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Book Review: “Arms of Love”

Arms of Love by: Kelly Long

Arms of Love by: Kelly Long

Kelly Long is one of the “Amish fiction” authors I enjoy.  I have reviewed some of her works before, such as Lilly’s Wedding Quilt found in the Book Nook section here on my blog.  Luckily for me, my most recent book from Booksneeze.com was Long’s Arms of Love.

Here is the book description for Arms of Love:

The year is 1777. America is in turmoil. And Amish life is far different than today.

Pennsylvania in the late 18th century, once called William Penn’s Woods, was an assortment of different faiths living together for the first time in American history. Included in this tapestry was a small and struggling population called Amish.

Surrounding this peaceful people were unavoidable threats: both Patriots and the British were pillaging land and goods for the sake of the war, young Amishmen were leaving the faith to take up arms and defend freedom. A simple walk in the untamed forests could result in death, if not from bullet or arrow, then from an encounter with a wild animal.

Amid this time of tumult, Adam Wyse is fighting a personal battle. To possibly join the war efforts and leave his faith, which would mean walking away from the only woman he’s ever loved: Lena Yoder. But for that love he’s made a promise that may keep them apart permanently.

I found Arms of Love to be a good read for a snowy winter’s day — the kind of book you can curl up in a chair with along with a cup of tea or hot chocolate and a warm blanket.  At first I thought the story was going to be very predictable.  It seemed like it was going to be the typical Amish story: two people who want to be together and start a family but can’t because of some problem or rule that is keeping them apart; something changes the situation; and then in the end they end up being able to get married after all and life is good.  Long keeps her readers interested in the story and entertained throughout.  She keeps the reader guessing whether or not Adam Wyse will enlist with the war effort.  Then there is the problem of whether or not Adam and Lena will be able to marry; along with the twist that Lena and Adam’s brother, Isaac, are to be wed instead in order to keep Adam away from Lena (or so Adam’s father hopes for reasons of his own).

But Long doesn’t leave the reader with this one basic plot line. Amidst the turmoil of heartache and mystery between Adam and Lena’s situation,  the author keeps the reader involved with the lives of the other significant characters in the story: the wet nurse, Ruth; Lena’s father, Samuel; and Lena’s brother, John.  Long let’s us see into their lives and hearts as well so that we can immurse ourselves even more into the story, the Yoder and Wyse families, and the Amish life in general — one of the many reasons why I enjoy reading her literary works.

If you have previously read books by Kelly Long, or have an interest in Amish fiction, I encourage you to add this to your casual reading list.  It’s a “feel good” kind of book that keeps you involved in the story and the lives of the characters.  Arms of Love will keep you interested with a story that keeps you going from cover to cover!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2013 in Book Nook

 

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Book Review: Healing Hearts

"Healing Hearts" by: Beth Wiseman

Hello, fellow readers!  Here is another review of a collection of Amish fiction for you! This time, I was able to review Beth Wiseman’s Healing Hearts, a collection of 3 stories previously published in An Amish Christmas, An Amish Gathering, and An Amish Love.

The first story, A Choice to Forgive, centers around mother and widow – Lydia Smucker. Lydia has loved two men in her life. Daniel, who disappeared one Christmas Eve long ago, leaving only a note saying he wanted to live in the Englisch world. And Elam, Daniel’s brother, to whom she had been happily married for 15 years. When Elam dies, Lydia gives up on ever loving again. But she is shocked when Daniel wants to return to the Order and her life.  Daniel is finally able to make known to Lydia the truth about what happened that Christmas Eve in hopes that she can and will at least forgive him.  I will not tell you if she does or not, because that would ruin the outcome of the story for you.  However, I will tell you that the story reminds all of us how important trust, honesty and forgiveness are in our lives.  They just might mean the difference between which path our lives take and lead.

A Change of Heart is the second novella included in the collection. Leah is a writer in a community that does not encourage such fruitless endeavors. She lacks the skills necessary to be a good Amish fraa. Aaron knows these things about Leah, but his heart is captured by this spirited young woman. See how Leah’s stories influence the people around her, and touch some hearts close to her in unexpected ways!

“Healing Hearts” Levina Lapp and her husband Naaman are alone for the first time in 30 years. When Naaman left to visit cousins in Ohio, Levina wasn’t expecting him to be gone a year. Now that he’s back, will they be able to move beyond this estrangement and fall in love again? Even though the story focuses mostly on Levina and Naaman’s marriage and the trials and attempts to get it working again, I found it interesting how Naaman’s visit away from wife and kinner had and would impact the lives of so many people.  This story is not just a reminder of how love and trust are important aspects of a strong marriage and family.  Healing Hearts also reminds readers that God has a purpose for events and things that we do with our lives, even though such things are not understood at the time they happen.

 

I don’t want to add too much more to the summaries listed above in case I accidentally give away the endings for those of you interested in reading Healing Hearts.  I was drawn into reading all 3 stories as soon as I started each one.  I hope that you will be too if you choose to read this book. I couldn’t put it down and finished it in 2 days.

 Once again, Beth Wiseman demonstrates through this collection of stories how well she writes and shares such aspects as love, trust, forgiveness and Faith with her readers.  She’s definitely one of the top Amish fiction authors on my reading list!  I’m glad I chose this book to read and review!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 
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Posted by on August 30, 2011 in Blogging, Book Nook

 

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Book Review: Paradise Valley

Here is another book I recommend to all of my fellow readers out there, especially those of you who (like myself) are fans of Amish fiction.  If I were you, I would definitely add Dale Cramer’s Paradise Valley to your summer reading list!! I couldn’t agree more with New York Times bestselling author Beverly Lewis when she says, “If you like Amish fiction, you’ll love this book!”

Paradise Valley - by: Dale Cramer

 

Set in the 1920’s, Paradise Valley is a great example of historical fiction, having been inspired by actual events with the historical context of the novel being fairly accurate.   The story begins with the arrest of 5 Amish fathers for violating the Bing Act of 1921.  From this point forward Cramer’s characters — the Bender family — come to life through the eyes of 15-year-old Rachel, one of Caleb Bender’s daughters.  I encourage you to follow the journey of Rachel and her family as they move to Mexico to start a new life in a place where the American government cannot interfere with their Amish way of life.  They are faced with many trials and tribulations throughout their journey and their attempts to begin life in their new home, Paradise Valley.  See how they draw upon their faith and keep to “their ways” as temptation, hard times, and risky encounters with bandits threaten their new start. 

 

I hope you take the time to look this book up at your local library or book store!! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and if you enjoy Amish fiction as much as I do, then I know you will too!!  Happy reading!!

 

Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
 

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Posted by on June 3, 2011 in Blogging, Book Nook, WAHM

 

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Book Review: Lilly’s Wedding Quilt

Lilly's Wedding Quilt - by Kelly Long

My latest book  to review only confirmed that I have a new favorite genre of fiction to add to my “favorite reads” list!  Lilly’s Wedding Quilt  is an Amish fiction novel written by Kelly Long.  I didn’t realize when selecting this book to review that it was the 2nd book in the Patch of Heaven series, but I assure you I will be going back to read Book 1: Sarah’s Garden as soon as I am able, as well as the next book in the series when it comes out.  In the meantime, let me share more about Lilly’s Wedding Quilt.

The following is a brief description that was given about the book:

She isn’t looking for love. He’s mending a broken heart. It will take divine intervention for these two to get together. Local Amish schoolteacher Lilly Lapp is tired of weddings, afraid of horses, and immersed in caring for her depressed mother. But when Jacob Wyse, a handsome horse breeder from her small community rescues her from a dangerous accident, Lilly discovers a renewed interest in life and the possibility of love.  Yet Jacob has lost the one true love of his life to another man and doesn’t care to expose himself to the vulnerabilities of loving again.

God works to bring this unlikely pair into a sweet romance to produce a pattern of faith, which leads to the creation and comfort of Lilly’s Wedding Quilt.

What I think about it:

I enjoy reading a book that I can get into right away, and Kelly Long’s writing style and storyline helped me to do just that.  I was eager to find out more about each character’s personality and traits as the story unfolded.  Plus it was an added bonus to learn about the little tidbits of Amish living and customs, as well as bits of Pennsylvania Dutch words and phrases that Long slipped into the characters’ thoughts and conversations, making the story all the more “real” and true to its inspiration.  As you read the story, you can easily find yourself sharing in Lilly’s and Jacob’s feelings of frustration when faced with another personal and marital barrier, as well as excitement and accomplishment when they make another step forward in growing together as husband and wife.  I also find it heartwarming and encouraging how they turn to God as new events, both good and unpleasant, pop up along their journey.   It brings to mind that God gives purpose and meaning to things even when we, or in this case Lilly and Jacob, don’t understand why right away.

Would I recommend this book to friends and fellow readers? Absolutely! As I mention before, I plan on reading Sarah’s Garden as soon as I am able and look forward to adding similar Amish fiction books to my to-read list.  Thanks to this book, Kelly Long will be added to my list of favorite Christian authors for sure!!  If you happen to pick up a copy of Lilly’s Wedding Quilt, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2011 in Book Nook

 

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