Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Mountains of Grace by Kelly Irvin

Mountains of Grace (Amish of Big Sky Country #1)
West Kootenai Community Caribou Fire Posted on: 09/02/17 07:47 pm
Mountains of Grace by Kelly Irvin takes us on a journey to West Kootenai, Montana in September.  Mercy Yoder, the local Amish schoolteacher, is teaching when Caleb Hostetler rushes in.  Caleb and Mercy were courting until he shocked her by proposing.  Mercy cares for Caleb, but she is not sure he is the one God intends for her to marry.  It seems that the fire is upon them and it is time to evacuate the community.  Mercy and her family relocate to Eureka where she sets up school in the garage of the house they are occupying.  Mercy has always enjoyed reading and she loves teaching her scholars.  Mercy is bitter when she learns that their family home was lost in the fire along with all their belongings. Mercy encounters Spencer McDonald, an injured smoke jumper, in town.  This unusual pair become friends while talking about their beliefs and issues that are bothering them.  She has trouble understanding how losing their home can be God’s will.  Caleb loves Mercy and is afraid that Mercy will be lost to him forever.  He has trouble, though, expressing his emotions and sharing his past with Mercy.  What does the future hold for Mercy, Spencer and Caleb?
smoke jumper in russia- firefighter
Mountains of Grace is the first novel in Amish of Big Sky Country series.  The story is set in West Kootenai area of Montana where a devastating forest fire is sweeping through the area despite the efforts of fire firefighters.  It was interesting to learn about smoke jumpers and their role.  There is a large cast of characters in this novel (there is a helpful list at the front of the book), and I admit that I found it difficult to keep them all straight.  It did become easier the further I progressed into the book (past the halfway mark).   Caleb Hostetler has been courting Mercy Yoder for eight months when he proposed which took Mercy by surprise.  Spencer McDonald, a smoke jumper, had a lousy childhood with an alcoholic mother who has recently changed her ways.  Spencer had been dating a bank teller, Patty until the issue of religion came between them.  Juliette Knowles comes from a Christian family, but she quit attending church after a youth event in high school.  She wears revealing clothing and is plain spoken.  Deputy Tim Trudeau has fallen for Juliette, but he cannot be unequally yoked. Family, friendship, relationships, forgiveness and faith are the central themes of Mountains of Grace.  Individuals dealing with past trauma and how it is presently affecting their lives.  They all must work towards forgiveness and healing with God’s help.  The individuals are going through a rough time after being evacuated and then losing their homes, belongings, and way to make a living.  Mountains of Grace is an emotional novel.  The characters experience grief, loss, heartache, pain, and confusion which can be felt by the reader.  I like Pastor Matt from First Church of God.  He was there for his parishioners (and those who were not) when they needed him.  He gave good advice and encouragement along with Pepsi.  One of the phrases from the story that I liked was “Make plans and watch God laugh.”  While religion is prevalent, it is not in your face or over-the-top.  It was beautifully incorporated into the story.  I did feel that the storylines in Mountains of Grace followed an expected path.  I could tell you how it would end after learning each of the main characters stories.  Of course, I have read dozens of Amish novels since I discovered them over twenty years ago.  I did enjoy how things played out for our characters and the ending left me smiling.  Mountains of Grace is a thoughtful novel with a destructive fire, a confused Caleb, spunky Juliette, faithful Tim, wounded Spencer, and a book loving schoolteacher named Mercy.
Eureka MT Quilt Show Image
Eureka, Montana
Mountains of Grace is available on Amazon and other online retailers (B&N, CBD, BAM, Kobo, iBooks).  The next book in Amish of Big Sky Country is is A Long Bridge Home which will be out on February 11, 2020.  Thank you for reading my review today.  I am taking part in The Women of Mulberry Lane Tour (by Rosie Clarke) tomorrow.  I hope you have a day filled with hope and joy.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
book, girl, and nature image

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