Wonderful return to Mitford, though I did find it a bit of a slow start. Father Tim and Cynthia are back in Mitford after their travels. Cynthia is deWonderful return to Mitford, though I did find it a bit of a slow start. Father Tim and Cynthia are back in Mitford after their travels. Cynthia is deep into her next book, but Father Tim is at loose ends. His friend and doctor is retiring and headed off to do charity work in the Sudan, leaving him feeling that he should be doing something useful with his time. But when trouble comes to his old parish, he realizes that he is not the one best suited to dealing with it, leaving him wondering what he should be doing.
The people of Mitford don't leave him wondering for long. Father Tim soon finds himself involved in many aspects of peoples' lives. I loved seeing his patience with Sammy, one of Dooley's younger brothers. Sammy is still dealing with his anger over his mother's treatment of him and acts out in many ways. He has an explosive temper, resents his oldest brother's success, and does his best to push everyone away. Even when Sammy wrecks Father Tim's car, he doesn't wash his hands, but continues to show his love. Though there isn't a complete turnaround, progress is made by the end of the book. Hopefully there will be more of Sammy in another book.
One of Father Tim's favorite places in town, the Happy Endings bookstore, is in danger of closing. The owner is newly pregnant and having problems that have sentenced her to bedrest. To prevent that from occurring, he offers to open the store for her one day a week, leading others to do the same. I loved seeing him get so involved in the running of the store and helping people find books. The support from the various townspeople is wonderful to see, and I loved the various book quotes they posted on the bulletin board. Father Tim seems to have found a perfect place to influence many lives.
Running throughout the book is the local paper's campaign to name the town's "Leading Citizen". The frontrunner is Father Tim, who is not at all happy with the idea. He doesn't feel worthy of such a title, and doesn't like being held up as such a role model. And yet, he finds a way to help so many. I enjoyed seeing his relationship with Coot, the local handyman, and how he was there for Coot during a heartbreaking loss and then helped make a dream come true. I loved seeing the "Turkey Club" back together, and hearing their observations on life in Mitford. Father Tim also has a wonderful way of listening to people who come to him, allowing them to work out their own problems with only some guidance from him. This especially shows in his relationship with Dooley and his struggles with his love for Lace. So much support, but also trust that Dooley will do what is right for both.
There are plenty of updates on old friends, and the introduction of new ones. I loved the surprise visitor to town and the incredible news she brings to a resident. There are interesting developments with Esther's Orange Marmalade Cake, and also with the former mayor of Mitford. I enjoyed the arrival of Fancy's sister Shirlene, and the effect she has on the morale of many residents. There are some things left hanging, which I hope means that there will be another visit to Mitford soon....more
Pretty good book. Hayden and Jane had married very young. Once they were in London they got caught up in London society and the problems started. AftePretty good book. Hayden and Jane had married very young. Once they were in London they got caught up in London society and the problems started. After awhile they grew apart and Jane became more and more unhappy. Unable to get Hayden to listen to her concerns she packed up and moved to her childhood home. Three years later Jane has written to Hayden, offering him a divorce if he wants one, so that he can move on with his life. He realizes that all he wants is Jane back and decides to convince her.
Jane had fallen hard for Hayden when she first met him. He was young and handsome and fun. Even after they married everything was great, until they returned to London after their honeymoon. Then Jane realized that she was a countess and there were things that were expected of her, things she had no idea of how to do. She had grown up in the country and had no experience with this kind of lifestyle and she felt completely overwhelmed. And once they were back, Hayden was rarely with her, even when they attended things together. When she became pregnant and miscarried three times the gulf between them got even worse, with Jane feeling like a failure. Finally she told him that she needed to get away for awhile and returned to her childhood home. Three years later, having had no contact with him at all, she wrote to him offering a divorce so he could remarry and get an heir. She didn't expect him to show up at her home a few days later, to let her know there would be no divorce. She realizes that her attraction to him is still there and that she never stopped loving him. She also doesn't want to risk getting caught up in that life again. She doesn't trust that he won't disappear and go back to being the same old Hayden. But the longer he stays the more he becomes like the man she fell in love with. I realize that she has a great deal of trouble trusting him again, but I thought she spent a bit too much time remembering the way he had been and not enough time looking at the ways he had changed. I did like the fact that she had had the strength of will to get out of the bad situation to start with, but I thought she could have been a little more open to seeing the possibilities. I thought for sure she was going to fade back into the background when his friends showed up unexpectedly, and was thrilled when she finally showed the backbone she had developed over the last three years. It took a near disaster for her to realize that not all of the fault had been his.
Hayden had been drawn to Jane the first time he saw her. He was accustomed to getting pretty much anything he wanted and he pursued her as hard as he could. Being with her made him feel things he had never felt before. His parents had been quite cold to him, with his father having unrealistic expectations and his mother being a party animal. He had never been exposed to what a loving marriage was like. While it was just the two of them everything was fine, but when they returned to London he ended up caving in to peer pressure. He could see that things were going badly but he had no idea how to fix it. He was devastated when she left, but not knowing what to do he simply buried himself in activity. When he got Jane's letter he got angry that she would ask for a divorce and rode off to see her. After getting tossed from his horse in a storm and getting hurt, he had to stay with Jane until he was healed. This gave him the opportunity to try to convince her to come back to him. He realized immediately that she was much happier now that she had been before she left him. He was confused as to why since he had only wanted to make her happy before and had given her everything he thought she might like. It took a hard look at what she had in her life now for him to realize that she had never been interested in the things he could give her, that she had wanted him. Now he had to try to show her that he could change. He was doing very well until his friends showed up, and then he started to backslide. Fortunately he had begun to see what he was doing but it was almost too late. He did come through when Jane's sister needed him. My biggest problem with Hayden was how much time he spent beating himself up about how he had treated Jane. It seemed like every single chapter had some variant on that theme. I was glad they both realized they had been at fault and had matured enough to know that they had to work at it to make their marriage work....more
Very good book that deals with grief and how two very different women have dealt with it. Maryanna lost her husband in an accident leaving her to raisVery good book that deals with grief and how two very different women have dealt with it. Maryanna lost her husband in an accident leaving her to raise their four children without him. She has done very well but recent events have made her think that perhaps it is time to think of remarrying. When her youngest daughter goes missing she begins to question herself and the way she has been living her life. Her daughter's return by a young Englischer woman gives her a chance to help someone else. I really enjoyed Maryanna's contentment with her life and her love for her children and her faith. She started out very wary of Jodi and her possible influence on her family but soon realized that Jodi was a special person and could become a good friend. She also draws the attention of two Amish widowers and must decide if she wants to take a chance on a new relationship. Maryanna was also dealing with new feelings about her late husband's best friend Joshua. He seemed interested in courting her, but she had some issues with him that were making her unreceptive. I loved seeing the way that her friendship with Jodi also had an effect on the way that she looked at Joshua.
Jodi had come to Lancaster to house sit for her cousin and to try to deal with the grief of losing her sister to cancer. This grief had caused her to lose her faith in God and was also creating some stress with her fiance. When she finds a little girl on the side of the road she tries to find out who she belongs to - not easy when the child speaks no English. A suggestion from her cousin sends her to Hickory Hollow, where she reunites Sarah with her family. She is surprised to find herself so warmly welcomed by the Amish family and invited to visit often. She finds Maryanna's quiet faith comforting, and just being with her and her family begins to renew her own faith. I loved seeing Jodi's honest struggle with her grief and the realistic way it was portrayed. Her enjoyment of spending time with the Esh family goes a long way toward healing her grief. She was surprised to be invited to teach at the Amish school and worked very hard to make sure she didn't abuse the trust they placed in her. I loved seeing her become so close with the Amish people of Hickory Hollow and what a difference they made in her life. I loved the epilogue and how it showed what became of the friendship between Jodi and Maryanna....more
I loved this book - it was an Amish version of Taming of the Shrew which is my favorite Shakespeare play. Cate is an unmarried Amish woman who would rI loved this book - it was an Amish version of Taming of the Shrew which is my favorite Shakespeare play. Cate is an unmarried Amish woman who would rather work in her father's business than marry. Her younger sister Betsy is just the opposite. She is an excellent homemaker and really wants to marry her beau. Their father is worried that Cate, who is sharp-tongued and has a temper, will never find a mate, so he decrees that she must marry before Betsy can do so. When Cate meets the new man in the neighborhood sparks start to fly. Pete seems pretty determined to court her and she is suspicious of his motives. I liked the way that they got along when she forgot to be so prickly. They had a lot in common. He also was pretty laid back when she got her temper up. Her suspicions and some other events caused some major misunderstandings. We learn more about why Cate is the way she is and how Pete came to his current situation. There are some unexpected twists in the story that had Cate questioning her future. Her journey from Contrary Cate to Sweet Cate was wonderful and very emotional. I loved the ending. The characters in this story felt very real to me and ones I could relate to easily. I wanted to smack Betsy many times. I'm not sure that she learned her lesson by the end, but time will tell. Pete's mother was a piece of work, but definitely had her place in helping Cate to grow into her role. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.
I love this series and this book was just as good as the others. I feel as though I am visiting with old friends. One of the things I love most aboutI love this series and this book was just as good as the others. I feel as though I am visiting with old friends. One of the things I love most about this series is the reality of the way the characters are portrayed. The medical parts are spoken of in a way that makes them completely understandable without feeling like I'm reading a textbook. The main theme, of course, is the upcoming wedding of Kitty and Dr. O'Reilly. Before that can happen there are all the happenings that a pair of country doctors must deal with. First is the illness of the housekeeper, Mrs. Kincaid. Kinky ends up in the hospital, leaving Fingal and Barry to muddle through on their own. But in the way of small towns, their neighbors are there to lend a hand. They do have to reassure Kinky that she is missed and that her place with them is secure. She is also dealing with the worry that things will change for the worse when Fingal marries Kitty. I loved seeing how Kitty manages to win over Kinky. There is also another run-in with the local councilman Bertie Bishop, when the doctors come out on top yet again. While Kinky is out sick they hire Helen Hewitt to lend a hand in the house and find out that she has dreams to become a doctor. This is not an easy thing for the daughter of a working class family in the mid 1960s and we see Fingal work his magic to help her. And then there is Barry Laverty who is finally starting to recover from his breakup with Patricia. He is getting to know Sue Nolan, a lovely school teacher who he likes very much. The only difficulty is that she is very involved in the politics of Northern Ireland and Barry is very carefully neutral. This causes some conflict between the two of them. He is also preparing to leave Ballybucklbo to pursue specialist training and comes to realize just how much he will miss the people he has come to care for. I am looking forward to the next book, though I expect it will be this time next year before it will be available....more
Good story of family, friendship, faith and love. Annie is the oldest of the kids in her family. She has a rocky relationship with her mother, thanksGood story of family, friendship, faith and love. Annie is the oldest of the kids in her family. She has a rocky relationship with her mother, thanks to their different outlooks on behavior. After one argument too many, Annie's mother sends her to stay with her grandfather in Pennsylvania. Annie loves her grandfather Moses and they have always gotten along well. While staying with Moses, Annie goes to help the Amish Zook family in their diner.
Aden is the cook at the diner while his handicapped brother works as server and his parents help out when they can. Aden is a handsome young man, and a very shy one. He stutters which makes it difficult for him to talk to other people, especially girls. His twin brother Roman is more outgoing, but is confined to a wheelchair, thanks to an accident several years earlier. Aden and Roman help each other, with Aden providing the muscle needed to help care for Roman, and Roman doing the talking for both of them.
With Annie spending more time at the diner, she and Aden get to know each other much better. Annie sees past the stutter to the sensitive and artistic young man that he is. Aden admires Annie's cheerfulness and the way she can talk to anyone she meets. Their friendship begins to deepen into something much stronger, but they can't see any future in it. Their individual faiths of Amish and Mennonite forbid a relationship between them and both are deeply committed to their beliefs. Even their families have pointed out the impossibility and continuing to spend time together threatens more than just their faith.
I felt really bad for Aden and Annie. In spite of the similarities between their religions, the differences are enough to keep them apart. It doesn't help that Annie's grandfather is especially against it, and as a partner in the Zook's diner can ruin the business if he pulls out. Aden's family also makes it clear that they don't approve. But neither Aden nor Annie want to give up what they have found together. I liked seeing them try to explain their feelings to various family members in an attempt to gain their support. I didn't know how they were going to make things work, but they did.
Aden's brother Roman is also a strong presence in the book. His accident and subsequent disability have made him rather bitter and also somewhat self-centered. He's not happy about Aden's interest in Annie, and it's not just because of the religious differences. He sees Aden as pulling away from him to spend time with Annie and doesn't want to lose his caretaker. He does a couple things that are pretty mean to try to split Aden and Annie apart. While he was away for a few days helping another family member he became reacquainted with a girl he would have pursued before his accident. She tends to call him on his attitude which is something he needs but doesn't necessarily appreciate. She does start to have an effect on him, and I hope to see more of them in a later book....more
Good story with an underlying theme of forgiveness. Sadie returns to Stoney Ridge after a visit with her sister in Ohio and the opportunity to learn mGood story with an underlying theme of forgiveness. Sadie returns to Stoney Ridge after a visit with her sister in Ohio and the opportunity to learn methods of healing from one of their best. By the time she gets home she is accompanied by an infant that was left in her care at a local bus station. Her arrival home is somewhat overshadowed by the news of a pair of endangered falcons nesting on her family's property. Also resident on the property is college intern Will Stoltz, who has been assigned to study and watch over the birds. Gideon Smucker, the young man who had been courting Sadie before she left, has also been waiting anxiously for her return.
Sadie's return gets off to a rough start when everyone assumes that the baby is hers and she becomes the subject of gossip. She is especially hurt when even Gideon makes the same assumption. It feels like the only person she can really talk to is Will, who always seems to be there when she needs him. He is charming and funny and skilled at getting Sadie to relax and have a little fun.
Will has come to work with the birds and try to recover from some trouble of his own. He made some foolish decisions during his last semester which have gotten him suspended from school. His father has cut him off financially, and set up this internship to give him something productive to do. But Will has also come with some secrets of his own that begin to weigh on his conscience. His growing friendship with Sadie opens his eyes to another side of life and he's left questioning what he should do.
Gideon has always been shy and rather tongue-tied around Sadie. He loves her but has never been able to get the words out. Jealousy hits him rather hard when he sees Sadie with Will and he makes some assumptions that gets him into trouble with her. Every attempt he makes to fix things seems to go wrong for him and just make things worse.
I enjoyed this book and seeing the changes that each of the characters goes through. Sadie starts out as very shy and doesn't seem to have a lot of confidence. She also seems to have a bit of trouble with being judgmental. Taking care of the baby and using her healing skills starts to change things, as does the admiring attention of Will. I liked seeing the way he encouraged her to stand up for her wishes. I liked seeing the influence she had on Will.
I have to admit that Gideon was not my favorite character. For someone who claims to love Sadie, he was awfully quick to believe the rumors. He didn't even bother to ask her about the truth. I really didn't see that he had much in common with her to make a successful relationship.
Will was pretty interesting. His attitude at the beginning was pretty bad, and he certainly came across as selfish. But he did seem to care about the birds he was watching over. I liked his willingness to jump in and help Sadie with the baby. I really enjoyed their developing friendship and how they were able to talk about anything. He was surprised by how much he opened up to her, and the effect that it had on him. He seemed to be developing a real caring for her, even though their lives are so different.
The secondary characters all add depth to the story. Sadie's little sister M.K. seems to be the catalyst for many of the things that happen. She has the habit of speaking before she thinks which creates some trouble for Sadie. But she has a good heart and always means well. Their father is loving and wise, but also somewhat clueless, especially when it comes to women and their actions and feelings. I liked their housekeeper, Fern, and her way of guiding people the way she thought they should be.
There are quite a few interesting plot twists and turns in the story affecting the main characters and others. I was surprised by the one involving the baby. Will has several things going on in his life, one of which is his relationship with his father. That takes an interesting turn, especially with a revelation about his father that explains several aspects of Will's life. His story seems to have been left hanging, so I'm curious to see if he's in the next book....more
This is a book that deals mostly with change. Dakota is the central character. She is a student in culinary school but also part owner of a knitting sThis is a book that deals mostly with change. Dakota is the central character. She is a student in culinary school but also part owner of a knitting shop that used to belong to her mother. Her plans are to create a cafe within the shop once she has graduated. To that end she is trying to get an internship with a hotel chef for over the holidays, only to find out that her father has made plans for the entire family to go visit her grandmother in Scotland. Dakota must decide which is more important to her. She also discovers that her father is dating, something that she hadn't seen coming. I had to remind myself that Dakota is still pretty young - I think around twenty-one - because I kept thinking that she seemed pretty selfish through most of the book. She spends a lot of time thinking about how she doesn't want to give up the internship just to visit her grandmother, even though the woman is pretty old and who knows what could happen. She also gets pretty snippy with her dad about his dating, even though her mom has been gone for eight years, not seeming to care that maybe he's a bit lonely and ready to move on. It takes some straight talking from a couple of the knitting ladies to open her eyes to how she's behaving. One of the things she has been doing is finishing some of her mother's knitting projects. The one she is working on now is a sweater that had been started for her father. As she works on it, and throughout the book, her friends and family share stories about her mother as a child and young woman, giving Dakota new insight into her mother's life. By the end of the book I had seen some good emotional growth out of Dakota.
There are also changes coming for some of the other members of the club. Peri, the co-owner of the shop, has been offered an incredible opportunity in France and has to decide if she has the courage to tackle the unknown. If she does, it will take her away from the shop and her friends. I loved the way that she worked out her dilemma.
Anita is supposed to be getting married on New Year's Day. Her fiance has been most patient with her as the wedding has already been rescheduled several times. One of Anita's grown sons is against the marriage and has managed to derail her plans before. Will she be able to stand up to him this time?
Their friend Catherine has been seeing an Italian widower for a year and isn't sure where the relationship is going. She loves him and is ready to step it up, but she doesn't know his intentions. He and his family will be visiting New York for the holidays. I loved the conversation she had with him and the results were fantastic.
Overall it was a good book, but at times very slow to get through. The beginning was especially slow and I nearly gave up on it. I'm glad I didn't, but it was a close thing....more
For a fictional book about the life of Princess Kaiulani of Hawaii I thought this was very well done. I have read a few that were so bad I couldn't fiFor a fictional book about the life of Princess Kaiulani of Hawaii I thought this was very well done. I have read a few that were so bad I couldn't finish them. It starts out with the story of Sandi, who has come to Hawaii to interview Hannah who had been a good friend of the Princess. She has been in kind of a limbo as her husband has been missing in Vietnam for almost five years. She has come to Lahaina for a school project. I loved the way that she is absorbed into the Hawaiian community and becomes so comfortable with the people. She has an immediate connection with Hannah and is fascinated by all the information that Hannah has given her for her research. She also gets to know Hannah's great grandson, a wounded Vietnam vet. There are feelings that develop between them though Sandi doesn't feel free to pursue them since she doesn't know if her husband is alive. The conflict between those feelings and the love she still feels for her husband creates some interesting scenes in the book. I liked the way it turned out.
The majority of the book deals with the life of Princess Kaiulani as she leaves Hawaii to go to school in England. She is accompanied by her half-sister Annie and her friend Hannah. On the voyage they meet Andrew Adams who is rather full of himself. He wants an interview with Kaiulani, but is a bit obnoxious when he speaks to her, thinking he is talking to Hannah. This sets the scene for a prank that will have long term effects during the book. On arrival in England they also meet Clive Davies who is smitten by Kaiulani. Over the next few years both men make a play for Kaiulani's heart.
Kaiulani, as a royal princess, has been sent to England for two reasons. First, to be educated in the ways of a world larger than that of the Islands. Should she become Queen there is a lot she needs to know. She is very young when she first arrives in England and seems to spend a lot of time in lighthearted pursuits. As she gets older she is called upon to represent her country in various appearances. In this book she meets a young Winston Churchill, who inspires her to become more serious about her studies. The second reason she is sent to England is for protection. There is a lot of unrest in Hawaii as King David Kalakaua deals with a group of American businessmen who wish to do away with the monarchy and run the Islands for their own benefit. After his death and Queen Liliuokalani took the throne but was quickly deposed by those businessmen and their provisional government and placed under house arrest. She refused to let Kaiulani return to Hawaii for fear of Kaiulani's life. Eventually she does return to a Hawaii far different than the one she left.
The author did an excellent job of portraying the upheaval going on in Hawaii at the time. She also showed Kaiulani's homesickness and love of her homeland. She is also shown as a real person who makes mistakes and isn't always perfect. Her descriptions of the settings were vivid. I enjoyed the glimpses of her friendship with Robert Louis Stevenson. While she played with the history of what really happened it was an excellent story. The ending was an interesting "what if" twist.
Forth from her land to mine she goes, The island maid, the island rose, Light of heart and bright of face: The daughter of a double race.
Her islands here, in Southern sun, Shall mourn their Kaiulani gone, And I, in her dear banyan shade, Look vainly for my little maid.
But our Scots islands far away Shall glitter with unwonted day, And cast for once their tempests by To smile in Kaiulani's eye.
- Robert Louis Stevenson written to Princess Kaiulani to mark her journey to Britain....more
Good book about a season of changes for the inhabitants of Windmill Farm. The main focus of the story is Julia Lapp. She is twenty-one years old and eGood book about a season of changes for the inhabitants of Windmill Farm. The main focus of the story is Julia Lapp. She is twenty-one years old and engaged to marry Paul Fisher. She is the oldest of the four Lapp children - herself, Sadie, Menno and Mary Kate (MK). Their mother died years ago and Julia has been in charge of raising her siblings. It was going pretty well until a few months ago when their father, Amos, started having heart problems. Now Julia also has to worry about keeping the farm going.
Last year Paul had asked Julia to postpone their wedding, saying he wasn't quite ready. She has been looking forward to their November wedding this year, having been dreaming of marrying Paul for years. When he comes to her and asks her to postpone again, she is hurt and furious, especially when she hears he had just been talking to Roman Troyer, the Bee Man. She blames Roman and his footloose lifestyle for Paul's defection. She decides that Roman has done it deliberately because he is sweet on her himself, and tells him that it won't work.
Roman has been taking his bees around Amish communities for several years. Traveling enables him to avoid thinking about his past and all he has lost. He's always enjoyed his stay on the Lapp farm, but things are very different this year. He can't believe the changes in Amos, and the effects it has had on the farm. And Julia is no longer the quiet girl in the background, running the house. Suddenly she's become something of a spitfire, with strong opinions about his actions and motivations. Unlike most other girls, who spend a lot of time pursuing him, she makes her disinterest known, which in turn makes her more intriguing to him. Because he does feel bad about the wedding, he decides to stick around Windmill Farm and try to help out. His past is also catching up with him, and he has some important decisions to make.
Throughout the story we get to know each of the characters in the book, though most of the time is spent of Julia and Roman.
Julia is the oldest, in charge of everything while their father is ill. She frequently feels overwhelmed. She is also very conscious of appearances, and tends to allow others' opinions to dictate her actions. She begins to gain more confidence in herself as the summer progresses, and is able to rely on her own judgment.
Sadie is the second oldest. She is quiet and rather shy, but enjoys looking out for her family. She is a bit on the plump side and finds comfort in food. She is very sensitive to people's pain and finds happiness in making them feel better.
Menno is the only boy. He is a little slow, but very sweet. Everyone likes him. He also has a special touch with animals.
MK is the youngest. She is headstrong, has a vivid imagination, and is constantly getting in trouble. She is in a perpetual feud with a neighbor boy of the same age. She tends to not think things through before she says or does something, and it usually turns out badly for her.
Amos is the father. He is suffering from heart failure and has been getting steadily worse. He has pretty much given up on the idea that he will get better, even though he's been told that a heart transplant would help him. He doesn't like the idea that someone else would have to die in order for him to live.
Roman is the Bee Man. His entire family was killed in an accident several years earlier and he travels to avoid the pain. Windmill Farm and its people find a way past the walls he has built around his heart. He makes it his mission to help around the farm, easing their burdens. He is also determined to make Amos see that having the transplant is a good thing.
Fern is the housekeeper who comes from Ohio to help the Lapp family. MK calls her Stern Fern because she has her rules and opinions and keeps the Lapp family in line. She takes it as a challenge to improve the health of both Sadie and Amos. There is also a connection between her and Roman that does not come out until near the end, but that she has no trouble using to encourage him to face his past.
As the summer progresses, Julia softens toward Roman, and begins to see that maybe things have worked out the way they are supposed to. She has a decision to make when Paul starts to make noises about changing his mind yet again. Roman's time on Windmill Farm has started easing some of his pain, and he's starting to consider some changes of his own. There is some mystery about his family's land back in Ohio that winds its way through the book and has a surprising impact on the story's end. The book ends with tragedy, hope and love, and the belief that things happen for a reason....more
Very good book. I liked both Levi and Danielle, though she had a fair amount of maturing to do in this book. When Danielle discovered she was pregnantVery good book. I liked both Levi and Danielle, though she had a fair amount of maturing to do in this book. When Danielle discovered she was pregnant, she was devastated when Matthew walked away from her and refused any responsibility. She went to Levi for comfort, since he had been her best friend since she had come to live there. Danielle is still very young emotionally. She had a crummy home life, where her mother abused her. She ran away and ended up living with Martha, an Englischer who lives in the Amish community. Levi offers to marry her, to raise the baby as his own and take care of her. At first she refuses, because she knows that it will cause him to be separated from his Amish faith. He convinces her to accept and they marry. Danielle has never learned how to cook or keep house and her first few weeks are pretty rough. She also has to cope with the fact that Levi's mother dislikes her and blames Danielle for luring Levi away. Danielle also has no faith in God which is hard for Levi to accept. Over the weeks of their marriage, Danielle starts to believe that maybe God does exist and has a plan for her life. With help from Martha and other friends in the community, Danielle learns how to cook and care for the house. When Danielle is put on bedrest when her pregnancy is threatened, Levi's mother steps in to help. This gives her and Danielle a chance to get to know each other and Vera soon comes to care for Danielle. She also helps Danielle learn about the Amish faith and about her own relationship with God. I also liked Levi and the way he wanted to help Danielle. He felt called to marry her even though he knew the problems it would cause. I loved his patience and the way that he wasn't a critical husband when Danielle was first learning her way around being married. I also loved the way he supported Danielle, even standing up to his strong-willed mother. His quiet faith also help Danielle grow in hers. I thought the ending was very well done, and very believable because the changes happened over a period of time....more
Good book. Katie Ann is raising her child alone after her husband left her and then died in an accident. She has good friends in her Amish community aGood book. Katie Ann is raising her child alone after her husband left her and then died in an accident. She has good friends in her Amish community and at a wedding meets Eli Detweiler. He is visiting from his home in Indiana, where he has just married off his youngest daughter. After seventeen years as a single father, he is looking forward to living his own life and doing some things that he wants to do. He and Katie Ann find that they have a lot in common and enjoy talking to each other. Both of them have friends who keep trying to fix them up with potential mates, but neither is interested. They decide that they would like to be friends, but agree that a relationship is just not possible. I really liked both Katie Ann and Eli. Katie has trust issues stemming from her husband's desertion. She is quite happy to be Eli's friend. She is surprised by how good he is with her son, as Amish men aren't generally very hands on with infants. She enjoys hearing about his plans for travel and their letters back and forth have been satisfying. There is also a physical attraction, but their differing life paths indicate that nothing will come of it. As their friendship grows, Katie finds herself falling in love with Eli. Eli is an unusual Amish man. He did not remarry right after his wife's death but raised his children on his own. Now that he has an empty nest he is looking forward to doing the things he dreamed about when he was younger. He likes Katie Ann and is attracted to her, but is not interested in starting over with a new family. As their friendship progresses he can't understand why he is so drawn to her when she is the opposite of everything he currently wants. The more he travels the more he finds he wants to spend time with her. I loved the way that their relationship developed slowly and Eli's solution to their living arrangements was perfect. I also enjoyed the other characters in the story. Martha was just as fun in this book as she was in the first. I really liked her faith and the way she was like a mother to Katie Ann. I loved her dealings with Danielle and look forward to seeing more of her. ...more
Very good book. Amelia is rescued from the rainstorm and a flat tire by Michael. He is staying in a cabin, basically hiding out from his Amish life, tVery good book. Amelia is rescued from the rainstorm and a flat tire by Michael. He is staying in a cabin, basically hiding out from his Amish life, trying to decide if he wants to leave it. Amelia is a concert violinist, also trying to decide her future. Amelia and Michael connect right away, each recognizing a fellow lost soul. He invites her to come to Hickory Hollow for a few days to relax. I loved the way that Amelia and Michael are able to relate to each other despite their very different backgrounds. Each is able to listen to the other without judging, thereby giving them a chance to explore options. Michael really wants to leave the Amish community, but is afraid of disappointing his family and friends. He is caught between two worlds - his Amish life, helping his father, and his English life, working as an architect and enjoying all the outside world has to offer. Amelia is tired of touring but doesn't know how to tell her father and the others who expect a great future from her. When she visits Hickory Hollow she is drawn to the simpler life she experiences there. I really liked the way she was able to help Michael with his niece, and the way she became such good friends with Joanna. When it is time for her to leave, she and Michael stay in touch for a long while, learning more about each other and expanding their friendship. They lose touch with each other for awhile due to a misunderstanding, but find their way together again after each has found their way to the lives they were meant to lead. I loved seeing the personal growth in both Michael and Amelia. Neither one came to their decisions easily, but the process was completely believable. I enjoyed seeing some characters from previous books. The conclusion to this story was beautifully done....more