©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Amish Reunion

There are times you need to sit down with a book that requires no hard thought while you read it.  You want to feel as if you are among old friends.  An Amish Reunion brings you four stories about couples reconnecting after some time has passed.

Marlene moved with her family away from Bird-in-Hand to Shipshewana after her maam died.  After ten years, her father lost his job and moved the family back to Bird-in-Hand.  Marlene is on her way to the market when she sees a "help wanted" sign in the window of the hardware store.  Inside the store, she reconnects with Rudy, first by asking to take on the job that's open.

Ruth and Gideon have suffered one of the most devastating losses a couple can.  Neither of them handled their grief well and each moves to a different part of the country. After five years, they come back and wonder if there is something more to find than the few possessions left in their house when they ran.

Cevilla has been the town matchmaker for a long time. Now an old flame has shown up on her doorstep just to reconnect. It's a mystery how this reconnection will turn out.

Hannah is single, living with her grandparents, and raising her 21-month daughter, working at the cafe to support them all. She has lived through the shunning, but still lives with the whispers and gossip.  She has a man interested in her, but one day, while she's at work, the source of all her trouble walks in.

All four of these stories have the comfort of revived relationships and the company of old friends. The authors of this olio of stories are the best of the best in Amish Fiction.  Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and Kaffi and kichlin to go with an afternoon visit.

My thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book.

The Farmer's Bride

When I opened the cover of The Farmer's Bride to begin to read it, I felt as if I'd just entered the living room of a most treasured friend to have a cup of kaffi.  Kathleen Fuller really knows how to make a reader feel comfortable in reading her books.

Martha has an unusual problem.  While her family is urging her to find a husband, and all the single men in her community are eager to apply for the position, she doesn't like the way all of them are pursuing her. The only man not chasing her is Seth--a man who has some secrets and doesn't really want to be involved with a maedel.  Cevilla, the community matchmaker, has determined that Martha and Seth should match up just fine. 

In trying to avoid all of the men, Martha stumbled upon Seth's work shack where he carved on wood.  As Cevilla's plans move into motion, Martha asks Seth to teach her to carve wood, too.  It is hard because the shack is supposed to be Seth's secret place and he doesn't entirely trust Martha to keep his secret. 

This is a five star book, with two thumbs up, and a wood carving to decorate your home.

My thanks goes to Zondervan Books and NetGalley.com for providing the galley that I read.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Enigma Wrapped in a Puzzle

I love Sarah Sundin's writing and it has taken me a few days to decide how I wanted to write this review.  The Sky Above Us is the second novel in her Normandy series, and her factual information that is woven into the book is flawlessly researched as always.  (Sarah, I am sorry about this next part, but you can tell there is a big BUT coming up here.)

Adler Paxton is a pilot in the Army Air Corps, and Violet Lindstrom is a Red Cross lady.  It is obvious from the first time they meet in the novel, they will end up together, but their relationship has to go through the "romance novel formula" to get there. I know Sarah has written many novels without this trite formula, but I found it off-putting in this particular novel.  I am just going to count this as a one-off type happening and I will keep on reading her novels.  I just can only give this book 3 stars.

My thanks to Revell and NetGalley.com for providing the galley I read.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

American Princess

Stephanie Marie Thornton, I have to tell you that this is the BEST book I've read so far this year!  If I had to guess, I would say that the Roosevelt family was the closest thing the US had to royalty during the last century.  Alice, Teddy's oldest daughter, was considered America's princess from the time her father took office until he left office in 1909.  After that, she became the "Other Washington Monument."

She was wild, she was untameable, she was strong-willed, strong-hearted, and well-versed in the political issues of the day. She would nickname many of the public figures and not hold back about calling them her nicknames to their faces.  One that stands out in my mind is her calling Franklin "Feather Duster," meaning there wasn't much substance to him.

One of Teddy's close advisors said something about taming Alice, Teddy is said to have replied, "I can take my daughter in hand, or I can run the country.  Which one should I do?"

There is no part of this book I didn't enjoy.  I laughed, I cried, I read until my eyes could no longer focus.  There was one quote I wished had made it into the book, but as I researched it, the quote was apocryphal at best, and wrongly attributed at worst.  Alice was married to the Speaker of the House until his health failed.  When she married him, his hair was thin, but as time went on, he went bald.  It was said that another Congressman came up to him and rubbed his head and remarked that it felt like his wife's bottom.  Longworth rubbed his head, and said, "You know, it really does." Alice's marriage to Nick Longworth was not a happy one, she was cuckolded left, right, and center.  Nick had no discretion when it came to his paramours, even being involved with one of Alice's friends.

This is a five-star book, with two thumbs up, and a "Bully" for you.

My thanks goes to Berkley Publishing Group for allowing me to read and review this book, and to NetGalley.com for providing the galley I read. 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Bringing in the Sheaves

Naomi Stephens has undertaken the task of writing the story of Ruth and Boaz in novel form in another time era.  This book fell below my expectations and wasn't the read I thought it was going to be. Shadow Among Sheaves is a thinly veiled attempt to tell this story with only setting changes.  Set during the time of England's occupation of India, the story begins with Nell and Rena Hawley returning to England after the death of their husbands.  Nell is Rena's mother-in-law, and Rena is an Indian native. 

Rena is not welcomed in Abbottsville because of her darker skin and her being an outsider. This is one redeeming feature of the book, because the discrimination and lack of acceptance gave a good idea of what Ruth went through when she went from Moab to Israel with Naomi.

This was not a book to hold my attention or intrigue my imagination.  It is at best a two star book.  I would rather try to suss out what Bible story I am reading and be beguiled by the plot.

My thanks to Barbour/Shiloh Run Books for allowing me to read and review this book.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Mail-Order Mishaps

My daddy worked for the postal service for thirty years and we always joked that the postal service went to pot when he retired. But according to these novellas, postal service wasn't too hot back in the late 1800s.  Each of these stories revolve around a personal ads newsletter called Matrimonial News, and the mistaken notions the brides have about their prospective husbands.  Each of the brides have to navigate choppy waters to come to the ends of the lines set before them. 

Barbour Books gathers some of the best Novella authors to write these stories.  The four stories are comfortable and like cuddling up with an old, favorite blanket.  This is a Five-Star Book, with two thumbs up, and a cup of tea to drink while you read.

My thanks to Barbour Books for allowing me to read and review this book.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

A Welcome at Our Door

The Amish are known for their hospitality, especially with outsiders.  But if an outsider tries to infiltrate the community, the hospitality becomes chilly, even frigid.

Cindy Riehl is the last child of Vernon to be living at home.  Her mother had passed away when she was fairly young and she's been out of sorts ever since. But when her cow, Cucumber, gets out of her pen and goes to the neighbor's farm, Cindy meets Drew, the handyman living in the Dawdi House. 

The one issue between Cindy and her daad is that she has not been baptised or joined the church yet.  When Drew comes along, he becomes another wedge to push them apart.  The unintended fall-out is that Cindy becomes estranged to her whole family.

Drew and Cindy spend much time in prayer, trying to figure out what direction God is leading them.  The denouement is wrapped up in the answer to the prayers. 

I know that there are Amish who stick to the rules like epoxy, and there are Amish who bend the rules to fit their own ideas.  Vernon Riehl had a bit of that characteristic.  And Vernon ruled his family with an iron fist--even those who were already married.

Amy Clipston is a talented author of Amish fiction and A Welcome at Our Door is one of her better works.  She has shown that Amish are faulty people who can have wrong ideas and wrong actions just as much as Englisch people can.

This is a five star book, two thumbs up, and a Cucumber Cow to shake things up a bit.

My thanks to Zondervan Fiction for allowing me to read and review this book.