In the first Hope Chest of Dreams contemporary, Baker lays the familiar groundwork of a close-knit Amish community, but the heart of this romance goes far beyond stereotypes. Rebecca wants to marry her sweetheart, William, and start a life together in their hometown of Arthur, Ill., but all plans are put on hold when William finds out that his father, who lives outside their Amish community, is ill and needs his help. It’s a scandal for an unmarried Amish young woman to be left alone with her fiancé, much less to live under the same roof with him and his Englischer parents, but Rebecca is adamant that her place is by William’s side, officially married or not. In many romances featuring Amish couples, the focus is on the woman and how she navigates her faith, but here Rebecca is the bystander. She’s a little tempted by William’s parents’ lifestyle, but William is the one who struggles with his estrangement with his father and seriously considers leaving his insular community to enjoy the trappings of modern life. All Rebecca can do is give sincere advice and pray that William will return home with her. The prayers and faith are respectfully illustrated, and Baker emphasizes the conviction required to hold to Amish traditions while surrounded by 21st-century conveniences, providing an unusual and welcome level of insight into the characters’ inner lives. Agent: Tamela Hancock Murray, Steve Laube Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/2016 Release date: 09/27/2016 Genre: Fiction
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