Best-selling authors Kathleen Fuller and Beth Wiseman are joined by Kelly Long, who entered the Amish genre last year with her debut Sarah’s Garden, iBest-selling authors Kathleen Fuller and Beth Wiseman are joined by Kelly Long, who entered the Amish genre last year with her debut Sarah’s Garden, in this romantic novella collection. An Amish Love features three interlocking stories of love, starting with an accidental marriage in Kelly Long’s A Marriage of the Heart and moving on to broken hearts embarking on a new relationship in What the Heart Sees by Kathleen Fuller. The anthology finishes on an optimistic note for the future with a late in life couple falling in love all over again in Beth Wiseman’s Healing Hearts.
From a glance at the front cover and the synopsis of this collection, one can be forgiven for assuming that this is a light, predictable selection of stories about the Amish. Even I expected this, and I’ve been an avid reader of Amish romances for almost two years now. So I was pleasantly surprised to see that each author was bringing something new and original to the genre.
Kelly Long, whose debut novel I absolutely adored, places her protagonist, Abby Kauffman, in an unusual situation and shows us how love can blossom in the most unexpected places. After a newcomer to the community, Joseph Lambert, fails to give Abby the attention she believes she deserves, she accuses him of misbehaving with her. But the joke is on her when her father forces them into a marriage of convenience in order to protect her honour – and much to her shock, Joseph agrees to this arrangement! While I’ll freely admit that the premise of this novella is a bit unbelievable, I loved watching Abby and Joseph’s relationship develop. Kelly brings something unexpected but most welcome to the Amish genre with the undeniable attraction and chemistry between her characters. As much as I’m a fan of “sweet” romance, I’m often disappointed by inspirational authors who fail to acknowledge this important aspect of relationships – bravo to Kelly for doing the opposite! 9/10
Kathleen Fuller’s story is definitely my favourite in this collection, especially as she shows us the flawed side of the Amish. While we uphold the Amish as being people of forgiveness, Kathleen dares to admit the obvious – that forgiveness doesn’t come easily or painlessly. Christopher Miller left the Amish after his fiancée was killed in a car accident, and he still holds a grudge against the driver of the car when he finally returns five years later. So it doesn’t sit well that his younger sister is engaged to be married to this man. Through the help of Ellie Chupp, who lost her eyesight in the same accident, he slowly learns to let go of his deceased fiancée – and to forgive and ask for forgiveness himself. While this story focused more on the developing relationship between Chris and Ellie, rather than romance, there was something simple and beautiful about the flawed nature of all of the characters that really appealed to me. Kathleen is a new author to me and I will definitely be looking out for more of her work. 10/10
I wasn’t quite so fond of Beth Wiseman’s addition to the collection. I found that it became a bit over-the-top and cheesy towards the end, but I truly appreciated the fact that Beth decided to focus on an older couple. Too many romance novels focus on young couples in their prime, and it often makes us forget how important it is to keep romance alive within marriage. Levina and Naaman Lapp have been married for over thirty years, but once all their children have left home they realise that they’ve drifted apart. Naaman takes a trip to visit family in Ohio and doesn’t return for almost a year – and when he does, their relationship needs even more work. Slowly, they learn to fall in love again, and Naaman is able to regain his wife’s trust. As someone who is currently reading a pile of marriage-preparation books, it was encouraging to see someone acknowledging the strain that raising a family can put on marriage and how important it is to set aside some time just for the two of you. However, there was a subplot about the possibility of Naaman being in trouble with the law that just didn’t seem to fit with the feel of the novella and spoiled this story a bit for me. 8/10
This collection is perfect for anyone who is already a fan of Amish fiction, but would also suit those who want to experiment with this genre but don’t know where to start. An Amish Love features three of the best authors of this popular genre, and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to discover new stories about our beloved Plain folk. Overall rating: 9/10...more
The love that Bridget and Philippe have for each other is not respected by their society, she being the heir to a promising plantation and he a mere iThe love that Bridget and Philippe have for each other is not respected by their society, she being the heir to a promising plantation and he a mere indentured servant. Philippe is well aware that their relationship cannot go anywhere, so when he is offered his freedom in return for separation from Bridget he leaves the Barrington estate without a second glance. But little does he know that this will plunge Bridget into a marriage of convenience to a disreputable man. Will Philippe discover this in time to rescue her from the clutches of her husband-to-be? Will God provide a way for these star-crossed lovers to be together?
This lovely historical romance definitely surpassed my expectations! I'm a history geek and a romantic at heart but I will admit that the blurb sounded a bit cheesy, even for my standards. However, once I was a third of the way into the story I became entirely immersed and didn't want to put it down. I wanted to find out whether Bridget and Philippe would ever get together, and if Edward would be outed for being the scoundrel that he truly was. I will admit that it took me a while to warm up to Bridget and I would have preferred more interaction between the couple before they were separated to fully convince me of their love for each other. Because of this, it took me a while to be come completely interested in their conflict, but by the end of the novel I definitely thought that it was worth the read.
This is the third in a series about a noble Huguenot family from France who escape Catholic persecution during the 17th century, but it can easily be read as a standalone book. And as I've studied this particular period of history at university I can say that Parsons has clearly done her research and produced an authentic novel. Bridget's marriage of convenience, I felt, was particularly appropriate for the period and the conflicts she encountered were probably quite common for a woman in her situation. I was also impressed that the author dared to deal with the historical conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, and did so without favouring either side. This is an issue that few authors dare to attempt in the Inspirational genre, for fear of offending people, but Parsons was incredibly delicate yet honest with her examination of the topic. I will caution that this is definitely a Christian novel, and the characters frequently seek God's guidance and pray to him in difficult situations. I thought her portrayal of faith was excellent, but non-Christians may find this unappealing.
I would definitely read more from this author and I'm interested in the rest of the Darkness to Light trilogy. This is more than your typical inspirational historical romance, dealing with some difficult situations and a time period that's not commonly featured in romantic novels. If this is a genre or topic that you're interested in then be sure to put Golden Keyes Parsons on your wishlist! 8/10
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