My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it
Abigail Schrock knows God can make all things new, but does that include her broken heart?
It seems as if everyone is falling in love in Birch Creek, including Abigail Schrock. But when heartbreak descends on her already fragile world, she can’t help but feel that if she’d only been a little prettier, she could be on her way down the wedding aisle. To make matters worse, Abigail’s two sisters have found love, while all Abigail can seem to find is the chocolate she has stashed away in the pantry.
Asa Bontrager has never had trouble with the ladies in his Amish community—his good looks have always gotten him far. Which is why he’s baffled by the call he’s received from God to pursue Abigail, a woman who seems determined to turn him away.
Can Abigail find the peace and joy she so desperately desires? Will she allow herself to stop running and melt into the embrace of unforeseen comfort? If she does, she may just discover a love powerful enough to lift the heavy burden of grief weighing her down and restore her hope in a promising future.
Each of the books in the Amish of Birch Creek series can be read alone- the author does a good job of catching the reader up without too much info dump- but I recommend reading them in order, especially since the first book, A Reluctant Bride, is my favorite! Each book has its own main story revolving around one of the Schrock sisters, but also has another level of subplots involving other members of the community that continue throughout the series. It was satisfying to have many of those continuing plotlines wrapped up and resolved in this book. It is easy to imagine the setting and characters, although how I envisioned Abigail shifted when I read her perspective in A Love Made New. She is self-conscious about her weight and eating habits, but uses food as a coping method for her repressed grief. It was interesting to compare the happy, vibrant persona she exhibits in the earlier books with the secret self-loathing and defiance that push their way to the surface as she tries to recover from rejection and heartbreak. Asa is a hero you just feel bad for- he struggles with doing and saying the right thing, at the right time. Asa and Abigail have good chemistry and Asa's feelings are quite intense, which takes Abigail off guard. His total reliance on God is an admirable quality and serves as an example for Abigail once she is ready to listen. Recurring characters Sol, Irene, and Naomi are further developed and play important roles in the story, and Sadie, Johanna and their husbands are present but have minor roles. I wonder if there will be another book since there were only three Schrock sisters but there is one subplot that has the potential to be continued since it wasn't completely wrapped up neatly... although that is more true to life- not everything is tied up with a pretty bow.
(Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)