Saturday, August 20, 2016

Seasons in Paradise

Welcome!  I hope all of you are having a stupendous Saturday!  I am continuing with the non-cozy mystery books today and sharing an Amish fiction novel.  I discovered them in my early 30s at a Christian bookstore near my job.  I have been a fan ever since.  If you have not tried Amish fiction before, I hope you will at least give one book a try.  Wanda Brunstetter, Beverly Lewis, Sarah Price, and Amy Clipston (her Kauffman Amish Bakery series) are just a few of the authors who publish Amish fiction novels.

Seasons in Paradise by Barbara Cameron is the second book in The Coming Home series.  Mary Elizabeth Zook is twenty-three years old and living with her family in Paradise, Pennsylvania. Mary Elizabeth is in love with Sam Stoltzfus, but Sam has left the Amish because of his father’s domineering ways (all three brothers left).  Sam’s father, Amos, was recently diagnosed with an illness and it has caused him to change his ways (it is still a work in progress).  Sam has yet to see this change aimed in his direction (he only seems different with David who married Lavina, the oldest Zook girl).  Mary Elizabeth needs to make a decision.  Either move on with her life, or find a way to bring Sam back into the fold.  Sam takes Mary Elizabeth aside one day and tells her that he is not coming back to the community.  While Mary Elizabeth is heartbroken, she knows she needs to move on with her life.  Ben Miller is new to Paradise, and he takes an interest in Mary Elizabeth.  They start spending time together. 

Mary Elizabeth, Kate Kraft (a local police officer) and Rose Anna (the youngest Zook sister) donate time to a local women’s shelter.  They teach the women to sew and makes quilted items.  Leah, owner of Stitches in Time (local quilting store), purchases the building next door to her shop.  Leah is going to allow the women from the shelter to sell their work in the shop which will be called Sewn in Hope.  Sam and his friend, Peter Beiler form their own construction company, and they are hired to do the remodeling work for the new shop.  This brings Sam in touch with Mary Elizabeth on a regular basis.  Ben does not like Mary Elizabeth around Sam and wants her to avoid it.  This is a new side to Ben that Mary Elizabeth does not like (he is a little domineering).  Sam does not like seeing Mary Elizabeth with another man.  Can Sam make amends with his father and return to the Amish way of life (and Mary Elizabeth)?  Which man is the right one for Mary Elizabeth?  Join Mary Elizabeth, Sam, and friends in Paradise, Pennsylvania in Seasons in Paradise!

Seasons in Paradise is the second novel in the series, but it can be read as a stand-alone novel.  The author does a very good job at summarizing what happened in the previous novel.  Seasons in Paradise is well-written, easy to read, and has a good pace (flows well).  It is a sweet, simple romance story that makes for good reading on a rainy afternoon (or sitting at the beach).  The story is told from Mary Elizabeth and Sam's point-of-views.  The book has engaging and likeable characters in real life situations.  While it is a predictable story, I still enjoyed it (I closed the book with a smile on my face).  I enjoyed seeing how the women in the shelter had made progress with their lives (and seeing people donating their time to help others).  The next book will deal with the third sister, Rose Anna.  I give Seasons in Paradise 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  I will be reading the next book in the series to see what happens with Rose Anna (see if she winds up with the last Stoltzfus brother).

The first book in The Coming Home series is Return to Paradise. The next book in the series is Home to Paradise (out in February 2017).  I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a review.  The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.

May all of you have a fantabulous evening!  I will be reviewing Amish Harvest tomorrow.  I am off to rest and put my feet up (hopefully the swelling will go down).  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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