Thursday, June 2, 2016

Review & Giveaway: A Daughter's Dream by Shelly Shepard Gray

Heidi Reads... A Daughter's Dream by Shelly Shepard Gray

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


Rebecca Kinsinger has always dreamed of being a teacher. But when she’s given the opportunity she’s been waiting for at Charm Amish School, she’s dismayed to discover that teaching is hard work—work she’s afraid she’s not very good at.

That is, until Lilly Yoder joins the class. A thirteen-year old who’s just lost her parents, Lilly is in need of someone like Rebecca. For the first time since starting her new job, Rebecca feels a sense of purpose. But when she meets Lilly’s uncle, Jacob, his good looks and sweet, easy-going temperament are hard to ignore. How can she even entertain romantic thoughts of Jacob when his niece is her student?

Suddenly becoming Lily’s sole caregiver, Jacob Yoder never thought he’d be a single parent—or a farmer. Having been living in Florida as a carpenter, Jacob feels more at home wielding a hammer than a backhoe. The only bright spot in his life is Rebecca Kinsinger. As Lily and Rebecca develop a bond, Jacob’s fondness for the pretty teacher grows, too.

But when a fateful accident brings them together, Rebecca and Jacob must choose between duty and desire. Will they follow the path before them? Or set out to find true happiness…and true love?

My Review

I enjoyed this second book in the Charmed Amish Life series. It can be read as a stand alone as an explanation of what happens in the first book is included in the narrative, but I recommend reading A Son's Vow first if you have it so the story isn't spoiled (I rated it 5 stars- it was excellent!). A Daughter's Dream is definitely more laid back than its predecessor. Rebecca's journey along the path of life is one she took willingly, and as she explores other options for her future, she keeps a positive attitude when things don't go as she imagined. Her blossoming friendship and romance with Jacob is so sweet and void of tension, it developed quite naturally with special moments that were a pleasure to read. Lilly is the character that I felt was portrayed with the most angst, yet even her path seemed to smooth out quickly with the support of her family and friendship with Peter. Some of the story is also told from the perspective of Rachel, the schoolteacher, but I didn't feel that it added much to the plot. The themes of healing and seeking God's will for one's life were heartfelt and I loved being back in the Amish community of Charm. Something that stands out to me about this series is the noticeable lack of interaction with church leadership. I don't think it's a bad thing, just very different from other Amish fiction I've read. The characters seem more independent and willing to handle their own problems, and there isn't the feeling of pressure to conform to standards a particular bishop sets. I recommend this series to fans of family sagas and Amish fiction.

(Thank you to Avon Inspire and Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

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