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This is a wonderful book for those who love Amish romances that are emotional, accurate, and relatable! I have read a few great Amish romances over the years, and my favorites are always those that make me feel not quite so distanced from the lives the Amish lead. At time, I think their way of life seems so far removed that we forget they are very much like us, so these books make me very happy to read more about them. While I found this book to be a bit difficult to review, the reason being outlined below, I found myself engaged in the story and characters. It was a difficult book to put down.
A new schoolteacher has come to Huckleberry Hill, and things are about to get interesting! Elsie Stutzman is not the sort of woman a traditional Amish man might expect - she's outspoken, opinionated, and unafraid to go against what the men of the community expect of her. Which is why she finds herself in Huckleberry Hill, after having been fired from her last teaching position for not bowing down to the school board. Determined to make a fresh start, she is certain that this time things will be different. And in a way, they are. For one thing, there is a bully in the school named Wally Sensenig, with only one good arm and leg after a farming accident. Normally Elsie could handle such a boy, but then enters Wally's brother, Sam. Handsome but stubborn as a mule, Sam instantly gets in Elsie's way...and the games begin.
Elsie was one of my favorite female leads of all time - she kicked butt in a subtle yet persistent way that made me want to cheer every time she told Sam what's what. Sam, on the other hand, was one of my least favorite male leads of all time. So the fact that I am rating this book four stars is largely due to Elsie, Wally (yes, the bully), and her precocious grandparents. I loved them. Wally had his faults, but he was 13 and hurting, so there was a significant learning curve for him. Being 24 and a grown man, Sam had no excuse, which is why his constant childish behavior really got on my nerves. He got in Elsie's face repeatedly in the book, using his size to intimidate her, he insulted her not only to her face but to other people, he naively believed what his "friend" Rose and Wally say about Elsie, despite others telling him that Elsie was widely liked, and he treated her like a yo-yo with their relationship. There was really very little to like about Sam, and unfortunately, his bad behavior continued up through the 90% mark in the book. So, in conclusion, read this book for Elsie and the wonderful Amish community Jennifer Beckstrand writes about. Do not read this book expecting a new book boyfriend. Sam still has some growing up to do.
This was the second book I had read by Jennifer Beckstrand, and as I said in the beginning, she did a wonderful job engaging me in the story and making feel very connected to the Amish way of life. It was a very well-written story that I would encourage everyone to read.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**