Monday, September 17, 2012

When Hope Blossoms Book Review

From the back cover:

Amy Knackstedt hopes a new start in Weaverly, Kansas, will help heal the pain of losing her husband and provide a better future for her three children. But her new neighbor, Tim Roper, is not pleased to have an Old Order Mennonite family living next to his apple orchard. Tim left the Mennonite faith years ago and doesn't want any reminders of his former life.
Yet when circumstances throw Amy and Tim together, they form a friendship that surprises them both. Will past hurts always be a barrier between them, or will this tentative relationship blossom into something more?

My take:
This novel was very interesting to read. I haven't read a novel involving Mennonites in a long time. I think it is very interesting how many authors choose to depict their stories involving Mennonites when there are only "pockets" of this religious group across the country. I'm not aware of their statistics, but to my knowledge the closest group to me is found in Tennessee. This group of people should be very much appreciated and applauded for their unwavering lifestyle and nonconformity, for the most part. They are living life "set apart" very literally. 

The novel starts with Amy Knackstedt and her children Bekah, Parker, and Adri moving into their new house in Kansas. They have moved next door to Tim Roper and his apple and grape orchard. Tim and Amy have a rough start, because Tim wants Amy's kids to keep their distance from his orchard to protect it from further harm. Eventually, the children grow on Tim, and Tim, in turn, grows on Amy. They are pushed together through a variety of events that seem quite normal and could happen to any of us. It's not as though there are very unusual circumstances bringing them together. Both Tim and Amy have heartaches of their own they have to work through and overcome before they can move on. Tim and Amy are both reluctant of each other because of their lack of  faith and because of their faith respectively.

The children are definitely obviously attached to Tim and he to them, I don't necessarily see that Tim and Amy could develop that much of a friendship as depicted in the ending, maybe a start to this with the outcome happening eventually but not in the timeframe as depicted in the novel. Tim seemed like a much more developed character than Amy was. Even Amy's daughter Bekah seemed more developed than Amy. I would have liked to have seen more of the interaction between Tim and Amy's family and the local Mennonite order and Tim and Amy. It is always very interesting to me to see the depiction of the Mennonite faith and there interaction with others. Overall it is an ok book 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

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I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

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