I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Barbour Publishing, NetGalley. 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.Amish Cooking Class - The Celebration by Wanda E. Brunstetter
Published by Barbour Publishing on February 1st 2018
Genres: Amish & Mennonite, Christian, Fiction, Romance
Source: Barbour Publishing, NetGalley
Return to Holmes County, Ohio, for Amish style cooking class.
Lyle and Heidi Troyer have taken in a brother and sister, who were orphaned when their parents were killed in a car accident. Hoping to help the children adapt and make friends, Heidi decides to hold a series of cooking classes for kids. But kids are always accompanied by an adult—and that is where the trouble arises. Miranda Cooper is living the life of a single mom to her two kids while separated from her husband, but Trent is trying to worm his way back into her heart. Denise McGuire’s life as a wife, mom, and real estate broker is full and spilling over. Darren Keller, single dad and firefighter, and Ellen Blackburn, single mom and nurse, find a few things in common. Will hearts be healed over plates of Amish food?
This is the third book in The Amish Cooking Class series. Book #1: The Amish Cooking Class - The Seekers Book #2: The Amish Cooking Class - The Blessing
I was a little leery when I sat down to read this book over my weekend. I’ve talked to a few readers who struggled with the book. Mainly the sheer number of characters but a few other smaller things as well. If you have ever read one of my reviews you know that if you give me more than one character I tend to get confused. Heck sometimes one is too much unless they are named Janet (shhh, don’t tell anyone my real name m’kay?). As a rule sitting down to read Wanda is relaxing. Her simpler writing style with uplifting messages of love and hope are perfect when things are weighing. A book I can get lost into for an hour or two. I was nervous starting this one after some, not all, of the feedback I’d heard.
I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, there are a load of characters. I am hesitant to say boat load and be cliche but it’s legitimately true. Surprisingly enough I struggled less with tracking and following this literal boat load of characters than I did in previous books. Perhaps because so many were children, perhaps because the issues that arose were on different spectrums. I don’t know why really. No keep in mind keeping track of who is who is totally different than remembering which name went with which situation. Names, yup the still escape me for the most part. There were a couple of things that popped up for me though that I hadn’t heard about from other readers. Perhaps I just became caught up in worry over numbers. There were a few story sequencing issues that I came across. Like Lyle thinking about painting the kids rooms to make them feel more welcome and then almost immediately Heidi telling the kids their rooms were done being painted. Or Velma coming into the cooking class and Ellen not recognizing her from the car crash that she stopped to help at.
With the volume of characters there was an equal volume of issues to work through. While I do love the simpler, sweeter writing style of Wanda I feel like there were a lot of tough issues that were brought up but not enough opportunity to address them fully. Some things feel too neatly resolved (Kassidy and her family come to mind). Some things had neat little bows wrapped around them (if you don’t remember how I feel about those – it’s not positive). While I appreciate a happy ending and book titled ‘Celebration’ should have reason to celebrate I’m not a fan of neat endings leaving nothing to tie up.
All that said, I did enjoy this book. Not as much as the first two but it was still a great weekend read. Wanda has a style that just calms the pace of life. You won’t find a lot of drama, even the drama has smooth edges. You won’t find a lot of tension. You won’t find a race to an ending. You will find positive conclusions of a story filled with faith and love. Love for others (not necessarily romance people) and love for God.