Wednesday, March 9, 2011
An Amish Love
This book has one of the simplest, prettiest covers I've ever seen on a romance - perfect for its theme. So I requested it from Thomas Nelson as part of their BookSneeze program, and I wasn't disappointed with what was inside the covers either. An Amish Love is a collection of three novellas set in the same Amish community.
Amish romances are quite different from my usual reading fare. If a regular romance featured a heroine who only wanted to be a homemaker, and whose bedroom door remained almost as shut after marriage as before, I wouldn't enjoy it. But I knew what to expect when I started this book, and it's different when this is the normal way of life. It's a glimpse into another culture, rather than the author's own standards showing.
That, and I enjoyed the premise of the first of the three novellas in the book. In "A Marriage of the Heart" by Beth Wiseman, Abigail wants to leave her father's cold, loveless house by any means necessary - not that many are available to a young Amish woman. So she tells him that Joseph Lambert, a newcomer to the community, was forward with her. Joseph's rather shady past means people are likely to believe her claim rather than any denials he might make.
Except Joseph turns the tables - he makes no denial at all, figuring that a wife might be just what he needs to integrate himself into the community. And after the shotgun wedding, he offers to move into her house and work for her father.
These stories might not be action-filled or racy, but they've got enough conflict to keep me reading. Ellie, the heroine of Kathleen Fuller's "What the Heart Sees", was blinded in an accident, and Christopher was shunned by the community because he tried to press charges against the man who caused the accident. That man also happens to be Ellie's cousin.
Finally, in Beth Wiseman's story "Healing Hearts", Levina Lapp and her husband Naaman succumb to empty-nest syndrome after their grown children leave home. So Naaman leaves as well, only to return a year later to a wife who naturally distrusts him.
I liked this story because of the older couple and their realistic backstory, but a twist at the end didn't work. A sheriff appears in the town, searching for Naaman, and everyone engages in near-farcial behavior to keep the two of them apart, believing that Naaman did something illegal during his year away. Would any author set up such a subplot in the last few pages of an inspirational novella?
Other than that, this book was an easy and pleasant read. The characters eat so much delicious-sounding food that the reader might feel peckish as well, but there are recipes for teaberry cookies and cream cheese brownies at the back of the book. I'd definitely try more of Thomas Nelson's Amish romances.