By Charlotte Hubbard
Genre: Christian Fiction
Published 2012, Zebra Books
Paperback, 324 pages
Winds of change are blowing through Willow Ridge, and they're bringing a stranger to the Sweet Seasons Cafe. At first, widowed Miriam Lantz has misgivings about Ben Hooley, a handsome but rootless traveling blacksmith. But as she gets to know the kind-hearted newcomer, she wonders if his arrival was providential. Perhaps she could find love again - if only there weren't so many obstacles in the way. With Bishop Knepp relentlessly pursuing her hand in marriage and the fate of her beloved cafe at stake, Miriam must listen to God and her heart to find the happiness she longs for, and the love she deserves.I've been anxiously awaiting the sequel to Summer of Secrets, and this book was worth the wait. A few matters that were left unfinished in the previous book are accounted for here, such as Rachel and Micah's wedding, and the humbling of Bishop Hiram's brash behavior. The introduction of several new characters, such as Ben's two maidel aunts, served to add color to the community of Willow Ridge and even added a dash of humor to the several romance-heavy sub-plots.
I thoroughly enjoyed following along in the lives of Miriam Lantz and her daughters, especially when reading about all of the mouth-watering food that the Sweet Seasons Bakery and Cafe served up everyday. I plan on trying out of a few of the recipes in the back of the book, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a bread recipe that I've tried among those listed.
The background of Amish culture I have also continued to find fascinating, as I learned more of the nuances in speech, behavior, and traditional beliefs. While I find some things too restrictive, such as the clothing and lack of electricity, the adherence to gender roles, the respect they give to one another, their beliefs in the Bible, and their use of wholesome and naturally-grown foods are all things I greatly admire. This book only serves to bring it all to life and make it that much more appealing. I look forward to reading more of this series.
The Cover: The picture of the Amish woman and the background with autumn pumpkins is fitting for the context of the book.
First Line: "Lord, if this rain's gonna cause another flood like Ya sent Noah, I hope you'll give me a sign to get to higher ground."
Both a humorous way to begin a book, as well as a reminder of its religious roots - nice hook.
Favorite Quote: "We've been blessed with each other, so how can Hiram or anybody else spoil a single hour of our life together? We just won't let them."
Read For: Read Your Own Books Reading Challenge, TBR Pile Reading Challenge
*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*