This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Inspirational Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on June 2, 2015
A Contemporary Amish woman struggles with the distance in her marriage and the trouble between her husband and his brother while in the past another Amish woman must stand up for her beliefs and maybe take another chance on love.
This is thee second book of stories about three cousins who were told by their grandmother to choose a family heirloom and find that their piece of the past and their grandmother’s wisdom has bearing on their present circumstance. The first book was heartwarming, emotion-laden and a strong bit of writing entwining two Amish tales of romance and I found that this second book brings more of the same even while introducing new people with new circumstances. Again, it was a treat for the heart.
Judith Wegler, the oldest of the three cousins, is a married woman raising her husband’s youngest sibling and her own three boys. She married the man she loved, has a lovely home, and all that she could have dreamed of as a young girl. Appearances can be deceiving. Judith goes through her life trying to stand buffer between her husband and his brother as they pull further and further apart and she tries to not let on that she suspects that she was married for practical reasons and that her husband is a withdrawn man who can’t let go of his past pain.
The project of joining her cousins to sort through her grandmother’s things netted her a round study table that she is cleaning up for her own brood to sit at and do their homework. Within one of the drawers, she discovers Mattie Lapps’ letters and what it was like for an Amish woman in 1953. Mattie Lapp is a widow and must face the decision of sending her daughter to the huge Englischer High School or go to jail. Mattie must find her own strength and decide what she should do about the feelings between her and her late husband’s cousin, Adam, who is her closest friend and always there for her.
The two stories were equally engaging for me and I enjoyed following along this gently-paced story set amongst the Amish community crossing two times. The details of their lives, the rich attention to dialogue and character development and the relationships of family, friends and romance were all so well-written. The characters are flawed, but they grow and I loved that this was narrated not just by the two women, but also the two men.
Judith and Isaac are the contemporary couple. Judith is a peacemaker and she hates conflict. She struggles with her role in what is happening between her husband and his coming of age younger brother who has his own dreams and they don’t involve the family farm. Isaac was the oldest child and along with his younger brother survived a fire that took his parents and three sisters. He has suppressed his memories and emotions for so long and let survivor’s guilt put him on the path to alienating his wife and driving his brother away.
Mattie and Adam were the couple from the past. They are both surviving members of their marriages and are friends who slowly realize that they are attracted. She thinks he is too young and wants her for all the wrong reasons and he has held back because he respected his cousin so much and still thinks of Mattie as Ben’s wife. Then the trouble with the Board of Education starts and Adam stands quietly at Mattie’s side as she makes her decision about who will control the education of her children.
All in all, this was a beautiful story that made me smile and cry as well as sigh. I would recommend it for those who enjoy Inspirational Romance or Sweet Contemporary Romance set in the Amish world.
Romance Roundabout #191 CR
Cliché Klatch #109 ‘He was stalling’