Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Book Review: "The Amish Nanny" by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould

Summary from BN.com: Amish-raised Ada Rupp knows it's time to make a commitment to the faith and join the church, especially if she wants a future with the handsome Amish widower Will Gundy. But when she has the chance to travel to Switzerland as the caregiver of a young child, she leaps at the opportunity.

Anxious to learn more about her forebears, Ada enlists the help of a young Mennonite scholar named Daniel, but even as she develops feelings for him, she cannot get Will from her mind—or her heart. At a crossroads, Ada must decide what she is willing to give up from the past in order to embrace her future.

First off, I'm just going to say that I am not a fan of the title of this book nor am I of the cover. Both do really nothing for the story and in fact have good potential to turn readers away. I really didn't feel like a nanny is best way to describe Ada throughout the story. That being said, the story is a great book.

The authors take this book into new levels with Amish fiction. For starters: they take the characters OUT OF THE COUNTRY! Yes that's right, we're not in Lancaster, PA or any other Amish community anymore. We're going to Europe! I was pleased that even the tiniest details were covered in this story involving Amish characters travel down to passport pictures. It made the story more believable and not once did I have to suspend belief. I enjoyed reading about Ada's and the rest of the gangs travels from the train, the ship and during their stays in New York and Europe. I really liked how the authors did not make these Amish characters appear like country bumpkins who don't know anything about the outside world.

One of the things that thrilled me about the story was the fact that Daniel is an archivist! As someone who is also one, I was incredibly geeked to see my profession in a book! You don't know how rare this is and I was very excited to see this. I will admit that the ending could have ended a bit differently for me but I was actually rather surprised at the direction the authors chose to go. It was actually quite nice because I was predicting something else and the twist worked out well for me. Equally as pleasant was Ada's relationship with Giselle.

One extremely tiny qualm was the long letter near the end of the book written in cursive. It was just very difficult to read in the font and it was a very long letter. I would have much preferred a different font because I normally don't like reading anything in cursive and this particular one was quite a challenge.

I really have been pleased with this series because Clark and Gould do Amish fiction differently from other books . This is a wonderful blend of travelogue, history and a good storyline that just happens to feature Amish characters. Even though faith is not a huge part of the story, I feel that that they have portrayed both the Amish and Mennonites in a positive light without romanticizing the lifestyle. I really would love for there to be more books in this series as I look forward to seeing what more new directions the authors can go with this lifestyle.

The Amish Nanny by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould is published by Harvest House (2011)

This ARC was provided by a publicist

Other books in The Women of Lancaster County series that I have reviewed:

The Amish Midwife (Book 1)

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