Newlyweds Christian and Susanna had never seen each other before their wedding day. Now they are a part of a missionary group known as the Moravians traveling from their native Germany to the new American colonies in hopes of spreading the Gospel among the local Native American tribes.
With the story primarily follows two married couples, Christian and Susanna Boehler, and Catharine and Elias Schmidt, it is a gripping tale of love, faith and the bad decisions that us human beings make every day of our lives.
Christian want's nothing more than to share his faith, yet everyday he struggles with his inner demons that forces him to take a close hard look at his heart and his motivations. All his wife Susanna want's is to be her husband help-mate, yet every day she doubts Christian commitment to her. I enjoyed the fact that these characters battle with their doubts and their faith and that things between them didn't just get fixed within a few weeks. I have found that this is more the way the real world so it added the element of reality for me.
Catharine adores her new husband, yet she still wavers between the life she was raised in, one of wealth and prestige, or staying with her husband to start a new life in a new land. I thought it was a brilliant move on the part of the author to include a physical piece of Catharine old live that she continues to hang onto, "just in case". In life this is what so many of us do. Instead of surrendering our entire beings to God, we hang onto bits and pieces for our "just in case". In the end it comes down to how much we are willing to trust God with our future.
I love finding books that introduce me to new people, places or traditions. With the little bit of research I did it was fascinating to learn about these people. While I don't agree with a lot of their practices, such as husband and wife's living separately, leaving their children to be raised in a community home, it was their commitment to proclaiming God's great love regardless of the risk that held my attention. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction.
Sometimes these types of books are predictable...but this one had me guessing at several turns. Well written story, with the added bonus of teaching about an often overlooked piece of history. I enjoyed it!
"Love Finds you in Nazareth, Pennsylvania" is an excellent book. Most of my reading is nonfiction or theology. So, I was pleased to find such enjoyment from this historical fiction.
This book worked for me. First of all, the characters were believable. I was never aware of the author's voice, devices or contrivances. The story had everything to keep me interested--conflict, suspense, adventure, passion, virtue...a real page-turner! Romance was a theme, but the story also traveled the higher ground of God's love and worth, self-sacrifice, salvation, redemption and justice. I always have several books going at once, but this was the book I found myself looking forward to. I didn't want it to end!
Ms. Dobson's well researched book provided fascinating insight into the Moravian's unique approach to community, marriage, family life and ministry. While I bristled at many of their traditions, I met a woman whose story validated the the effectiveness of the Moravians. She came from Alaska and told me her great grandfather, a tribal shaman, was saved through Moravian Missionaries! Her faith, generations later, was part of that legacy.
I knew when I picked up another Melanie Dobson book, that I needed to have a day with not a lot going on to read it, because I knew I would have a hard time putting it down once I started. This book did not dissapoint - I finished it yesterday in a 24 hour period whenever I could squeeze in time between my four children and husband. Melanie kept me captivated the whole time. Beautiful love story.
Book Review for Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania
By Melanie Dobson
It's hard for me to write objectively about Melanie's work since she's one of my best friends. I'd be her biggest fan even if her writing stunk. Fortunately, she's really talented so I don't have to lie about her work. WHEW! This book in particular will always be a favorite because I started it on a plane headed to Haiti for a mission's trip. I read it laying in the hot sun by the Caribbean Sea with Melanie sun bathing next to me at the end of a life-changing week in Haiti. I finished it on the plane sitting next to Melanie as we returned home to our families. Who gets to do that?
Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania is one of those stories that makes you scratch your head and ask, "People really lived like that?" Melanie's meticulous research laid the groundwork for a fascinating history lesson. I couldn't believe the customs that dictated the way the Moravian people lived. Spouses were chosen by lot, forcing members of the society to at times marry someone they'd never even spoken to. Once married, they lived their lives out in separated quarters. I definitely would not have lasted long as a Moravian!
I'm not a huge fan of pie-in-the-sky romance novels, which is one reason I love Melanie's stories. In Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, Melanie tells an authentic and poignant love story of a couple tackling big marital issues. She doesn't gloss over real-life issues like lust, vulnerability, and commitment. Christian and Susanna, the main characters, battle for their love to survive. Their love grows through the action, not romantic feelings, of consciously choosing to honor their marriage vows.
Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania also has an underlying story of faith tested through trials. Melanie writes eloquently about the tension that exists in deep faith. How do we balance waiting for God to speak directly with moving forward on our own based on common sense and the Holy Spirit's leading? I found my faith challenged as I reflected on the different ways that God speaks and directs our steps.
You may not have the chance to turn the last page of Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania and have the author ask, "Well, did you like it?" But I can guarantee that you won't regret reading this story of love, history, and faith. Happy reading.