I am at a loss for how to review the latest book I've read. The first half was so slow to move that I had a hard time reading to the end. At about the halfway point, the plot picked up the pace, I felt like I was running against Secretariat to the finish line, but at the eighty percent mark, it started dragging again. The epilogue, which normally tells the 'happily ever after' part of the story, was the denouement. This was my introduction to the writings of Ruth Reid, and after such an introduction, I don't think I'll read anything else she's written.
The characters are, for me, hard to like. Grace is a bit hard, Ben is quite immature, Ben's father is stiff and stern, Toby is a sober-sides, LeAnn is a flibberty-gibbet, and Mattie is the most empathetic character in the book.
Parts of the book are truly enjoyable--when Grace is kidnapped by Jack and Gordon, Ben goes to look for her and prays for a miracle from God--remembering that Joshua asked God to make the sun stand still, asks for the same thing and the Northern Lights give him enough light to find where Jack and Gordon have taken her and to rescue her. When the men return from their logging expedition, the Bishop of the community has a service to celebrate their return. During his sermon, the Bishop references 1 John 1:9 -- If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Ben took that to heart and talked at length with the Bishop to understand what that passage is saying, and then accepting the forgiveness that God offers.
Ruth's understanding of scripture and how it applies to our daily lives is spot on. That part I really enjoyed. One thing I wish for in ALL Amish fiction is more personal interactions with the Word of God portrayed in the story.
Thomas Nelson allowed me to read this book in exchange for my personal opinion.