Olivia Newport has written some of the best Amish Fiction I've ever read. While to some degree, Amish fiction has an historical element to it. The Amish faith holds to some historic practices by foregoing modern conveniences. In Gladden the Heart, Olivia has taken the Amish life as it has been lived for the last four hundred years, and put it into the 1800s.
Susanna's favorite cousin, Noah, has had an illness overcome him after the church services. When he "came to," he began preaching repentance. He was totally unconscious of what he was doing at the time and never remembered what he'd done. The bishop believes that Noah is trying to lead the members of the church astray, and objects to Noah's preaching. As the illness takes over Noah, he stands in his home and preaches at the windows daily. People from town come to watch the spectacle of Noah's demonstration, and that gives the bishop even more ammunition for his objections.
Adam has been dating Susanna and hopes to propose to her, but he can't get over her support of her cousin.
There are conundrums, crankiness, and conflicts within the warp and woof of the novel. Those all give the story oomph and substance. This is a five star book, with two thumbs up, and a sermon that gladdens your heart.
My thanks to Shiloh Run Press for allowing me to read and review this book.