The synopsis on the back of the book:
Lena Rose Schwartz hadn't planned to leave her Old Order community in Centerville, Michigan. But then, she could not have foreseen the accident that made her and her siblings orphans. After her parents' funeral, her younger brothers and sisters are farmed out to various nearby relatives. But when the deacon in charge of the arrangements tells her there aren't places enough for everyone, she agrees to go live with her father's second cousin and his family in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Besides the fact that Lena has never been more than a few miles from home, she's never met the family she will now be living with. But worse than that is the thought of being separated from her siblings. How will they manage without her to care for them--especially eight-year-old Chris? And what about Hannes Lehman, the beau she was sure would soon be asking her to marry him? It was true that he was not the man her father would have preferred for her. Maybe that was what the deacon was hinting at when he said: "a fresh start might do you good."
Why I Chose This Book
This is the second book I have read from Beverly Lewis. I previously read The Proving and absolutely loved it. You can read my review- here. So I thought I would give a go on her latest book.
First Initial Thoughts
Lena and her 9 siblings are a close-knit family with their mother and father. Suddenly her parents die from a car/buggy accident. I can't imagine losing both parents in one day. That alone can be traumatizing. Because of Amish law and culture, Lena even though she is the oldest cannot take care of her siblings alone. They must split up. This devastates everyone.
Lena then hears about their parent's second cousin Harley and Mimi in the Lancaster County. She is offered to come over there to help Mimi with her sewing business in trade for room and board. Lena even though hesitant decides to go so she can help her family financially while away. I really liked Lena. I thought her heart was in the right place and she was determined to keep her family together. Despite her parents passing she held it together well and I admired that.
Lena arrives at Lancaster County and is overwhelmed with grief but also homesick. She really wants to go back home as soon as she can. Though she puts it in God's hands and knows he will help her know when it's time to go home. There she makes immediate friends with a woman named Lydia and grows an attraction towards a man named Adrian. Though she has a beau back home, Hans.
The Amish settlement in Lancaster County is just one of those places that you feel like you could feel right at home. Everyone was so sweet and kind. Willing to work and help those in need. Beverly always does an amazing job immersing you in Amish life and showing the real side. And I appreciate the honesty!
Harley and Mimi were those kinds of people you immediately felt comfortable around and just want to hang around. They were so sweet towards Lena. Mimi especially was the mother figure Lena so desperately needed while she was recovering from her parent's loss. Also, it was nice reading a story centered around the simple life. Where people worked hard, praised the Lord, and lived a simple life. It was nice to read a story like this at the end of a hard long day.
Throughout the story, I was secretly hoping that Lena and Adrian would get together at the end. Even though Hans is a good man, their relationship just didn't mesh with me. I won't say much more as I don't want to spoil the story!
The only gripe I had with the story is that it took almost the entire book for Lena to finally go home. I felt like at times the story dragged on a little more than it should. However, the time at Lancaster county made up for it because I just really enjoyed reading about Lena's time over there.
With that said, I do think there was a purpose for the long wait because it was to help Lena (and I think the reader too) to understand the importance of God's purpose. To be patient and lean on God. He knows what's in your heart and will make it happen. Even though you feel like it's just not so!
Would I Recommend?
Yes! If you're looking for a heartwarming story in a setting that is unique and different, I think you will definitely love this story!
Do you also love Beverly Lewis novels? It makes me want to get into more Amish fiction. Share your recommendations with me if you also love reading this genre!