I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by CelebrateLit. 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.Liza's Second Chance by Molly Jebber
Series: Amish Charm Bakery #1
Published by Kensington on January 30th 2018
Genres: 20th Century, Amish & Mennonite, Christian, Fiction, Historical, Romance
The sweet welcome of straight-from-the-oven sugar cookies and hot cocoa. The warm invitation of apple pie and fresh cold milk. In 1912 Ohio, the Amish Charm Bakery is the heart of a close-knit, faith-nourished community, where people can find a refuge, a place to start again—and love that can make their lives new . . . For Liza Schrock, the bakery her late husband bought was an unexpected haven from their unhappy arranged marriage. Now she's perfectly content to cook up mouth-watering delights for her hometown, give to those alone or in trouble—and remain happily unwed. And though she's willing to give handsome, newly-arrived widower Jacob Graber all the help he desperately needs, she is sure they can stay just friends . . . But as Liza also tries to aid Jacob's troubled teenage daughter, she starts caring far too much for his gentle ways and steadfast hopes. And when a wrenching secret she must keep comes between them, can Liza find the faith to risk opening her heart again—and reach for one more chance at real love? Praise for Molly Jebber’s Keepsake Pocket Quilt novels “Endearing characters and a delightful story make this a keeper for fans of Amish romance.” --Emma Miller “Jebber is a talented author who always gives readers what they have come to expect from her books.” – RT Book Reviews
I’m a sitting here, having just finished reading this book and I have no idea where to start writing. Not a clue. I’m drowning people! This book intrigued me when I first came across it and knew I needed to read it. I pictured quaint scenes set in a cozy bakery with lovably flawed characters and deep story lines of love, faith and redemption. The truth was I was bored. I got cozy bakery scenes. I got flawed characters. I got love, faith and redemption. I didn’t get lovably or deep. I got bored. A book that should have taken me just a few hours to read took all day. I kept getting up to do something else between scenes. I did like the book so don’t let any of this detract you from the bigger story.
Reading an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) always comes with it’s own set of quirky experiences. I enjoy collecting them up and referring back to them when I go back later to my own writings and find my glaring typos. It makes me feel better, more normal, if you will. Set in 1912 most people were still driving horse and wagon. Amish, the drive buggy. It’s to be expected to see those mixed up at least once. It did, a couple of times, when an Amish person took off in their wagon.
I want to talk about depth for a minute or twenty. Depth is what draws you into the story, makes you care about the characters, and hopefully carries you in a whirlwind through it all. While this was an enjoyable story with a solid plot line it lacked depth. I was frequently confused about time passage, what was really going on, why it mattered, and sometimes what really happened. Sometimes it felt like an emotion dump. Liza suddenly shares this horrid secret she had carried with minimal preamble. It colored so much of the story but it felt like a dump of emotion instead of a solid plot point. It was like here ya go, now let’s go on. Much of the story was like that. Someone gets shot – no big deal really it just slides to the background. Ellie runs away – a lot of moping around, she returns without preamble, instaforgiveness and slides partly into the background. Tornado – slides to the background. Thugs – miraculous rescue and then nothing. Just a few examples, there are many more. I know more about the way a person was laid out for their funeral than I do about any of these other things.
The other thing that bugged me was how helpless all the females in the book were, expect perhaps Ellie. No one had a backbone, no one knew how to stand up for themselves and sometimes it felt like they didn’t know how to make decisions for themselves. It was just too sweet. Everything was OK, everything was glossed over, everything was sweet. OK, I know I just did a pretty big information dump myself but follow me here. This book had a solid story line to it. It did capture my attention and capture my interest. Stories of love, family, starting over, and community. This story has all of that. And a lot of sweet treats along the way.