About the book: At age twenty, Jessica Bachman left her two beloved sisters and her Amish community after clashing with the new bishop about her role in the family and the future of their farm. She tried to convince Silas Kemp, who’d been courting her for two years, to join her, but when he said no, she fled anyway.
Three years later, she returns home for the first time since leaving Lancaster to attend her father’s funeral. Her arrival back revives all sorts of emotions–yearnings and sorrows alike. Jessica knows things will never return to how they were. But in seeing Silas again, she can’t help but wonder what might have been.
Struggling to decide where her next step should take her, she learns the story of a Revolutionary War-era ancestor that echoes her own choices. Will Jessica leave her family and community forever, or is there peace and healing and love yet to come?
Published October 3, 2017, by Bethany House Publishers
My review: To be honest I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book. I am so used to reading dual timeline stories from Leslie Gould and Mindy Starns Clark together that I couldn’t imagine one written just by Leslie. I am so glad I was given the chance to read this book because it is well-written and is a fantastic story. This book is perfection!
I liked Jessica’s story because it wasn’t what is normally found in the Amish fiction genre. She has been shunned by her family and church yet she returns home when she receives the news that her father has died. Jessica faces much conflict with her family upon her return, and she finds comfort with her Aenti Suz. It is from this Suz that she learns Ruby’s story.
Ruby’s story is just as interesting as Jessica’s and I was anxiously turning pages to find out what was happening to Ruby and the farm. I liked the friendship she built with Duncan since it was formed out of necessity yet gently turned into a genuine bond.
This book is written in both first person and third person. Jessica’s story is told in the first person and at times almost had the feel of Jessica writing a letter to me letting me know what was going on in her life. Ruby’s story is told in the third person and was more of a traditional story. I liked that the book was written this way as it made it really easy to keep the stories separated in my mind.
What I liked best about this book is it is full of characters who are flawed. I think people often think of the Amish as having no problems since they lead simple lives. Jessica’s story shows that the Amish have just as much angst and turmoil in their lives as everyone else but maybe just not in the same way. Arden, Vi, and even Jessica’s mom seemed cold and distant but as I read the story it was easy to understand why. On the other hand, Jessica’s sister, Leisel, and her former beau, Silas, were friendly and warm. I liked these two characters and was hoping maybe there could be a second chance for Silas and Jessica.
This is easily one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Two riveting stories with complex and genuine characters. This book is definitely one for the keeper shelf and one I highly recommend.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.
About the author: Leslie Gould is the #1 bestselling and Christy Award-winning author of twenty-two novels. She received her MFA from Portland State University and teaches writing at Warner Pacific College. Leslie enjoys traveling, hiking, and history. She and her husband, Peter, are the revolving-door parents of four children and three cats.
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