Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Amish Promises by Leslie Gould

Amish Promises by Leslie Gould centers around two families, one "Englisch" (non-Amish) and one Amish who happens to be new neighbors in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  As you can imagine, life between two families with different ways of life can and will get interesting.  How much do you know about the Amish way of life, and how much do you know about their ways in flourishing and co-habitation with modern civilization?  Well, lets explore it together with Amish Promises.




First, let's start with what we can see.  I love this cover.  Fall is my favorite season of the year with its
beautiful array of warm colors.  This cover clearly shows two different people with two different ways of life walking side by side along a beautiful scenic path.  Their expressions and their body language gives us meaning to understanding and hopefully, leads to 'promises' as the cover so says.

Next, the synopsis.  Joel and Shani Becks are new neighbors to the Lehmans,  an Amish family.  As Joel struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and physical injuries, Shani needs to find the Joel she loved and married before the war and hopefully rebuild their family in a quiet area in Lancaster, PA.  Eve Lehman helps run her brother's household of kids, since the death of his wife, Abra.  Eve struggles with self-blame and a strained relationship with her brother.  Both Eve and Shani finds comfort with each other as their friendship strengthens.  With the arrival of Joel's army buddy, Charlie, both families' lives gets more complicated or does it?

I must say, I love this book.   True, there are quirks or something silly that I don't really like (we'll get to that in a little bit), but the story and the characters are so captivating that you can't help but love.  This story is about friendship, about love, about pain (heartache), and ultimately healing.  Life takes us through many twists and turns.  It's how we deal with it, with the support of those that love us, and how we support others, that's what makes life interesting.  This story, is very much about Joel's PTSD, as it is about Shani's struggles with a moody husband and being the glue of the family.  It is also about Eve and her love for her family, while dealing with her identity.  It is about the kids and their growth.  It is about Tim's (Eve's brother) prejudice and overall everyone's healing process.  We all need healing, in some form or another.  Ms. Gould provided a story that intertwines all the characters' lives so beautifully, like they are real.   With each other, they stumbled, they perceived and they healed.  More importantly, they learnt who they are as individuals and as a collective within their family and friends. I love this book. I love the story, the meaning and I love how nobody's perfect.  Don't you just love how some novels, there's always a perfect character? (Eyes rolling).

Now, my little quirk with it, I didn't love one of the main characters.  Not that this character is perfect, just that this character's character annoyed me in several parts of the book.  That's not any fault of the author. In fact that tells you Ms. Gould did a great job in building a character that even their minor trait bothers me.

Ms. Leslie Gould created something with Amish Promises - for us, readers to know and understand Amish's way of life in relation to the "secular" world, as well as providing us with a good plot, strong characters and development throughout the book.  I loved it so much, I finished it in one sitting, and this will be a book on my bookshelf to keep and read in the future again.

 Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House for an honest review. 

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