Return to Amish Country in Topeka, Indiana, and the Hochstetler twin sisters who are pulled apart by lifes changes. Elma is living alone for the first time in her life after Thelma married. Elma has dated some, but she wonders if she is just too picky to find love. Will she remain alone while Thelma moves on to build a family? Find out in this brand new romance from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, writing with her daughter-in-law Jean Brunstetter.
Thelma and Joe have settled in across the street from Elma and are expecting their first child. Elma has adjusted to a cat in the house and actually kinda maybe likes said cat. Things at the store are going well, well as well as they can with the hired help being who they are. But…Elma is lonely. She’s bored and lonely. And a chance encounter, nee mishap at the twin’s booth at the farmer’s market begins a new adventure for Elma. Difficult decisions must be made, huge changes happen to both girls, and life carries forth as it must.
I was very excited to be able to get this book via NetGalley and from the author. I loved the first book “The Lopsided Christmas Cake” and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one. And I hate to admit it but this one didn’t quite live up to the first one. Kristin (you know blogging partner in crime at A Simply Enchanted Life) liked this one better. I feel the opposite. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the book. I loved jumping back in with the twins. My heart went out to Elma and her loneliness and the stress of having all the household responsibilities herself as well as most of the store responsibility as well. I loved that the ‘mishap’ at the farmer’s market started her down a path of courtship so similar to the path her sister took after the cake fiasco in the first book. I loved the parallels and continuations. I loved that they were also so different. The ending though, well I can’t give it away. Let’s just say I appreciate the fact that it didn’t follow a preset pattern of romance tales while also leaving even me guessing up to the last little bit. I don’t get lead down a winding path easily.
I’m doing things a bit out of order and backward and not the way I like to do them. I prefer to touch on the drawbacks in a book in the middle paragraph so that I can end on a bright spot. Though I don’t have truly overly negative things to say but there are a couple of things to address. Characters. The newer characters introduced in this book didn’t feel as dimensional and fleshed out as the others. They were missing true depth which made it hard for me to really care about them. Ben felt like a flannel cutout of what he could have been. The other drawback for me was unnecessary story lines that never went anywhere or that didn’t hold up to what they could have been. The bees in the store. That could have had so much more to it than just ‘I see bees, I see bees and the help gets stung, I get new screens, the end of bees’. The car accident had potential to truly draw more for the story. The same for the storm. They had potential to grow characters and grow the story line deeper and didn’t go there.
Let’s face it, the fact that the love story drew me down the shadowed winding path outweighs the misses of the book. Hence the bump to 4 star review.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley and Wanda Brunstetter via Barbour Publishing. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
About Wanda E. Brunstetter
Wanda E. Brunstetter is an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of Amish and historical fiction. She’s also written Amish cookbooks, Amish-themed devotionals, and several children’s books with Amish characters.
Wanda E. Brunstetter writes about the Amish because they live a simple life, which she feels we all need in this day and age.
Wanda and her husband Richard, who grew up in a Mennonite church, have Amish friends in several Amish communities.
Besides writing books, Wanda’s a professional ventriloquist. In her spare time she photography, gardening, knitting, looking for shells and agates on the beach, and spending time with her family.
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About Jean Brunstetter