About the book:
A mysterious outsider casts a long shadow on Ohio’s Amish country. Policewoman Rachel Troyer has always looked after her three elderly Amish aunts, proprietors of a farmhouse inn near Sugarcreek, Ohio. The idyllic town is popular with tourists, who come to sample its famous Amish goods. But one thing is clear to Rachel – Joe Matthews is no tourist. When the bearded stranger lands on her aunts’ doorstep, begging shelter for himself and his young son, Rachel is suspicious. Will she be able to uncover Joe’s secrets despite her aunts’ – and her own – growing affection for him?
4/5 stars and 3/4 hearts for sporadic flutters of faith and healing. This book had more than a weak pulse going on.
This was an enjoyable read. It was a bit different from other Amish fiction I’ve read. It focused more on the Old Order Amish, but the main characters were the “Englischers.” It had an interesting mystery subplot that came together nicely at the end. I loved the plot of the famous person hiding from the media, and the father-son issues that occurred throughout the story. This was well done and realistic. And of course, there was the token buggy accident. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a required plot element for Amish fiction. I do think I learned a bit more about Amish beliefs from this book than from other Amish novels I’d read in the past.
I wasn’t too fond of the minor subplot regarding the aunt with Down Syndrome. I also found the epilogue at the end to be pretty sophisticated for someone with Anna’s mental capabilities. I didn’t feel like it matched her capacity to understand and reason as demonstrated by her behavior earlier in the book. Since I’ve worked with people who have this diagnosis for many years it’s hard for me to see something like Anna’s characterization and not comment. At her age (late 50s) Anna would not be acting so immaturely. In fact, most people with Down Syndrome have Alzheimer’s type symptoms as they age, so they wouldn’t giggle and play games, but would be more likely to act forgetful and a bit crabby, because someone who is forty with Down Syndrome will feel like they are about 80. I believe Anna’s age was 57. So her character didn’t fit the profile of any of the people I’ve become familiar with in the last ten years. Of course, there are always exceptions. This was a minor issue, but it did bug me a bit.
Overall the story was good. I read the book very quickly and enjoyed the romantic element. It was a sweet romance, but not so sweet that there was no heart to the story. I appreciated that there wasn’t a lot of angst and drama in the relationship between the hero and heroine, and that the hero admired the heroine’s strength and found it attractive. That was portrayed with a different twist. I loved the underlying theme about pride (as demonstrated at the baseball game) and how much it can often interfere with our good intentions. I also thought the message about the restoration of relationships and forgiveness was nicely done. The way the Amish bounced back after their tragedy was admirable as well.
Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio was published by Summerside and released in August 2010.