Grace Given (Touch of Grace Book 2) by Beth Shriver
In the Amish community, opportunities for the young to explore the outside world are given to them before they make a choice to commit to the community for the rest of their lives. Some choose the path of independence, allowing their families to adjust to the change in family dynamics. But it doesn’t always work that way. When departures are unexpectedly abrupt, the fabric in the family is jaggedly torn, leaving ugly scars and pain behind.
When Elsie’s elder sister Katie suddenly disappeared, Elsie was left with a gaping hole in her heart. It was further complicated when Jake Fisher disappeared with Katie. Elsie had been interested in Jake, and thought he was interested in her. As is usually the case, affairs of the heart are never simple, no matter where you live and how you live.
Gideon wanted to help Elsie ease through her pain. His family had settled in the area earlier than her family. As new families came to join their community, it was Gideon who took on the task of easing the new families’ burdens. He was a tower of strength and Elsie quietly admired him but didn’t feel worthy of his attention. Her torment over the loss of her sister and Jake held her back from moving forward. In addition, she had a secret she didn’t know what to do about.
Eventually Gideon discovered the secrets Elsie was anguishing over. He was suddenly overcome with anger, protectiveness for Elsie, and jealousy. How each became reconciled with their struggles, with their family matters and eventually with each other is what makes this story so gripping. Their relationship with God was not a mantle to put on for show but a living, dynamic relationship where He guided their family matters and matters of the heart.
As the reader becomes increasingly emotionally involved, reading about the community becomes living and breathing the community. The community concerns become our concerns. When Gideon struggles with his intense anger, the reader wants to offer him a hand up. When Elsie takes a couple of baby steps forward, we want to cheer her on. It takes an excellent storyteller to draw her readers in this way.
I also enjoyed one light-hearted element added to the story line–the antics of Elsie’s twin brothers, Aaron and Adam. Their exuberance and love of life adds so much energy to the story as well as offers much needed comic relief from time to time.
If you love Amish fiction, great character-driven plots, well rounded characters that feel real to the reader, I highly recommend this book and series.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the Booketeria, which serves Charisma House Book Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”