Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Seek Me with All Your Heart" Review

Seek Me with All Your Heart by Beth Wiseman was sent to me as a review copy by Thomas Nelson Publishers. It is the first in the “Land of Canaan” series by this author. You can read my review of the second book in this series here.
For Emily Detweiler, moving to Canaan, Colorado, from their community in Ohio is a chance for a new start. After suffering from a brutal attack, she is struggling with her faith and what God wants for her life.
When Emily meets David Stoltzfus, another newcomer to Canaan, she is surprised to find herself drawn to him. David and his family have their own reasons for journeying to the community of Canaan, and even though David also feels drawn to Emily, they agree to just remain friends.
However, God is working in the lives of these two young people, and they just might be able to find their new beginnings together.
From the beginning of this story, I knew that this was not going to be your average Amish novel. On one hand this was a good thing, since the plot deals with some difficult situations, which were handled well. Because the Amish lifestyle is often referred to as ‘simple,’ I think we sometimes get in our heads that they don’t have to deal with anything difficult, which, of course, is untrue. The characters in this book faced difficult decisions and were in complicated situations and struggled with their faith just as everyone does at some time.
On the other hand, this novel did not seem as authentic to me at times. Now, I am not an expert on the Amish faith or lifestyle. I only know what I have read from a few other books, and I am sure that the author has done her research. But some of the traditions and interactions among the Amish people felt more “English” than Amish. Maybe this is because they are dealing with situations that I have not read about much in other Amish novels. Maybe it is because the setting of this novel is not traditionally Amish (which I actually like, by the way). Or maybe it is because, besides the obvious (not using electricity, etc.), there seemed to be a lot of leniency in this particular Amish community, especially when it came to outsiders.
While there are a lot of characters in this novel, and many of them tell the story from their point of view, I kept up with them fairly well. I enjoyed the different perspectives, and I knew the other characters were being set up to have their stories told in subsequent books. However, having not read any previous novels by Beth Wiseman, I felt a little left out at times, as if I was missing something somewhere. It seemed as if she had to do a lot of retelling of the back-story in order to get me caught up. I was not aware that this series is a continuation of her earlier series.
Because Seek Me with All Your Heart deals with more complicated situations, it is a fairly strong start to a new series by popular Amish fiction author, Beth Wiseman.
I will give Seek Me with All Your Heart … 3 BookWorms.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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