A-W-E-S-O-M-E spells a great read

Becoming Bea by Leslie Gould; 2014; $14.99; 348 pages; Bethany House, Minneapolis, MN; 978-0-7642-1034-1; fiction; gift from the author and publisher; 9/30/14-10/2/14

Leslie Gould ties together her Courtships of Lancaster County series with Becoming Bea.  Bea Zook is the younger sister of the family, who has decided that she is never going to marry, when her heart was broken earlier in the series.  She and Ben Rupp love each other but are stubborn, hard headed and grudge holding.  Bea has always seemed introverted and until she takes a job helping with some newborns she has seemed standoffish.  She learns how to be a member of community and learning many life lessons.  Love, stalkers, babies, misunderstandings, and more lead to an fun read.

Grade-A+

Did I enjoy it?  Yes, I laughed, cried, got angry and got deeply involved in the story.  Leslie continues to amaze me with her talent.  I always look forward to her books.

What is with the title of the review?  The two main characters battled in spelling bees for years, so many of their insults to each other are spelled out.

 

 

Plain and Bossy

Minding Molly by Leslie Gould; 2014; $14.99; 349 pages; Bethany House, Minneapolis, MN; 978-0-7642-1033-4; 978-07642-1033-4; Contemporary Fiction; a gift from the Publisher; 3/11/14-3/13/14

What is the story?  Molly Zook is sent reeling when her Dat dies, she had helped him around the farm and is very organized.  Her organization and adherence to a schedule sometimes rubs others the wrong way.  She becomes even more concerned when her Mamm starts experiencing health issues.  One thing all Christians often teach and talk about is trusting God in everything, which is harder than it seems.  We want to lean on our own understanding and control our destiny and circumstances.  Molly comes up with multiple ways to save the farm as does her mother, not all of which are favorable to Molly.  Her mother thinks she should marry the boy next door, which Molly thinks about until she meets an Amish Cowboy from Montana. In addition the boy next door is loved by Mollys’ best friend.  Much confusion ensues between the couples when people assume things and don’t think before speaking.  When Molly begins trusting God instead of herself things begin to work out for her.

Grade-A-

Did I like it?  Mostly yes.  The last chapter felt tacked and rushed to me.  The whole rest of the story was excellent and very engaging.

Why did I pick this up?  Because I read most of what Leslie has written and she is an excellent storyteller.  I look forward to more from her.

What is with the title of the review?  The Amish are sometimes known as the plain people and Molly can be rather bossy in parts of the story.

 

Now I know why she kept asking if I had read it.

The Amish Seamstress, The Women of Lancaster County by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould; 2013; $13.99; 354 pages; Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR; 978-0-7369-2626-3; a gift from the author; 12/10-12/13

Why did I pick this up?  I have read all the books in the series and really enjoy them and Leslie is a good friend of ours.

What is the story?  Izzy Mueller is a seamstress and a caregiver among the Amish of Lancaster County.  She has fallen in love with an old friend who is a member of the Mennonite church.  She has made the costumes for his first movie, which won a couple of awards and now he is going to college and taking film classes.  She and he are doing research for  a new movie about an Indian massacre in Lancaster, PA when they find out that it involves some of their own ancestors.  Both of them think the other is not interested romantically, so hi jinks ensue.  Meanwhile Izzy is dealing with her feelings about her role as a caregiver.  The research brings the whole clan closer as everything comes together in the end.

Did I like it?  Yes, there is some crossover from the previous books in the series and this ties up a lot of loose ends.  The characters are fully developed and well rounded.  The plot was exciting and the historical aspect of the story really appealed to me.

Grade-A

What is with the title of the review?  Since this came out Leslie has been asking me if I had read it yet.  After having read it I know why and 52 is the answer.

Clare Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio it ain’t

Adoring Addie, the Courtships of Lancaster County by Leslie Gould; 2013; $14.99; 344 pages; Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN; 978-0-7642-1032-7; fiction; a gift from our friend the author Leslie Gould; 12/02-12/03

Why did I pick this up?  Because I haven’t read a book by Leslie Gould that I didn’t like and I really like what she has done with this series.

What is the story?  Addie Cramer and Johnathon Mozier fall in love, but there is an old family feud that makes it difficult for them to court.  Different members of their families have different feelings about the roots of the feud and whether or not it should continue.  Meanwhile Addie has to contend with a set of parents who are feeling guilty about something.  She also has brothers who are running wild and causing all kinds of problems.

Did I like it?  Yes, it was a gripping story with a cast of well rounded characters.  Even though I knew how it would turn out I was excited to see what would happen next and how the conclusion was reached.

Grade-A

What is with the title of the review?  Those actors starred in a movie that was adapted from the same story as this was.

 

 

Similarities

Growing up Amish, A Memoir by Ira Wagler; $16.99; 2011; 270 pages; Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, IL; 978-1-4143-3936-8; purchased from the Title Used Bookstore; 2/19-2/21

Why did I pick this up?   I have read several works of fiction that are based in Amish cultures, so when  I saw this in the bookstore I thought that I would like to read something by someone who actually came from that culture.

What is the story?  Ira was born into a Old Order Amish family with many siblings and a father who is heavily immersed in Amish culture, he is looked up to as a exemplar of all things Amish.  As he grows Ira feels a restlessness and begins to question the rules and the culture.  He leaves the Amish community and returns to it several times before he turns 21, and is constantly feeling the tension between the the way he was raised and that restlessness.  He finally returns to his community and becomes a full fledged member of the church, hoping that this step will quell the restlessness.  It does not.   Ira is so frank and truthful in his writing, that this is very compelling.

Did I like it?   Yes, for many of the same reasons that I like The Great Santini, there are very many similarities between his life and mine.

Grade-A

What is with the title of the review?  As I read the book I noticed many similarities between my life story and that of the author.  I would really like to sit and talk with Ira sometime.