A swift and heartwarming Amish romance, full of misunderstandings, tragedy, and the sweet satisfaction of young love.
Mary Wagler arrives in Adams County, Ohio for the new school term, ready to begin her duties teaching eighteen students at the little one room schoolhouse. Marcus Yoder, who lives next door with his widowed mother and his six younger siblings, is assigned the task of meeting the new arrival at the bus station. He is to transport Mary in his buggy to where she will board at Leon and Lavina Hochstetler’s home. Mary is sure Marcus has volunteered for the task to make an early play on her affections and dreads the nuisance he will be in the coming weeks.
Mary opens her first day of school with a firm determination. She will make a solid contribution to this small Amish community nestled on the banks of the Ohio River. When Marcus stops by occasionally to greet his younger siblings after school, Mary is convinced he felt snubbed by her lack of interest in his early affection, and that he’s hanging around to critique her every move and make the school term miserable for her.
When sickness sweeps through the school, Marcus comes to Mary’s aid. Mary blames herself for handling the challenge poorly, and is surprised by Marcus’s gentle response. Perhaps he’s not quite the nuisance she thought he was. But she’s been so rude to him that surely he’s no longer interested in her friendship. Or could she be wrong . . . again?
(From the blurb)
An extremely enjoyable story with lovely characters that just shows that there is nothing wrong with slow-burn romance.
I loved the characters: Mary with her energy, and good heart, and strong, thoughtful Marcus, who needed his time to mourn his father and accept that it was time to move on in life.
You might not like Mary straightaway. She seems a bit frivolous and stubborn at the beginning, and gives an awfully hard time to Marcus whose only fault was coming to pick her from the station to bring her to their little community where Mary is to take up a post of a schoolteacher. Mary expects a whole delegation of school board ladies welcoming her, so a bumpy ride with a sulky young man who dares to criticise her luggage is a letdown.
As Marcus is single, and Mary is a very pretty young teacher, everybody expects them to have tender feelings for each other, while the reality is a bit more complicated. Marcus knows it is time he started looking for a bride, and he definitely appreciates Mary’s beauty, but he is also convinced she would never be interested in him. Mary… to be honest, Mary prays to have her heart open for meeting somebody special she will honour and love, and Marcus is definitely very handsome, but he must have already made a negative opinion of her, and will always find fault with everything she does. It is clear that these two have started off on a wrong foot.
Gradually, Mary wins everybody over. She is enthusiastic and vivacious, but she also cares deeply about her students and the elderly couple in whose house she lives. Mary is independent and hard-working, and fits really well in this small community. She does want Marcus to see that she is sensible and capable, although she does appreciate his help as a school janitor. Perhaps, the way she treated him at the beginning was a mistake, but she will do everything she can to correct it.
We also see that Marcus has been taking care of his mother and younger siblings since the death of his father, which left him very little time for anything but the farm work and a lot of responsibilities. Now his mother is about to marry again and Marcus will be able to have a life of his own, but is he ready to for this change? Is his heart open for somebody new and different, somebody who is like a breath of fresh air in his all too serious life?
There is a strong emphasis on the community life and taking care of each other in times of need, as well as prayer, shared hard work, love and understanding as the basis for a successful marriage. This book will be much appreciated by all the readers who prefer a clean romance with a sweet couple and a happy ever after at the end.
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher (Good Books) for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
Happy Easter to everybody who observes this holiday! Have a wonderful time with your family and loved ones. If you aren’t together, hope you can videoconference or telephone them or just keep them in your mind and your prayers. Wishing you love, and joy, and new beginnings!