About the book: Abigail Schrock knows God can make all things new, but does that include her broken heart?
It seems as if everyone is falling in love in Birch Creek, including Abigail Schrock. But when heartbreak descends on her already fragile world, she can’t help but feel that if she’d only been a little prettier, she could be on her way down the wedding aisle. To make matters worse, Abigail’s two sisters have found love, while all Abigail can seem to find is the chocolate she has stashed away in the pantry.
Asa Bontrager has never had trouble with the ladies in his Amish community—his good looks have always gotten him far. Which is why he’s baffled by the call he’s received from God to pursue Abigail, a woman who seems determined to turn him away.
Can Abigail find the peace and joy she so desperately desires? Will she allow herself to stop running and melt into the embrace of unforeseen comfort? If she does, she may just discover a love powerful enough to lift the heavy burden of grief weighing her down and restore her hope in a promising future.
Paperback, 320 pages Published September 13, 2016, by Thomas Nelson
My review: I have loved this series since the very beginning and each book just gets better and better. Kathleen Fuller has created characters readers can care about and situations that they can relate to. A Love Made New is a story that I found at times to be just heart wrenching (but in a good way because I knew I was connecting with the characters).
Abigail, the middle Shrock sister, is ready to get with her life after helping her younger sister recover from the accident that took their parents lives. Abigail believes she has found happiness with her boyfriend, Joel, but soon finds that her happily ever after isn’t going to happen as she thought it would. Abigail seems to think this is because she has gained a substantial amount of weight and isn’t as pretty as she used to be. Asa Bontrager, recently returned from Shipshewana, Indiana, finds no problem with Abigail’s looks. In fact, he believes God has sent him back to Birch Creek to fall in love with her. Their friendship is a bit awkward at times and frustrating to them both.
The relationship these two had just really tugged at my heart. I felt so sorry for Abigail and found it easy to relate to her feelings over her weight. The moments when Asa touches her and she is so self-conscious of her weight were just so real. I felt her uneasiness right along with her. It was easy to relate to Asa too as he looked past Abigail’s weight and saw who she really was inside. Asa was a very likable character and I found him to be real and genuine just like Abigail. Their relationship is full of ups and downs and is a rollercoaster ride for the reader but at the same time is so touching.
Readers also get to catch up with Sol, Sadie’s troubled brother-in-law. He and Irene, Joanna’s sister-in-law, have the common bond of fathers who are not present in their lives. Each is having to deal with this and Sol also has a very troubled past but Irene is more than willing to help him. It was nice to see closure for these two characters. Their relationship is just as real as that of Abigail and Asa.
While this is the third, and final, book in the series, it isn’t required that readers have read the first two books. Kathleen does a wonderful job of catching readers up but not giving away all the details or making it seem too repetitive to those who have read the first two books. I found there to be just enough information to refresh my memory. Kathleen also does a fantastic job of wrapping up all the storylines of the series and giving readers closure. This is one of my favorite Amish communities and I am going to miss these characters.
If you like fiction (Amish or not) that has real-life situations and complex characters this is a must-read. Kathleen Fuller has created characters from the heart and it is easy to see this through the words on the page. I highly recommend this book and the other two in the series.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are mine.
About the author: Kathleen is the best-selling author of over thirty books, including the Hearts of Middlefield Series and the A Middlefield Family Series. She lives with her husband and three children in Northeast Ohio. Kathleen loves to hear from readers.