Genre: Amish & Mennonite

BOOK REVIEW: A Plain Leaving by Leslie Gould

Posted November 30, 2017 by Fizzy Pop in Leslie Gould, The Sisters of Lancaster County / 0 Comments

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Bethany House. 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.

BOOK REVIEW: A Plain Leaving by Leslie GouldA Plain Leaving by Leslie Gould
Series: The Sisters of Lancaster County #1
Published by Baker Publishing Group on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Amish & Mennonite, Christian, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 352
Source: Bethany House

Gould Offers a New Amish Series in Idyllic Lancaster CountyAt age twenty, Jessica Bachman left her two beloved sisters and her Amish community after clashing with the new bishop about her role in the family and the future of their farm. She tried to convince Silas Kemp, who'd been courting her for two years, to join her, but when he said no, she fled anyway.

Three years later, she returns home for the first time since leaving Lancaster to attend her father's funeral. Her arrival back revives all sorts of emotions--yearnings and sorrows alike. Jessica knows things will never return to how they were. But in seeing Silas again, she can't help but wonder what might have been.

Struggling to decide where her next step should take her, she learns the story of a Revolutionary War-era ancestor that echoes her own choices. Will Jessica leave her family and community forever, or is there peace and healing and love yet to come?

I’ve not read this author before but something about the synopsis of this novel reached out to me in my monthly Bethany House email.  I had to read it.  And that it’s first in a series is just a bonus.  Sometimes you want to start at the beginning.  Other times, not so much but this was one of those sometimes.  It has sat patiently in the book stack waiting for it’s turn.  I have to say, I’m glad I read it and wish I’d read it sooner, but then of course it would have been over sooner.  I read it right on time, in bed, sick, on my day off work.

Jessica Bachmann made a hard choice three years ago.  Already baptized into her faith she chose to leave.  Her older brother Arden, her bishop, even her Mamm had turned a blind eye to her needs.  There wasn’t a lot of understanding or even honesty.  She left.  She left her family, she left her boyfriend Silas, she left the hurts.  She succeeded in the English world.  Found a job, an apartment and got her GED.  Her dat came to visit her, apparently never telling those back home.  She was shunned.  She met Tom and started dating him, even talked about the idea of marriage in the future and he met her dat.  But then dat passed away.  And she went home.  Back to the lack of support, back to the lies and back to the family that didn’t want her anymore.  She was shunned.  Well, her aunt Suz wanted her and her sister Leisel, who originally called her.  And her other older brother, Amos (Arden’s twin), who had left when Jessica was a child.  There was a lot of heartache during the visit home, revisiting old wounds that weren’t as healed as anticipated.  There were new wounds.  And a little bit of healing.

As I was reading this book I kept wondering what would happen if they didn’t go back.  I don’t mean just Jessica but anyone who had left.  We always read about leaving and/or coming home.  I’ve not read anything where they choose not to return.  What if Jessica went home and stayed home, her new home, her English home?  I mean she did.  For a minute.  What if she stayed shunned, stayed English, and went about her life?  What would that look like?  I get that this is a series about sisters so I know where the future books are going to lean.  Amos went home to stay, he did not come back.  He’s been gone longer and has more life in the English world.  But, what if?  That’s the thoughts I had reading this book.  I know, not about the book at all.  Let’s talk about the book.

The characters were so well developed that even the historical story-line blended in so well.  Even the characters you needed to despise (Arden comes to mind) had a solid backstory that created who they were.  Ruby had a choice to make, at a time when women had even less choices than they do now.  Two lives, two men, her own identity.  Jessica faced similar choices.  Though her dat had allowed for her to have more options than a woman of their faith.  Two lives, two men, her own identity.  They may have chosen differently but their stories were so similar.  Generations apart, different choices, different answers, the same outcome.  Finding yourself in the middle.  Standing for what you know is right for yourself.  That’s ultimately the truth of ‘A Plain Leaving’.

A Plain Leaving (The Sisters of Lancaster County #1)
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About Leslie Gould

Leslie Gould

Leslie Gould is the award-winning author of fifteen novels, including the #1 bestseller The Amish Midwife (CBA and ECPA), co-written with Mindy Starns Clark. The novel, the first in The Women of Lancaster County series, was a 2012 Christy Award winner. The Amish Nanny and The Amish Bride, the second and third novels in the series, also hit the bestseller list.

One of Leslie’s stand-alone novels, Beyond the Blue, won of the Romantic Times Book Club Magazine’s Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Inspirational Novel in 2006.

Leslie received her master of fine arts in creative writing from Portland State University in 2009 and has taught fiction as an adjunct professor at Multnomah University. She also teaches workshops at public and private schools and at writers’ conferences.

A varied work history, from curating a historical museum to editing a bridal magazine, preceded her fiction-writing career. She is also an Army Reserve wife who has supported her husband, Peter, through many years of service, including a deployment to Afghanistan as the commander of a field hospital. Leslie and her husband live in Oregon with their four children.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Quilter’s Daughter by Wanda E. Brunstetter

BOOK REVIEW: The Quilter’s Daughter by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Posted November 28, 2017 by Fizzy Pop in Wanda E. Brunstetter / 0 Comments

When we left the Fisher family in ‘The Storekeeper’s Daughter’ Dad had refound love with Fannie Miller.  Naomi had rekindled love with Caleb. And Zach (Jimmy) was growing up with his English family on the west coast.  In ‘The Quilter’s Daughter’ we return to Fannie’s daughter back home in Ohio running the original quilt shop.  And engaged to Lester.  And missing her mom.  Who happens to announce she’s pregnant.  Needless to say Abby goes to Pennsylvania to help her mom and spend time with her new family, leaving her ever too patient fiance back in Ohio.  After the birth of the boys (yes Fannie has twins, spoiler?) Abby makes plans to return home after Thanksgiving and resume wedding plans.  She never gets to make that trip to see Lester and plan their wedding.  She makes the trip to say goodbye and attend his funeral instead.  Meanwhile on the west coast […]

BOOK REVIEW: The Christmas Admirer by Laura V. Hilton

BOOK REVIEW: The Christmas Admirer by Laura V. Hilton

Posted November 21, 2017 by Fizzy Pop in Laura V. Hilton / 3 Comments

Being from the Ozarks region of Missouri (that corner in the southwest part of the state for the uninformed) Jamesport isn’t in my backyard.  However, I have family in Trenton which means that I’ve have opportunities to visit the area, because that is backyard.  I don’t know a lot about the community and lets face it, if I’m making a 5-6 hour drive (depending on who’s driving) I’m going to see my people, which doesn’t always translate to going a rural town over to visit the Amish.  Especially when I have the Amish shops I frequent here in my own backyard.  I don’t know a lot about the Jamesport community and while I know there are books featuring them, I haven’t read them.  That all being said, it was interesting to learn more about this particular local-ish community in a book I fell in love with…mostly. Truth.  I’m so romanced […]

BOOK REVIEW: A Place At Our Table by Amy Clipston

BOOK REVIEW: A Place At Our Table by Amy Clipston

Posted November 14, 2017 by Fizzy Pop in Amish Homestead, Amy Clipston / 0 Comments

A young Amish volunteer firefighter who lives and breathes his family dairy farm and the fire station.  A young Amish woman who works in her family’s restaurant and lives and breaths her family life.  Two broken families touched by grief.  And two young people who find themselves falling in love with grief and baggage and an obnoxiously annoying inability to actually communicate with each other in a way that makes sense and helps them move forward through all that is life instead of moving them backward.  I loved them, I cheered for them, I virtually smacked them and at times I simply despised them.  They were both completely selfish and drowning in self-pity that manifested in different ways.  They both had, and still have, a lot of growing up to do.  Despite the conflicting emotions I’m still completing rooting for them. ‘A Place at Our Table’ tells the story of […]

BOOK REVIEW: Love’s Thankful Heart by Laura V. Hilton, Rachel J. Good, and Thomas Nye

BOOK REVIEW: Love’s Thankful Heart by Laura V. Hilton, Rachel J. Good, and Thomas Nye

Gingerbread Wishes by Laura V. Hilton 3* Yost and Becca make a very sweet story of finding love when you think you’ve missed the boat.  They first made their appearance in ‘The Christmas Admirer’ which also came out recently and I’ll be reviewing for you in a couple of weeks.  Perhaps had I read that book first I would have had a better relationship with these characters.  I also feel like their story has the bones for much more than a novella.  I’d like to know so much more about his time away just before Thanksgiving and the greater impact it had on their community and him.  It was too easy, ya know?  I really liked this story but it was missing depth for me.  Everything was very easy, clear, and surface.  The problem with most novellas, in my opinion.  There’s just not enough time to tell a story and […]