Title: Breath of Spring
Author: Charlotte Hubbard
Genre: Amish Romance/Inspirational
As a bright season brings a fresh start to Willow Ridge, Annie Mae Knepp feels she can never make peace with the past. Her disgraced ex-bishop father is furious that she’s has taken her five siblings to live with her. She’s never been truly at home in her faith…or believing in herself. And Annie Mae fears no man will want to take on the responsibilities she’s gladly shouldered. True, her quiet neighbor Adam Wagler has been steadfast and unshakable, helping her through her trials, but he surely couldn’t think of someone so lost as more than a friend. Believing she is unworthy because of her doubts, Annie Mae will find, in a moment of surprising revelation, that God can work impossible miracles—and that love makes all things new.
Gotcha! I KNOW that most of y’all didn’t know that I read inspirational books. Especially Amish Romance. I found Amish romance book through the Harlequin Love Inspired Line years ago and I blame Marta Perry for that. If you have not read Ms. Perry…shame on you. Anyway, when I was contacted to read Breath of Spring for review I jumped at the chance.
A few things though. This is a sweet romance. Yes, there is kissing. Amish people aren’t celebent. They love just like you and I. They have the same yearnings, wants and desires that we do. But they “court” before they marry. Its a sweet process that is endearing and I long for it at times. No one rushes into things.
Annie Mae is one tough heroine. I’m not sure that I could hold up with all the responsibilities and burdens that come her way at such a young age. Barely 18, she has taken the task of raising her siblings due to her father being kicked out of their Order. Trust me, its bad and a thread throughout the whole series. That said, Ms. Hubbard explains the back story of Hiriam (Annie Mae’s father) and the rest of community with ease. I was never lost but there are a couple of books that I’m now dying to read. Once you start reading the book, you can’t put it down. I read it in one day it was so good.
I used to live near a Mennonite community in the small town that we moved from. I got used to seeing them interact with the community and they were the nicest, friendliest people around. There are some Mennonites in the book too so pay attention. They factor into Annie Mae’s story. The Old Order that Ms. Hubbard and the other authors write about do have a phone and they do have businesses that they make their living from. It interesting to read about their lives and how we “English” rely too much on other things to make us happy. I’ve often said that I could never watch television again. Nothing good is on anymore. Not sure I could give up my radio though. I love music so that would be a tough one. Could I give up my laptop? There are days were I wish I could but then I wouldn’t blog anymore. 😉
What really drew me into Annie Mae and Adam story was the trope that Ms. Hubbard used. The boy/girl next door. These two grew up next door to each other and never once looked at each other in a romantic way. It was sweet how they finally realized how much they meant to each other. Which, Adam is the best knight in shining armor I’ve read in a very long time. I would be remiss to remind you that some of their customs are not our own. What Hiriam and Yonnie did to Annie Mae is sick and yes, the law did show up but its their way. I held my breath during that scene praying that Adam would help Annie Mae. There is a reference used about a real life incident that happened in Ohio which really pulled the whole scenerio together. Plus, the scene at Annie Mae’s birthday party…I cried. Beautifully written scene that I dare anyone not to tear up a bit.
Also, Adam and Annie Mae discuss their Rumspringa. Adam’s Rumspringa had a tragic ending and bless his heart, carrying that guilt for so many years..my heart broke for him. Annie and Adam had to figure out their faith and belief in not only themselves but each other to finally come together in the end. Their community is built on faith and family. Not everyone has a traditional family, even in the Amish. Its how you deal with the hand that you are dealt and believing in yourself and God that everything will turn out.
Did I mention that there is a vintange 1940’s Indian Chief motorcycle that comes into play a lot in the book? My bad…also, recipes and food? I’m making the sausage/rice casserole and Hot Fudge Cake this weekend. Oh my word they sound delicious.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’ve called Missouri home for most of my life, and most folks don’t realize that several Old Older Amish and Mennonite communities make their home here, as well. The rolling pastureland, woods, and small towns along county highways make a wonderful setting for Plain populations—and for stories about them, too! While Jamesport, Missouri is the largest Old Order Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River, other communities have also found the affordable farm land ideal for raising crops, livestock, and running the small family-owned businesses that support their families.
Like my heroine, Miriam Lantz, of my Seasons of the Heart series, I love to feed people—to share my hearth and home. I bake bread and goodies and I love to try new recipes. I put up jars and jars of green beans, tomatoes, beets and other veggies every summer. All my adult life, I’ve been a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and we hosted a potluck group in our home for more than twenty years.
Like Abby Lambright, heroine of my Home at Cedar Creek series, I consider it a personal mission to be a listener and a peacemaker—to heal broken hearts and wounded souls. Faith and family, farming and frugality matter to me: like Abby, I sew and enjoy fabric arts—I made my wedding dress and the one Mom wore, too, when I married into an Iowa farm family more than thirty-five years ago! When I’m not writing, I crochet and sew, and I love to travel.
I recently moved to Minnesota when my husband got a wonderful new job, so now he and I and our border collie, Ramona, are exploring our new state and making new friends.