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It's not often that I read romances where the main characters are already married, so this was definitely a different read for me than usual! I have loved Jennifer Beckstrand's books in the past, so I knew that she would be able to make it work for me. If you have read her previous books, you get to see some fun, familiar characters, which makes the reading all the more pleasant. I also felt there was a good deal more insight into the Amish culture than the last book I read, probably because this showed how married couples live as opposed to single Amish men and women.
Mary Anne and Jethro Neuenschwander are not doing well at all. After having a miscarriage several years ago, Mary Anne and Jethro have been growing further and further apart. Despite Mary Anne's attempts at making Jethro happy, he has been spending more time fishing with his friends than spending time with his wife. Finally she has had enough, and she moves out to the woods behind their home. Jethro is furious, and soon it becomes a battle amongst their neighbors, with sides being taken and no one sure who will win. But one thing is for sure - if something doesn't change soon, divorce, forbidden amongst Amish couples, will be inevitable.
It took me a bit of time to enjoy the story, due to the complexity of the situation. I felt for Mary Anne and thought Jethro was a very ignorant bully for much of the story, which really led to me not enjoying the first half of the book. While I appreciated the fact that Amish culture is different from what I am used to, I didn't like seeing its ugly side - and there was definitely an ugly side that reared its head. Mary Anne faced horrible treatment from her neighbors, her husband, and his family, and it was very sad to see that her feelings really didn't matter. I was glad to see that she received support as well, but Jethro's behavior really didn't make me want to root for them to get back together. At all. Thankfully his attitude did turn around, as is usually the case in romance novels, and he eventually redeemed himself. But the path to that redemption was one full of hurtful words, thoughtless actions, and often a seeming disregard for manners. I was glad to see the author throw in a lot of humor, as it provided comic relief during difficult moments. Anna and Felty were the voices of reason for much of the book!
If you don't normally read this genre, I'm not sure I would recommend starting here, but I definitely recommend it at some point! If anything, you get a great education of Amish culture, and it's inspiring to see a married couple turn their relationship around. Perhaps start with the other eight books and work your way up to this one?
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**