I have finally gotten around to reading some books by Naomi King . . . and my only regret is that I didn't read them earlier!
Abby Finds Her Calling and Rosemary Opens Her Heart are Books One and Two in the Home at Cedar Creek series, and Amanda Weds a Good Man is Book One of One Big Happy Family, which is really a continuation of the the previous series. The stories are set in Missouri -- some real places and others fictional, I believe -- based on the author's experiences and research in and around the real town of Jamesport, home of the largest Amish community in the state.
Amish fiction is one of my favorite genres, and I have read a lot of these books by several different authors. Although I have enjoyed most of the Amish fiction I've read, it is always a special bonus to find a little different voice. Naomi King has definitely provided such a difference in her stories.
Some of the characters deal with very real experiences that may not fit with stereotypical ideas of the idealistic Amish life -- such as a young girl pregnant outside of marriage who fails to show up for her own wedding, women with strong personalities who spend much of their time working outside the typical Amish domestic role, and a bishop who appears to abuse his position and makes life unnecessarily difficult for members of his church. The story lines are not all quickly and easily resolved, a fact that makes for a high level of interest and uncertainty as the plots play out.
But woven throughout the stories are themes of love, forgiveness, and caring for one another as a part of family and community. And there is plenty of romance, along with several adorable children and fun adults to enjoy along the way.
I think these stories get better and better as the series progress. They touched my emotions, evoking both laughter and tears. I'm anxious to see what happens next when Emma Blooms at Last is released in the fall of this year.
Abby Finds Her Calling is a fantastic Amish book. The story told how one person could be an inspiration to a whole community by showing love and forgiveness. This is my first novel to read by Naomi King and it held my attention from the moment I started reading until I finished the book. I could never guess what was going to happen next in each chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Abby Finds Her Calling. This book is the first book in the Home At Cedar Creek series and I'm looking forward to reading book two.
I have to say that this is the best Amish book I have ever read. I realize it is only the third, but this one has everything you could possibly want from a fine Christian romance. And I am quite pleased to discover that this is only the first in the series. I cannot wait to read the second!
All I know about the Amish really have come from "hearsay" and well-written fiction books like this one. I always marvel at how simple the lives of these people are. I will tell you right now that I could not do it. I am intrigued by the fact that they do embrace some modern technology. I find it ironic that these people live without electricity and modern conveniences, but because of the way our world is, they do rely on an occasional telephone and hospital emergency visit.
I absolutely love Abby and Zanna. Abby is strong from the beginning, and she is the one who help Zanna in her situation. I was surprised to find and Amish book dealin with issues of infedility, unswed pregnancy, abortion, and pacemakers. But to a degree, you find all of this in the book. Watching Zanna grow from the scared teengaer to strong woman is one of the best features of the book. And to see Abby as peacemaker is really quite a blessing in the book. I do love to see strong women, and if you ever think that Amish women are weak, you might give this book a look!
The messages in the book are truly uplifting. The unwavering faith in a changeless God indeed thrills my soul. I also love the fact that the elders in the book are so strong and steafast in their faith. While I do not condone all the methods that the Amish use, I would say that non-Amish Christians could learn a lot about hendling situations and caring about community. It was good to see the Bible used as a basis for absolutely every decision made in the book.
I was pleased to see the kind of ending that Johnny and Zanna had in the book, and I am hoping that good news will come for Abby and James in the next book. If anyone deserves it, they do. I was also happy to see that God can change pepole that you never think He can. We spend our time praying for it to happen, and then we are shocked when God answers our prayer. How I needed to hear this message in my current circumstances.
I highly recommend this book. Even if you have never read an Amish fiction book or think you would have any interest in one, I recommend giving this one a try!
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated in any way, and all opinons are 100 percent mine.
Abby Lambright is the envy of so many within her Amish community. She has the wisdom of someone beyond her years and is responsible and very organized. Perhaps that is why her family felt she could run her own sewing shop alongside the families mercantile. Abby has a knack for putting back together what seems to fall apart in the lives the people in Cedar Creek, Missouri. She just wishes she had a knack for helping herself find a way to heal her broken heart, when the man she grew up loving, James Graber, decides to marry her sister Suzanna instead.
On the day of the wedding with preparations in full swing, family members arriving from all over including out of state in Ohio and Pennsylvania, the bride vanishes. Leaving in the middle of the night on the eve of her wedding, to avoid having to deal with explaining things to her family, Zanna cuts her wedding dress to pieces and vanishes without anyone hearing anything. Now it's up to Abby to tell James that he doesn't have a bride to marry and for once she doesn't know what to say to the man that still owns her heart.
In the novel, Abby Finds Her Calling, by Naomi King, the reader is introduced to the first book in a brand new Amish series, Home at Cedar Creek. Here we are introduced to the Lambert and Graber family's and how they are intertwined in a wedding that has failed to take place. Now turmoil ensues when Zanna returns home to face the music of not only her family, friends and James, but also the consequences of defiling the church with her actions. At only 17, Zanna has more on her mind that just her explanation of why she left but now having the deal with the talk of her community.
Abby once again takes up the role as the mender and wise counselor to her torn family. Her mother is distraught at not knowing quite what to do with Zanna, her older brother Sam who now has stepped into the role of the man of the house when there father died is beyond angry at not only the expense he had to pay but now answering to the elders of the church for Zanna's actions. James will not escape unscathed when he learns just why Zanna couldn't marry him. Will he finally see the qualities in Abby that he's been blind to before, or will Abby spend the rest of her life simply being a maidel?
I received Abby Finds Her Calling by Naomi King compliments of Pump Up Your Book Tours for my honest review. I LOVE it when a book will take you on a journey and make the characters in the book truly come alive. A different view is offered from the Amish point of view when Zanna's character goes against her moral and spiritual beliefs and makes the reader ponder just what would they do if faced with similar circumstances. A wonderful new series that I can wait to finish and get to know more of the characters that live in Cedar Creek as Naomi King continues with her upcoming books. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars!!!
Amish fiction is one of my favorite genres to read, but sometimes the plots start mirroring each other but once in a while I find story that has me flying thru the pages to see how things will work out, and that's just what I found with "Abby Finds Her Calling."
Abby Lambright is considered to be a spinster in her Amish community. She always turns down suitors because the boy she has been in love with since grade school is in love with someone else, actually planned on marrying someone else. She has always kept these feelings well hidden, because the one she has feelings for,James Graber, actually planned on marrying her sister Suzanna. When he shows up for the wedding though, Zanna is gone, and the wedding is off. When Zanna comes back and shares the truth of why she can't marry James, because she is pregnant with someone else's child, someone who has left the community. Will a baby be able to bring a lost soul home again, and how will the community accept Zanna and her baby? Read this fantastic story and find out!
I really liked the way this story was presented. It's about Zanna and the choices she makes, but it is also about Abby and her faith,her willingness to work and sacrifice, her willingness to stand by her sister. I loved the character of Abby. She was someone who decided to remain unmarried rather than settle. I also found it interesting that as a single woman she owned her own house. I liked the sense of community that I felt in the town of Cedar Creek, it was easy to become immersed in the lives of the characters. The plot moved along at a brisk pace, and for me there was never a down time. While I was pleased with the ending for Zanna, I was left hoping for something more for Abby. I have my fingers crossed that her story might continue in another book. I loved my visit to Cedar Creek and will certainly be watching for the next book in the series titled "Rosemary Opens Her Heart" due out in Oct. 2012.
Overall fans of Amish fiction will love this story, but anyone who enjoys a good story about community, families and faith, will also be drawn to this story.