The Quarryman’s Bride by Tracie Peterson

As the second book in the Land of Shining Water series by Tracie Peterson, The Quarryman’s Bride caught my attention immediately in chapter 1. It was one of those books that I wish I could sit down and read from start to finish.  The Land of Shining water series focuses on settlers in Minnesota during the late 1800’s just before the turn of the century.

The first book in the series, The Icecutter’s Daughter, was full of action and intrigue. In contrast, The Quarryman’s Bride, focuses on main character Emmalyne Knox’s internal struggles to be a good daughter despite her hard family circumstances, and shattered disappointments. But, don’t anticipate a boring read because Peterson is a gifted storyteller that shows us the hearts’ of her characters while cleverly introducing us to Minnesota’s spirited pioneers.

At age seventeen, Emmalyne Knox was almost a bride to her childhood sweetheart Tavin. When disaster kills her two sisters, Emmalyne’s mother retreats into depression to deal with her loss, while her father, already a harden man, becomes bitterly angry. In his anger Luthias severs his daughter’s engagement and leaves the area with his family. But fate and a good job cause the Know family to return to St. Cloud a decade later.

Although older now, Emmalyne returns to her place of disappointed hopes, to learn that Tavin has also returned, but he is not the same loveable Tavin she knew. Instead, he is embittered and angry, much like her father. In her despair, and with the help of a caring friend, Emmalyne turns to God and finds hope for herself and her family, despite her hard life.

Once again Tracie Peterson deftly shares the struggles of the human heart through her characters and shows us how hope in God can change our hearts and maybe even our lives. The Quarryman’s Bride is a poignant story of love and loss and healing.

Bethany House Publishing sent me a complimentary copy of The Quarryman’s Bride by Tracie Peterson to review.

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Adoring Addie by Leslie Gould

As devoted reader of Amish fiction, Adoring Addie was the first book I’ve read by Leslie Gould. While Gould’s approach to Amish fiction does not carry the personal acquaintance with the Amish that Beverly Lewis has because of her mother’s background, her approach into a fictional Amish community in Lancaster County Pennsylvania was believable and obviously well researched.

Through her narrative, Addie effectively introduces us to her Amish family and relatives and her relationships and struggles with the people she is close to. Addie’s story is about loyalty, heartache, and resilient hope in family, even when they deeply disappoint.

As the dutiful daughter, Addie works hard to keep her dysfunctional Amish family in favor with neighbors and relatives.  Along the way, Addie falls for Jonathan Mosier, a young Amish man new to her community, but not new to hardened grievances between Addie’s family and neighbors.

As Addie works through her family relationships and setbacks, we see a glimpse into an Amish community that struggles with the same private problems as other people: intolerance, drinking, rebellion, and depression. I did think that Gould’s use of drinking with the character Timothy a bit excessive. While Addie was definitely not a Pollyanna character, I like how Addie so willingly gave everyone the benefit of the doubt. Even Phillip, the self-proclaimed narcissist, who contributed much to Addie’s problems, was not beyond Addie’s good will.

Gould’s well written narrative invites us into Addie’s Amish world while working a plot of real life action and painful mysteries from seemingly routine and everyday events. I was interested in Addie’s story by chapter 3 and somewhere along the way I couldn’t stop reading the book until I learned the outcome for Addie and Jonathon.  I’ll be looking for a copy of Courting Cate, Book 1 in The Courtships of Lancaster County, to get current with Gould’s series.  And I look forward to reading Gould’s next Amish novel.

Bethany House Publishing sent me a complimentary copy of Adoring Addie by Leslie Gould to review.