Publication Date: 10/07/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Books
Genre: Amish Romance
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Books)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound
Marta Perry on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, goodreads
Excerpt from, The Forgiven, courtesy of the author's website.
When three women, all cousins, are given the task of sorting through the treasures of several generations of their Amish family, they each discover a story from the past that provides insights and inspiration for their own lives.
Central Pennsylvania, current day. Rebecca Fisher gladly accepted her husband Paul’s dreams as her own, but now that he has passed away, she’s struggling to raise two children and keep her home. Renting her stable to carpenter Matthew Byler offers a partial solution—even though Matthew has a troubled history, having sometimes failed to embrace Amish beliefs. As Matthew seeks to prove himself, Rebecca realizes how dependent she has become on others. Where can she find the courage to grow and change?
Lancaster County, 1941. As war threatens, Anna Esch pours her experiences into her diary. Her world seems to crumble as neighbors turn against the Amish and her love, Jacob, is sent to a camp far away for refusing to fight. She can’t know, as she grows from a girl into a woman during a time of trouble and grief, that one day another Amish woman will gain strength from the words she writes and will learn that she, too, can become a keeper of the promise.
Marta Perry brings readers a new Amish romance series. The Forgiven is the first book in the Keeper's of the Promise series featuring three Amish cousins and their struggle to preserve their family heritage. Readers looking for a sweet portrayal of love and loss will find this book both compelling and inspirational. Perry captivates readers with, not one, but two stories interwoven to create a great reading experience and proves that some things are same no matter what you believe in. Grief, love and family are universal.
What I liked:
Marta Perry isn't new to Amish fiction. In fact she has several very successful Amish series', including the Pleasant Valley series and the Amish Suspense series. Perry may not be considered an expert on the subject, but she certainly knows a lot about the simple style and strong belief system of the Amish people. Living in Amish country will do that to you. It gives the author an interesting perspective because she is on the outside looking in, but is still able to capture the spirit and determination of this remarkable people.
The Keeper's of the Promise series has a unique and interesting premise. You have three Amish cousins who are tasked with going through their grandmother's attic. Grannie wasn't a hoarder but she did keep a lot of things that were meant to keep the Amish heritage of her family alive and she wants the girls to carry on with her legacy. Each young woman will find something in the attic that helps them in their current circumstances in life. I often find it amazing how the past tends to repeat itself and how we can learn so much from those who have gone before us. I think Perry captures that idea and infuses it into this story. It gave the book a heart-warming and nostalgic feel to it that couldn't be beat.
Rebecca is the heroine in The Forgiven. While she is cleaning the attic she finds a diary belonging to an ancestor living during WWII. Rebecca is struggling to find herself in the wake of her husband's death. Paul had big dreams and was on his way to fulfilling them, but his death leaves Rebecca as a single mother with a mortgage and very little practical experience. Perry gives readers a young woman in the midst of grief and loss. Rebecca will grab the heart of the reader and won't let go. She finds the strength within herself to move on with the help of Anna's diary. I loved the dual stories and how they played out within the pages of this novel. Perry does a great job of weaving the lives of Rebecca and Anna together.
Matt is an Amish man seeking redemption. His wild younger years drove him from his Amish community and his return is fraught with a lot of misgivings and feelings of unworthiness. When he asks to rent Paul's unused stable as a woodworking shop, he not only gives Rebecca a way to save her home, but he also finds salvation for himself. I loved the fact that Perry doesn't give us a hero that is flawless. Matt has his issues and his own demons to tame and that was refreshing for this kind of novel.
The Amish people are portrayed in this novel as more than just a religious group, who doesn't believe in cars or electricity. Perry gives this group of people a human face. She shows their struggles and their victories in such a way that is should remind readers that we are all no so different after all. We all want to live and love and keep the heritage of our family alive. It was a well told story with a lot of heart.
I loved the tender and thoughtful romance that develops between the lead characters. Matt and Rebecca have a lot to overcome and the story has an underlying message of forgiveness that is very captivating. Perry's character development was beautifully done and readers who are looking for a series that is both lovingly crafted and well written will find this one top notch. This is Marta Perry at her best!
The Forgiven is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
A lifetime spent in rural Pennsylvania and her own Pennsylvania Dutch roots led Marta Perry to write about the Plain People who add to the rich heritage of her home state. She is the author of more than fifty inspirational romance novels including the Pleasant Valley series and the Lost Sisters of Pleasant Valley series. She lives with her husband in a century-old farmhouse.
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