Friday, September 02, 2011

The Harvest of Grace by Cindy Woodsmall

The Harvest of Grace is book three in the Ada's House series
and having not read the previous two, I hoped I wouldn't be too confused by the continuing story lines of several characters. Thankfully there was a brief synopsis of past events which was helpful in understanding their back story.

In this book we meet Sylvia Fisher and Aaron Blank. Sylvia has grown up on a dairy farm her whole life with a passion for the land, work, and dedication it requires day in and day out. After a series of events cause her to flee her own home in shame, Sylvia lands at the Blank farm, run by Michael and Dora. Living alone, they desperately need assistance to keep things afloat amidst rising debt and lack of help. Sylvia longs for escape so this seems the perfect option-until Michael and Dora's son, Aaron, shows up. Unfortunately, he has a past of his own despite attempts to move on with the future. And that future doesn't include running the family farm, much to his parents and Sylvia's chagrin. Despite conflicting goals, can Sylvia and Aaron work together to save the Blank's lively hood or will everyone's dreams be dashed?

This was an enjoyable story, nicely paced, with a simple flow to it. I imagine for most Amish fiction lovers, it would be right up their bonnet. I liked Aaron and Sylvia. They seemed very realistic and normal without being too proper or bland. Aaron's dry sense of humor made me chuckle aloud while adding a pleasant sparkle to the conversations between he and Sylvia. I wasn't as invested in the story lines from previous books but, most likely, it's because I haven't read them. I'm sure the follow up was a welcome addition to most who have already been immersed in the series characters from the beginning. I did find the story between Cara and her father poignant, very relate able, and well written. It was also interesting to see Cara's transformation into forgiveness, as well as the Amish community.

Aaron and Sylvia's relationship was sweet and tender in it's gradual awareness. I generally like a bit more passion/edginess in my stories-more kissing, tension, etc. but this fit with the book's gentle style so I won't complain too much...

All in all this was a pleasant way to spend some time in Amish country, showcasing good, hardworking, people who love each other, their land, and God.

Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah for giving me a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.

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