The Shunning by Beverly Lewis

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Title: The Shunning by Beverly Lewis

Notable: Book #1 in The Heritage of Lancaster County series


Katie Lapp is a young Amish woman who is set to marry Bishop John Beiler.  Her heart still belongs to her first love, Dan, who tragically drowned at sea.  She hopes that her marriage to John will give her a new start in life and restore some happiness that she’s been missing.  Just before Katie’s wedding, a family secret comes to light that tears her world apart and she must decide which path is the right one to take.

My thoughts:

This is not my normal reading material at all, so I had a bit of a tough time getting into it.  The book starts out fairly slow, so that contributed as well.  Once I got several chapters in, the action and intrigue picked up and then I couldn’t put it down!  The best way I can describe this story is to say that if a Hallmark movie were to become a book, this would be it.  If that’s too feel-good and emotional for you, you would have a tough time with this book.

There is a strong Christian element to the story, but it didn’t seem out of character, given that it’s about the Amish.  I appreciate all of the small details that the author included about the Amish way of life.  You can tell that she really did her homework.  The story itself is pretty good.  I wasn’t expecting rip-roaring suspense, but it kept my interest and made me want to read the next in the series.

I don’t want to give away the plot, but suffice it to say that Katie goes through an identity crisis of sorts.  She has to figure out what her future life will look like and deal with the consequences of her choice.  It’s rather heartbreaking, really.

I recommend The Shunning to those who enjoy tame romantic stories and reading about the Amish.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…



Winner of September 2016 Book Giveaway


Congratulations to Hannah C.–winner of the September 2016 Book Giveaway!

I will email you to set up delivery!  Thanks to everybody who participated!


An Amish Harvest: Four Novellas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Amy Clipston, Vannetta Chapman

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I have never read an Amish romance novel before, so decided to try one out and see what all the fuss is about.  An Amish Harvest is a short book which consists of four novellas by four different authors.  The stories all revolve around the Amish way of life.

Because the stories are by four different authors, you will notice some differences in writing style and word usage.  The styles are all similar enough that it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.  The first story has to do with an Amish widow and an English (what the Amish call non-Amish people) widower; the second is about a man and woman who bond after an accident; the third tells the story of a couple of young people who are different from others in their community and find understanding in one another; the last one is about a mystery and how a couple of middle-aged people bond during the shared experience.  Please, don’t ply me for details–it will ruin the stories for you!

I enjoyed the first two stories very much.  They were engaging and the characters were likeable.  The third story was pretty good, though it was missing a certain something to make it sparkle.  I didn’t enjoy the fourth story at all.  It seems like the characters weren’t very endearing and the plot was not engaging enough.

I feel like this book would appeal to women who love a wholesome love story.  It’s a fun, short read that could fill up a couple of cozy evenings on the couch.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…


*Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review, which I have provided here.

November 9: A Novel by Colleen Hoover

November 9

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November 9 is the second book I’ve read from my Friends & Family Top Picks – Reading Challenge.  I had never heard of Colleen Hoover and had no idea what to expect of this novel.  I’m not usually a fan of popular fiction, but was willing to give it a try for the sake of a friend.  You should know that I will give away some of the plot in my review.

Fallon is the female lead in the story.  She suffered major burns in a house fire when she was sixteen and bears the scars over a good portion of the left side of her body.  Her acting career went down the tubes when her good looks became marred, and now she is just trying to figure out how to get on with her life and career.  Fallon believes that Broadway might be her ticket, so she decides to move to New York.  She meets her father at a restaurant to tell him about this new plan, but he isn’t impressed and ridicules her idea.  A stranger (Ben) from the next booth over comes to Fallon’s aid when he acts like her boyfriend and defends her dreams.  This results in a blow-up with dad and the fake couple spending the day together because they just click.

I’ll start off by saying that the premise of the book is interesting.  The main characters have a seemingly chance meeting on November 9, really hit it off, and agree to meet on November 9 for the next five years.  Interesting.  Ben is a writer and they agree that this arrangement will help provide material for his first book.  As the years go by, things become more complicated.  Ben and Fallon fall in love with each other, but feel like they need to stick to the original plan so that Ben’s book can come to fruition.  That’s the story in a nutshell, but there is a lot more to it.  I just don’t want to share all the details.

There is another line to the plot that I’m hesitant to share with you because it really brings all of the pieces together.  Suffice it to say that there is something from their past which closely links the two main characters and makes their love story seem like it was meant to be.  You’ll have to read it to find out what that “something” is.

I enjoyed the book and it kept me interested (for the most part).  I wasn’t crazy about the abundance of talk about Fallon’s body.  Yes, I get it that Ben was attracted to her, but how many times do I have to hear about her anatomy?  Some of it was also a bit crass.  I also felt there was too much swearing and that it didn’t materially add anything to the narrative.

If you’re looking for a love story with a twist and aren’t highly offended by sex or language, you might just enjoy this book.  I wouldn’t recommend it to young people because I’m a bit of a prude, but it seems like a story that is aimed at them.

Possible Objections:

  • Foul language — a fair bit of it
  • Sexually explicit descriptions and language

 Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…


The Glass Virgin by Catherine Cookson

Glass Virgin

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The Glass Virgin is a story about a young lady named Annabella who was raised to be a lady, but finds out that her parents are not who she thinks they are.  Believing herself to be unwanted by her adoptive parents, she flees and ends up on the road with her family’s groom.  He has been her faithful companion and friend since she was ten years old, so he looks out for her when she is alone.  Annabella must adapt to life as a common worker and toughen up so that she can survive in her new role.  As Manuel, the groom, and Annabella find themselves in various places, their unusual relationship causes some problems.  There are also some issues with other people that cause them to seek new employment.  Though Manuel has loved Annabella all along, her romantic attachment to him develops gradually.  There are many twists to the story that I haven’t told you about, because I don’t want to give it all away.

This was a very interesting read.  It kept me hooked and I finished it fairly quickly.  The characters were interesting, the writing good, the plot complex, and the author’s understanding of human nature masterful.  Because of the sexual themes in this book, though by no means explicit or distasteful, I’d say this book is for adults.  I would also say that it would appeal more to the ladies.

Possible Objections:

  • There is some bad language–not a ton, but enough.
  • There is mention of some anatomy, but only a handful of times.
  • Though there are no explicit sex scenes, it is inferred in a few places.
  • Several times prostitution is talked about.

Rating: 4 Stars


Until next time…




The Glass Virgin – Movie 1995