Monday, May 20, 2013

Dandelions on the Wind

Book description:  "Maren Jensen, a rejected mail-order bride from Denmark, works as a domestic on Elsa Brantenberg's farm and helps care for Elsa's granddaughter. Maren's failing eyesight has made having a family of her own seem impossible. When Rutherford "Wooly" Wainwright returns to the farm, now a Civil War veteran, he discovers that Maren has become an important part of his mother-in-law's and daughter's lives. Maren soon realizes there isn't room for both she and Rutherford on the farm and takes a job at a store in town, making it possible for Rutherford to start fresh with his family, but her absence in the home affects them all. In the end, Maren realizes God has been lighting her path all along."

My review:  This is a novella that I think should have been a longer book.  I enjoyed the characters and the story, but the book was just not long enough for the author to fully develop either one.  I was really disappointed when the book ended, because I felt like I had been cheated.  Where was the rest of the story?!  I did appreciate the spiritual lessons.  Even Elsa had lessons to learn though she was "old" and a grandmother.  I really liked that this portrayed the fact that no matter how old we get, our spiritual lives can continue to grow and learn and mature.  I also appreciated Maren's physical limitations caused by her eyesight.  We often don't think about what it would have been like to live even a generation ago where modern medicine was not advanced enough to correct what is more easily corrected today.  

Even though the book was a bit disappointing, I did enjoy reading it.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Waterbrook/Multnomah in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

The Guardian

Summary:  "When Jodi Winfield comes to Lancaster to house-sit, the last thing she expects to find is a disheveled little girl alone on the side of the road. The young teacher is mystified when she learns there have been no reports of a missing child, and the girl herself is no help, since she can't speak English. It's as if the child appeared out of nowhere.
Then Jodi turns her attention to Hickory Hollow--and the cloistered world of the Old Order Amish--in search of answers."

My Review:  I always look forward to new books by Beverly Lewis.  This one was not one her best, but it was still good.  The Guardian, which is part of the Hickory Hollow series, can stand alone.  It is a very easy read and the story did not take the path I expected it to take just from the title.  Jodi is a strong likable character, and I enjoyed reading about her introduction to the Amish way of life.  The story flows easily around Jodi's life as well as the Amish.  Some parts of the story I found unbelievable, but the characters themselves were endearing.  Even though this story is not a page-turner, if you enjoy stories about the Amish this a book you will enjoy reading.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Letters to Katie

Book description:  "Everything changed between them the first time he called her Katie.
Katherine Yoder has loved Johnny Mullet since they were children, but he never actively returned her affections. Like so many things in their world, he assumes Katherine will always be there. Once his horse farm is a success, then he will court her in earnest.
For several weeks, Katherine has been plagued by severe headaches and dizziness. While resting at home, Johnny unexpectedly visits, but when dizziness strikes, she loses consciousness. She awakens hours later in a hospital bed, unable to remember how she got there.
Seeing Katherine injured and vulnerable stirs something in Johnny, and his guilt compels him to spend time with her while she heals. Soon his heart begins to stir with questions: Does she even remember why he'd come to her house that day?
As Katherine struggles to recall recent memories of Johnny, a surprise visitor arrives in her already unsteady world—a man named Isaac who claims they had been writing letters to each other, even considering marriage, before her illness.
With two men vying for her attention and her memory still elusive, Katherine has never felt so divided. The answer may lie behind a door she never considered opening."

My review:  Another great book to read!  I enjoyed following the lives of both characters.  Johnny's thought processes were not unusual, and Katherine's responses were typical.  I think that is what made this book so real.  As I read, I almost felt as though this were a true story, but the amnesia and the man named Isaac kept it from truly feeling that way.  I do think that both of those parts added to the story though without seeming like  they didn't belong.  The ending was a bit unusual but very appropriate!  I thought it was a perfect ending to a wonderful story.  This book also continued the story of Laura and Sawyer, who were the main characters of a previous book by this author.  I enjoyed catching up on their story as well.  If you enjoy reading about the Amish, this is one you will want to read.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.