The Back of the Book (from NetGalley): Can a man burdened by memories of yesterday find hope in the land of tomorrow? Samuel Fisher of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, now a single father of four, is in a state of shock following his wife’s untimely death. When his brother, Titus, talks him into moving to Kentucky, hoping a fresh start will help heal Samuel’s grief, Samuel packs up the kids and heads to Bluegrass Country. Esther Beiler helps watch Samuel’s children while he works with English contractor Allen Walters on a bed and breakfast owned by Englisher Bonnie Taylor. Soon Esther develops a crush on Samuel and a true affection for his children, but is there room in Samuel’s heart for Esther? Or has the pretty innkeeper already taken residence there? When misconceptions take the forefront, jealousies arise. Will peace-loving Samuel and Esther bow to the apparent competition or fight for their newfound love? How will God manage to untangle these star-crossed lovers before any damage is done?
NotJustLaura’s Review: I’ve been wanting to try a Wanda E Brunstetter book for a while. She seems to be so successful with lots of beautiful titles available that I thought myself fortunate when I saw The Healing (Kentucky Brothers) advertised on NetGalley. Of course, I applied for a digital review copy immediately and settled down for a long visit to Amish country. It’s such a shame that my (admittedly high) expectations weren’t met.
My first gripe came when I realised that this book is part of a series and not the first of that series. I always read series of books in order. But I swallowed my perfectionism and continued to read while Ms Brunstetter filled me in on the back story. There seemed to be a lot of this throughout the book and it was clumsily delivered.
The idea behind the plot seemed good – an Amish man is widowed and travels to Kentucky to make a fresh start. There are a couple of sub-plots running too which I assume relate to the other books of the series. I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated by Ms Brunstetter’s delivery of the plot. She continually set up her characters for conflict but would then resolve the problem outwith the text of her book. The character would then move on while I was left behind thinking ‘But what changed?’ I liked the characters Ms Brunstetter created and felt cheated that I wasn’t privy to their journey from conflict to resolution.
All in all, I didn’t enjoy this book and wouldn’t have finished it if I hadn’t agreed to review it.