- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Mira; Original edition (July 26, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0778312496
Source for review book: Public Library
Against the peaceful night sky, a barn burns…
Sarah Kauffman sought permission from her church elders to paint murals on a few of the Amish community's barns. Each was designed like an old–fashioned quilt square, representing a piece of the Amish traditions Sarah loved. The works of art were intended to draw more tourists to the Home Valley in the struggling economy. But instead, they invited a menace. One by one, each barn is set ablaze and destroyed…
The arson fires spread fear through the community— amongst Amish and Englischers alike. Now Sarah wonders if she's being punished for her pridefulness…or whether there's a more malevolent will at work.
As an outsider, arson investigator Nate MacKenzie struggles to investigate the crime scenes while adhering to Amish ways. With Sarah as his guide, he warms to the Plain People and their simple ways. As the fires rage, beliefs are challenged, a way of life is questioned and family secrets are exposed. In the aftermath of the destruction the people of the Home Valley must join together to raise their barns and their hopes for the future.
My take on this book:Amish barns are being torched in Home Valley Ohio, is it a hate crime against the Amish? Perhaps it might be that the arsonist is targeting barns where Sarah Kauffman has painted her murals. You see Sarah is an Amish woman who loves to paint, so when the elders of her community decide to allow her to paint quilt squares on Amish barns in the hopes it might draw in tourists, those barns start burning! When Englisher Nate MacKenzie is sent from Columbus to investigate he knows he will have his work cut out for him because of Amish beliefs. Sarah decides to help Nate any way she can and as their friendship develops they realize their feelings go deeper than that! Can Nate and Sarah work together to catch a fire bug without falling in love?
I love the contemporary feel of this Amish novel, but the thing that really drew me in was the fact that the Amish weren't standoffish instead they readily accepted the help of an outsider.Also the Amish don't come off as perfect by any means in this story. Sarah is a young Amish lady who struggles to conform to what her people believe, but her heart longs to paint. She also had a failed relationship with a young man who left the faith, which made her seem much more real to me. Nate is a character that is easy to understand,he struggles with issues from his past, but I felt like those same issues led him on the path of what he would do with his life, which was to become a fire investigator.
There was never a down time with this book, it took me awhile to figure out who the arsonist was. Although I felt the ending was a bit rushed, the conclusion was good, and of course since its part of a trilogy there were a few questions left unanswered which makes me anxious to read the next book in the series!
Overall if your looking for a contemporary Amish fiction, that is mystery and suspense blended with a sweet romance then check out "Fall From Pride," the first book in A Home Valley Amish series. If this first book is any indicator of the rest of the series then I predict its going to be a great!