Review: Minding Molly by Leslie Gould

20140203-073458.jpg Molly Zook deals with life challenges like a bull in a china shop. Her mother and sister appreciate Molly’s hard work and organization, but not so much her bossiness and exasperation. Mervin, the neighbor whom Mrs. Zook hopes will marry Molly, is too yielding to be Molly’s perfect mate. But Leon, the horse trainer from Montana, has possibilities.

I identified with Molly’s need to control petty things when the big deals in life spiral out of control. I know I’ve made a big deal about dirty dishes when the real issue was grief. Or yelled about spilled milk when the real issue was anxiety about something else entirely. Well, when the people around Molly have had quite enough, Leon sticks by Molly with gentle words and firm nudges, helping Molly see herself how others see her.

Because I’m so similar to Molly, it was easy for me to get engrossed in the book. The cast of characters were varied in personality and depth, they were likeable, they were more “real” than the usual, predictable Amish characters. There was a good balance in the plot development: Molly’s emotional growth, her search for love, her mother’s illness, her relationship with her best friend.

The two unique things that stood out for me in Minding Molly were (1) the adolescents were in Rumspringhe and had a lot of time amongst themselves, being adventuresome and forming their own identities; and (2) even though this is third in a series, Leslie Gould used the characters in such a way that I wasn’t confused about who was who and who was related to whom! Brava!

Minding Molly is an excellent example of Amish “new adult” romantic fiction. Gould did a spectacular job exploring the theme of self-identity and self-esteem while moving the plot forward toward a nice, neat, happy ending.

-Calliope

New Release February 4!

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Review: Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand

20140113-070640.jpg In Amish country in Wisconsin, Lia goes to stay with an elderly couple to help them out for the summer. Their grandson Moses visits once a week to help too. Whether he likes it or not, his grandparents have schemed to make this the summer of love for Lia and Moses. Lia appreciates Moses’ friendship and his support of her journey to become a midwife. Moses is grateful for a friend who tells it like it is. Lia’s sister Rachel is jealous and tries to edge her way in, but Moses’ heart sees right through Rachel’s shrewdness.

Huckleberry Hill is a sweet, fresh story of friendship and love. The grandparents’ matchmaking efforts are hilarious. Moses’ and Lia’s banter is clever and sharp. Rachel’s character development as the bratty, spoiled, black-hearted sister is very well done. I appreciated the excellently written dialogue and easy flow to the story.

Huckleberry Hill is the first book in a series of three. I recommend it for the peaceful Amish setting, great writing and breath of fresh air perspective on love.

–Calliope

Buy it now Huckleberry Hill