I can't say enough about how much I love these omnibus novels. I like that the stories are short and they usually have one thing in common which is nice. There was one that I thought had a slow start, not naming titles, lol, but it ended up being just as good as the other three. I would like to thank the authors for doing these. I like longer books and enjoy series of books, it's just nice to read something like this once in awhile. Each of these authors did a great job!
Written by four authors - four stories. I love and have read all four authors and reviewed books for all of them.
All stories involve gardens. Each has a different message. In Rooted in Love, I felt love was endured until it was time for God's plan. In Flowers for Rachel, Rachel had a hard time accepting help. Gideon had a hard time expressing himself as a lot of men do around women. In Seeds of Love, it is about giving to others even if different from you and the giving will return to you. In When Healing Blooms, there is lots of healing to be done. Grief, women and kids needing a safe place, runaway boy, and a ministry started.
Each book could have a special review but I'm trying to cover all. You can read one story. Take a break. Read another.
I was excited to see this book - several of my favorite authors, and a subject that is dear to my heart - and it did not disappoint!
In "Rooted in Love," Beth Wiseman shows the age-old cost of eavesdropping. Will Rosemary miss out on the love of her life because she thinks she knows what's best for her future? The chemistry between her and Saul is true to life. I couldn't put this book down as I ached for them to experience God's best.
In "Flowers for Rachel," Kathleen Fuller writes a love story of shy and awkward Gideon and Rachel. Each chapter begins with a quote related to flowers, and they nicely summarize the growing relationship between these Amish young people. I felt this story was a bit predictable, but I like the ways the characters learned to show their love for one another.
Tricia Goyer gives us another glimpse into the Amish community of West Kootenai, Montana in "Seeds of Love"(If you haven't read her "Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series, or the "Big Sky" novels that preceded those, this is a good excuse to start!). Sadie Chupp and Eli Plank are strangers who meet in a small Amish settlement when he travels west seeking adventure...or are they? It turns out their families knew each other in Indiana, and the connection wasn't always so friendly! Eli is a scribe for "The Budget," an Amish newspaper featuring letters from writers living in scores of different Amish communities. His wit and skills of observation make him well-suited to handle Sadie and her reservations. As usual, Goyer has a few twists up her sleeve, and gives a satisfying ending to this garden tale.
Last but certainly not least, Vannetta Chapman shows us "Where Healing Blooms." This is more than a romantic love story - it also describes the deep love and friendship between a woman and her mother-in-law (not unlike Ruth and Naomi in Scripture). This story of faith and redemption and yes, buried treasure, revolves around the family garden. As wise mother-n-law Mary Ann says, "Gardens are a reflection of God's love for us," and how gently and winsomely we see Emma and Danny discover that truth in a new way. This story describes the Amish commitment to the good of the community, not just one's own prosperity. I was delighted to watch these characters lean to deal with their pasts and come together for a common future. As Chapman quotes, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every purpose under heaven." I loved that this novella was based on mature characters, and not the usual fresh-faced 'maedel.'
Any one of these authors cold have written a full book on their storyline, but I really enjoyed having these nuggets together in one book. The time you spend here in these "gardens" will be fruitful time indeed.
Beth Wiseman has written a poignant Amish story of love and loss based on a conversation the main character overheard. Two people's lives are fraught with dismay that honesty, openness and trust would have assuaged. The author paints a realistic portrait of Amish life, creating characters with emotion and sensitivity. I enjoyed this short story of relationships and the developments that resulted despite a misunderstanding.
Flowers for Rachel by Kathleen Fuller
Kathleen Fuller has depicted Rachel and Gideon's friendship in a very tender and expressive perspective. The Amish lifestyle is well described, and Rachel's relationship with her "grossdaadi" is amusing and entertaining. The author used very touching quotations at the headings of each chapter, appropriate to the content and very thought provoking. I enjoyed that addition to the story. The development of Rachel and Gideon's relationship was very charming and endearing.
Seeds of Love by Tricia Goyer
Considerable loss and loneliness are pivotal factors in the life of Tricia Goyer's protagonist. Life-changing events set the mood for this expressive narrative. Heirloom tomato seeds are all that remain from Sadie's past, and a misunderstanding affects her attitude toward immediate family members. The young man depicted in this story is presented with compassion and a depth of character. The events throughout this novella are heartrending and poignant, and misconceptions are emotive.
Where Healing Blooms by Vannetta Chapman
Spring has arrived in Shipshewana, and Mary Ann's garden is once again her haven. Her daughter-in-law, Emma, joins her in weeding and tending to the garden, more expansive and prolific with each passing year. The garden haven holds secrets that no one could suspect. Vannetta Chapman weaves a story with depth and perception that places her in a category all her own. Her characters are strong and the setting picturesque. There's no guessing the ensuing events in this well-written novella. Much diversity is revealed in this extraordinary short story and I craved more, but the author wrapped up all loose ends bringing closure to this impressive novella.
Faith, hope and love are strong elements in each of these novellas, and God's timing is always perfect, making for four well-written and very enjoyable novellas in this compilation. I highly recommend this collection of Amish garden stories, each containing very enjoyable story lines in their own right.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
This is a collection of four different Amish stories that have the common theme of gardening. As the reader is led down the garden path in this book, one will discover that each tale is unique. The stories are: "Rooted in Love" by Beth Wiseman, "Flowers for Rachael" by Kathleen Fuller, "Seeds of Love" by Tricia Goyer and "Where Healing Blooms" by Vannetta Chapman.
The story of Rosemary and Saul is of love at cross-purposes. The two had courted as teenagers, and seemed to be in love. Then one day, out-of-the blue, Rosemary said the relationship was over. Saul had given his heart to her, and no one else has ever been right for him. Saul stills pursues her to no avail. The big question is, why did Rosemary call it off? Years pass, and she still won't tell him. Even if Rosemary never goes out with him again, Saul needs the answer for his own peace of mind. Will he ever get it?
Hard working Rachael has left her home to nurse her grandfather back to health. She also spends a good deal of her time gardening to supply them with food to eat, as well as, items to sell to supplement their meager income. She doesn't spend any time on social activities. Despite that, Rachael has suddenly started receiving things from a mysterious person. Gideon admires Rachael from afar. The one and only time he attempted to ask a girl out, she laughed at him. That was years ago, and he has never tried again. Can shy Gideon get the courage to tell Rachael how he feels about her? What will her answer be if he does?
Heirloom tomato seeds are all that Sadie has left as a heritage after the death of her beloved mother and father. The seeds have been carefully saved after each harvest by her mother, and the generations before her. Now it was up to Sadie to plant them, and keep the tradition going. After moving across country, she attempts to grow them in soil and a climate she is not used to. Despite her unfamiliarity with the area, she throws caution to the wind and plants every single seed-saving none of them. Eli offers his extensive garden knowledge to help her. He is hoping working together will lessen Sadie's grief, and bring the two of them closer. But will she reject him when Sadie finds out the truth about Eli's heritage? Was Sadie mistaken to plant all of the seeds without holding some back as a "safety net?"
Emma is a 50-year-old widow, who is taking care of her elderly, widowed mother-in-law, Mary Ann. Emma feels empty with her children grown and her husband gone. She is also overwhelmed by the enormous work involved in caring for the huge garden Mary Ann insists they keep. Then Emma discovers a runaway teenage boy has been sleeping in her barn, Mary Ann gets hurt in the garden and a new love might be sprouting in Emma's life. Will the garden be a place for both plants and people to be nurtured? Will Emma's love and loneliness for her deceased husband hold her back from growing in new ways?
I thought all of these tales were very entertaining, and each one included faith in God. It was enjoyable to have a different "voice" in each work. This book has four stand-alone Amish stories and they all have a garden theme, but that is where the similarities stop. The authors have all gone their own direction with each one.
The first story has a bit of a mystery concerning why Rosemary ended the relationship despite still loving Saul and vice versa. The tale of Rachel and Gideon involves is a tender and sweet love story. Eli's other job as a traveling writer added an unexpected twist and a lot of interest to "Seeds of Love," along with some humor.
I liked that the last story featured senior citizens as the main characters. That is a different age group than fiction normally centers on, and it added a refreshing addition to that tale. It also dealt with issues one rarely hears about occurring in Amish communities. Although this is fiction, it shows that the Amish, like everyone else, must deal with living in a fallen world-and the unhappy situations that can sometimes result. However, the solution this story gives has a distinctive Amish flavor.
This collection of stories involving gardens can be enjoyed anytime of the year, however, it is especially apropos to read it now, in the spring-time, when gardens are beginning to grow. I recommend this 5-star book to anyone who enjoys Amish fiction.
The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through Thomas Nelson Publishing for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner. Despite my receiving the book free, it has not influenced my judgment, and I have given an honest opinion.