Visit Amish Country during the fall as Lydia King attempts to make Charm, Ohio, feel like home after losing her husband. But is her heart ready to open back up to love when gifts appear on her porch from a mystery source? Could it be from the widowed father of four energetic boys, or is it from the man who has rejected romance to be his family's caregiver? When life hands Lydia another challenge, will the gift giver be there to support her?
This is hard to believe but this was actually the first Amish book that I have read by Wanda Brunstetter. I'm a big Amish fiction reader but even though I have many of Brunstetter's books, I haven't actually sat down and read one until now. I know she's very popular with Amish readers but I just haven't gotten around to reading her. This book brought together something I never thought I would read in a book: Amish and midgets. It's a very unlikely combination that sounds like it would never work out but Brunstetter makes them both flow together naturally to make an interesting story.
The main focus of the story deals with recent widow Lydia and the two men who want to court her. Both would like to make her their new wife but they feel as if they have roadblocks holding them back. For widower Menno, it is his four unruly boys who holding him back from offering a good home. For storekeeper Levi, he is ashamed of his family who are are dwarfs. The two men battle between courting Lydia and trying to help her see which is the better pick for her. I enjoyed getting to know the two men and there were times during the story where I had no idea who she was going to end up picking. I really liked Levi's family as they are not the norm that you read about in Amish fiction. I also liked learning about frogmore stew and would love to try it out for myself one day, thanks to the recipe included in the back of the book.
While I enjoyed the story, there were some things that got on my nerves while reading. I was confused as to why Lydia's son is four years old and still not speaking any English at all. I felt that she was way too lax with him and didn't seem to want to punish him at all. Therefore I totally sided with her mother when she would try to discipline him for not following rules. But then after a certain tragic event happens, I felt bad for thinking all this. Still, that event seemed way over dramatic and very soap opera-ish to happen in the middle of the book.
Overall, this was an interesting read. It's very safe Christian Amish fiction meaning there is nothing in here that will offend anyone. There's no antagonist and the story just basically deals with Lydia's decision of which husband she is going to pick. It's not the best writing but for those that do enjoy a clean story and also enjoy Amish fiction, this book will probably find high favor in their eyes. As for me, it was an ok read. Nothing about the Amish faith is really mentioned and while there are some insights into their culture, it's more for the setting of the story than anything. I wouldn't mind though going back and reading more of Brunstetter's stories as they do offer a nice relaxation read from all the stress of the holidays.
Lydia's Charm by Wanda Brunstetter is published by Barbour (2010)
This review copy was provided by PTA Reviewer Rewards