cover image Love Blooms in Morning Star

Love Blooms in Morning Star

Charlotte Hubbard. Zebra, $8.99 mass market (368p) ISBN 978-1-4201-5184-8

The satisfying fourth entry in Hubbard’s Maidels of Morning Star series (after Christmas Comes to Morning Star) follows a mother compelled to reckon with her past after her daughter gets engaged. Jo Fussner, a young Amish woman, is thrilled when Michael Wengerd proposes to her, but her mother, Drusilla, remains bitterly opposed, haunted by the abuse she suffered from her late husband, Joe, and fearful that Jo will have to endure a similarly grueling marriage. Michael’s widowed father, Nelson, has taken a liking to Drusilla despite her coldness toward him, and he prays for God to help him find the right words to assuage her anxieties about Jo’s relationship with Michael. Meanwhile, the community’s leadership questions whether married women should be allowed to continue working at the Amish marketplace that Jo helped establish. Jo announces that she’s still single and intends to continue leading the market, causing Michael to think she no longer wants him and imperiling their future together, as well as Nelson’s relationship with Drusilla. Readers will be bewildered by the insinuation during a pivotal scene that it’s Drusilla’s “attitude or expectations that need adjusting” regarding Joe forcing himself on her, souring an otherwise heartening portrait of overcoming trauma with faith. Overall, Amish inspirational fans will enjoy this story of forgiveness and new beginnings. (Aug.)