BOOK REVIEW: The Amish Widower by Virginia Smith

Is It Time for This Widower to Give Love One More Chance?

After the devastating loss of his second wife, Seth Hostetler believes a lasting love is beyond all hope. A year has passed, and his mamm and sister are determined to see him happily married once again. But how can he open his heart to another woman when their relationship could end in tragedy?

On an outing with his family, Seth comes across an Amish potter hard at work and decides to try his hand at the trade. He quickly takes to this creative outlet, pouring his long-buried emotions into each utensil he shapes. Unfortunately, the fancy nature of his art draws the disapproval of his district's leadership.

His work also puts him in the path of Leah, an Englisch woman employed by the Amish to sell their wares to tourists. Despite her aloofness, there's something about her that speaks to his wounded soul. But what is Seth to do when the things he wants most threaten to pull him away from the life he's committed himself to live?

A compelling novel of second chances and the power of God to redeem hearts and dreams, set in the inviting Amish community of Lancaster County.

Set in a modern time, The Amish Widower has such a good premise, a well developed story line, and mostly tangible characters.  Seth drew me in, made me feel for his plight and his mindset, and made me want to smack every other 'do-gooder' that attempted to sway his life in the direction they thought it should be.  OK, I really loved Elias (the potter) too and how he was a steady support for Seth without trying to sway his choices.  There was a host of supporting characters and all of them were well developed and added to the story without detracting from who Seth was.  I was a bit worried about picking up the 4th book in a series but it truly did well as a stand alone novel and did not feel as though there was anything missing by not having read the first books of the series.  Enough backstory and procrastinating getting down to why this book is only rated 3 stars at Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes & Noble.

Let's start with the do-gooders.  And oh my gravy and grits there were too many to count.  The bishop, do-gooder.  Seth's best friend, do-gooder.  Seth's family, a whole bunch of do-gooders.  The do-gooders started to get annoying and tacky.  Here's Seth living his life, finding his way and trying to overcome the loss of not just one wife but two.  And the second wife had only passed within the last year.  The more you try to push single young women onto him the more steadfast he is going to become about his desire to never marry again.  I wanted to start smacking heads (Gibbs style) and tell them to lay off and back off before you push him over the anti-marriage edge.  Next let's talk about the big 'twist' of the story.  When the character for the twist was introduced I knew immediately why that character was there, yet had to wait 3/4 of the book before it was revealed.  Meanwhile feeling as though I was gnashing teeth along with the characters for the truth to come out.  I felt like the agony of Seth and this other character were too drawn out.  Instead of drawing out the twist and flilling with the do-gooders, so much more could have been accomplished with this story.  And while I loved the overall story I was just frustrated so often.

But, I did like this book.  Truly.  I cannot imagine the grief and self-recrimination that would come from losing two wives at such a young age.  Seth really struggled with this.  Self-recrimination, self-blame, overwhelmed.  Oh wait, yeah P.T.S.D.  Amish are no more immune to this than any other population.  Mental health issues are not only for those without faith, without community, and without support.  I LOVED that this book introduced the idea of Amish/Mennonite counseling.  The idea that even the devout need a little help from a professional now and then is not such a stretch.  And the fact that these options are available is so important.  Someone who can help them work though issues within their similar belief system is so important.  A bishop, without training can only do so much.  And, as so obvious in this story, sometimes they can do more harm than good.  I also appreciated that Seth's family was encouraging, and open, to his pursuing his own path and not just the family farm.  I think learning to be a potter helped to heal Seth's heart more than anything that he did throughout the story.

I was provided the opportunity to read this book through NetGalley.  I am not required to write a positive review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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The Amish Widower (The Men of Lancaster County Book 4)
About Virginia Smith
VIRGINIA SMITH is the bestselling author of thirty-one novels (and counting!), an illustrated children’s book, and over fifty articles and short stories. An avid reader with eclectic tastes in fiction, Ginny writes in a variety of styles, from lighthearted relationship stories to breath-snatching suspense. Her books have been finalists in many prestigious awards, and two of her novels received the Holt Medallion Award of Merit.

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