Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Write-Up: Amish Weddings, by Leslie Gould

Leslie Gould.  Amish Weddings.  Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2017.  See here to buy the book.

Amish Weddings in the third book of Leslie Gould’s Neighbors of Lancaster County series.  The reason that the series is called the “Neighbors of Lancaster County” is that two families of neighbors feature prominently in the books: the Lehmans, who are Amish, and the Becks, who are not.

Book 3 essentially takes up where Book 2 left off.  Zane Beck has become Amish to marry Lila Lehman, but they are not yet married.  Reuben, the steady and reliable Amish young man who was courting Lila before she decided to marry Zane, is now in a romantic relationship with Lila’s half-sister Rose.  Lila’s step-father Tim is still romantically involved with Beth, the schoolteacher, but he cannot marry her because her ex-husband is still alive, and such a marriage would contradict Amish rules.  Casey, Zane’s female friend from the service, has a cameo in this book.

At least three things are going on in Book 3.  For one, Lila is in an accident that leaves her injured.  The driver of the automobile is blaming her for the accident, so there is a chance that his insurance company will not have to help pay her expensive hospital bills.  Zane wants to bring lawyers into the situation, but that contradicts the Amish way, which looks down on going to court.

Second, as Lila’s step-father, Tim, fails to show Lila the support that she needs during her recovery, Lila has a desire to learn more about her biological father.

Third, Zane’s friend from the service, Trevor, is visiting Zane, and Rose is attracted to him. Although people remark that her relationship with Reuben is making her a better person, she is finding Reuben rather dull and is attracted to Zane.

I said in my review of Book 2 that it had a lot of characters.  I found Book 3 to be easier to follow.  Part of the reason was that I had read Book 2 and was thus familiar with the characters when I read Book 3.  It also helped that, when Lila met her biological father’s family, Lila provided a succinct summary of who was who in her family.  But I also think that Book 3 had a more manageable number of plot-lines and foci.  I still believe, though, that more writers of Amish fiction, Leslie Gould included, should do what Amy Clipston does and include a family tree at the beginning of the book.  That way, if a reader asks “Who is that person again?”, the reader can check the family tree and refresh his or her memory.

This book was particularly good because it described what the characters were thinking.  There was a lot of reflection in this book about the way that people are and why, and that gave the book more meat.  There is steady Reuben, who wishes that his bishop father would do something about those Lehmans, who seem to be led astray by their non-Amish neighbors!  The discussion between Reuben and Tim on that topic was especially endearing.  We also get to learn more about Reuben’s perspective on the relationship between Lila and Zane, which was the topic of Book 2.  Lila enjoyed learning about the world and discussing issues, whereas Reuben preferred to focus on what affected him in his own world.  Then there is Rose, whom people think is rather shallow and self-centered, in contrast to her late mother.  But people who knew Rose’s mother when she was Rose’s age know that the mother was not too different from Rose!  She matured, as Rose does in this book.

The book also does an artful job tying the plot-line about Lila searching for her biological father, with the plot-line about the romance between Trevor and Rose.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.  My review is honest!

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