About the book:
This book is a character-driven, Amish romance at its best. If you have read other books in this series, you get to re-visit principal players from some of the other books as well as get to know the small close-knit community surrounding this story’s main characters, Bea and Ben.
Beatrice Zook was the youngest child in the family of sisters and brothers, step- brothers and in-laws. The next oldest sister, Molly, and her husband Leon lived in the same farmhouse with Bea and her Mamm, taking on the responsibility of making it productive again. Bea’s dat (father) had died only a few years earlier. It seemed to Bea that Molly had then stepped into dat’s shoes and become another parent to her. So it was no wonder that she began to feel the necessity of becoming more independent. Now that she had just turned 21, she was looking for employment outside her home, hopefully within their small community. Thanks to a friend of hers, she heard that Bob and Nan Miller had just given birth to triplets and were now bringing the babies home. They needed helpers. When Bea stepped in to help, the task seemed daunting at first, but soon she found her stride and began to enjoy the new experience.
Bob Miller was a cabinet maker who employed several young men, including his son-in-law Pete, the twins who lived near Bea’s home (Martin and Mervin), the two sons of Bishop Eicher (Phillip and Don), and Ben Rupp. Ben and Bea had gone to school together; more accurately, they were always at the top of their class, the best spellers in the school, competitive with each other yet also being a challenge to the other to excel. They had become nearly best friends and the reason for each other’s love of learning. Their competitiveness cooled a bit after schooling was finished with the eighth grade. However, the year before, Ben began to court Bea formally. She was ecstatic until he suddenly stopped coming around without explaining the reason. Since then, she hasn’t trusted him or any other young man. If they did see each other, their exchanges were contentious, with a hint of bitterness on Bea’s part.
Now that Bea was living with the Miller’s, she was surprised how crazy the household could get with three newborns, especially when they would get colicky. She worked together with Hope, Nan’s niece from New York, and they established some kind of routine. For the first time in her life, Bea was finding herself and blossoming into an attractive young woman. In fact, not only did she attract Ben’s attention again, but Don’s as well. The rivalry became serious over time while Bea and Ben’s relationship suffered several ups and downs. The reader wonders if it will work out at all. Would Bea choose Don instead?
The author, Leslie Gould, has created an entire cast of characters who have come alive for me. Hope befriended Bea as they worked together with the triplets. Then Hope fell in love with Martin, who worked for Bob in the cabinet shop. He was one of the twins that lived near Bea’s home. Martin was a good friend of Ben Rupp. Soon Martin and Hope were trying to play matchmaker to get Ben and Bea back together. Unfortunately, because of so many conflicts, their efforts failed. But during this upheaval, Bea’s personality was going through a metamorphosis, thanks to her new job and new friendships. Even her relationship with Molly began to change. At one point, Bea even stood up to Molly, who realized finally that her little sister was maturing. But of all the relationship challenges she faced, the most difficult was with Ben. When, in their on-again off-again courtship, he believed a lie perpetuated by Don and accused her falsely, Bea’s heart was crushed. This conflict was written so well that I couldn’t help but feel sick at heart with her.
Besides all the relationship drama, I enjoyed Ms. Gould’s use of the competitive spelling bees as a metaphor that represented the young peoples’ struggles with immaturity and growth of character in the present stages of their lives. During their school years, it was for the most part a friendly form of competition–a setting up of standards. But there also existed a rivalry between them that could turn on a dime and become destructive if allowed. Both of them were wordsmiths with a love of learning; something beautiful could come of it, or it could become a stumbling block. Much of the consequences depended on how they handled their pride. Would selfishness grow out of it, or selflessness?
The third thing I enjoyed about this book are the details the author uses to describe the introduction of triplets into the Miller household. The situation with preemies in a Plain household was intriguing, amazing and heart-warming. I was right there walking the halls in the middle of the night with Hope, Bea, Cate, Nan and Bob. I could feel the frustrations and the rewards of caring for such precious little ones. It brought back memories of my daughter when she had colic for nearly three months. It was unsettling, but still generates warm feelings when I think back.
The author created some heart-rending conflict, but the final resolution is satisfying to read. In fact, I read it over at least three times. It was one of the loveliest scenes I’ve ever read. If you enjoy Amish romances, you don’t want to miss this one.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany House Publisher’s Blogger Review Program. 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.”