Hello! I hope everyone had a lovely Fourth of July. I want to share with you some of the new book releases. Killer Green Tomatoes by Lynn Cahoon, Dyeing Up Loose Ends by Maggie Sefton, Minding the Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher, The Book of Peril by Melissa McShane, and The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham are some of the new books out this week.
Portrait of a Sister by Laura Bradford is set in Blue Ball, Pennsylvania in the heart of Lancaster County. Katie Beiler feels a deep loss when her mother passes away. Katie is now responsible for caring for her father, siblings and the related chores until (in the future) her sister, Margaret takes over when Katie marries her beau, Abram Zook. At night, though, when everyone else is asleep, Katie brings out her sketchpad. Katie enjoys drawing people, but she must keep her art a secret since it goes against their beliefs (Exodus 20:4). If it was discovered, it could get her shunned. Her twin sister, Hannah returns for their mamm’s funeral. While Katie was baptized into the Amish faith, Hannah left their community and lives in New York. After Hannah returns to New York, she sends a letter to Katie asking her to visit. When she left, Hannah “borrowed” two of Katie’s sketches and showed them to an art gallery owner. He would like to see more of Katie’s work. Katie finds herself in New York and spends her days exploring the city with Hannah’s friend, Eric. Katie’s artwork is a hit with the gallery owner and she is given the opportunity of a lifetime. Katie finds herself at a juncture where she needs to choose between the life she expected to lead or one filled with artistic freedom.
Portrait of a Sister is a book about choices and the internal struggle we go through in trying to decide. It is particularly difficult when it involves a twin. Katie misses her twin, but she made a commitment to the Amish faith when she joined the church. It is hard to decide especially when one option involves artistic freedom along with a new, unexplored world with her twin sister. Katie needs to figure out which path God wishes her to take. Portrait of a Sister is nicely written and it is wholesome. There is no foul language or intimate situations. However, I found the pace to be slower than I would prefer, there was repetition of information, and it was predictable (it ended exactly as I thought it would after reading blurb). It was hard to like Katie. She seemed to be on a pity party. Katie compared herself to Hannah and found herself lacking (has issues with self-confidence). Hannah, on the other hand, is determined to enjoy life to the fullest. She wants the items and lifestyle she saw in magazines. There are good life lessons contained in Portrait of a Sister. We need to have faith, pray and God will provide answers in his own timing. I could understand and feel Katie’s struggle with regard to her art. My rating for Portrait of a Sister is 3 out of 5 stars. Portrait of a Sister is a sweet story of faith, family and finding your place in the world.