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A Dream of Miracles #3, in the Amish Wonders series, by Ruth Reid
Mattie Diener and Bo Lambright come from two very different worlds. She’s an Amish widow with two children, one of whom suffers from a baffling illness. He was raised in high-society, but shadows from his past and a series of mysterious dreams haunt his thoughts. Why have these two possibly mismatched people been thrown together? Could they possibly make a future together…or is that sheer foolishness?
Vendor: Christian Romance Series
Publication Date: 2016
Series: Amish Wonders
Chas Ray5 Stars Out Of 5Will Keep You GuessingAugust 5, 2016Chas RayQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5A Dream of Miracles is Ruth Reid's third novel in her Amish Wonders series. I have not read the other two novels in the series, but had no trouble following along. Although, after reading A Dream of Miracles I plan on going back and read the other two!
Mattie Diener has recently become a widow. Left alone to care for her two young children, Nathan and Amanda, she is doing the best she can. When Nathan gets sick and her home remedies don't help, she does the only thing she knows to do, she carries him to a local doctor they've seen before. Unfortunately, said doctor is on vacation, and she's forced to deal with a new doctor who is filling in.
Doctor Wellington doesn't seem to care for the Amish too much. She becomes immediately suspicious of Mattie when she notices blisters in Nathan's mouth. She doens't seem to care for the way Mattie coddles her children or speaks to them in Pennsylvania Deitsch. She admits Nathan to the hospital with little or no explanation and when it takes Mattie three hours to get him there she calls Child Protective Services to investiagate.
Bo Lambright is the investigator called to Mattie Diener's case. Something strikes him as odd from the get go. The hospital staff, as well as the doctor, seem ignorant to the Amish way and their beliefs. He knows in his gut that Mattie has done nothing to harm her children but he just has to prove it, even if all the evidencce seems to prove otherwise.
It will take a miracle to straighten all this out. Evidence seems to be mounting against Mattie even though she did nothing wrong. Bo is so sure of her innocence he's staked his reputation on her being cleared of charges. His partner, Erica Davis, seems inten to bury Mattie under the jail even though this is her first case and Mattie has never been accused of abuse before.
A Dream of Miracles is an enthralling story that will keep you in suspense until the very end. I don't want to spoil it for you or give too much away, but I hope you will grab you a copy and see for yourself.
tumcsecTuscaloosa, ALAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5A Different Amish StoryJuly 23, 2016tumcsecTuscaloosa, ALAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Mattie is raising her two children by herself after losing her husband. Her young son keeps presenting to the doctor and the ER with strange symptoms. Mattie is accused of child abuse and Bo, who works for child protective services, has the task of removing them and placing them in foster care. Mattie soon finds herself in an orange jumpsuit sitting in jail.
I was quickly drawn to Mattie and had so much sympathy for her. Not being "of the world" she was lost to so much government regulations and only wanted to love and protect her children. Bo was also drawn to Mattie and quickly found himself trying to help her at even the risk of his job. Bo had secrets too that made him into the man he was. Hints are scattered throughout of his younger years.
For me, this was a very emotional story that read so different from other Amish stories I've read, and I've read many. It was truly a fast read for me because of the wonderful story woven by Ruth Reid. I will be searching for other books by her in the future
I was given this book by the publisher through the Fiction Guild for my honest opinion, which I have given.
Deana5 Stars Out Of 5Great Emotional StoryJuly 23, 2016DeanaQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Right from the beginning I could tell this was going to be a bit different type of Amish story. Mattie is a widow raising her two small children as best she can. Her character is almost innocent like. She has deep love for her children and her faith. When her son becomes sick , she takes him to the doctor and that is when her nightmare begins.
She is seen by another doctor instead of the doctor that always looks after her children when they are ill. The doctor is not very friendly and seems almost abrupt at times. I didn't care for her at all. It seems like she had her mind made up within minutes that the boy was being abused. The boy is admitted to the hospital with severe injuries . Almost immediately CPS is called in and Mattie begins to get scared. She knows she hasn't done anything wrong. Her emotions were so deep, I could feel her heart breaking. The story is well written and I found myself not being able to put the book down. Will she lose both her children to the system?
Mattie will meet a man called Boaz Lambright who has been assigned to investigate Mattie and her children. Can Bo get Mattie to trust him? Why can Bo understand Pennsylvania Dutch so well? Is there a secret in his past that could explain why he feels comfortable around the Amish? I loved his character so much. The author wrote him with such compassion and not giving up. He is determined to find out the truth and believes Mattie is innocent. Will Nathan, Mattie's son survive ? Where did the bruises come from on his little body? Mattie is a devoted mom and her unconditional love for them is well written in the story. I at times wanted to sit by her and gently hold her hand and reassure her that God has this under control.
The story is riveting and her neighbors join together to try to help Mattie get her children back. Bo is drawn to Mattie and even though his job is in jeopardy , he believe she needs his help. I loved the author showing Bo and God talking. That was such an intimate time and I loved how she wrote it with pureness and grace. This is one story that will stay with you long after the last page is written. The story captures trust, unconditional love, forgiveness , and faith in a beautiful inspiring story. I highly recommend this book to fans of Amish books and anyone looking for a book that shows that God is always there in our darkest moment holding our hand. This book has shown me not to ever give up. He is always there and He will guide you in the right direction. He is our justifier and makes miracles happen everyday. Never cease praying for a miracle.
I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild for an honest review.
Claudia5 Stars Out Of 5Marvelous StoryJuly 13, 2016ClaudiaQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Ruth Reid writes a wonderful story in A Dream of Miracles. Mattie Diener, an Amish widow with two small children, has to take her three year old son, Nathan, to the doctor again. It seems Nathan is sick too much. Dr. Roswell is familiar with Amish ways and has always let her watch Nathan at home, but this time Dr. Roswell is not there. Dr. Wellington is new in town. She is suspicious of Mattie and her treatment of Nathan and insists he be admitted to the hospital for observation.
When child protective services is called in Bo Lambright re-enters a world the thought he had left behind for good. Did this woman mistreat her children? It wouldnt be the first time Amish children had been abused. Bo knows this first hand, but things dont seem to add up with this case.
This is not a typical boy meets girl story. Mattie and Bo each have unique stories and Ruth Reid does a marvelous job of weaving them together. I really enjoyed this story.
ADFehlArden, NCAge: 25-34Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Amish / Medical / Environmental Mystery All In One!July 6, 2016ADFehlArden, NCAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4Mattie Diener is a young Amish widow with two small children, a daughter and a son. Her son Nathan has been sickly since birth, battling a mysterious illness no doctor can seem to entirely identify. One particularly bad episode has the toddler experiencing a high fever, low appetite and a rash of unknown origin. Mattie rushes him to his pediatrician only to find the doctor is on vacation. A new female doctor filling in for him looks over the little boy, finds blisters inside Nathan's mouth that Mattie can't explain. Even with little evidence to go on (since the boy's tests come back largely inconclusive), this doctor seems quick to proclaim this is a case of Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy (MSP) and immediately calls in Child Protective Services to investigate Mattie's mothering for evidence of child abuse. Social worker Bo Lambright is assigned to the case and, after an initial interview with Mattie, figures it's a open & shut case of a simple misunderstanding. But when Mattie's son soon ends up in the hospital yet again, some doubts and questions begin to cloud his initial impression.
Bo teams up with fellow social worker Erica Davis, a senator's daughter who claims she wants to bulk up her field experience a bit before she heads off for Harvard Law. Though he's friendly with Erica on a personal basis, when it comes to work he questions where her heart and motivation lies. Erica seems to go in to the investigation of Mattie's life and home with a bias, already assuming the woman is guilty. As the investigation continues, Bo sees signs that Erica might have ulterior motives behind so easily condemning Mattie.
It's sometimes tempting to dismiss many Amish themed stories these days because the genre has been pretty heavily saturated over the years and so many I've read seem to share a too-similar story arc with generic, cutesy, wholesome characters that come off as over-the-top perfect. This novel, I was pleasantly surprised to find, mixed things up a bit bringing in some unique and controversial topics to the genre. Not only does the reader get the Munchausen Syndrome mystery (is it or isn't it? must read to find out) but Reid also manages to believably work in the topic of fracking. Certainly never something I would expect to come across in an Amish novel, but the way Reid works it in, I could actually see it being an issue!
I also found the characters to be really nicely crafted. It's easy to feel for Mattie's struggle and her grieving process as a young widow having to raise kids on her own. Bo has a nice chill way about him but every so often you also see his strong side in the way he honestly cares about the futures of the kids he works with in his social work. He's always quick to be there as a reliable figure when some of them start to veer toward lives of petty crime. There are also hints at his mysterious past he seems so intent on keeping covered up from pretty much everyone. Granted, the "hints" are pretty heavy-handed, so it won't take much guessing to figure out what his secret is, but learning the details behind his story was still fun. And ugh, Erica. Did that girl have a personality that kept me cringing and fuming! But her manipulative nature provides a nice balance to the "good guys" of the story to keep everything interesting.
One story element that I was a bit meh about were Bo's brief dream sequences interspersed throughout the main plot. I get that these scenes were meant to be symbolic for events that unfold following each dream, but for me they didn't add any extra depth and I think I would've liked the story just the same had they been omitted completely. Or maybe they were just too short. Maybe if those sequences were expanded with more imagery with deeper, more thought-provoking (less surface level) symbolism ... perhaps that would've worked for me. But as is, yeah ... didn't do anything special for me.
Note To Readers: This is Book #3 in Reid's Amish Wonders series. I have not read the first two, but had no trouble with this storyline so I would say that each in the series can easily be taken as a stand-alone read.
FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.