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.