Love alone isn’t enough to overcome some obstacles.
Lena Kauffman is a young Old Order Amish schoolteacher who has dealt all her life with attention raised by a noticeable birthmark on her cheek. Having learned to move past the stares and whispers, Lena channels her zest for living into her love of teaching. But tensions mount as she is challenged to work with a rebellious young man and deal with several crises at the schoolhouse that threaten her other students. Her lack of submission and use of ideas that don’t line up with the Old Ways strengthen the school board’s case as they begin to believe that Lena is behind all the trouble.
One member of the school board, Grey Graber, feels trapped by his own stifling circumstances. His wife, Elsie, has shut him out of her life, and he doesn’t know how long he can continue to live as if nothing is wrong. As the two finally come to a place of working toward a better marriage, tragedy befalls their family.
Lena and Grey have been life-long friends, but their relationship begins to crumble amidst unsettling deceptions, propelling each of them to finally face their own secrets. Can they both find a way past their losses and discover the strength to build a new bridge?
My take on this book:
Lena Kauffman is a twenty-three year old school teacher for her district. She has always longed for a husband, but because of a birthmark on her face she believes no one will ever want her. She is very outspoken and will often bend the rules if it means she can help her students. Not following the rules doesn't sit well with the school board members. When Lena allows an English counselor to come to her school after a tragedy occurs that the students witness, it just might be the end of her teaching career.
Benjamin "Grey" Graber is dealing with the loss of his wife. Their marriage had been strained to the limit for years, and just as he and his wife start taking steps to repair it, tragedy occurs and she is killed. Grieving, but also questioning why his marriage was so difficult Grey doesn't think he will ever be able to open his heart again.
While Lena and Grey were the main focus of this story, there were also several secondary stories going on that really kept this book interesting. The story of Ada and Israel was very interesting, as the "older" couple in the story I hope we see more of this relationship in the next book. I also found it interesting how Cara was coping with transitioning from the English world to the Amish world.
This book slow to start for me, but once I got comfortable with the characters it became a book I couldn't put down. Lena's character was wonderful, she was such a prank player, I felt like her outspoken nature was to hide how insecure she really was about her birthmark. I think one of my favorite parts in this story was the letters Grey wrote to Lena, and I think they were the turning point for her.
Even though this book is the second in the Ada's House novels, it can easily be read as a stand alone work. I didn't read the first book and had no problems following this story. The author includes a list of main characters so that you can get a feel for who everyone is, there is also a glossary for the amish words and phrases used in the book. A great amish story with a bit of suspense and inspiration woven in. I am anxious to read the next book in the series due out in the fall of 2011.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.