When I was checking my list to see what to read next on my TBR pile (thankfully it's an e-pile, not a physical pile), I was hoping it was going to be an Amish book. Imagine my thrill to see that Sweet as Honey by Jennifer Beckstrand was next on my list! It was just what the doctor ordered for my reading pleasure.
My first and only critique: Jennifer switches back and forth between Amish and English spellings of certain words. Aendi or Aunt was the one I remember most. I understand an English character using Aunt, but even some of the Amish characters used Aunt.
Lily, her sisters Rose and Poppy, and her Aendi Bitsy own a honeybee farm and sell the honey to the local Amish market for only a dollar a pint. Since she was in the eighth grade, Lily had been friends with Paul Glick who was pushing her to marry him. It was his father's market that bought her honey.
In creating Lily's character, Jennifer has completely and convincingly made a woman who has been beaten down and has had her confidence totally shattered.
In Paul's character, Jennifer took the definition for passive-aggressive controller straight out of the dictionary. There are good Amish folk and there are the occasional bad seeds. Paul falls somewhere in between--he's extremely legalistic in his beliefs, following in his father's footsteps, but he brow-beats Lily at any and every opportunity.
But then there's Dan, the very picture of clueless about his behavior. He doesn't understand how his words have hurt Lily and why she holds him at arms length. When he finally does understand, he wants Lily's forgiveness, and if she's willing, he wants her heart too. He endears himself to Aendi B by learning all he can about keeping bees and drawing the honey. He also learns how the sisters have been cheated by Paul's machinations.
I am going to have a hard time waiting for Poppy's and Rose's stories to come out.
This is a five star book, with two thumbs up, and a pint of Amish honey for your sweets.
My thanks to Kensington Books for allowing me to read and review this book.