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.
I do believe this to be the first Amish book I have read and I loved it!
This is the story of Sarah Shelter. Having lost her best friend, Patty, Sarah struggles to allow herself to move on. Having suffered loss of a close loved one, I completely understand. Sarah lives in West Kootenai, Montana where young Amish men come in the spring to live for at least 6 months so they can gain resident status for the hunting season. Each year these "bachelors" often leave with a bride.
For five years, Sarah has allowed love to pass her by, but this year is different. She has some stirrings for Amos not even paying attention to Jathan Schrock. Then, one day a group of friends goes on a hike and life will never be the same!
Sarah keeps a jar with little trinkets she has gathered throughout her life. These serve to remind her of the many memories of life. I love how this habit helps her through her life's decisions and helps her as her life progresses to new adventures. Sarah's dream is to own her own bakery. This dream is a struggle as she likes the 'fancy' things, like decorated cupcakes. So different from the 'simple' things of the Amish life.
Jathan comes from a place where his life has been planned out for him. He is to return to work in the local factory to help take care of his parents. We come to find out that he, too, has an interest in helping with his mom's bakery! Given this hard choice, what would you do? Follow your heart and passion? Or take the job for its security?
You will have to read this great book to find out how it works out in the end. But, suffice to say, that Lord does work in mysterious ways and what we think we want may not be exactly how it works out. Sometimes exciting and new things seem like a good idea and seems like it is the perfect solution to please everyone may or may not work out that way! Change is good, but is it for everyone?
Also, note that you just never know how the people you meet along the way will affect your life's outcome. The great lesson is to trust in the Lord and follow his guidance. Which brings me to the quote I'd like to share: "...the more Sarah thought about the word faith, the more she realized it was all about looking ahead." (pg 240) "...we jest need to keep walking in the direction God pointed us last, and if we keep looking fer him and waiting on him, God will let us know when to make a change of direction." (pg 136)
Do you trust in the Lord to guide you? Enough to follow him? How do you remember your memories? Do you have a jar with a collection of all kinds of things?
Disclosure: As part of the Tricia Goyer 2013Fiction 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!
The Memory Jar is a beautiful story of blossoming love and the healing of past hurts. Although both main characters are strong Christians, they must learn to truly trust that God has their best interests at heart.
Sarah Shelter must heal from the hurt in her heart caused by the tragic death of her best friend, Patty. It seems that Sarah's life ground to a halt when Patty's ended. She throws herself into her baking and makes amazing cupcakes, but does not embrace life anymore.
Jathan Schrock is a visitor to her community, a bachelor who has come to hunt and sort out the mixed emotions he has toward his family. The weight of others' expectations weighs heavily on him and as he tries to determine what path to follow, he finds himself falling for Sarah.
Will Sarah and Jathan be able to find a path to walk together? How will other people's expectations and perceptions of them color their relationship? Tricia Goyer writes a wonderful story, with flashbacks to conversations that Sarah and Patty had throughout their lives. I am looking forward to reading the second book of the series.