Welcome! The Amish Midwife's Secret by Rachel J. Good comes out on November 27. It is the second novel in A Love & Promises series. Murder at the Mill by M. B. Shaw will be released on December 4. It is the first book in The Iris Grey Mysteries.
The First Love by Beverly Lewis takes us to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It is the summer of 1998 when Maggie’s reminiscing takes her back in time to June of 1951. Maggie misses her mother every day and it is hard to see her father move on so quickly. Joseph, Maggie’s father, married Rachel just seven months after his wife’s death. Maggie has suffered from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since she was eleven and the debilitating pain keeps her confined to bed many days. Maggie longs to be like the other women in her community, but she does not believe any man would want to be burdened by her. Maggie could talk to her mother about her concerns and she misses her warm, understanding presence. A tent revival meeting is coming to the area for six weeks and Maggie asks permission to attend. The minister’s messages are meaningful and have Maggie thinking about God and his saving grace. The future is filled with possibilities and hope. Join Maggie on her journey in The First Love.
I have read all of Beverly Lewis’s books and was looking forward to reading The First Love. I found The First Love to a slow paced story, though, it does pick up slightly in the second half. There are numerous characters in The First Love and it is hard to keep them all straight. Maggie comes from a large family with aunts, cousins, siblings plus there are her friends, the tent revival preacher, and so many more. There are two intertwining storylines in the book. At times, though, the book was disjointed (lacked a good flow). There is Maggie’s storyline plus her family adjusting to a new stepmother. I could understand what Maggie was going through with her painful disease. The pain gets to a person and affects their mood as well as outlook on life. It can be difficult to get up and do things during the day. I thought the author dealt with the topic respectfully and realistically. The ending wrapped up too quickly and felt unrealistic. It seemed the author had reached her word limit and quickly wrapped up Maggie’s story. The Christian elements are predominant. Relevant scripture verses are sprinkled throughout the story that help Maggie on her faith journey. We are also reminded the importance of prayer (anywhere and anytime), God’s grace, leaving our worries with God, reading the Bible, and having faith. I liked to see Maggie grow in her faith and become closer to God. I am giving The First Love 3 out of 5 stars. While this is not my favorite book by Beverly Lewis, I am still a fan of her work who looks forward to her next story.