Kelly Irvin's first book of the New Hope Amish series takes us on a journey of new beginnings. A group of families is about to embark on the exciting task of creating a settlement in a new state. From the moment they arrive they are beset with difficulty and unforeseen challenges. The group hasn't had to deal with many of these challenges before and it will stretch their faith in places they never expected.
I admire Irvin's ability to capture the reality of Amish life vs. Englisch, comparing the different belief sets in a way that is compassionate to both sides...
I read the first two books of this series out of order, and I didn't find it mattered. The books deal with different families. I definitely recommend this series, and plan to continue reading more of Kelly Irvin's books!
Kelly Irvin tackled several very difficult issues in "Love Still Stands" and she handled them all beautifully. I won't go into so many details that I give the plot away but this book shows us just how human the Amish are and, for me, that makes the book so much more interesting.
Our world seems to have a view of the Amish community that is somewhat skewed - by a lack of knowledge and a feeling of intimidation.
I feel that, far too often, people do not see the Amish as normal or human and I feel that is due in a large part to seeing all that they give up for their faith.
The thing that people do not seem to understand is that, to them, it is not too much. To the Amish, it is not a struggle to give up electricity or vehicles. They are used to that kind of life. And I feel that Kelly shows us a lot of that in this book.
The English people of New Hope do not understand the Amish...at all - but I really feel that a large part of their dislike is rooted in intimidation.
To an outsider it would seem impossible that someone could happily live without electricity or a car but to the Amish, it's what they have always known. So, they don't see it as giving up anything. They see it as normal.
There are several other issues that Kelly tackles in the book and she handles them with grace and skill, showing us that these issues are just as much a part of the Amish life as our own.
I really enjoy watching Bethel as she struggles to get better. Not that I get a kick out of watching how hard it all is for her - I enjoy watching her determination and strength. She does not just sit around, content to wallow in self-pity. She goes after healing and there is a lot of hard work involved.
I also greatly enjoy seeing her faith in God and how strong it is. As much as she accepts God's will for her life, she is still determined to do everything she can to get better. And I am also relieved to see how Kelly shows the struggle this is for the new community. It's not a normal type of thing for them and Kelly shows us this in the way their bishop struggles with decisions about her treatment and how the other members of the community react to it. There are several things about Kelly's rehabilitation that affect their entire community and Kelly has handled that amazingly well. And everything she has written rings absolutely true to me. She has clearly done her research and done it well.
This is a wonderful story of life and the struggles that come with it. It is also a reminder to us that Faith is often the only thing we have to cling to in this tumultuous world.
I thank God that this genre exists. It is so refreshing to pick up a book and know that there is nothing nasty or inappropriate between the pages and it is a tremendous boon to my own faith to see how such a strong people handle their own sometimes-difficult life.
Now I just have to go back and read Kelly's Bliss Creek series.
Oh and... fair warning, some might find it difficult to get into the story. I did at first. But it didn't take long at all for the story and the characters to hook me good. It's a GREAT story!
Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.
The storyline begun in The Bliss Creek Amish series continues in Love Still Stands. Bethel Graber, an injured former teacher, struggles to maneuver with crutches and help her sister Leah's family in their new settlement at New Hope, Missouri. Unfortunately the town isn't as welcoming as its name. This outer turmoil seems to reflect the inner family conflict as Leah attempts to deal with homesickness and depression along with her five active children. Leah has been like a second mother to Bethel, albeit a demanding one. How can Bethel help her sister cope?
Will Bethel find understanding and acceptance of her limitations? Can she ever teach again and handle all the responsibilities that entails? Will she ever be loved by a husband? Will she be able to bear children and care for them? I hope the series continues and answers more of these questions as God's plan for Bethel and New Hope unfolds.
Readers of Kelly Irvin's Bliss Creek Amish novels will be overjoyed to discover her new series for lovers of Amish fiction: The New Hope Amish. In the first installment, Love Still Stands, a group of dedicated families leaves Bliss Creek to establish a new community in Missouri. Among them is Bethel Graber, a beautiful young woman with a passion for teaching. But after being disabled in a terrible accident, overseeing a classroom is out of the question...and romance seems a long-lost dream.
Bethel begins physical therapy, determined to make a fresh start. But that won't be easy in the town of New Hope, where the locals seem anything but eager to welcome their new Amish neighbors. Amid growing intimidation from the community, Bethel must find the strength to face her many challenges and the faith to believe that God still has a plan--and a love--for her life.
While this book was not a feel-good, fuzzy/happily ever after type of Amish read, the characters and story are real to life. Not everything has a happy ending, and not everyone finds a pot of gold at the bottom of the rainbow. (Realistically, none of us do.) I have not read Irvin's first series, but based on my research, this is a continuation of the stories told in that set.
Bethel and Elijah are quite likable, and I felt so bad for Bethel as she tries to adjust to her new life. Luke and Leah had some serious issues going on in their lives as well, and it was with Luke I sympathized the most. He tried so hard to understand Leah and be there for her. Leah deals with depression and other problems, and throughout the book, life never stops for any of them. Overall, the best part of the book for me was that it was a new Amish settlement in the Midwest, and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Looking forward to more!
This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.
Bethel Graber has lost her greatest passionâ€”teachingâ€”and perhaps her chance for romance with Elijah Christner in a terrible accident. Several families move to New Hope to start a new community where Bethel lives with her brother and his family. Because she's unable to walk without using crutches, Bethel is unable to help the family. She wants no one's pity or help, especially from Elijah. He wants to help her but doesn't understand why she won't let him. Kelly Irvin gives us a sweet love story that meets obstacles around every bend because of Bethel's desire for independence and Elijah's stubbornness. Will they lean on God's love to help their situation before they argue and make up for the last time? A story and characters you'll remember long after you turn the last page.