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Amish Group Reads > March's Book - Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark

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message 1: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Brand It's another Amish mystery this month! Please join us in reading and discussing Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark

Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark

From the bestselling author of Shadows of Lancaster County comes an exciting new romantic mystery set in Amish country.

When New York marketing executive Samantha Collins finds herself unemployed, she moves out of her pricey Manhattan apartment to sleepy Harmony Grove, Pennsylvania. She plans on running the bed-and-breakfast she had bought as an investment in Lancaster County. However, when the manager she lets go is later found murdered on the property, Samantha’s troubles take a serious turn.

A handsome local wishes to befriend her, but can she trust him? And when her ex-boyfriend shows up, wanting to reconcile, can she cope with him in the middle of this crisis? Samantha must learn to depend on the Savior she has recently taken into her heart. And she’ll need all the help she can get, because the secrets she uncovers in Harmony Grove threaten her livelihood, her safety, and ultimately her life.


Feel free to post your comments about the book and any questions you think would be good for group discussion. Our group reads tend to be a rather informal affair so just chat away! Spoilers are perfectly fine but it might be a good idea to type ***SPOILER*** at the start of your post to alert any members who haven't finished the book if you're mentioning a major plot point that should be kept secret - especially early on in the month when some of us may not have finished the book yet!

Happy reading!


message 2: by Kristy (new)

Kristy (riverunbroken) | 250 comments I have some books to finish before I start this one and I want to read the first one first, even though they don't have to be read in order.


message 3: by Camille (new)

Camille (camlovesraptors) | 802 comments I am up to chapter 5 and I am already drawn in. I love a good mystery and boy is there a LOT of potential for this book!


message 4: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Brand I'm on chapter four, only planned to read a few pages but I've got totally caught up in it!


message 5: by Camille (new)

Camille (camlovesraptors) | 802 comments Agreed. I am the same way Rachel! I was SO tired and going to read just a "little bit" before I went to bed... 5 chapters later I couldn't physically keep my eyes open so that is the only reason I stopped.


message 6: by Abbie (new)

Abbie (weatherlover1) | 240 comments That good? Maybe I will read it after all.


message 7: by Abbie (new)

Abbie (weatherlover1) | 240 comments I just bought it! I think I will read it next. :)


message 8: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Brand Yay! I think you will enjoy it, Abbie. Don't hold me to that, though, I'm only on page 39 - my essay is demanding my attention right now! I'll definitely need an Amish romance after these two mysteries, though :)


message 9: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (goodreadscombarbara_beers) | 1533 comments Mod
I just finished reading a book I picked up at the library and can't wait to start this month's read. We're away for our girls' spring break from college (pretty early if you ask me) and was hoping to have LOTS of reading time. I'm finding it hard to find time to read. Gonna open the cover when I get all caught up on the unread comments.


message 10: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Brand That IS early for Spring Break - ours doesn't start until the 26th. Although sadly this means we have classes on Easter Monday, which I'm not too happy about :/

Simon, my fiancé, just informed me that he really likes the cover of this book. What does everyone else think of the cover?


message 11: by Kristy (new)

Kristy (riverunbroken) | 250 comments I may read this later in the month because I am loaning my kindle to my mom. We actually traded kindles for today and the next few days, so she can read some books that are not on her kindle and I can read ones not on mine.


message 12: by Abbie (new)

Abbie (weatherlover1) | 240 comments I just started this book. I am normally not a huge mystery fan but you made it sound good so we will see!


message 13: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Brand Kristy, that's cute that you and your mum are doing a "Kindle swap"! My mum is constantly reading my reviews of books online and asking to borrow them and I have to keep apologising because they're only on my Kindle :/ Maybe she'll get one some day!

I'm finding this book impossible to put down, so much suspense!

I'm not too sure about it being in first-person perspective, but it's working so far. I normally prefer third-person. What does everyone else think?


message 14: by Camille (new)

Camille (camlovesraptors) | 802 comments I am about 60% into this book and boy is it quite the baffling mystery! Just when they seem to be figuring something out, it gets more mysterious! I won't give any spoilers, but if you like really complicated mysteries that you cannot easily guess the solution to, I think you'll like this book! :)


message 15: by Abbie (new)

Abbie (weatherlover1) | 240 comments Well I read the first few pages last night and it looks interesting but I think I am going to have to set it a side for a week or two and read a few more review books after I looked at my review book list I realized how many I have to read. Not a bad problem at all but yikes! :p


message 16: by Camille (new)

Camille (camlovesraptors) | 802 comments Finished! Wow!!!

I really liked it and I definitely was not able to guess all that this book would encompass! It's definitely not a light read like a romance, but I found it very thought provoking in ways I didn't imagine. I would explain more but I don't want to give any spoilers away. Later, when we have all read it, I think there are some very very very good and important things to discuss.


message 17: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Brand It is a much darker book than I expected. I probably won't get around to finishing it until next week as I have two essays due on Monday that I'm frantically editing. Will come back then and let you know what I'm thinking of it :)


message 18: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Brand Okay, I lied, I woke up really early this morning as the curtains in Simon's parents' spare room don't block any light so I sat in bed and finished this book! Looking forward to our discussion :)


message 19: by Camille (new)

Camille (camlovesraptors) | 802 comments Me too Rachel. A lot of the happenings took me completely off guard, but it was truly such an intricate story. I really look forward to the discussion on this!


message 20: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (goodreadscombarbara_beers) | 1533 comments Mod
Rachel wrote: "That IS early for Spring Break - ours doesn't start until the 26th. Although sadly this means we have classes on Easter Monday, which I'm not too happy about :/

Simon, my fiancé, just informed me ..."


It is early -- last year the youngest was in Germany the same week & had 5 inches of snow during spring break. She was so glad to get home and warm up! They also finish up early -- April 29 is the last day of exams for the semester.

Tell Simon I like the cover too... it's neat how the field morphs into the roof of the covered bridge.

We're home from break and I want to go back! I'm only 90 pages in and I'm caught. I remember getting the same sense of thrill from Mindy's other Amish mystery "Shadows of Lancaster County" which I really enjoyed. Shadows of Lancaster County by Mindy Starns Clark . I can't wait to read more.


message 21: by Diane U (new)

Diane U (djuseless) | 1411 comments I've just started it (10% done) and it does grab you right away. Now I just need to sit down and read! LOL!


message 22: by Rachel (last edited Mar 09, 2011 01:20PM) (new)

Rachel Brand Barbara wrote: "Rachel wrote: "That IS early for Spring Break - ours doesn't start until the 26th. Although sadly this means we have classes on Easter Monday, which I'm not too happy about :/

Simon, my fiancé, ju..."


Yeah, my mum texted me earlier to say that it was snowing back home in Edinburgh! Hopefully the weather will have improved by my spring break - it's sunny here but still really cold.

Seems like everyone is caught by this book - looking forward to our discussion! :)


message 23: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (cathycr) | 2 comments I am on Chapter 9 and loving this story. Can't wait for discussion.


message 24: by Lorie (new)

Lorie | 1324 comments Mod
I finished this morning. I really liked it. I don't usually read books like this so it was really different for me. I really like books with first person. I just loved it.


message 25: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (goodreadscombarbara_beers) | 1533 comments Mod
I finished early this morning too! I really liked it.


message 26: by Kristy (new)

Kristy (riverunbroken) | 250 comments I am still reading the first book Shadows of Lancaster County. It's really good! Who has read it?


message 27: by Barbara (last edited Mar 13, 2011 02:12PM) (new)

Barbara (goodreadscombarbara_beers) | 1533 comments Mod
Kristy, I read the first one & I really liked it too. I just lent it to a friend this morning. I liked that the two stand alone even though the titles are similar.


message 28: by Kristy (last edited Mar 13, 2011 05:01PM) (new)

Kristy (riverunbroken) | 250 comments Do they have any similar characters? I am about 70% through the book, so I hope to finish tomorrow or Tuesday and Start the group book read.


message 29: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (goodreadscombarbara_beers) | 1533 comments Mod
Kristy -- no overlap in characters.


message 30: by Kristy (new)

Kristy (riverunbroken) | 250 comments Okay. I am going to start the book today. I thought it was a series that can be read alone. Oh well. I enjoyed the first book. Sad it had to end.


message 31: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Brand I'm glad you enjoyed the first book, Kristy, it looks really good. Will be interesting to hear which was your favourite :)


message 32: by Kristy (new)

Kristy (riverunbroken) | 250 comments I started the second book already.


message 33: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Brand Everyone's been rather quiet this month. Are we all still reading?


message 34: by Diane U (new)

Diane U (djuseless) | 1411 comments Yeah, I'm still reading. I'm at 57%.

It's been a rough couple of weeks. I was sick and now hubby is too. We've just been chilling, sleeping and watch TV. I'm better and he's just about there too! It really kicked both our butts!


message 35: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Brand Oh no! I hope your hubby is better soon. Spring is a bad time to get ill, it seems to spread so fast at this time of year.

It seems to have been a rough month for everyone! I've not been ill but my fiancé somehow caught shingles earlier this month, which was fun to worry about while I worked on two essays that were due on the same day! Seems to be calming down now and spring break starts on the 26th - so more time to read! :)


message 36: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (goodreadscombarbara_beers) | 1533 comments Mod
Are we ready to talk yet? Who still needs to finish?


message 37: by Kristy (new)

Kristy (riverunbroken) | 250 comments I Do, but I can't get into the book, so go ahead without me.


message 38: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Brand I'm sure we can talk without giving too much away if some people still aren't finished. What's everyone's general consensus - did you love it, hate it, just generally enjoy it?

Personally, I did really enjoy the book but didn't love it. In some places I felt like some plot points were really implausible. But there were others that I really enjoyed, like Sienna investigating her grandfather's life and her uncovering the story behind his first wife and the grove.


message 39: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (cathycr) | 2 comments I am 80% done. What an enjoyable book. I can't put it down. (Well except to blog) I would have to agree with Rachel. The storyline regarding her grandfather was the most gripping.


message 40: by Kristy (new)

Kristy (riverunbroken) | 250 comments I am taking a break from it. It is hard for me to get into. I Might read a chapter today if I feel like reading. But I am enjoying And Baby Makes Five by Debra Clopton.


message 41: by Diane U (new)

Diane U (djuseless) | 1411 comments I am 76% done and I am hoping to sit down and finish it today. I do love the story about the grandfather's first wife. I am really enjoying this book too. I love her writing style! It makes me feel like I am in Sienna's head.

Please feel free to talk freely about the book until everyone gets caught up. We can always not read this thread until we are done. Talk away!!!!


message 42: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Brand I just listened to a radio show with Mindy Starns Clark, I'd definitely recommend it! She talks about how she got into writing, what she learned from studying the Amish and about writing Secrets of Harmony Grove:

http://toginet.com/podcasts/amishwisd...

If you scroll down to 14th of October 2010 you can download it - I just listened to it while doing the dishes! :)

I don't normally enjoy first-person point of view but I really enjoyed it this time, Diane.


message 43: by Diane U (new)

Diane U (djuseless) | 1411 comments I'm done! I made sure that I finished this book today before doing anything crafty! Cool, now I can knit with my new set of interchangeable needles I just bought!!!

I did like the little twist to who did it and why. I also thought it was nice to fast forward three weeks to see how the family wraps things up.


message 44: by Diane U (new)

Diane U (djuseless) | 1411 comments I thought that was a unique analogy too. I would have to say that I am the string and my hubby is the kite especially in regard to finances. He would probably buy everyting the wanted without thinking it through if I wasn't there to discuss it with him.


message 45: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Brand I think it's a really sweet analogy for marriage. I know that I have a habit of worrying too much and panicking and always getting myself worked up over little things, so I need Simon to keep me grounded and thinking clearly. So sometimes I'll start to soar high as a kite when I get upset over something, but Simon will pull me back down to the ground and remind me why everything isn't as bleak as I'm making it out to be.

Jodie, thanks for bringing up this point - as I read this book at the start of the month I'd totally forgot about this bit!


message 46: by Camille (new)

Camille (camlovesraptors) | 802 comments SPOILERS IN MY POST!!!!

Sorry, I wanted to start with that for anyone who hasn't finished the book yet.

My question is: what did all the memories of the Holocaust bring up for everyone? For me, it was very powerful emotionally. Especially since in October I visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. I have to say I did not expect the Holocaust to be tied to this novel in any way, but it made for a book that made me really think, and made me really grateful for my blessings...


message 47: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Brand I thought they dealt with it very tastefully - it wasn't preachy or in your face about teaching a lesson about the Holocaust, but it was incredibly touching and yes, emotionally powerful. I personally didn't feel like I learned anything new about the Holocaust, because I visited Auschwitz in my last year of school and worked with the Holocaust Educational Trust with the Lessons from Auschwitz Project, but I felt that for those who were less informed it would open their eyes to the traumas of the Holocaust without shocking them and making them feel uncomfortable. Somehow, the Holocaust story did work really well alongside the rest of the book, it was very impressive.

How about everyone else?


message 48: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (goodreadscombarbara_beers) | 1533 comments Mod
I have enjoyed that in both, Shadows of Lancaster County and Secrets of Harmony Grove, Mindy has woven history into her novels and there has been jewels. Not something that is typical with the Amish.

I was floored by "who done it" -- didnd't see that one coming.


message 49: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Brand It's definitely interesting to read an "Amish" novel from the perspective of an Englisher - generally the only books that start out from an English perspective end up with the person becoming Amish. This was an entirely different take, and it worked well.

Same, Barbara, totally didn't see it coming!


message 50: by Janet (new)

Janet | 153 comments Am starting it today, looking forward to it even more after reading what everyone has written about it.


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