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But things begin to change when Ellie's young son Jacob discovers an older homeless man camped out in the nearby abandoned mill. Suffering from some cognitive disorder, the man has few prospects and fewer possessions--among them a small clutch of letters apparently from his own courting days. Could these letters be the key to the old man's identity? And can they bring healing and hope to Marlena and Ellie as well?
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2015
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
Availability: In Stock
Home to Hickory Hollow Series, Volumes 1-4Baker Books / Trade Paperback$37.99 Retail:
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No more than a couple weeks, surely.
Marlena Wenger's life takes an unexpected turn on the day she learns she must care for her estranged sister's baby. Spending the summer in Brownstown, Pennsylvania, to assist her Mennonite grandmother, and miles from Marlena's Old Order Amish beau, she feels out of her element in nearly every respect. Yet Marlena determines to do her best and stay focused on her future, even as those hopes become drastically altered.
Homeschooling MommyAge: 25-34Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Heartwarming in the Midst of LossApril 18, 2015Homeschooling MommyAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Beverly Lewis is probably the well-known, respected Christian author of Amish fiction there is, and after reading The River last year, I was excited to receive a copy of her newest novel, The Love Letters.
Its the Summer of 1966, and Marlena Wenger, a young woman of the Old Order Amish community in Pennsylvania, is spending the summer with her Mennonite grandmother. Marlena provides for her lonely grandmother by helping in the garden and around the house, and offering her companionship to her recently widowed Mammi.
Shortly after arriving at her grandmothers home several hours away from her own community, Marlena receives devastating news: her English (no longer Amish) sister Luella has been in a terrible car accident. Luellas husband is in the military, stationed in Vietnam, and Marlena is asked to care for the couples infant daughter until the paternal grandparents can return from a foreign vacation and take the baby until Luella recovers.
Marlena and Mammi Janice happily take in little Angela Rose, and Marlena quickly bonds with the baby. While dealing with their grief, Marlena receives a letter from her Old Order beau back home that she must find someone else to take Angela Rose if she wants to continue their relationship.
With her future in doubt, Marlena must choose between her two loves.
Meanwhile, there is a second story weaving through within the pages of The Love Letters. The Old Order neighbors of Marlenas grandmother, the Bitners, are having family challenges of their own. Fourteen-year-old Jake, known to his friends and family as Small Jay, is lame, small, and mentally delayed, but still wants to be a valued member of his home. However, his father Roman has never accepted Small Jays challenges, and chooses to ignore him rather than embrace him.
When Small Jay happens along an confused older homeless man at a local abandoned mill, the road to healing starts for everyone. Small Jays new friend, apparently suffering from Alzheimers disease, doesnt remember anything about his previous life, but he has a stack of love letters that may lead him home.
Can Small Jay help his lost friend get home and win his fathers acceptance in the process?
I thought The Love Letters was going to be just about Marlena, but was pleasantly surprised to find the story of the Bitners equally covered in the pages. I really enjoyed this book, and for such difficult subjects to be covered (a car accident, Alzheimers, death of a grandparent, etc), it was very light and heartwarming. I look forward to the next Beverly Lewis novel, since I always learn so much about Amish culture and history. (Who knew that there were so many differences between the Old Order, New Order, and Mennonites?) Her characters are also likeable and I enjoy getting to know them.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.
Foster3Ontario, CanadaAge: 55-65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Great Amish FictionApril 17, 2015Foster3Ontario, CanadaAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4Beverly Lewis writes with passion and an outstanding knowledge of those commonly called the "Plain People". Her understanding of their faith and lifestyle has been reflected in all her books. This new one was no exception.
Marlena Wenger does not have an easy life, free from problems. She is taking time out of her personal life, including her courting time, to care for her aging grandmother who lived some distance away. Her grandfather passed away and the dear old lady is having a difficult time coping with daily routines. She is suffering such grief that the family feels that she needs to have someone with her until she comes to terms with her now lonely life. It falls to Marlena, the kind granddaughter , to come to the rescue. Leaving her own home and boyfriend is not easy for this young lady. It is beyond her how things will work out for the best.... then a tragedy adds to the challenges.
Marlena's life takes another unexpected turn on the day she learns she must care for her estranged sister's baby. Fortunately, it will just be until Luella returns home from the hospital and is stronger. But, worries increase. How can she take on a baby?? She is not yet a mother and her days are already a challenge to get through. While being responsible for her Mennonite grandmother , miles from her Old Order Mennonite beau, she feels out of her element in nearly every respect. Yet, Marlena determines to do her best and stay focused on her future, even as her plans begin to slowly crumble.
The characters are well described and realistic. They have problems just as you and I do. How they deal with them, often differs as they strive to remain true to their faith and lifestyle. You feel the fear and pain that Marlena experiences as her life unwinds before her eyes. Others are not always what we believe them to be and she discovers this in a difficult way.
The plot is well developed and has just the right amount of twists and turns to hold the readers' interest. Although at times, I felt it was slow moving , this pace gave me time to reflect on the characters and events.
The message of faith in God and holding on to it in all times came through loud and clear. God's plan for our lives often differs from the our's . A person must be willing to listen to that still small voice. Often God's answer to requests is to wait, a difficult task. Marlena learns her lesson well. What a great example of a good Christian, she is!
I would recommend this book to all lovers of Amish Fiction.
This book was provided by Bethany House in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Fitzysmom4 Stars Out Of 5Review from Rambles of a SAHMApril 16, 2015FitzysmomQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4One of my favorite things about a Beverly Lewis novel is the multiple story lines that all intersect to make a simple tale into a complex narrative. In The Love Letters the main character is Marlena Wenger. She is a sweet girl that willingly goes to help her recently widowed grandmother over the summer. Her plan is to marry her beau once she returns home. Then she'll simply spend the rest of her life being a wife and mother.
Shortly after Marlena arrives at her grandmother's house her carefully crafted plans begin to shift and change. Marlena is asked to care for her estranged sister's baby and before she knows it she is completely attached to this sweet little girl. How in the world will she ever be able to give her up? How can she choose between what she feels like God is leading her to do and what others expect her to do?
Another theme that runs through this novel is Alzheimer's disease. The neighbor boy, Little Jay, discovers a homeless man and befriends him much to the dismay of his family. Where in the world did this person come from and how can a young boy help him to get back to where he belongs?
Marlena and Little Jay are wonderful examples of what each of us should aspire to be. I enjoyed reading their journey through some difficult trials where they really had to choose between obeying God or man. At times it felt like it would be much easier to follow the course that others thought that they should take, but it was so inspiring to see them trust God even when they didn't understand His reasoning.
Another great read to add to the growing list of intriguing stories from this talented author. I'd recommend it to anyone that enjoys Amish fiction with a contemporary flare.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
Maria5 Stars Out Of 5Much more than a love storyApril 7, 2015MariaQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0The Love Letters by Beverly Lewis is a stand alone novel filled with much more than the typical love story. It had so much depth, and I took a lot away from this book. This is by far the best book I've read from Beverly Lewis. I loved that it was more than a love story. In fact, that played a very minor roll. This book is about loss, regrets, and sacrificing your desires to help someone else.
Marlena Wenger's parents asked her to go stay with her Mennonite grandmother for the summer since her grandpa just died. Going brings up lots of memories of her older sister, Luella who left the church to marry an Englishcer and of her beloved grandfather. Not long after arriving, Marlena hears some bad news. Luella was severely injured in a car wreck, and her 5 month old daughter, Angela, is being brought to Marlena. Shocked and overwhelmed, Marlena does her best to not only take care of the baby but also her grandmother. Wishing her beau was here, Marlena struggles to take everything in.
Will Luella be alright?
I loved this story! Marlena had to figure out what she believed. Should she go against the Ordnung and her beau, or should she embrace them both but not listen to the yearning of her heart to live for Jesus?
There were a couple quotes that I loved from this book, too. Here are my two favorites:
"...it's less important to seek after miracles than it is to hunger after the miracle-giver."
"Wise folk never reject the possibility of miracles."
The first one is so true! It can be busy to focus on the miracle and forget the One who did the miracle! Not be awed by the miracle itself, but awed by Jesus who performed it. It was explained and reiterated so well throughout the whole story even though there wasn't a miracle in the book. haha It was still a good reminder, though. :-)
I highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves fiction. If you aren't into Amish fiction, please try this book anyway. You won't regret it!
I was given this book free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.
MarilynCoral Springs, FLAge: 35-44Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Not your typical Amish bookApril 7, 2015MarilynCoral Springs, FLAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4This is not your typical Amish story, nor your typical Amish romance. It revolves around love letters by more than one couple and much more. This novel involves many primary characters you will meet Ellie and Roman Bitner, Jake (Small Jay), Boston, Marlena Wenger, Mammi Janice, Angela Rose and many more.
Ellie Bitner has a love for her small handicapped son, Jake (Small Jay). She yearns for his father to accept him and find the same joy she finds in him. Ellie is a self determined submissive woman who also desires a deeper relationship with her husband. When Small Jay makes friends with Boston, no one is sure what to expect, nor the degree their friendship will change their lives.
Marlena Wenger plans to leave her area to go help her Mammi Janice after the death of her grandfather. Neither are prepared for the unexpected arrival of little Angela Rose. The ways in which she changes their lives and even Marlena's relationship with her beau is exciting and somewhat unexpected. Angela Rose will change their lives forever.
It took me a little while to really get into this book but when I did I truly enjoyed it. Even if you don't typically like Amish books you may enjoy this one, it is very different from the normal. It is written from the perspective of many of the characters in the book.
I was given a copy of this book from net galley for my honest opinion.
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