I love the concept of a memory jar -- collecting tangible prompts for important memories. That's the way that Sarah chooses to hold tight to special moments. I really enjoyed the flashbacks that included her friend, Patty, as they were growing up. They reveal a lot about Sarah and the reasons for the way she is in the present day. She's somewhat tenuous, carrying a burden she can't bear to share with anyone...until Jathan.
He arrives in West Kootenai with his own share of troubles. Their friendship quickly hints at something deeper but Sarah and Jathan have a lot of growing to do before their happily-ever-after is secured.
"In math, two halves made a whole. But in life -- and with relationships -- two halves offered up from broken souls seemed a poor way to begin something wonderful." (p. 127)
These 'broken souls' struggle with family expectations and it isn't until they learn to trust -- in God and each other -- that their future becomes clear. In fact, the impossible dreams they have longed for don't become possible until they join forces and make them a reality together.
This book started off a bit slowly, but once it got going, it was hard to put down. It is a story about discovering what you are best for and realizing that is what God wants for all of us, even if it means going again the norm or the way things were done. Sarah has a dream to bake the best cupcakes and she does but most of the Amish in Berlin consider them 'fancy'. Jathan loves to cook and bake, not work in his father's shop as his family wants him to. We see each of them struggle with their dream, ready to give in to tradition until they realize that God has brought them together to start a bakery in Charm and be the best they can be. A very enjoyable read.
This review should not surprise anyone who knows how much I rave about Amish fiction, and this book is no exception to the rule. When I say that this book is a fantastic, clean, Christian romance, you can know that I am sincere. No profanity, no sex, and really no preachiness either. All you will find is everything that makes the Amish people wonderful and hard-working and a sweet romance to boot.
I love the fact that this book shows how things have been changing in some Amish communities. Even our heroine, Sarah, sees that. And Jathan hopes that Sarah will be the one who can help him change. This book celebrates the things that make the Amish people so endearing--baking, woodworking, etc. And whenever they don't understand, they turn to God for direction. Their faith is simple but strong.
The messages of this book are universal. Follow your dreams no matter what. When a loved one dies, you cannot stop living. You have to face your past, or you will not be able to move on with your life. You will find these messages and more--something for everyone. Oh, and there are a couple of twists along the way, so don't think you have it all figured out!
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
The only thing 24 year old Sarah Shelter had left of her best friend, Patty Litwiller, was a jar full of memories. Soon after Sarah and Patty met, they began putting items in jars when they had an event in their lives they wanted to remember. It had been two years since Patty died, but Sarah was having trouble facing life without her. Sarah worked at the West Kootenai Kraft & Grocery where she'd met several bachelors over the years, yet she still wasn't a bride.
Jathan Schrock, like many other single men, went to West Kootenai to live for six months to be able to hunt in the area. The men went to hunt and some returned home with a bride. But Jathan wasn't looking for love, he came for another reason. Jathan was not a typical Amish man. He had ideas that didn't sit well with certain people.
Sarah and Jathan got to know each other and discovered they had a lot in common. They both had dreams that involved baking. Following their Amish beliefs was very important to them but it was keeping them from realizing their dreams. Jathan and Sarah friendship was growing when Jathan had to unexpectedly return to Berlin, Ohio. Will Jathan be another memory in Sarah's memory jar?
Tricia Goyer describes the mountain community of West Kootenai in such a way that I could picture myself being there, with all the sights and sounds of the area. I also enjoyed reading Sarah's memories of growing up with Patty. It gave me a look at how Patty showed Sarah how to live life to the fullest.
I think Jathan and Sarah had trouble communicating their feelings for each other. It was frustrating that they did not get what the other was saying when it came to how they felt towards each other. I wanted to spell it out for them!
This story is about Sarah moving on with her life but not forgetting the wonderful part Patty played in it. Sarah learns to hold on to her special memories but doesn't let them hold her back. The Memory Jar shows us we need to accept God's will even though it doesn't make sense to us here on earth.
Seven Brides For Seven Bachelors Series:
#1 The Memory Jar
#2 The Promise Box - read my review here
I received a free copy of this book from The Christan Manifesto and Zondervan in exchange for my honest review.