwife isn't able to give her any of the answers she is looking for other than that she should contact the doctor who arranged the adoption.

Back at home in Bird-In-Hand, Pennsylvania, Grace must deal with her mother's absence by picking up the extra weight at home. After the end of her engagement, Grace is unsure where her love life should go. When Yonnie, a young man who has recently moved from Indiana, begins to help out on the family farm. Yonnie is different than other Amish boys. He is outspoken and believes in a sort of equality for man and wife. This interests Grace, but her best friend's feelings for Yonnie may get in the way. Yonnie also tells Grace that a family member saw her mother at an Amish home in Ohio. Grace is excited by the news and knows she must head to Ohio as soon as possible.

 Heather is an Englisher who is visiting seeking alternative treatment for her cancer. While visiting she strikes a friendship with Grace. Both girls soon realize that they have a special bond. When Heather over hears the conversation between Grace and Yonnie about the discovery of her moth, Heather realizes she must offer to drive Grace to her mother. Grace quickly accepts the offer.

Is there another reason why Grace and Heather have a strong connection? Will Heather's father accept her illness and the form of treatment she has chosen?

I look forward to reading the conclusion to this series and am excited to see how Grace's mother will accept her arrival. I am also interested to see how Heather's treatment ends up. I thought this book was good, but not the best Beverly Lewis book I've read.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Review: The Sister Wife

This first novel in the Brides of Gabriel series by Diane Nobel, The Sister Wife, details the love affair of Mary Rose and her husband Gabe. By a chance of fate they meet on the cross Atlantic voyage to America. Mary Rose, granddaughter of a large land owning Earl in England, makes the journey because of her Grandfather's belief in a new religion, Mormonism. Mary begins the journey skeptical of the new religion, but when she falls in love with the Gabe, mastermind of the ship's construction, they together witness a miracle as Mary's friend on the trip, Browyn, experiences a difficult birth. As Brigham Young, a high ranking official in the church, touches Brownyn's pregnant belly and prays, the baby miraculously turns. Mary and Gabe take this as a sign that indeed the church is legitimate and they in turn should join the movement.

When polygamy rumors begin in the settlement, Mary, like most of the women, begin to worry what this will mean for their marriages. Will Mary's marriage withstand this new found belief? What will happen as a tragedy strikes Bronwyn's family?

I thought the writing style of this novel was fabulous. I enjoyed learning about the Mormon church and felt that the Diane Noble did a great job of accurately portraying the church and outsiders feelings of the church during this time. I was inspired by Mary Rose's dedication to her family, even at her own expense. Her faith in God is apparent, even when she struggles to discover where this faith should take her. She often struggles with creating this new church and set of beliefs, even when it contradicts with the religion she learned as a child. I look forward to seeing where this series will head as well as the fate of the new church.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review: Leah's Choice

The first book in the Pleasant Valley Series, by Marta Perry, Leah's Choice begins by introducing us to some of the residents of Pleasant Valley. After her first love, Johnny leaving the Amish community for the English world, Teacher Leah decides that she has no desire to marry and will just teach for the rest of her life. When Johnny suddenly returns to help work at a local genetics lab, studying genetic disorders in the Amish population, Leah must face her past. When Johnny requests Leah's help with his work at the lab, she must decide whether or not she can work with her former sweetheart and whether the work will pull her too close to the English world. 

Leah's sister Anna is in her time of rumspringa. Being the youngest she seems to be taking full advantage of this time where her family turns their heads to her sometimes unacceptable behavior. Leah tries to convince Anna that she needs to be more careful and think about the decisions she is making. Is Anna being pulled farther from the Amish world, rather than being pushed closer? What will it take for her to make her decision about where the rest of her life will lead?

Widower Daniel Glick moves to Pleasant Valley to start a new life. No one knows his past and his hope is that his three children will find a sense of comfort among the community who is not judgmental of their pasts. What will Daniel's secret mean for his future in the community as well as his attraction with Teacher Leah? He knows that his children are having problems adjusting, but do they need more than just a father's love?

I really liked this book. I liked how the story also focused on a male character and some of the problems that would arise. I also liked that Leah was not the average character in an Amish novel. She's a little older, given up on love and has made teaching her life. When love does arrive in Leah's life she has some choices to make and must face some of her past.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Review: Blessings

Blessings, by Kim Vogel Sawyer, and the third installment in the Sommerfield series centers around Trina Muller, a member of an Old Order Mennonite community in Kansas, has a love of animals and a desire to further her education so that she can some day become a veterinarian. Attending college is not an option in this community and Trina struggles with how she can follow her God given dream and calling, while remaining in her community. Trina's parents are strict and believe in the old ways, will they change their minds about their daughter's dreams? Or will she be forced to choose between her family or her dream?

Graham has been courting Trina and knows that she is the one he wants to marry. Why must she have this desire to be something other than a faithful mother and wife. According to the Bible, that's a woman's highest calling, right? Graham must choose whether his love for Trina can overcome her own, radical desires.

I liked this book, however I thought that it was a little hard to get into at first. I really enjoyed the first two books in the series and felt that the story picked up a little sooner. As the story progresses, a tragedy strikes that I didn't see coming as a reader at all. I think that this book is a nice, inspirational story that leaves readers with a desire to follow their dreams and their hearts.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Review: The Secret

Was pretty sick earlier this week, so my reading's been a little slower than normal, but I did finish The Secret by Beverly Lewis. This is the first in the Seasons of Grace trilogy and is centered around the disappearance of Lettie Byler. For the past few months, Lettie has been seen leaving the house late at night and acting rather depressed. Everyone in her family has noticed, but most of her family thought it may have something to do with the death of her sister, Naomi, a few years prior. Lettie's daughter, Grace, is most profoundly affected by her mother's disappearance. Not only are her responsibilities at home increased, but her mother's goodbye letter was written directly to Grace. Grace is unsure why her mother has left, or wrote the letter to her, but she is determined to come to the bottom of her mother's strange disappearance.

Judah, Lettie's husband, knows that he hasn't been the best husband, but had no idea that his wife would take off in the middle of the night. Not only is he feeling pressure from the church as to why she has disappeared, but Lettie's mysterious withdraw of $5000, has not made life on the farm any easier, especially during the difficult time of lambing on the Byler farm.

Heather, an Englisher, has just discovered she has been diagnosed with cancer, the same disease that took her mother 18 months before. Unsure what to make of the diagnosis, she decides to go against the advice of the doctor and refuse traditional treatment. Instead, she makes the bold move of taking homeopathic treatment in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, a place close to her and her mother's hearts. When her fiance breaks off their engagement from Iraq, she knows that this is the perfect opportunity to get away from her hectic life. She seeks refuge in an Amish home, neighbor's to the Bylers.

What will happen to Heather's health, and will she finally tell her dad of her terrible diagnosis? Will Grace be able to find her mother and the potential secret she is carrying? Will Lettie be able to find some peace? Read this novel and the rest of the Seasons of Grace trilogy to find out.

I enjoyed the beginning of the Seasons of Grace series. There are a lot of questions that are unanswered for me so I am excited to read the other two novels. I liked that there are a couple of stories going on to keep me interested and while I had a good feeling about Lettie's secret, I am unsure what will become of Heather, as well as Grace's love life. I liked that a love story wasn't the main theme of this book, but that it was intertwined as more of a back story. I think that because the story was not about a "perfect" Amish family it kept me engaged even more. Hope you enjoy!