This book is a nice read and if it had ended 45 pages before it did, it would have been a real good book. After having read the first book in this series "A Merry Heart", I was prepared for pages and pages of angst, which, considering the circumstances, might have been appropriate. Rebekah is a young Amish woman who was renndered disabled by an accident in her early childhood and, as expected, she dealt with it well as a child. Her family rallied around her, fashioned their lives around her and her disability and she adapted well. Then, again as expected, as she became a young woman and watched her friends pair off and marry, she began to realize what she might be missing out on and began a descent into self pity. She felt that, due to her disability, she would/could never marry or have children.
However, unlike A Merry Heart in which Miriam spends the whole book wallowing in self pity, Rebekah, after some self pity, rather justifiablle under her circumstances, chooses to listen to her mother and her aunt Miriam, (the woman from A Merry Heart). Both women use carefully select passages of Scripture to remind her that she is a child of God and that God loves her unconditionally. They convince her that, as such, she deserves to have good things happen to her. To her credit, she listens and believes. God works a miracle in her heart and she opens up her heart to Daniel and the love he has for her.
I especially LOVED it when the mother, Sarah, forces the whiny, bratty, self pitying, little sister to, literally, walk a mile in Rebekah's "shoes". After yet another complaint about the "favoritism" she thinks Rebekah is getting, Sarah makes her sit in Rebekah's wheelchair and imagine what her life would be if she were so confined. Great lesson given and learned!
I also like it that this is as much Daniel's story as Rebekah's. So often love stories proceed as if only the woman is involved and the man is frequently incidental. He seems to exist solely to be caught by the woman at the end of the story. To that end the story revolves around the woman's problems, the resolution of which is getting the guy to the alter. Daniel has been in love with Rebekah since they were children and this story is, refreshingly, as much about his feelings as hers and his attempts to win her.
This is a wonderful story of obstacles faced and overcome through faith and love; of a family pulling together for the benefit of all and of how God works in our lives to perform miracles every day. If it had ended on page 241 with a couple of pages for an epilogue, it would been a wonderful book.
Because Amish novels tend to be predictable, I don't think I am giving anything away by revealing that on Page 240 Daniel reveals his love and admiration for Rebekah, asks her to be his wife and she accepts. On page 241 Rebekah notes that she feels more at peace than she ever thought possible. End of story, great read - NOT!!!
For some un-Godly reason the author chooses to add 44 more pages and several months of yet another, totally unnecessary and ridiculous crisis. It seems to me that the author is either being paid by the word or has a minimum of words she must include in a book. There is just NO reasonable excuse on this earth for the additional 44 pages.
Winter gives way to spring and spring to summer; things are going well in the greenhouse, babies are born and life moves on. Rebekah is happily planting celery and planning for her wedding, right??? - WRONG!!! Rebekah is having ridiculous second thoughts and doubts and, in the most incredible bit of nonsense I have ever read, decides that Daniel only wants to marry her to get his hands on her greenhouse and cancels the wedding.. At this point I really wanted to burn the book.
And then, just when you think it can't get any worse, it does. OK, we now need another crisis to move the story to a (second) conclusion. In a sequence that defies reason and reads like something from a science fiction novel, Rebekah, in leg braces and on crutches, takes a long walk, alone, to the water's edge. Her dog chases one of the newborn kittens from the barn and, knowing that she can't swim, in an act of consummate stupidity, she risks her life by going into the water after it. Of course, she gets in over her head and along comes the knight in shining armor to save her and their marriage. The kitten, of course, extricates itself from the water unharmed. Now she is willing to marry him. WHY??? What has changed???
Now we get our wedding and our epilogue. Total nonsense!!! Since I can't give this book a mixed star rating I am giving it a 1 on the rating chart with the notation that it is a 4 if you stop reading at page 241.