Blend of modern day issues and the Amish lifestyle
June 10, 2011
Yet again, Barbara Cameron manages to blend modern day war conflicts with the peaceful Amish life in the second book in her Quilts of Lancaster County series. Having encountered Jenny, the heroine of A Time to Love, while recuperating in a veteran's hospital, Christopher heads to Lancaster County in search of the Amish countryside that Jenny described so vividly to him. Unsure of where life will take him next, Christopher is content to rest on Jenny and her husband Matthew's farm, far from the horrors of war and the harsh treatment he received for reporting a fellow soldier for mistreating a civilian. He finds a kindred spirit in Hannah, Matthew's sister, and the two build an unlikely friendship. But when a series of attacks on the farm make Christopher think he's still being punished for turning in his old comrade, he begins to regret bringing his troubles to Lancaster County, particularly when Hannah might get hurt. Will Christopher run from his past, or place his trust in God and believe that he has brought him to Lancaster County for a reason?
Barbara is a refreshing voice in the Amish genre and her second "bonnet" novel is just as strong as her first. Fans of the series will be pleased that Jenny and her new family feature heavily in this novel, and that Hannah gets a story of her own. As with A Time to Love, a wounded soldier falls for an Amish local on a visit to Lancaster County, and, as can be expected, this creates a lot of culture clashes. While I'm not always a fan of the conversion-to-the-Amish storylines, I do find it quite believable that someone who has witnessed the horrors of the war zone first hand would turn to a rural, old-fashioned, pacifist society for solace and fall head over heels in love with it. When Chris arrives on Jenny's doorstep, desperate to talk to her about his worries, it's clear that he sees her as a the key to his problems - but instead, he finds freedom in the beauty of God's nature while working on the farm. Barbara has clearly done her research into military court cases and PTS, making Chris a very realistic character with whom readers will instantly connect and sympathise.
The relationship between Chris and Hannah was fun to read, and it was sweet to witness their friendship slowly developing into something more. Both of them tried to fight any feelings of attraction, and it was particularly amusing to see Jenny and her grandmother, Phoebe, pushing both of them forwards in their relationship. While some Amish novels portray the Plain people as being hostile to outsiders, Barbara's characters were entirely welcoming to Chris, even entertaining the idea of an outsider developing a relationship with Hannah. Hannah is not your typical "Amish miss", as Chris remarks on several occasions, but her desire for a husband and family is one that all readers of romantic fiction will be able to understand.
However, I have to admit that something didn't sit right with Chris's decision to stay in the Lancaster County. While I felt it was convincing when Jenny made the same decision in A Time to Love, the fact that she had visited her Amish grandmother every summer as a child made her conversion to the faith so much more understandable. I felt that Chris was drawn in by nothing more than the allure of escaping the modern world and, of course, Hannah. While I can't condemn him for appreciating how freeing the Amish lifestyle appears to outsiders - I'm sure all readers of this genre are equally guilty - I felt that there was no sign of Chris having made a spiritual connection with the Amish way of life. It seemed almost as if Chris was considering converting only so he could be with Hannah, and I find it hard to imagine that he would be making the same decision if a girl wasn't in the picture. I have a feeling that this is something that more critical readers of Amish fiction might take issue with. If you can suspend disbelief and get wrapped up in the romance of this novel, this issue is very minor, but it is a point that remained in my head days after I'd finished the novel.
If you're a romance fan who wants a subtle change to your Amish fiction, A Time to Heal is the book for you. Blending modern day issues into the lives of the Amish, Barbara Cameron brings context to her fiction, and a contrast between the Plain folk and the war zones of the Middle East that will make the lives of her Lancaster County residents even more appealing. While I wasn't entirely convinced by Chris's final decision, it didn't spoil my reading experience and I was still thoroughly pleased with the conclusion to Hannah and Chris's romance. 9/10
A Time to Heal is book two in the "Quilts of Lancaster County series". One of the main characters of the book is Chris Matlock an ex-soldier. Even though this book is written around his story the book updates us on the life of Matthew, Jenny, Hannah. Phoebe, Mary, Joshua, and Annie.
Chris met Jenny at a VA Hospital while he was recouperating from his war wounds and Jenny was under going further testing for her war wounds as a reporter. He came to Paradise to speak to Jenny about how she coped with her pain and memories during her recovery period.
Chris is drawn toward Jenny's sister-in-law Hannah but refuses to give in to the feelings he is having toward her. Hannah is drawn toward Chris but after all he is an Englischer and a rude one at that!
I just loved this book and I could not put it down. I read it in 1 1/2 days. Barbara leaves you wanting more and I can't wait until "A Time For Peace" is released.
Barbara also puts in several yummy recipes in the back of this book. I hope to try some of them soon.
Rush out and pick up a copy of this book. I promise that you will not be disappointed!
Barbara did another outstanding job on "A Time To Heal." The story hooked me from the first page and didnt let me go until the final page. I went back and read ""A Time to Love."" I was totally immersed in the story of the characters with their faith, forgivenesss, hope and love. Wow I can't wait for "A Time of Peace."" These are a must to buy and read. You will come back time and time again to read these books. What a nice gist to give someone. These books will become so alive when you read them that you fill apart of their life. Excellent job Barnara and cna't wait for book 3.
Review: A Time To Heal - Quilts of Lancaster County Series #2 - Barbara Cameron- March 2011
When I was going through Netgalley and saw this book the other day , I thought that it looked like a good read and left it at that with not too much thought -just the fact that I was going to add it to my read and review pile . Then at work today , I saw a book come through called A Time to Love and it had a similar cover and as I was about to read this I clicked that the book I have put aside on my desk to read when I get a chance is actually Book #1 in this particular series. It's funny how things work out. So this is to be one series which I will read back to front , though gathering from after finishing this book , I have a fair idea what book #1 could be about.
In Book#2 A Time to Heal , we meet outsider and war veteran Chris Matlock , he was injured in Afghanistan when he met Jenny - a reporter in the local hospital there , they became good friends. Now home from Aghanistan, Chris is searching for something to fill the gap in his heart and mend the heartbreak and nightmares from being in the Army. He decides to drop in and visit Jenny who is now married to an Amisher Matthew. Chris accepts Matthew's offer to stay on his farm and help work , from the start we can tell that this is to be Chris and Matthew's sister Hannah's tale of love , as many of these books follow the same formula. From the start we see than Chris brings out a side in Hannah that is rare for her and we start to see the old wives tale of opposites attracting becoming a reality. However can Hannah accept an Englischer to be her one true lover and is Chris ready to open his heart up to love and share his deepest desires though it scares him to share anything about his life ?
Is Lancaster County , the Amish Paradise that Chris has been needing to Heal his wounds and is Hannah is band-aid ?
Find out in this amazing book , that is easy-to-read and keeps the readers entertained. It is one of the best Amish set books I have read in a long time. Barbara Cameron's writing is more along the lines of Shelley Shepard Gray and Janette Oke rather than Beverley Lewis and Suzanne Woods Fisher.