An Amish Homecoming
Luke Bowman’s homecoming is turning Emma Swartzentruber’s carefully ordered world upside down. Gone is her rebellious girlhood crush, and in his place is a handsome man who seems committed to serving the community. Luke’s even agreed to work for Emma’s ill father, whose last wish is to see his daughter wedded to a stable, loving man. But Luke—a man who flirted with the outside world with disastrous consequences—is hardly marriage material for a good Amish woman. Yet this Christmas, when her family is flung into crisis, Emma finds that he may just be the one to capture her heart for good.
This was my second foray into Amish fiction (though I’ve read much more of it since receiving this review book), and it was a much bigger success for me than the first one. I still find the whole Amish world confusing and occasionally hypocritical, but author Patricia Davids presented me with a much more nuanced version of things and much more three-dimensional characters, so I was on board with the people in this book in a way I wasn’t with the first.
I suppose you could say these books are always going to follow a pretty similar pattern, seeing as the Amish world is deliberately very limited and very tame, but with this one we are given some more interesting characters. Our hero’s attempt to join the rest of the world ended in disaster when he was put in prison for drug dealing (the Amish education that doesn’t go beyond eighth grade, combined with the lack of a social security number didn’t make it easy to find work in the outside world!).
And as an added bonus, this was a reunion story. The rebellious young man paired with the very traditional Amish girl. Though it is about a love lost and found, I have no idea why a reference was made to how they were both starting to age, seeing as they were (if I remember correctly) only twenty-five!
This book deals with different groups of people in Amish society. You have the more liberal people who are embracing all sorts of aspects of the modern world, and then the people who really are still living like it’s a few hundred years in the past.
This contrast is shown especially with the other (widowed) male love interest (why are these Amish books always full of widowed people in their teens, twenties and thirties?!), who is raising his daughter to be ultra-conservative. However I’m not fond of love triangles in most cases, and I felt a bit sorry for this other man here. The book didn’t really need him in it.
Surprisingly for a Christian romance about Amish people this was one of the least cheesy Christmas books I have read. That was a nice surprise.
One thing I wasn’t too fond of was the presentation of the real world (MY real world!) as being a drug-infested sleaze-fest, but those parts were short and infrequent.
While I find nothing much romantic in the Amish life, I would happily read the next book in this series, and am also interested in the earlier two instalments. An Amish Noel showed me Amish fiction doesn’t have to be as old-fashioned and preachy as I’d initially expected it to be.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.