Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Book Review: An Amish Christmas by Patricia Davids
This is the third book in Ms. Davids’s Brides of Amish Country series, which is set in the rural Ohio community of Hope Springs.
From the Cover:
When Karen Imhoff finds a beaten man lying unconscious by the road in her Amish community, she doesn’t hesitate to help. “John Doe” needs a place to stay while he regains his memory, and she has a room to rent. The handsome Englisher proves invaluable around the family farm, yet his presence wreaks havoc with her emotions. Karen has her younger siblings to care for. She can’t fall for an outsider who doesn’t know his own identity. But as Christmas draws closer, the simple grace of this life—and this woman—could inspire John to make Karen’s dreams come true….
1. An Instant Connection: From the moment she realizes he’s not dead, Karen feels a pull toward this lost man. One can easily believe this pull is rooted in her family’s tragic history, but the closing line of Chapter 1 tells a different story, “As the emergency vehicle drove away, she realized she would never see her Englishcer again.” She thinks of him as “hers” without even realizing she’s doing it. When they first meet after John’s release from the hospital, he is drawn to the “pleasing…singsong cadence” of her voice before he ever sees her face, and when he sees her walking away from him, notes the “innate grace” in her movement.
2. A True Conflict: Ms. Davids has succeeded in creating a situation where the hero and heroine truly are not free to pursue a relationship. To do so would be irresponsible even selfish. He does not know if he’s free to stay and become a permanent part of her life. She has a very important responsibility to her family, and attachment to her church that prevents her from following him out into the English world.
3. An Irresistible Pull: Given all the reasons they should not become attached to each other, even knowing that both of them could be hurt in the end, they just can’t help themselves. There is a sense of, “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
4. A Simple Mystery: There is mystery in what happened to John, but it does not consume the story. Also the details surrounding the incident reveal something very good about John’s character.
5. The Situation with Jacob: Karen’s younger brother’s distrust of John lends a slight undercurrent of tension to the story. When that tension “comes to a boil” so to speak, John handles the situation well, treating 14-year-old Jacob like an adult, readily accepting his apologies and expecting him to own up to his mistakes.
6. Eli Imhoff: Karen’s father manages to balance his expectation of propriety with love and understanding. He is a refreshing difference from similar characters, from other books, that I’ve found rigid and unmoving.
This is my favorite kind of story. They know it is unwise to get attached, but it doesn't matter. Love, after all, is not always rational. Even though they are attached to one another, they make the right choices, and God blesses them by bringing them back together. I know that life doesn't always work that way, but it should. And let's not forget, this is romance. Happily ever after is required.
This series is close to my heart. There is a small Amish community near my home, and I often share the roads with their buggies and wagons. I have always been fascinated with the culture and traditions of the Amish people. I learn something new with each book in this series. This is my favorite story so far in the Brides of Amish Country series. Nice job, Ms. Davids.