The best way I can think of to describe my reaction to The Guardian is a sense of peacefulness. The main characters have issues and conflicts to deal with, but the way their stories play out is through a growing sense of peace and understanding about their lives.
In contrast to what is often the case in Amish fiction, there is no Amish character trying to decide whether to leave the Plain community or no English person thinking of becoming Amish. Instead, the relationships between Jodi, Sarah, Maryanna, and others provide unexpected opportunities to learn from each other and grow through their differences and their similarities. Two women -- one Amish and one English -- have both experienced great loss and have a great deal to learn about love, priorities, and moving on in life. Although their lifestyles are quite different, they find themselves sharing their hearts in ways that help them both begin to heal. And I can't imagine reading this story without absolutely falling in love with little Sarah Esh, who comes alives on the pages through Beverly Lewis's skillful writing.
I highly recommend The Guardian to anyone who enjoys great Amish fiction and anxiously look forward to book #4, The Secret Keeper, due out in September.
This book was provided free of charge by Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.
The Guardian, by Beverly Lewis, is actually the third book in her series Home to Hickory Hollow. I was sure to borrow the first two books from our local library: The Fiddler and The Bridesmaid.
Let me begin by stating that you do not need to read the preceding books before this novel to be able to enjoy it. There is an independent feel to each book. They share similar characters and a similar location, but are developed well enough to read on their own.
The Guardian, like many of Beverly Lewis's books, takes place in the heart of Amish country. The backdrop is near Lancaster, PA, in the small town of Hickory Hollow. However, one of this book's main characters is not Amish, she's an English school teacher named Jodi Winfield.
Jodi is only in Lancaster for a few weeks, looking after her cousin's home and their cat. Jodi has recently been struggling with the death of a beloved sister and her heart is torn in pieces. She finds herself angry with God and it's affecting her relationship not only with her fiance, but also with her parents.
While jogging one morning, Jodi happens upon a little girl in her undergarments. The little girl is scared, shows signs of a recent accident, and cannot speak English. Ultimately, the little girl leads Jodi to the heart of Hickory Hollow, where she is reunited with her Amish family.
The other main character in this book is Maryanna, an Amish woman and the devoted mother of the little girl's mom. She's a widow, struggling to raise her children without the guidance of a father figure in her life. It's been three years, but she isn't sure she's ready to marry again. However, everyone around her is encouraging her in that direction, especially for the sake of her children. Will the one man who loves her most, a neighbor who's also a widower, be able to win her over?
These two women's lives become interwoven in this novel, as they quickly become friends. Jodi not only finds rest for her weary soul and comfort for her aching heart, but Maryanne recognizes her own heart's longing to be loved.
The book is far more developed than this short review. There are parts I haven't shared that I'm sure you'll find exciting.
Beverly Lewis has done an excellent job of switching up this novel. I really enjoyed it.
I received a free copy of this book to review for Bethany House Publishers. All thoughts in this review are my own.
I always hate to start one of Beverly Lewis' books because I know that it will soon be over. She is my favorite Amish writer. I have a hard time putting her books down. This book was a little different than her other books, it was not one of my favorites but it was still really good.
Things begin to change when Jodi finds a little girl while out jogging. She is asleep in only her undergarments and looks to have been crying. Jodi is surprised by how she immediately takes to her and lets her take her home to clean her up. Since the little girl speaks only German, will Jodi be able to find her family?
This is a wonderful story of God's love and sovereignty amidst the Amish and the Englisch. ;-) It will delight you from beginning to end and will leave you feeling satisfied with God's perfect timing in life.
I thought the ending was a little rushed, but overall it was a very good read.
I was given this book free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. :-)