Monday, March 12, 2012
Abby Finds Her Calling by Naomi King
The Lambright family's eldest daughter, Abby, runs her own sewing shop. There, she mends the town's clothes and their torn relationships. But the town maiden has sworn off any suitors of her own because of her unrequited love for James Graber, who is about to marry her younger sister, Zanna.
Then the wedding day arrives and Zanna is nowhere to be found, breaking James's heart. Zanna has brought shame to her family, but there's more in store for them when they discover how far she has fallen. Long-buried secrets come to light, and they test the faith and friendship between the two families, as well as the bonds of the Cedar Creek community. Abby is at the center of it all, trying to maintain everyone's happiness. But will she ever find her own?
Lovers of Amish fiction will eat this book up. I could say Abby Finds Her Calling is well-written in all aspects--from plot and character development down to sentence structure and word choice--but, while that is all true, I think I will just say it was crafted with love. What a great read for a Sunday evening!
Amish fiction has become quite popular in the last few years, and of course, being me, I naturally question why. Probably there are many different reasons. Desiring a clean read in a world where even the Young Adult books are smutty. Learning about a different culture. Curiosity to see if the Amish ways of discipline and leadership, which seem harsh and almost cruel compared to our eat, drink and be merry society, actually work in real life settings (er...fictional settings). It's like historical fiction in a modern setting--sort of like steam punk which is also quite popular (for the same reasons?). But ultimately, I think the stories that can be development within the theology and culture just make for good reading.
I have to admit I was a little wary of committing to a whole book about a girl who has her nose in other people's business, and not only that but tries to fix things for them. I guess there's something to admire in that--it's intended to be a selfless characteristic--but to me it just seems nosy. If I'm honest with myself, however, I can admit that sometimes I mind my own business so much that I fail to see the needs of others and take actions to help. So, then of course I get jealous of Abby for being better than me, and all before I've even read the book!
But after reading the first few paragraphs, all that preconceived stuff just went away as I got lost in the seemless writing, beautiful setting, and the depth of the characters. I am not an avid reader of Amish fiction because sometimes it is more of an emotional commitment than I want to make, but I have read more than a few Amish-based novels. Abby Finds Her Calling is among the best and worth the investment of time. It will will delight anyone who is interested in clean romance, Amish fiction, or stories of faith and forgiveness. It would make for a great book club selection, and I can recommend it to anyone.
*Reviewed from ARC received from author.