My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it
Linda is no stranger to hardship. Now she dares to hope for a chance at love and a new beginning.
As the sole survivor of a buggy accident that left her orphaned at age four, Linda Zook was reluctantly raised by her Uncle Reuben. She longs to be worthy of someone, but the lasting trauma of her injuries and embittered upbringing have destroyed her self-worth. When Hannah Peterson asks her to work at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast, she’s finally able to realize some confidence.
Aaron Ebersol left the Amish community seventeen years ago when he could no longer bear the restrictions or the constant tension with his father. Despite years of unanswered letters to his parents and the roots he’s put down in Missouri, Aaron rushes back to the Amish community of Paradise, Pennsylvania, after receiving word of his mother’s stroke. Hesitant to get too close to the family he was once a part of, he decides to stay at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast. Talking with Linda allows him to explore his feelings about his family and his position in the Amish community.
As Linda and Aaron open up to each other, their feelings for one another turn into more than friendship, and Aaron must make a decision about his future as an Amish man.
Can Linda and Aaron forgive the family members who have deceived and forsaken them? And will Aaron be able to convince Linda that she is worthy of his love?
I completely enjoyed the growing friendship and budding romance between Linda and Aaron! Even though they were both raised Amish, they had completely different life experiences. Each has had a lifetime of heartache, but through their conversations encourage and support each other in overcoming their struggles and repairing relationships with family. There is some repetition in the dialogue where Aaron would have similar conversations with more than one person, which made me start to skim... however the romantic tension was great- just standing close to each other made Linda and Aaron intensely aware of their mutual attraction, although both feel unworthy of having love in their life. Aaron's redemption and the forgiveness he seeks comes easily from everyone in the community and family, except for his brother. It mirrors the story of the prodigal son, with Solomon refusing to give up his long-held bitterness at the expense of his mother's health and happiness. As Aaron helps Linda recognize her self-worth and gain confidence in the face of her uncle's despair and anger, she inspires him to persevere and seek to earn the approval of his brother by proving his good intentions toward the family.
There are some scenes with characters from the previous books in the series, but this can definitely be read as a stand-alone novel.
(Thank you to Zondervan and BookLook Bloggers for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)