For fans of Beverly Lewis and Cindy Woodsmall, Rosalind Lauer’s moving Lancaster Crossroads novel A Simple Hope reveals the ways that faith, love, and charity bring people together in a devoted Amish community.
HOPE SHINES THROUGH
LIGHTING A PATH IN THE DARKNESS
Ever since the accident that confined him to a wheelchair, James Lapp has fought relentlessly to regain his strength. He knows he must be whole and healthy to run his family’s orchard and provide for Rachel King, the young woman he plans to marry. But when he defies his father’s wishes and seeks treatment outside their close-knit Amish community, James discovers just how long and treacherous the road to recovery will be. Unwilling to saddle a wife with his troubles, James decides he must part with the woman he loves.
Rachel won’t give up her dream of being a devoted wife to James, and it breaks her heart to watch him shut her out. Then their lives change forever when a runaway Englisher girl hides in the Lapp orchard. Rachel and James feel they must risk the disapproval of their friends and neighbors to help her. Will the young stranger bring them closer—or will the consequences of a shared secret tear them apart once and for all?
Revealing the wonder of plain, everyday blessings, A Simple Hope burns bright with the power of love to heal even the deepest wounds.
*My Book Review*
DISCLAIMER: This book/eBook being reviewed was provided free of charge by NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Okay, so Amish romance is my secret guilty pleasure. This one was no exception.
There is something extra special about this genre. I love the simple lives of the Amish, their dedication to their faith and the way they can keep themselves seperate yet part of the world around them. While many people might think that Amish and Romance don’t mix that well as genre – I beg to differ! I adore the purity of love that is bought out in these stories.
Previously I had only read novels in this genre by Beverley Lewis, so was excited to find another author who writes in this distinctly niche market.
While, honestly, I did find I was eternally comparing the two authors, I was very happy, in the end, with Lauer’s novel. This is not the first one in the series, but it reads quite easily as a stand alone book. There is absolutely no bog down of backstory relating to the first novel at all, nor is there any confusion as to what happened.
However, I did find parts of this novel lacking. There were times when there just felt like there were time frame issues. Sometimes it seemed Shandell (the main character who is stranded in Halfway after escaping her thieving non-boyfriend, Gary) is staying only a short time in the town. Towards the end of the novel, though, you are left wondering just how long she will be stuck there, or if you are just misreading.
Some of the conversations – especially at the start of the novel – appear to be quite sterile and formal. Now I know we are talking about the Amish here and their manner of speaking is certainly different to mainstream culture, but, even taking that into account, I found myself loosing interest as soon as they opened their mouths to speak. Persevere though, because the characters do loosen up in the middle and there are only a few stilted conversations after that.
As for Rachel, one of the main Amish characters, I just found I didn’t connect with her at all. She appeared quite flat as a character since she was completely perfect and forgiving in every way. While this is the Amish way, surely there should be some sort of internal struggle at times?
James, on the other hand was by far my favourite character! He struggled constantly with his lot in life and, as a result, the author manages to take his story and make it deliciously rich.
There are times at the end when it just feels like the author is laying everything out on the table without letting the reader fully explore these ideas and come to their own conclusions. As a result, sometimes the characters have epiphanies without the reader realising there was a lead up to it beforehand.
Even with this telling over showing, the author wound up the threads of this novel beautifully in the last few chapters. For all the faults I found with this novel, James and the ending wrapped it up tight for me. I am so glad I branched out and took a chance with this book! Fans of Amish novels will surely be pleased with this one.
Overall, I am giving A Simple Hope by Rosalind Lauer 3 out of 5 stars. I can’t WAIT to go back and read her first novel!
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About the Author
Rosalind Lauer is the author of A Simple Winter, A Simple Spring, A Simple Autumn, A Simple Faith, and the novella A Simple Crossroads. She grew up in a large family in Maryland and began visiting Lancaster County’s Amish community as a child. Lauer attended Wagner College in New York City and worked as an editor for Simon & Schuster and Harlequin Books. She now lives with her family in Oregon, where she writes in the shade of some towering two-hundred-year-old Douglas fir trees.