Following Your Heart by Jerry Eicher
Harvest House Publishers, May 2012
Having read several Amish romance fiction books recently, it was refreshing to find that there are some written - and very well written, I hasten to add - by a male author, Jerry Eicher. This was book two in the "Fields of Home" series, and as I had not read the first book, it did take me a little while to mentally catch up with the events of the first story, but the characters were very well-drawn with a nicely paced narrative flow.
Teresa is a single mother with a young baby, who has been befriended by an Amish girl named Susan when Susan was living away from her community. Teresa is now happily living with Susan and her family on their farm. Teresa really wants to settle permanently into this close-knit and deeply Christian community and raise her son Samuel in a godly manner from his earliest infancy. She meets with opposition from the Amish hierarchy, who decree that she will only be allowed baptism - and hence full membership into the community- if she marries. A confirmed bachelor named Yost Byler offers for her hand, and she accepts, but there is another suitor who would like to lay claim. Will she be able to be baptised or is the situation and her tenuous position in the Amish community all set to unravel ?
Susan also has to face her own dilemma about whether she should forgive her somewhat arrogant, conceited and interfering two-timing former boyfriend Thomas, who is convinced that Susan still both loves and wants him. Susan is torn between what she feels is pressure from her family and friends to settle down and marry Thomas, and her own hankerings towards living back in the Englisch world again.
It was a very enjoyable read indeed, and I enjoyed seeing so much of Amish life from a refreshingly male perspective. I definitely look forward to reading more books from Jerry Eicher in the future.