The Amish Mother (Lancaster Courtships #2) by Rebecca Kertz

The Amish Mother (Lancaster Courtships #2) by Rebecca Kertz

Unexpected Love

Amish widow Lizzie Fisher loves her seven stepchildren as though they were her own. But her brother-in-law’s unexpected arrival on the farm has her worried. After all, Zachariah Fisher is the true heir of the property. And he could decide to send her away from her family and her home of two years. Lizzie is determined to show the handsome farmer that her physical challenges don’t prevent her from being a hard worker or a loving mother. For she finds herself losing her heart to Zack and hopes he’ll see they’re meant to be a family forever.

Lancaster Courtships: Life and love in Amish country

The Amish Mother (Lancaster Courtships #2) by Rebecca Kertz

EDIT: since writing this review, I have indeed found an Amish fiction author whose books I enjoy: Patricia Davids

I’ve been thinking of trying an Amish romance for a while now, and so when a whole series of them popped up for review, I grabbed the first one I saw. The me of a few years ago would have thought I’d gone mad: a Christian book about seven children!

The Amish Mother is an interesting insight into Amish life for someone like me, who lives about sixteen-thousand kilometres from the nearest Amish person. However, this is a book that basically has no plot, and relies on nonstop scenes of the heroine misunderstanding people and running off to cry in order to create conflict.

The best thing about this book is that the author clearly knows what she’s talking about. I believe she lives in a community where there are constantly Amish people about, so you couldn’t get a better writer to cover their way of life.

Our heroine is only nineteen, has a disability which causes many people to think she can’t cope, and is running a farm while raising her seven stepchildren on her own. Our hero turns up to take the farm out from under her (which doesn’t exactly making him endearing at first!) and then of course they fall in love with each other, with lots of misunderstandings along the way.

There just wasn’t enough time devoted to the relationship in this one. The hero comes and goes from the book, back and forth from his own home in Ohio, and the heroine spends all her time admiring the children and cooking, and baking, and cooking and baking. More page time was devoted to the ingredients she put in her muffins than to a major tragedy that happens to her (and for some reason this tragedy is never mentioned to the hero)!

I’m still not sure why the hero and the rest of his family had never met the heroine (who was married to his brother) or the children before, or why they didn’t know the first husband had died! Especially if they’re supposed to be such a close family!

There are multiple widows and widowers in this book, and in every situation the same thing happens: the realisation that the second spouse is “better” than the first. I hate this trope! Why does the first – dead – spouse always have to be made out as not as good? Why can a person not love one person, and then love another? And then towards the end the good man dead husband was suddenly, inexplicably made out to be a bad father:

The boys love Zack, Lizzie thought. He was better with them than their father had been. After Ruth’s death, Abraham had grieved too deeply to pay much attention to his children.

I struggled with the lack of plot. It led to so much padding to make up the word count, which started to make the characters look a little… unintelligent. For example, this conversation where heroine asks hero if he wants apple or chocolate cake:

“Apple chocolate?” She furrowed her brow as she thought. “I haven’t heard of that recipe.”

“Both,” his mother explained.

Before Lizzie could question her, Esther spoke up. “He wants both apple and chocolate cake. He’s telling you he likes both kinds.”

Lizzie examined the man next to her, enjoying the sight of his stunning good looks. “I can make both.”

These characters eat so much! I felt ill reading about it! Pre-breakfast muffins, followed by bacon and potatoes and toast and everything else in the house for breakfast, followed by a few big slabs of cake for morning tea, followed by fried chicken for lunch. They ate more in half a day than I do in a week, and all of it was full of fat!

I must admit I struggle with the mentality of this lifestyle. Girls marry as teens and then have a baby a year for decades, and yet people use all other modern medicine (including – in this book – chemotherapy, antidepressants and painkillers), travel in cars when they need to, play baseball, and eat pizza and hamburgers?

The only aspects of the past they seem to stick to are the ones that make life terribly hard for women.

If you’re a hardcore fan of Amish romances, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one. I think I’m going to give one more Amish book a go before calling it a day, but this was far from my favourite read of the year. I started out wanting to enjoy it more, but it stopped working for me pretty much right at the start.

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 7th – 13th September

Spring Blossoms Queanbeyan Australia Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney 8th September 2015

Spring Blossoms Queanbeyan near Canberra Australia 12th September 2015 Sonya Heaney Flowers Nature

Spring in my late-grandmother’s garden X

Cat Queanbeyan Australia Sonya Heaney 12th September 2015

Stray Cat Cooma Street Queanbyean Sonya Heaney 11th September 2015 (2)Stray Cat Cooma Street Queanbyean Sonya Heaney 11th September 2015

We are literally cat magnets these days. Here is yet another starving stray, who had the bad sense to move into my grandmother’s house right when contracts were being signed to sell it (the house, not the half-grown kitten!). This is possibly the most gorgeous, lovely-natured animal I have ever come across – and she is half the size she looks in the pictures!

sonya-heaney-oksana-heaney-canberra-13th-july-2013

In Canberra on Wednesday night they closed off half the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge (which connects the city with the Federal Parliament buildings) to film something involving guns and Chinese spies and a man jumping into the lake. The half of the bridge on the right of the picture is where some James Bond-type is going to be jumping from! (That is one of our pictures from 2013. You can’t really even tell it’s a bridge over water!) I guess I’ll have to watch this thing when it comes out!

Found alive Canberra family's prayers answered

Want an amazing story? On Friday a young woman missing in Canberra was found. After almost seven full days of everyone thinking of the worst possible reasons for her disappearance it turns out her car had crashed and she’d rolled down a slope, hitting all sorts of things. She’d been waiting for rescue for almost a week! It looks really remote, but here in the nation’s capital you have bushland like this even in the city centre! She must have been so frustrated.

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Midnight Captive (2015) (The sixth book in the Killer Instincts series) A novel by Elle Kennedy

My review of A Noble Masquerade (Hawthorne House #1) by Kristi Ann Hunter

A Noble Masquerade (Hawthorne House #1) by Kristi Ann Hunter

My review of Rescue Me by Christy Reece

Rescue Me by Christy Reece

My review of An Amish Harvest (The Amish Bachelors #1) by Patricia Davids

An Amish Harvest (The Amish Bachelors #1) by Patricia Davids

An Amish Harvest (The Amish Bachelors #1) by Patricia Davids

An Amish Harvest (The Amish Bachelors #1) by Patricia Davids

When Amish carpenter Samuel Bowman is injured in an accident, he fears he’ll never see again. He’s always provided for his family—and now that it’s harvest season, the Bowmans are needed in the fields, not at his bedside. So when a young Amish widow becomes his nurse, Samuel expects Rebecca Miller to make his life easier. But his caregiver is bossy, outspoken and challenges him to move on with his life. Though Samuel’s sight is in question, he can plainly see the woman he’s come to care for won’t let herself love again. Now it’s Samuel’s turn to heal her heart.

An Amish Harvest (The Amish Bachelors #1) by Patricia Davids

I’ve been going on a crazy little Amish fiction reading spree (I have NO explanation for this!). It started with a review book selected in a desperate reading slump (that book was BAD), and continued when I decided to give the genre one more try, and really enjoyed the second one.

(Reviews for those two books to come near the release dates.)

An Amish Harvest is my third foray into the genre, and the first I actually chose and bought. The reason I bought it is because I really liked the other book I read by this author. She took a lifestyle I find slightly odd and fairly hypocritical (the pick and choose way they play with the modern world while keeping their women down…), and made me care about the characters and believe in the way they live.

It also helps she is a very good, solid writer who writes characters you can relate to, like, and enjoy reading about.

I will say that this one is a lot more religion-oriented than the next book in the series. Some might have trouble with the way everyone sits around saying all bad things are ‘God’s will’, and to trust God will fix things if he wants to- otherwise, tough!

However, I thought there were a lot of fun and even funny situations in this book, and I am sure I will continue to look for books from Patricia Davids. Some writers just have that thing that draws you to them, and this is one of those authors for me.

So, while I find the Amish lifestyle pretty strange, I’ve found that with the right author I don’t mind reading about it.