Tuesday, June 04, 2013
A Hopeful Heart
A Hopeful Heart
(Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel Series 1)
By Amy Clipston
Published by Zondervan, June 11th, 2013
I started to read this book yesterday and spent pretty much the whole day just reading, unable to put it down. We are introduced to a group of characters who quickly take on real faces and lives, so much so that one point I really wanted to give one of the teenage daughters a stiff talking-to about her attitude!
So, who are these people? Set in Paradise, Pennsylvania, we meet Hannah Glick - a widow who is supporting her young family by working part-time in the Lancaster Grand Hotel as one of the housekeeping staff. The rest of her time is devoted to her family and the horse-breeding farm set up by her late husband , which is continued by her brother-in-law Josh, who is very attracted to Hannah, but the feeling is not mutual.
Very quickly, Hannah makes the acquaintance of one of the guests at the hotel, Trey Peterson, under embarrassing circumstances. Trey is a widower whose wife and daughter died tragically some time before and as he and Hannah continue to bump into each other and chat, they are increasingly drawn to each other and reluctantly fall in love. Hannah is all too aware of what will happen if she chooses to leave the community and marry Trey and does her best to suppress her feelings, but as in any tight-knit community, it doesn't take long for gossip to start and soon she finds that her innocent actions are starting to affect how the community feels about and treats her family.
She is faced with the toughest decisions of her life - should she leave her Amish community and be permanently shunned by her close family in order to follow her heart? Or should she grit her teeth, send Trey away for ever and either spend the rest of her life lonely, or end up marrying the eager Josh whom she does not love?
One of her teenage daughters is struggling with the restrictions of Amish life but the other is appalled at the thought of ever leaving their community and lifestyle. Her younger son is a sweet and loving boy who is happy as long as he can still care for his family's horses. I found that Hannah's children are particularly skilfully drawn, as is her domineering, difficult and sometimes spiteful mother-in-law. The heartbreaking dilemma Hannah faces is handled well, giving an insight into one of the most misunderstood Amish practices - shunning.
Having finished this book, I am eagerly anticipating the next in the series, to find out what the ramifications and consequences of Hannah's decision will have on her close and extended family alike.
Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for a frank and honest review.