I really adore Amish fiction. Beverly Lewis is a pro at delivering believable plot lines, excellent writing, and characters so real that I start mimicking their facial expressions when reading dialogue.
Mandy is a capable girl who left her Amish community because she was emotionally hurt. I was so glad Mandy ended up with a reason to return to her home – even if it wasn’t her first choice to do so. Though she had some family struggles and some uncertainty with the community and faith she grew up with, Mandy’s sister helped her see the truth about herself and her true home.
I love all things B&B-related, so I was in my element with Amish baking on the inn’s farm table, sheets drying on the line, and guests who came for respite and left refreshed. Getting to know the guests is always fun, and the carriage rides aren’t bad either.
I read The Proving after a slew of September mediocrity, and I was very relieved to be able to effortlessly enjoy the inn, the sisterhood, and the faith of Mandy and her family.
Like much Amish fiction, The Love Letters ties together family love, religious obligations, and personal faith. Beverly Lewis successfully illustrates these themes when young Marlena agrees to move in with her grandmother and care for her baby niece. During this time Marlena finds conflict between her parent’s church and her new community’s way of worship… And it doesn’t bode well for her courtship with Nat back home.
The plot, subplots, characters, and dialogue were all on point, and what I expected from a well-known and -loved author. However, I struggled with the uneven pace. The beginning was slow and drawn out, with each day taking several pages to describe. When I approached the last 20% of the book, the plot suddenly fast-forwarded. Lewis described several months’ time in one page, and then another length of time on the next page. I wish the beginning of the book had gone a little faster (editors! so much could have been tightened up)! If it had, there would have been plenty of room for a fleshed-out ending.
The story was satisfying, though. Beautiful sub-plots surfaced in the middle of The Love Letters: a boy’s readiness to grow up, a wife’s love for her flawed husband, and a father’s heart softened by God. Lewis’ characters demonstrate a peace and love that truly comes from Above.
You know I’m a fan of the romantic happily-ever-after, right? Well, I was pleasantly satisfied with Marlena’s new romance, the doctor’s reunion, and the rekindled love of a long-married husband and wife.