Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Harvest of Grace - A Book Review

From the Back:  Although Sylvia Fisher recognizes that most Old Order Amish women her age spend their hours managing a household and raising babies, she has just one focus - tending and nurturing the herd on her family's dairy farm.  But when a dangerous connections with an old beau forces her to move far from home, she must concentrate on a new start and pour her energy into reviving a debt-ridden farm.  After months in rehab, Aaron Black returns home to sell his Daed's failing farm and move his parents into an easier lifestyle.  Two things stand in his way: the father who stubbornly refuses to recognize that Aaron has changed and the determined new farmhand his parents love like a daughter.  Her influences on Aaron's parents could ruin his plans to escape the burdens of farming and build a new life.  Can Aaron and Sylvia find common ground?  Or will their unflinching efforts toward opposite goals blur the bigger picture - one revealing the path to forgiveness, glimpses of grace, and the promise of love?

Synopsis: Sylvia Fisher is an Amish woman who wants nothing more than to be respected by her father as a dairy farmer.  She is betrothed to Elam but wants to wait to get married.  Elam isn't interested in waiting and marries her sister instead.  An unethical situation arises and Sylvia flees to a new town to escape the temptation.  She is warmly welcomed as a farmhand by the Black family.  In quite a humorous scene, she meets Aaron Black, the recovering alcoholic son of the family who employs her.  It quickly becomes obvious that Sylvia and Aaron have different goals.  It is also quite apparent that both have feelings for each other.  Sylvia helps Aaron repair his relationship with his family.  Aaron works behind the scenes to help Sylvia repair her relationship with her family.  Both discover the power of love and forgiveness.

My Review:  I wish going in I had known this was the third in a series.  I hate coming in not knowing the full  back story.  There are two other stories in the Ada House series before this one and those stories are intermingled here.  This is a sweet story and I enjoyed reading how Woodsmall developed her characters.  Sylvia had plenty of doubts and struggles and seemed like someone you could relate to.  You could also feel Aaron's struggles to rebuild after nearly losing everything to alcoholism.  Woodsmall wove Christian principles into the novel without being overly "preachy."  This was my first "modern" Amish story so that element was an added interesting layer.  I was a bit put-off by the two other storylines that were woven in.  I felt confused several times - wondering what those particular storylines were discussing.  I wouldn't have selected it to review had I known - it's too distracting to the reader.  It's a good story but too many distractions to score really high.  Even if you've read the other two, if you are a big reader like I am, you will confuse storylines.

Score:  3.0 bookmarks out of 5.

Note:  Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers gave me a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.

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