This first book of the New Beginnings series takes Amy King and her sister Nora from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to a more conservative Amish settlement in Maine, along with Amy intended, John Detweiler. They surprise John's brother and family, with whom they stay. Thomas and Sally Detweiler somewhat grudgingly accept the outsiders, but the King girls struggle to fit in and miss their departed parents and the home they left behind. Nora suffers from headaches and often shirks work.
Amy and John had planned to marry soon, but their new district insists upon a longer wait. Thomas is a minister there, and responsibilities lie heavy on his shoulders. Sally does not feel accepted or supported by the rest of the women in her role as the minister's wife. Can Amy help her with this dilemma?
Adding to their difficulties is the Kings' wayward aunt, with whom Amy reconnects. Aunt Prudence had been shunned, and they aren't to have anything to do with her. Then there's the youngest Detweiler, Elam, who refuses to live by Amish standards yet attracts Nora. What will come from this dangerous relationship?
With all the trials coloring this story, can it live up to the double-meaning of the novel's title? Their town may be called Harmony, but can they possibly achieve such status as Living in Harmony? Mary Ellis offers an interesting read set in real-life Amish location.
LIVING IN HARMONY by Mary Ellis is a wonderful Amish inspirational romance set in Harmony, Maine. Book 1 in a new series "The New Beginnings" and what a beginning. Follow Amy King and John Detweiler on a journey to find truth,secrets,love and peace. With lost,grief,faith,discovery,Amy and John does not discovery a picture perfect life or place,but learn so much more than they expected. A story of love,being shunned,tragedy, and second chances. Ms. Ellis is not only a talented author,she draws the reader into her stories and her character's lives. I enjoy Amish stories and this author's stories,this title was no exception. With lovable,believable,and engaging characters and an interesting plot you will not regret picking up the first in "The New Beginnings" series, "Living In Harmony".A must for anyone who enjoys Amish fiction,inspirational,while not "preachy",romance and just a plain good read. Received from an honest review from the publisher and Wynn-Wynn Media. Details can be found at the author's website, Harvest House Publishers and My Book Addiction and More.
HEAT RATING: SWEET
REVIEWED BY: AprilR,My Book Addiction and More/My Book Addiction Reviews
I love my Amish Fiction and have read a lot of it. This book was a bit dry for my tastes. I was surprised as I have read this author before. There was so much time devoted to the struggles they were having that after a while I just wanted to get the book read and be done with it. It was very different and I'm not sure I'll pursue this series after this first book. Kind of disappointed.
Harmony, Maine. As wonderful as the name sounds, it hasn't been the ideal picture of a perfect life since moving here from Lancaster, Pennsylvania for Amy and Nora King. Since a tragic fire that claimed the lives of their parents, Amy and Nora have decided to head north with John Detweiler, Amy's fiance in search of a new opportunities and a future with another Amish community just being established.
However when they arrive, Amy and John soon learn that their plans to marry may have to wait until their Bishop in Maine declares that they have met all the requirements of this new more strict Amish Order. Since they have both been baptized since moving to Maine it makes it a little easier, but not much. In addition, Amy was hoping to get a job to help them save enough money to purchase land and a home but soon finds out that is forbidden. So they will need to stay with John's brother, Thomas and his wife, Sally a little bit longer. They also learn that there is no opportunities for singings, social outings or rides in a courting buggy because that, too is forbidden.
The hardest challenge is for Nora, who is twenty and was in the midst of her rumspringa in Lancaster, soon finds out there rumspringa is forbidden in the new community of Harmony. Not only that but she has to make all new clothes to wear because the bright colors of her dresses are forbidden. So she must now wear black, brown or a dark navy blue instead. She also learns that since there isn't any social gatherings her prospects of finding a husband in this new community are going to be pretty limited. She wonders if perhaps she shouldn't reconsider about moving back home to Lancaster to stay with her grandparents like her other two sisters. Is there a way to find true harmony in Harmony?
I received Living in Harmony be Mary Ellis compliments of Harvest House Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and found this to be a surprising twist to most Amish stories. Normally it's difficult for an English reader to understand the harsh restrictions placed on Amish people based on their religious beliefs but in this novel, it is the Amish from one community that soon realize how difficult it is sometimes to make changes and live by more strict requirements. I found this novel refreshing in that it offered that unique perspective and as the character of Amy King grows in her awareness of just what this move has meant to not only her sister, but to her as well, will she realize that perhaps John may not be the man she believed he was before leaving Lancaster. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars. For those of you that love Amish romantic fiction, you'll want to pick this one up. This is the first book in the New Beginnings Series and I can't wait for more!