The Journey Home by Hope Kesler (Review by Cathy)

the journey home

A story of faith, forgiveness and family.

Birdie is called upon to care for her ailing mother and younger siblings.

Caleb is called to fill a job as the new blacksmith in Birdie’s community.

As with any Amish community with single youth, Caleb is soon sought after by most everyone but Birdie who is dealing with her father who is less than kind to her.

There’s no sugarcoating in this book, pretending the Amish are immune to the problems of the world.

It’s a short story and I personally would have liked to see more character development.

Butt a quick read.

 

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The Journey Home by Hope Kesler (review by Kristi)

the journey home

Birdie Miller had left the Amish faith to join the English world. When she received a phone call that her mother has been in an accident and may not live she returns to her Amish family to help take care of her mother. Things at home aren’t easy for Birdie though as she struggles in her relationship with her father. Birdie is everything an Amish girl shouldn’t be: headstrong, determined, independent, opinionated. All these things make her relationship with her father difficult.

Caleb Troyer is leaving his Amish family in Ontario to move to Ohio and start a new life as a blacksmith. He is leaving his home because he is attracted to someone who loves another. Caleb meets Birdie and isn’t sure about her. She comes across as someone who, as an Amish woman, is too strong in her opinions. Caleb soon learns that Birdie isn’t as tough as she seems and has struggles of her own.

I liked the story line of this book. I am really enjoying all of the Amish fiction lately that focuses on not-so-perfect Amish families. Let’s face it. The Amish all have problems like everyone else. It is refreshing to read about their problems and how they handle them. Birdie had problems that I think everyone can relate to. I liked Caleb’s character as I think he was instantly likable. I also liked Esther, Birdie’s best friend. I would like to see a story written about her.

I would have liked the book to have been longer. I was enjoying getting to know Birdie and Caleb and wished their story could have been longer and more detailed. It would have been nice to have seen their friendship develop more and to have read more about their courtship.

This book is easy to read and can easily be read over a long afternoon or over a weekend

Petticoat Detective by Margaret Brownley (Review by Cathy)

Petticoat Detective is the first book in the new Undercover Ladies series by Margaret Brownley.
We meet the main character in Kansas in 1883, a lovely young lady working for The Pinkerton National Detective Agency.
Her assignment takes her to Miss Lillian’s Parlor House and Fine Boots. This is where the fun begins. The characters are well developed, important to the storyline and the dialogue is laugh out loud funny.
There are twists and turns in the plot that were unexpected and thoroughly enjoyable.
I highly recommend this book,

Almost Always by Bobbi Reed (review by Kristi)

almost always

From Goodreads: Here’s the way Eva sees it: if John is so concerned about her butting into strangers’ lives, he shouldn’t leave her sitting at a table in Bob Evans with nothing to occupy her time . . .

Enter Cecelia—a pregnant teenager who needs a family for her baby. Fate has placed her at the table behind Eva and John.

Now Eva has a chance—a chance to give her daughter, Shelly, the one thing Shelly desperately wants.

But nothing is ever as easy as it seems.

Because sometimes daughters are not born to us—they are gifted by desperate teenagers—or seated behind us at Bob Evans . . .

I really enjoyed this quick and easy read. I was pleasantly surprised (and a little shocked) that this was the author’s first work. The book had a good, solid story and well developed characters. I liked the flow of the book as it moved smoothly from chapter to chapter keeping my interest the entire way from beginning to end. In fact, I stayed up late to finish the book. I had to know what happened to everyone.

Even though the story is somewhat predictable and I guessed what was going to happen before it did, this was still a fun book to read. I’m pretty sure I would read more from this author. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a quick, easy, light read.

Married for Christmas by Noelle Adams (review by Kristi)

married for Christmas

Daniel wants to be the pastor at his childhood church. They want someone who is married. Jessica wants a husband and family. It only makes sense for the two of them to get married so they can both get what they want. There is only one problem and that is Daniel is a widower and has said he won’t fall in love again. Their marriage will not be one based on love. Jessica thinks she can handle this so agrees. After getting married though Jessica wonders if she can live in a loveless marriage. Can they truly live as husband and wife if there is no love?
This was a fast-paced, predictable read. I liked the story line, even though you can probably guess what will happen between the two. The story is a sweet romance and is easy to get into and stay interested in from beginning to end. This was an easy read as it only took hours to finish. There are several grammatical/spelling errors but they are not too distracting. However, these did bring down the rating I gave the book.

The author starts out with a note that this is not a spiritual book but rather a book about spiritual people. I found this note to be accurate as there are a few tastefully done love scenes.

Overall I really enjoyed reading this book. It is a quick, easy weekend read.

A Mother’s Secret by Amy Clipston (review by Kristi)

a mother's secret

There are so many words I could use to describe this book. Amazing, fantastic, terrific, must-read, and a keeper are just a few. Amy Clipston has written a wonderful story about letting go of the past and forgiving yourself for past mistakes.
Carolyn Lapp made a mistake in her youth that she now believes will prevent her from finding true happiness. That mistake resulted in her son Ben. She believes she will not be able to marry for love as her parents did but will have to marry to give Ben a father. She meets Joshua Glick at an auction when her son is accused of hurting his horse. That injury results in Ben working at Josh’s horse farm to pay off the vet bill. Joshua and Carolyn soon find themselves attracted to each other but in the way to finding true happiness stands Carolyn’s secret and Joshua’s mother Barbie. Can the two overcome Carolyn’s past and Barbie’s desire to run Josh’s life?

This book was so easy to get into and stay interested in. The characters are so genuine it is easy to get into their story and hope for the best for them. The pace of the book is just right. I couldn’t put this book down as I just had to know what would happen to Carolyn and Josh.

I like that Amy writes stories about Amish people who have problems just like anyone else. These people aren’t perfect and they have struggles just like non Amish. I think it’s important for those of us who are intrigued by their lives to understand they are not perfect but flawed just like us. The difference is in how they deal with their flaws compared to us. Amy does a fantastic job of highlighting this. Another aspect of the book I enjoyed was the characters are in their thirties and still trying to discover who they are.

I teared up reading a section of this book when Ben defends his mother to Josh. I don’t often tear up when reading but I just couldn’t stop myself. Amy has such a connection to her characters that it comes across on the page and draws you in.

I give this book two thumb up. It is definitely one of the best Amish fiction books I’ve read and one of the best books I’ve read this year. Bravo, Amy. Well done!!