The Wish by Beverly Lewis

I enjoyed this book because it brought to life the age old quote “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” In this case, main character Leona Speicher realizes the truth in that statement. As a young girl, Leona wishes she had a sister and family like her neighbor and best friend Gloria’s family. Soon, we learn Gloria’s family has several skeletons in their closet that Leona knows nothing about.

I like how this book joined the Englisch and Amish worlds as Gloria fought to find herself. The internal struggle of whether we can truly live without modern conveniences was real to me as I’ve personally thought about adopting an Anabaptist lifestyle in the past. I love how both young women in this story found themselves in their journeys separately and together. Another star for Beverly Lewis in my book!

Please note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Standard

A Tapestry of Secrets by Sarah Loudin Thomas

I absolutely loved this book! I work with the elderly and minored in Gerontology in college, so maybe the fact that one of the main characters is an elderly woman is why I enjoyed this story so much. This book spanned generations, flashing back to Perla’s past to eventually reveal her secrets. Perla Phillips reminds me of some of my clients at the adult day center where I work. Some of them have trouble communicating. They may have secrets and stories, just like Perla did, but health conditions make it hard or impossible to share thoughts and ideas. I love how Ella blossomed throughout the novel, finally finding someone worthy of her love. I like the subplots that transpired such as whether or not to sell the church. It was a great story and I look forward to reading more by this author in the future.

Standard

An Elegant Facade by Kristy Ann Hunter

Reading the synopsis on the back of this book, we already know Georgina has a secret. It’s not until at least halfway through the book that we learn what her secret is, and that would be okay if the first half of the book was full of other interesting events. However, not much happened before the secret was revealed except the predictable events of the “coming out to Society” process. I tried to enjoy this book, but the characters didn’t develop much over the course of the book except for the reveal of Georgina’s secret. I did enjoy Colin because he made some mature choices throughout the story. The secondary characters like Lavinia and Jane were enjoyable because they were just normal people. If three and a half stars was an option, I’d give 3.5. It’s not really as bad as a three, but not as good as a four.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Standard

A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell

I absolutely loved this novel. I’ve never read a book by Lawana Blackwell before and I don’t usually read historical fiction. The synopsis I read made the book sound moderately interesting, but it was so much more than I expected!

When Charlotte and her estranged daughter Rosalind enter Port Stilwell, readers immediately get drawn into the lives of the quirky characters in the small fishing town. There are so many subplots that made this book a joy for me to read. I found myself rolling my eyes at Mr. Clark who reminded me of so many people I know who think they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. Mrs. Hooper, the town gossip, is so much like my future mother-in-law I almost cringed at the similarities.

You will not be sorry if you decide to read this book. It made me laugh and I wanted to keep reading the (mis)adventures, physical, and spiritual journeys of the residents in the tiny fishing town I came to love. Now if only Port Stilwell and the cottage on Orchard Lane were real places…

Disclaimer: I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

Standard

Someone Like You by Victoria Bylin

I enjoy inspirational romances because sometimes I don’t need to read in-depth sex scenes to understand the love and relationship between two people. The book Someone Like You was a story of faith and love, both things lost and found throughout the story. I loved Julia and Zeke, the two main characters. Neither person was perfect, along with the rest of the characters. Everyone had unique personalities. Hunter (Julia’s ex-boyfriend and father of her young son) was manipulative and her relationship with Hunter was much like my past relationship with my ex, minus the complications of a child.

Just like in real life, our faith falters sometimes. Things happen and we begin to question God’s presence in our lives. Through most of the novel, Zeke was questioning God, the same God he was raised to serve. Inevitably, something usually happens in our lives that makes us turn to God, even if we’ve never known Him well before. Also similar to real life, we come across people who teach us lessons, no matter how inconsequential the lessons may seem at the time. Aside from Zeke and Julia, I really enjoyed reading about George’s struggle and his turn to faith when he had nothing else to lean on. In my opinion, a good book needs characters I can relate to on some level. I was able to relate my life and experiences, as well as experiences of my loved ones, to characters in this story. It was an enjoyable read.

Please note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for an honest review.

Standard

The Atonement by Beverly Lewis

I just finished reading The Atonement, the newest release by Amish fiction author Beverly Lewis. This novel follows the tribulations of a young Amish woman who has a past of transgressions for which she has not forgiven herself. Throughout the story, we see the main character, Lucy Flaud, as she attempts to make things good with God (Gott) by performing community service at a local soup kitchen food truck and the nearby hospice center. Past the usual courting age, she becomes used to the idea that she will be single forever, despite the attention of an Englischer (Dale Wyeth) and Tobe Glick, she feels she is not worthy of anyone’s love.

I enjoyed this book. Although it wasn’t as action packed as some of the other Amish books I’ve read, it reminds me of the eternal presence of God’s love, even when we feel like we’re not worthy and deserving. This is a standalone novel which seems to be rare these days, although I would like to see spin-off books about others we met in this book.

Please note: I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Standard

Amish Sweethearts by Leslie Gould

Can true love overcome the differences and expectations of the Englisch and Amish worlds? This is exactly what Zane, an Englisch soldier in the US Army, and Lila, a young Amish woman, are determined to find out. The two young people grew up together as neighbors in Lancaster county, sharing their hopes and dreams with one another. When a disagreement leaves both Lila and Zane confused, hurting, and yearning for one another from a distance, readers learn whether their love for one another will prevail. I will not offer any spoilers because who wants to read those?

This book was beautifully written. The details bring the images to life and the smaller subplots in the story help us understand life outside love because even when we love someone so much that it hurts, life continues around us. Life comes with a series of decisions we must make and consequences for the things we choose to do. Lila, Zane, and the other supplemental characters teach us this lesson. I like how Ms. Gould added characters who are people we can relate to: the gruff father, the pesky teenage sister who only has courting on her mind, and the conceited fellow soldier to name a few. I have not read the first book in the series, but I plan to order it so I can read more about the people I grew to love in this story. I will definitely read the rest of the series as it is released as well.

Please note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Standard