Self-confidence, practicality, and determination trump jealousy and meekness, and gendered behavior restrictions get shaken up, in Beckstrand’s optimistic, sweet second story of the Wisconsin Amish “honeybee sisters” (after Sweet as Honey). Poppy Christner is headstrong, accident-prone, and sometimes violent. She doesn’t take well to arrogant Luke Bontranger’s self-appointed responsibility to take care of her and her all-female household. Luke is frustrated by Poppy’s unsubmissive insistence on helping with the men’s work of rebuilding their vandalized chicken coop, but gradually their mutual disdain turns to affection. The social setting centers on dinners at the Christner household, giving Beckstrand a chance to feature simple, delicious food while highlighting the standout character of quirky, sarcastic matriarch Aunt Bitzi and the growing collection of house cats with un-Amish names, and giving the reader confidence that the young engaged couples will have the community support they need. This sequel follows immediately from the first book, keeping the overall sister dynamic strong and adding clues to an ongoing vandalism mystery, leaving it unsolved going into the final volume. Beckstrand’s good-hearted, strong-willed characters grow by pushing gently at the trappings of traditional life without rebelling against it. Agent: Mary Sue Seymour, Seymour Agency. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/20/2016 Release date: 07/26/2016 Genre: Fiction
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