As a novel the basic character story is ok. The story does however suggest that it is wrong to read just any parts of God's Word, saying that only some books and sections are acceptable for a "good" Christian to read, and one should never share parts of the Bible not approved by church leaders. As a farmer and shepherd I was stunned by the wrong ideas portrayed in the story about sheep and farming life. Since the author made the main character a shepherdess, she should have done research about sheep so that events in the story were actually possible to happen. In addition to incorrect technical sheep gestation times, feeding requirements, guarding OR herding dog traits etc., the author really missed the truth about sheep behavior. Sheep DO wander, sheep do NOT stampede unless chased by a predator, yet the sheep in this story stampede frequently. Sheep also DO come to the call of their shepherd. They DO recognize their own shepherd's voice. The parables in the Bible are correct, this story is just fiction all the way around, and leaves you with a LOT of incorrect ideas about God, His Word, sheep, and farming life.
I have read the whole series and it has been one of my favorites. I like this first one as much as the last. Hannah is a spirited young independent woman, unusual for the Amish. But, she is a great character!!!! She does very well for herself after her husbands death, hurrah for Hannah. She meets an adversary in the most unusual place, her brother in law. Simon and hannah have some set to's but in the end, they learn to enjoy each others company. Seth is Simons widowed brother and the sparks fly between Hannah and he. He is left with children to raise, but Hannah raises sheep and he is very very interested in getting her sheep, lol...but in the end Hannah gets his heart. DOnt miss any of this series, they are all WUNDERBAR!!!!
I just read this and it's a must read! A well-crafted Amish story. You learn a lot about the day-day life of the Amish. The story is solid and there is romance, but it's not mushy and is very well written. When you finish this, you must read Never Far From Home, the next book in this series. Mary Ellis has scored a home run!