cover image Amish Love Letters

Amish Love Letters

Shelly Shepard Gray, Charlotte Hubbard, and Rosalind Lauer. Kensington, $17.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-49674-396-1

Gray (Her Only Wish), Hubbard (Hidden Away at Promise Lodge), and Lauer (The Love of a Good Amish Woman) celebrate the spirit of Valentine’s Day in a trio of heartwarming epistolary Amish romances. Gray’s “A Love Letter Courtship” finds Matthew Lapp pursuing his best friend’s sister, Jenni Miller. Unconvinced of his affections—she’s insecure about her looks and believes Matthew is interested simply because she lives nearby—Jenni suggests the two write letters to one another until Valentine’s Day to gauge their compatibility. During their weeks of correspondence, she learns about Matt’s dysfunctional home life and becomes fonder of him than she thought possible. Secret admirers and second chances animate Lauer’s “The Wrong Valentine,” in which a widowed schoolteacher strikes up a lively correspondence with a mystery pen pal after the sample Valentine’s Day card she’d shown to her class accidentally gets delivered to charming “bad-boy” Mose Troyer, who’d once briefly left the Amish community. Mistaken identity tropes also form the basis for Hubbard’s “S.W.A.K.,” albeit somewhat less successfully. When shy Fannie Kurtz declares her love for Eddie Brubaker in a letter, confusion ensues because Eddie is being avidly pursued by—and seeking to fend off—another girl named Fannie, who has similar handwriting. Though the similarities between the two Fannies feel contrived, there’s plenty of clean, slow-burning romance for readers to savor in this earnest anthology. It’s a delight. (Jan.)