In modern society we are bombarded with images that say love is romantic, passionate, and fleeting. Couples that 'hold onto love' and 'stay in love' for years and years are considered rare. Those familiar with the I Corinthians 13 passage most likely have a different view on love. Still others may use specific words like commitment and steadfast to define love.
The latter two definitions could describe the type of love presented in An Amish Love, a book I recently read. This one book contains three short novellas, approximately 100 pages each, written by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, and Kelly Long. Each story is separate and could be read alone. However, several characters make 'appearances' in the other stories. All three stories take place in Paradise, PA, a town with a large Old Order Amish community. Having grown up in a community within a day trip's distance of Paradise, I found it easy to picture the scenic setting and envision the stories as I read through them.
This was the first time I have read a book considered Amish fiction. Honestly, I was a bit apprehensive. I grew up in a community of both English and Amish cultures. During most of my childhood, several of our neighbors were Amish. Living side by side, we helped one another and shared a few meals. I was unsure how the Amish were going to be depicted in this book. However, I found the story lines to be believable, and easy to read. Each author's contribution melded well within the theme of the book. The main characters are interesting, and I developed a sympathetic interest in the outcome of each story. All three books include male characters who left the local Amish community and chose to return.
The first novella, A Marriage of the Heart, written by Kelly Long begins with trickery and deception. Abby Kauffman is a conflicted, young woman who lost her mom when she was five years old. Her only remaining kin is a distant, lonely father. Abby, longing to escape her home life, lies about an incident concerning Joseph, a man who has recently returned to the Amish community. Abby's plan backfires. These two strangers marry and promptly move in with Abby's father. The novella unfolds into a beautiful story of learning to trust, forgive, and love.
The second novella, What the Heart Sees, written by Kathleen Fuller, centers on a young blind Amish woman named Ellie Chupp. An accident five years ago took Ellie's sight and her best friend's life. Christopher Miller, a young Amish man blinded by anger, left the community shortly after the accident. He has now returned. Both Ellie and Christopher must learn to forgive and 'put the past to rest' so they may truly live in the present.
The final novella, Healing Hearts, written by Beth Wiseman, tells about an older couple, Naaman and Levina Lapp. Naaman has just returned from an 11 month 'visit' to Ohio and wants to rebuild his marriage and family life. Can Levina forgive his 11 month absence? Can the couple's trust and intimacy be restored?
While each story line was entertaining and interesting, I preferred the third. A tale of restoring a marriage, forgiveness within an established relationship of many years, learning to trust one another, and the reawakening of intimacy...these are themes that create a positive depiction of committed marital love.
Each novella is a 'romance' novel, something I rarely read, but the theme of love is displayed within the context of marriage or courting. There is an underlying tone of promoting love as a commitment and the accompanying ties of trust and forgiveness. There is a bit of passion that is alluded to in each novella, but it is not inappropriate or graphic in nature. Ladies looking to read stories of love, might want to consider An Amish Love.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson, Inc. for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book
through the BookSneeze.com book review program in exchange for my honest review.
Photograph of book cover featured in this post was provided by BookSneeze.