Book Review: "Courting Miss Amsel" by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Summary from Edythe Amsel is delighted with her first teaching assignment: a one-room schoolhouse in Walnut Hill, Nebraska. Independent, headstrong, and a strong believer in a well-rounded education, Edythe is ready to open the world to the students in this tiny community. But is Walnut Hill ready for her?

Joel Townsend is thrilled to learn the town council hired a female teacher to replace the ruthless man who terrorized his nephews for the past two years. Having raised the boys on his own since their parents' untimely deaths, Joel believes they will benefit from a woman's influence. But he sure didn't bargain on a woman like Miss Amsel. Within the first week, she has the entire town up in arms over her outlandish teaching methods, which include collecting leaves, catching bugs, making snow angels, and stringing ropes in strange patterns all over the schoolyard. Joel can't help but notice that she's also mighty pretty with her rosy lips, fashionable clothes, and fancy way of speaking.

When Edythe decides to take her pupils to hear Miss Susan Anthony speak on the women's suffrage amendment, the town's outcry reaches new heights. Even Joel isn't sure he can support her newfangled ideas any longer. And if he can't trust her to know how to teach the boys, how can he trust her with his heart?

I've finally accepted that I must include Kim Vogel Sawyer's on my wish lists as I've discovered that every book of hers that I've read I really like. While I enjoyed the story, I felt that the summary of the book from the back cover is a bit misleading. The summary makes it sound like attending the women's suffrage event is a deal breaker between Joel and Edythe and that her "newfangled" ideas are causing a problem between the two of them. However that's not the case at all. In fact it's not really so much an issue between the two of them. While their relationship is a pretty big part of the story, it's not the main part of the story. I personally was more interested in how Edythe dealt with her class bully and if she would be able to tame him. I was really tempted to turn to the end of the book to see if she would be able to accomplish this or if the townsfolk who were against her would win in the end.

I found Edythe's sister Missy to be incredibly spoiled. I can see why she depends on Edythe especially after learning more about their father. Still, she's extremely whiny and very annoying. Even before her character made an appearance, based on Edythe's descriptions of her I had a feeling that I wouldn't like her. Sure enough, as soon as her presence graces the pages I wanted her to go away again immediately. It's one thing to want to be with her sister, it's another thing to tell her sister to give up all her dreams and her new life simply to go back home and just be with her. Luckily by the end of the book she grows up some but I was expecting her to because fourteen years old in that time period matured very fast.

Overall this was a nice comforting reads. I've come to expect this from all of Sawyer's books and this book is no exception. It's a nice historical romance that shows how small towns out west had to finally accept that change would be coming to their area and there was nothing they could do to stop it. The talk about women's suffrage was nicely added as it's not overdone but does give awareness that the time for it has finally started to arrive. As I said I'm a fan of Sawyer's books and I'll be looking forward to her next historical read.

Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer is published by Bethany House (2011)

This review copy was provided for a blog tour with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


  1. I nice comforting read sounds great right about now :)

  2. Oh! This book is on my TBR list!
    I love Kim Vogel Sawyer, I have read many of hers.


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