I took the opportunity to read this book because I wanted to experience why Amish fiction is such a popular sub-genre of Christian fiction. It has honestly baffled me. I can understand people wanting life a little simpler or to become more self sufficient. With those reasons, I can recognize the draw. Beyond those reasons, I have no clue what the fascination is with these books. After reading this books, I'm still asking myself, "why?"
Set in the 18th Century America, I as drawn to the novel because of the time period. Long includes tidbits of history of the Amish during this time. She did recreate a place where there was the struggle of being Amish in the midst of America's War of Independence, which is something I have never pondered. The Amish tried to live their lives, but the two worlds occasionally collided.
Generally, I did enjoy the storyline, but it's one of those that the obstacle could be rectified easily if people would only communicate with one another. The personal struggle that Adam had with being Amish and leaving his community to immerse himself into a culture that was at war--a harsh contrast to his beliefs--are struggles that I assume Amish today also struggle with.
If you've read any of my other reviews, I tend to want my story to go on for a bit longer. This story, on the other hand, seemed to go on for too long. Conflict and obstacles were constantly thrown at the characters where I said, "enough already!" It seemed that the story could have used some editing as there a came a point where I went from moderately enjoying the story to wishing it was over.
Most fans of Amish fiction will love this, I suspect. If you're not a big fan of Amish fiction, then I think readers will find it lackluster.
Arms of Love is a tender, touching, soulful novel in my favorite genre: Amish Fiction. I love the thought of Amish love and indeed some days wish I were Amish (okay, every day I wish I were Amish). Until the day I save enough to chuck it all, buy a farm in Bird in Hand or somewhere in Pennsylvania, I will content myself with reading terrific Amish fiction.
Arms of Love was new and familiar to me in many ways. I liked reading about a time period in American Amish life I had not read of before, the late 18th century. Set in 1777, the American Revolution is raging and American Separtists and British soldiers are both troubling Amish people to join their ranks and declare themselves. Their lives were fraught with peril because many refused to fight, to house soldiers OR 'Englischers' meaning anyone not Amish. Young Amishmen were leaving home and taking up arms to fight for freedom although it was staunchly against their religion to do so. Amid this troublesome time Lena Yoder and Adam Wyse are a young couple deeply in love. However Adam is torn between the fighting and between his religious beliefs and the Amish community. Does Adam ignore his personal beliefs and stay in the Amish community with Lena, the only woman he's ever loved? Does he turn his back on home, family, and love and go fight? What does Lena do? Those are answers that can only be found out by reading Arms of Love which I highly recommend you do!
Kelly Long is one of the Amish fiction authors I enjoy. I have reviewed some of her works before, such as "Lilly's Wedding Quilt". Luckily for me, my most recent book from Booksneeze.com was Long's "Arms of Love".
Here is the book description for "Arms of Love":
The year is 1777. America is in turmoil. And Amish life is far different than today.
Pennsylvania in the late 18th century, once called William Penn's Woods, was an assortment of different faiths living together for the first time in American history. Included in this tapestry was a small and struggling population called Amish.
Surrounding this peaceful people were unavoidable threats: both Patriots and the British were pillaging land and goods for the sake of the war, young Amishmen were leaving the faith to take up arms and defend freedom. A simple walk in the untamed forests could result in death, if not from bullet or arrow, then from an encounter with a wild animal.
Amid this time of tumult, Adam Wyse is fighting a personal battle. To possibly join the war efforts and leave his faith, which would mean walking away from the only woman he's ever loved: Lena Yoder. But for that love he's made a promise that may keep them apart permanently.
I found "Arms of Love" to be a good read for a snowy winter's day â€” the kind of book you can curl up in a chair with along with a cup of tea or hot chocolate and a warm blanket. At first I thought the story was going to be very predictable. It seemed like it was going to be the typical Amish story: two people who want to be together and start a family but can't because of some problem or rule that is keeping them apart; something changes the situation; and then in the end they end up being able to get married after all and life is good. Long keeps her readers interested in the story and entertained throughout. She keeps the reader guessing whether or not Adam Wyse will enlist with the war effort. Then there is the problem of whether or not Adam and Lena will be able to marry; along with the twist that Lena and Adam's brother, Isaac, are to be wed instead in order to keep Adam away from Lena (or so Adam's father hopes for reasons of his own).
But Long doesn't leave the reader with this one basic plot line. Amidst the turmoil of heartache and mystery between Adam and Lena's situation, the author keeps the reader involved with the lives of the other significant characters in the story: the wet nurse, Ruth; Lena's father, Samuel; and Lena's brother, John. Long let's us see into their lives and hearts as well so that we can immurse ourselves even more into the story, the Yoder and Wyse families, and the Amish life in general â€” one of the many reasons why I enjoy reading her literary works.
If you have previously read books by Kelly Long, or have an interest in Amish fiction, I encourage you to add this to your casual reading list. It's a "feel good" kind of book that keeps you involved in the story and the lives of the characters. "Arms of Love" will keep you interested with a story that keeps you going from cover to cover!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Arms of Love by Kelly Long, book one in the Amish Beginnings series, opens during the spring of 1977 - Lancaster, Pennsylvania - during a time of American turmoil and with Amish life being much different than today. This book presents a well-researched glimpse into the life of a small, peace-keeping Amish population. While themes such as domestic violence, PTSD, death, and religious intolerance give a dark feel at times, the book's overarching theme is that "God is for us" - and forgiveness/restoration play a major part in a conclusion filled with hope. Questions for group discussion and a four-week Bible study are included at the end.
Pennsylvania in the late 18th century, once called William Penn's Woods, was an assortment of different faiths living together for the first time in American history. Included in this tapestry was a small and struggling population called Amish. Surrounding this peaceful people were unavoidable threats: both Patriots and the British were pillaging land and goods for the sake of the war, young Amish men were leaving the faith to take up arms and defend freedom.
Adam Wyse is fighting a personal battle. To possibly enlist in the revolution and leave his faith, which would mean walking away from the only woman he's ever loved: Lena Yoder. But for that love he's made a promise that may keep them apart permanently. When Adam withdraws from Lena, she's forced to turn to his brother, Isaac, for support.
I loved the American Revolution time period and the fact that this book explores the beginnings of Amish life in colonial Pennsylvania, as they sought to find freedom in the face of religious extermination. But while fighting for their own freedom, colonists weren't always willing to extend those same ideas to others. "Were the times to disintegrate into something like the Palatinate, that Old World place of Germany where the spilling of Amish blood was thought to be a blessing to Gott and the land?" (Lena)
A unique quality of Kelly's writing is her ability to bring out raw emotion and passion in her characters. It is refreshing to see a couple's longing and desire for each other expressed in a godly way. An Amish bishop and a British POW were strong secondary characters who contributed greatly to the story. I also grew to like Adam's brother, Isaac, as his character changed and I'd love to see a future novel devoted to his story.
The main negatives for me are that the plot moved slowly at times and character growth seemed sudden rather than gradual. And while I often complain of abrupt endings, this ending was way too long, with the addition of more action after the conflict resolution.
While Arms of Love was a good novel overall and I will continue to read Kelly's books, I didn't enjoy this one as much as her other books. However, I think anyone who enjoys Amish fiction would enjoy this book.
For more information on Kelly Long and her books, visit her website at http://www.kellylongbooks.com/
This book was provided by Thomas Nelson through the BookSneeze program in exchange for my honest review.
Arms of Love by Kelly Long is set in the 18th century, as the events of the Revolutionary War are unfolding. The story centers around the relationship between Adam Wyse and Lena Yoder. Adam is torn between his Amish faith and his desire to fight in the war. Lena is a young woman struggling to raise her siblings and keep the family afloat after her mother dies and her father is imprisoned. She desires to marry Adam and start a family of their own, but Adam made a promise to Lena's mother on her deathbed that causes him to end his relationship with Lena. Like many Amish fiction novels, there is an element of "will they or won't they get back together" running through the book.
I found this book to be very interesting on several levels. First, the time period that it is set in is different than other Amish fiction books I have read. Aside from their faith and aversion to fighting, the Amish didn't appear to live drastically different lives from their non-Amish neighbors. Back then no one had electricity, everyone got around by horse and farming was a very common occupation.
Second, I found this book to be much darker than most Amish fiction novels I have read. Some of the abuse themes were pretty intense and the author did not romanticize the difficulties of life in 1777. Most other Amish books I have read are pretty â€˜G' rated and this one was definitely a bit different than that. (Not a bad thing; just an observation.)
Overall, I liked the story and also liked that the ending was not obvious from page 2 of the book. I found it to be an engaging plot simply because it was so different than other Amish fiction novels. I couldn't understand why Adam wouldn't come clean and tell Lena about the promise he made to her mother and its implications - but I suppose if he had then there'd be no reason for the story.
I received a copy of this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.