This is the story of Lydia Wyse. She was raised Amish but has chosen to lead an "Englisch" life in Seattle, WA. The book starts off with the passing of her mom, so she returns home to West Kootenai, Montana.
Enter Gideon Hooley, one of the "bachelors" that come at least 6 months before hunting season so they can gain residency for the hunt. We also see the mention of many characters from The Memory Jar. Just a note that you do not need to have read The Memory Jar to read The Promise Box. Ok, back to Gideon. When he first appears, he is training a horse named Blue. He is from Bird-in-Hand, Pennsvylvania and has been to West Kootenai before. As a young child. During that trip, he had an experience that has somewhat haunted him his whole life. His parents have not talked to him, so he's hoping to find out the details while in Montana. When he does, it haunts him even more...all the while he is falling for the new Englisch girl in town...
Lydia has been haunted by her own demons, surrounding her birth. She was adopted by the Wyse's at her birth and left after finding out the truth. The pain was too much. As she returns to help her Dat, the Amish lifestyle and customs come back easily to her. Her boss has planted the idea that the time is ripe for her to write her own book focusing on returning to the Amish community. She isn't so sure...
Will Gideon get over the details of what happened when he was a child?
What about his feelings for the Englisch woman?
Will Lydia really return to the Amish life?
What about her 'book'?
For answers to these questions, read The Promise Box BY Tricia Goyer and then come back and let me know what you think of this great read! Of course, I won't leave you without a quote from the book! It's really hard to choose just one, but here goes...as usual, I couldn't bring it down to just one:
pg 13: "Mem had told her that her life was a gift, that God didn't make mistakes."
pg 103: "We aren't perfect. God doesn't expect us to be...Faith isn't about having all the answers. It's about taking one step. The first step."
pg 138: "You can tell when you're on the right track. It's usually uphill."
Disclosure: As part of the Tricia Goyer 2013 Fiction Launch Team, I did receive a free copy of this book; however I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed here are completely my own!
Each of Trish Goyer's latest novels I read is better than the last, and I marvel at how she can do that! The Promise Box is no exception - it is my favorite so far of her series "Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors."
Lydia and Gideon's story has a sad beginning. Lydia Wyse, adopted by Amish parents at birth, left that upbringing to enter the English world and became a book editor in Seattle. She returned home to West Kootenai, Montana upon the death of her mother to care for her dat during the funeral and for an unplanned time afterward. Gideon Hooley, an Amish bachelor who has come to the community temporarily for the hunting season, which is a popular draw of young Amish bachelors to learn the skills of this sport. Gideon has ghosts of his own from the past that haunt and puzzle him. He hopes to find answers in the town of what happened there years before while his family visited and a tragedy involving Gideon occurred of which he has no memory.
These young folks had an eventful and humorous meeting which kindled Gideon's mistrust of Lydia's English appearance and snapping pictures (not Amish approved) of him while he was in a horse training session with Blue, an untempered equestrian beauty. There were definitely sparks - some of anger, while some were instant attraction between the two. Gideon did not know who Lydia was, and that she was also taking pictures of her home in the background and familiar scenes to her.
Ms Goyer's story is extremely emotional and heart rendering. Lydia struggles with a decision about returning to the Amish life, being accepted and not shunned by the community, and wanting to clear up the mystery surrounding her adoption. She yearns to be a writer and considers the notion of writing about her returning to the Amish faith. She fights temptation from her Seattle editor and friend who encourages her in this respect. Life is full of unknowns and uncertainties for Lydia and Gideon. Both young people are caught in the time of their lives when their choices could alter their lives destructively.
Personally, I can relate to the adoption issue for Lydia because I have three adopted children, now grown. I cheered and thanked God for Lydia's mem's box full of God's promises and letters to Lydia. Will Lydia find her way through her mem's words and confidences? How about Gideon_can he express his love and possibly marry an Englisher? Are they the mates God has chosen for each other? What will happen to dat if Lydia chooses not to stay and care for him? Will Lydia learn who her birth parents are? What will Gideon do about finding the answers to the mystery in his life? Will pain heal?
The sub-title for Trish Goyer's Promise Box might have been The Englisher and the Horse Whisperer. Trish writes a wonderful story with much depth on each page. It is realistic for today's world concerning Amish communities and lifestyle. Pay close attention to the answers God graces Lydia and Gideon with during their confusion and hunt for reasons to turn their lives completely to Him. Trish Goyer is a strict master author on God's interventions and I admire her own faith. She is indeed an artist at painting God's word into her writings.
So, for the answer to all the questions above, you will not hear the answers from me. You'll need to get the book on your own and read, read, read. Oh, don't forget the tissues while reading. And_.this is only Book Two, so far, and I'm watching for Book Three to see how she could possibly write a better story than The Promise Box!
Thank you Litfuse for providing a review copy. Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Lydia Wyse grew up Amish but left the Ohio community when she grew up. She settled in Seattle and works as a book editor. When word came that her mother died, Lydia packed her car and drove home to Montana, to the small Amish community her parents had relocated to after her departure. The community of West Kootenai is a little more open to the "English" neighbors and Lydia decides to stay awhile to comfort her grieving father. Her father passes along her mother's legacy, the Promise Box, a box of written prayers and scriptures and notes written to her beloved daughter. As Lydia reads through the box, she discovers more about her parents and herself. She also grows more attracted to bachelor Gideon Hooley, who's visiting in Montana from the East, to establish residency for the fall hunting.
The community of West Kootenai is populated by endearing people and some difficult ones. Lydia's journey of faith is believable and poignant, as she learns more about her history from her beloved Mam's letters. At the same time, a misunderstanding with her publishing friend in Seattle nearly derails Lydia's new found peace and acceptance among the people she's come to love.
I enjoyed The Promise Box and Lydia and Gideon's story. The setting of Montana made the story more believable as the Amish "rules" were more relaxed than would be true in a Pennsylvania or Ohio setting. I will definitely read more by this author. Although this is part of a series, it functioned well as a stand-alone story.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.
At sixteen years old, Lydia Wyse knew she couldn't be a good Amish daughter. She left the Amish way of life before anyone else discovered the pain she had caused. Six years later, she returned to her parent's new Amish community in West Kootenai, Montana. She had to bury her mother and care for her father. She planned to stay a few weeks and get her dad settled into life without his loving wife and then return to Seattle, where she was a book editor. What she didn't plan on was being attracted to Amishman Gideon Hooley.
Gideon was a gentle man who trained horses. He travelled to West Kootenai to hunt and more importantly to discover a truth from his past. His parents wouldn't tell him anything so he set out on his own to find answers. He never expected to find himself falling in love, especially with Lydia, an Englisher.
Lydia's mother had left behind a box for her, "The Promise Box" as she called it. Inside were letters and Bible verses that she had written down for Lydia over the years, starting with the day she became her parent's adopted child. As Lydia read the letters from The Promise Box, God began working in her life.
For her whole life Lydia had head knowledge of God, but not heart knowledge of His love for her. In West Kootenai, she began to understand this-the grace of God, which is Jesus dying for our sins. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story. Many people can recite Bible verses and know the Ten Commandments but they never apply it to their lives and have a relationship with God. While reading The Promise Box you will see how God can change people and their lives when they choose to follow him. One part of the story deals with someone who gave their life to save another. This is a great symbolism for what Jesus did for us.
The Promise Box is about Lydia and Gideon being set free because of the truth. I don't want to say too much to give anything away. This book has twists and turns that I didn't see coming. There are parts that tugged on my emotions. Tricia Goyer brings the area and people to life so well that I want to visit West Kootenai. Anyone who can do that has written a good book.
Seven Brides For Seven Bachelors Series:
#1 The Memory Jar
#2 The Promise Box
I received a free copy of this book from The Christian Manifesto and Zondervan in exchange for my honest review.