Review: The Love Letters by Beverly Lewis

 

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. 

-calliope

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Review: Sarasota Dreams by Debby Mayne

20140228-144652.jpg Sarasota Dreams is the compilation of three novellas. Each novella focuses on a Mennonite man and woman and their search for romance.

I like Amish/Mennonite fiction, and Debby Mayne writes it well. I appreciated that we could see what the men AND women were thinking. Abe had to figure out how to make Mary trust him. Jeremiah had to prove his faithfulness to God before Shelley would let herself fall in love, and Charles had to commit to becoming Mennonite so Ruthie’s reputation wouldn’t suffer.

Besides the romances being very well written, Mayne illustrated her knowledge of the Mennonite lifestyle without making the novellas feel like documentaries. The reader gets more than a glimpse of small business management (diner and souvenir shop), farming, and church life.

These were three lovely, realistic, fun, clean romances. The loyalty to family and community was comforting, and the food sounded delicious. Bring on some coconut cream pie!

–Calliope

New Release March 1!

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