My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"Joanna Kurtz has made several trips to the altar, but never as a bride. The young Amishwoman is a closet writer whose stories aren't her only secret.
Eben Troyer hopes to make Joanna his bride--if he can ever leave his parents' farm in Shipshewana, Indiana. Yet Eben's hopes to build a life with Joanna hinge on his brother's return from the English world...." -Goodreads.com
Joanna's moving along in life with pressure building on her shoulders of finding a beau and settling down. Going on the age of twenty-five, she's been a bridesmaid numerous times, and is starting to lose faith in ever finding a man to call her own, until one fateful trip to Virginia Beach changes everything. She comes upon an Indiana amish-man with a great passion for photography that captures her heart. With Joanna being from Hickory Hollow (in Pennsylvania) Eben takes a chance to continue courting her with letters and phone calls, but is it enough? Eben's dealing with family issues of his own and although he wants to make a life with Joanna, he must help out his family and hope that his younger brother, Leroy will give up his English life and come back as the prodigal son. Will being long distance lovers fuel their passion, or will it fizzle out?
"Our meeting on the beach--as romantic and special as it was--birthed a renewed hope in me. After all, it was nearly a blight on any Amish girl to still be single at my age. Ach, but Eben Troyer had surely changed all of that. Surely he had..." (8)
I first learned of Joanna and her love of writing and storytelling in The Fiddler (Home to Hickory Hollow #1) and was pleased to see that she is the center of this second book. I found this book endearing as I followed Joanna and Eben's struggles to be together despite the constant hardships and drawbacks they faced. They both learned not only about their own faith, but the faithfulness in each other as well. With the help of a few wise women, some ancestry and a quilt, Joanna's well on her way to understanding the will of God.
"Ella Mae wore a smile on her wrinkled face. 'For whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God,' Ella Mae recited." (ch.36 pg.5)
At times this book tested my patience with the actions and attitudes of Cora Jane (Joanna's younger, nosy sister) and Preacher Yoder, but as I read on it got better as they eased up on Joanna. I'm inspired by Joanna's strong faith and steadfast attitude as she learns to wait for whatever God has in store for her. I'm looking forward to reading The Guardian (Home to Hickory Hollow #3), the story of a missing child and how she's come to be cared for.
First Line: "Three times a bridesmaid, never a bride.'
That's just what my younger sister said about me–-in front of our engaged cousins, no less." (1)
Last Line: "Three times a bridesmaid, never a bride.'
That's just what my younger sister said about me–-in front of our engaged cousins, no less..." (352)
"Although I'd once yearned for a beau and marriage, I'd given up on love." (3)
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ebook, 352 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 1441260390 (ISBN13: 9781441260390)