I’ve finished three books in the last couple of weeks, but for whatever reason haven’t felt inclined to do full-fledged reviews. But who knows — once I get going these may expand. 🙂 My intention, however, is just to mention a few things about these.
The Missing is the second in the Seasons of Grace series by Beverly Lewis. In the first book, the mother of the Amish Byler family, Lettie, left without explanation one morning (no plot spoilers there — that was the main plot point of the book.) In this book she is still missing and the reasons are unfolded bit by bit. We see her search and her struggles and her family’s continued coping with the consequences and questions and confusion, particularly her husband and oldest daughter, Grace. The everyday running of the household falls largely to Grace. In the last book she broke her engagement to a young man as reserved and uncommunicative as her father. In this book, the boy who had previously shown interest in her friend is now showing interest in her, and at first she does not return his interest, but finds herself attracted to this Amishman with his unusual ways and chatty nature. Then there is Englisher Heather who has come to the area to seek natural methods for fighting cancer, not wanting to put herself through the torment and side effects of the lost battle her mother fought with the disease. She and Grace meet and form an unexpected but pleasant friendship.
Though some parts of the plot are somewhat predictable, the character development is intriguing. I enjoyed the book, as I do all of Beverly’s, and look forward to the final book due out in April.
A Surrendered Heart by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller is the third in the Broadmoor Legacy series. Each book focused on one of three cousins from the wealthy Broadmoor family. In this book, Amanda has plans to go to college to study to become a doctor and in the meantime is working with a local doctor in her uncle’s “Home for the Friendless.” Her father arranges for her college application to be denied and makes plans for her to marry another wealthy man. Though he had expected her to do so all along, now his finances are in dire straits and he needs her to marry well, not only for the family’s reputation but out of necessity. Will his nefarious scheming catch up with him or will he get away with his wrongdoings? Meanwhile a cholera epidemic breaks out, confining Amanda to the Home for the Friendless under quarantine.
We see the other cousins’ relationships developing as well. I particularly appreciated the struggles shown between party-loving free spirit Sophie and her reserved, serious, minister husband. So many books end with the wedding, but I liked that the authors continued to show the struggles this couple would naturally have. I enjoyed this book as well.
Dr. Frau: A Woman Doctor Among the Amish by Grace H. Kaiser is a non-fiction book about this doctor’s experiences among the Amish in the Lancaster, PA area for 28 years beginning in the 1950s. Grace writes with humor and clarity as we follow along with her delivering babies at homes in blizzards and all kinds of other conditions and handling a variety of other needs. Her picture of Amish life is less idyllic than Beverly Lewis’s but no less appreciative.
I love her phrasing: “The last sticky pan hit the sink at half-past collapse time,” “The room hummed like bees in a June clover field.”
The only thing I didn’t like about this book her father’s response when Grace was tempted to stop pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor: “‘What do you want to do, let some man support you all your life?’ he asked with contempt.” That kind of attitude is a slap in the face to homemakers. Maybe he thought it would goad her on, I don’t know. But we do see glimpses into her family life and good-natured teasing with her husband about his staying in a warm bed when she had to make night calls.
I didn’t realize until I got to the end of this book that she had written another, Detour, about suffering an accident which left her disabled which in turn caused her to retire early. I immediately put it on my wish list!
(These reviews will be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)