Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Little Bit Of Charm by Mary Ellis ~ review

A Little Bit of Charm (The New Beginnings, #3)

A Little Bit of Charm, the third book in bestselling author Mary Ellis's New Beginnings series, is about fresh starts...and how faith in God and His perfect plans provide the peace and joy all long for.

After the death of her parents and then watching both of her older sisters find happiness in homes of their own with husbands who adore them, Rachel King yearns for a new beginning. Her cousin Sarah lives near a thoroughbred stable in Kentucky, and working around beautiful horses is Rachel's dream come true. She leaves Lancaster County to find a job at Twelve Elms Stables and believes God has answered her prayers.

And then she meets Jake, an attractive and charming Englisch man. At first she refuses to go out with him, but he eventually convinces her to give him a chance. When Amish men who also wish to date Rachel start encountering strange mishaps, she wonders if Jake is really who he seems to be.

What does a young woman do when her heart is pulled in two directions?

My take on this book:
New beginnings are often hard to predict, but after the death of her parents in a housefire change is all that twenty year old Rachel King can think about. It's hard to leave her younger sister Beth and grandparents behind in PA but decides to head to Kentucky to live with her aunt Sarah in the hopes of fulfilling her dream of working with horses. When she lands a job giving tours at Twelve Elms Stables, she couldn't be happier, and soon finds herself in a friendship with Jake Brady the owners son, but soon that friendship turns into something more. 

There are so many things taking place in "A Little Bit of Charm" by Mary Ellis, that made it an interesting read. I found the story of Rachel compelling, I could totally understand why she wanted to get away from the place where her parents died. The fact that she was Amish, although she was still in her rumspringa, and decides to go live with her aunt Sarah, who was an Old Order Mennonite made this story a bit different.  It was interesting to see the differences in the beliefs, but also the similarities.   Another unique aspect of this story was that it takes place in Kentucky, not the typical "Amish" setting. I found the storyline that revolves around race horses, the stables along with the general workings of the farm provided an added layer to the overall story, I felt like I really got an accurate glimpse of a working horse farm!  Jake Brady wasn't the typical male lead for an Amish romance either, because he was English. I was a bit surprised at the relationship that developed between him and Rachel, and that kept me reading to find out what would happen. A sub plot about a child contracting Polio and how Donna Cline an agent from the county health department undertakes the daunting task of trying to convince the Plain community to vaccinate their children added another layer to the plot. While "A Little Bit of Charm" is the third book in The New Beginning Series it can be read as a stand alone work. Fans of "Amish" fiction may be a bit disappointed because this book focuses on a Mennonite community, although the main character Rachel is Amish. Ms. Ellis writes a compelling story that allows us to feel the characters struggles as they wrestle with choices to be made. An added bonus with this story are the recipes that the author includes.

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