Saturday, June 2, 2012
Review of Arms of Love by Kelly Long
Book's back cover:
The year is 1777. America is in turmoil. And Amish life is far different than today.
Pennsylvania in the late 18th century, once called William Penn’s Woods, was an assortment of different faiths living together for the first time in American history. Included in this tapestry was a small and struggling population called Amish.
Surrounding this peaceful people were unavoidable threats: both Patriots and the British were pillaging land and goods for the sake of the war, young Amishmen were leaving the faith to take up arms and defend freedom. A simple walk in the untamed forests could result in death, if not from bullet or arrow, then from an encounter with a wild animal.
Amid this time of tumult, Adam Wyse is fighting a personal battle. To possibly join the war efforts and leave his faith, which would mean walking away from the only woman he’s ever loved: Lena Yoder. But for that love he’s made a promise that may keep them apart permanently.
When Adam withdraws from Lena, she’s forced to turn to his brother, Isaac, for support. Must Lena deny her heart’s desire to save Adam’s soul? And will life in this feral and primitive New World be more than this peace-keeping people can withstand?
For those of you with interest in the history of the Amish and of our country, this is a wonderful piece of Historical Amish fiction by Kelly Long. I did not personally realize the degree of ridicule and prejudice the early Amish immigrants to Pennsylvania experienced. They endured teasing and scoffing on a daily basis. They were pacifists and did not wish to participate in the war but some Amish settlers did join the fight for freedom.
Who can resist a love story in the midst of a war setting? Not me! Lena is struck with tragedy when her mother dies giving birth to new sister, Faith. Complications arose before the death even took place, as Lena's mamm, Mary, predicted her death to Lena's young love interest, Adam Wyse. She also forced Adam to make a cruel promise. She made him agree to give up her daughter and forgo his plans to marry him until he could get away from his abusive father, Joseph, who is one of the church bishops. She tells him she knows of the abuse he endures at his father's hands and is afraid that the father might injure Lena or any of their future children as the custom dictates that they move to the husband's family home when a couple marries. She also expresses her fears that Adam might even have this same tendency to abuse within his own heart. So he helps Lena bury her mother, secretly finds a wet nurse, Rose, for the new sister, and then tells her he is finished with her and breaks her heart.
His brother, Isaac, who is studying with hopes to become a bishop himself, is only too willing to take Adam's place in Lena's affections. He runs to her side and professes his desire to rescue her by marriage. She is not keen on the idea and puts him off until Adam persists in rejecting her. She also has her three younger siblings to think of as her father has been imprisoned for refusing to give up the family cow to the troops. Lena feels that God wants her to marry Isaac so that Adam will be brought to a right relationship with Him. She feels it is her sacrificial duty and only a small price to pay for eternal salvation for the man she loves with all her soul.
I love historical fiction and this book is all about forgiveness and redemption. The book also examines an important issue as Joseph and Adam suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. You will want to read this terrific novel to see how God will heal the broken lives and hearts, and mend relationships. I read this one in one night as I simply could not put the kindle down until I knew how things would resolve for the characters. I am so hoping there is going to be a sequel to Arms of Love as I want to know what happens with Isaac, Adam and Lena, Rose and Samuel, and the others.
A scriptural theme through the story line involved the line: "God is for us." I also loved the use of Zephaniah 3:17: "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." For those interested in the Amish history and beginnings, this book is a must-read! I know that I gained new perspectives as I read.
About the Author:
Kelly Long is the author of Sarah's Garden, the first novel in the Patch of Heaven series. She was born and raised in the mountains of Northern Pennsylvania. She’s been married for nearly 25 years and has five children.
Visit Kelly's website: at http://www.kellylongbooks.com
I received a free digital copy of this book from Thomas Nelson publishing, Booksneeze.com, in exchange for my honest review.