Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Susanna's Dream

Susanna's Dream (The Lost Sisters of Pleasant Valley - Book 2) by Marta Perry

Publication Date: 02/04/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Books
Genre: Amish Fiction
Pages: 352
ISBN-10: 0425253759
ISBN-13: 978-0425253755

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Books)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Marta Perry on the WEB: website, blogfacebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Lydia's Hope (2013), Susanna's Dream (2014)

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from, Susanna's Dream, courtesy of the author's website.


As young girls, three Amish sisters were separated and told nothing about each other.  When the long-held secret of their parentage came to light many years later, two of the grown women reconnected.  Now they reach out to the third…

Susanna Bitler’s life is in complete turmoil. Still reeling from the death of her mother, she is further disheartened when her business partner hints that she is going to quit the gift shop they run together in a town near Pleasant Valley. But the biggest revelation is yet to come.

Grateful for their own hard-won relationship, Lydia Beachy and Chloe Wentworth are eager to reveal themselves to Susanna as her long-lost sisters.  But their news utterly distresses Susanna, who is heartbroken to learn that the woman she’s been mourning was not actually her mother.  Despite Lydia and Chloe’s best efforts to make amends, Susanna resolves to keep them at arm’s length. It may take a force of nature to sweep away her fears.  Will that storm demolish all that the three women most value…or unite them in bonds of deep and abiding affection?


Author Marta Perry takes readers back to Pleasant Valley with her latest book in the Lost Sisters of Pleasant Valley series, Susanna's Dream. Amish fiction enthusiasts will love this story about three sisters separated at birth. This story touches on the many emotions that accompany grief and how a person can deal with many struggles at one time. The simple and poignant style of Marta Perry carries this novel and will sweep readers up in this intriguing tale of the love of family and the ties that bind. 

What I liked:

This was my first experience with Marta Perry's writing and I found that it was much like the Amish themselves, simplistic in nature, but heartfelt and engaging. The popularity of this style of fiction is amazing. There are so many readers who interesting in the Amish and their lifestyle and Perry does such a wonderful job of showing the Amish in a favorable and beautiful light. Bringing out the good and the bad and how the Amish cope with life in today's world.

The overall theme for this series was definitely unusual. Three sisters separated but living near each other. All Amish and all very different. I thought the plot of Susanna's Dream was original and realistic. Perry draws on the underlying theme of grief as well. Susanna, has just lost the only mother she has ever known, when she finds out that she wasn't really her mother at all. What a shattering experience that would be and readers are immediately drawn to this young woman who should be happy that she has two new sisters but isn't. 

Susanna was a great character. She has so much being thrown at her at one time. Her partner in the gift shop she runs is considering pulling out. She loses her mother. She has two new sisters who want to have this strange new relationship. She is completely at loose ends. It would be overwhelming for anyone, yet she exudes a quiet strength. She relies on her faith to see her threw and she begins to eventually see past her grief and grows to understand her circumstances and her sisters. Perry does such a remarkable job with this character. She is fresh and realistic. She doesn't just leap for joy and rush head long into a new family. That was very believable and real. 

I read this book in one sitting. It's engaging and easily draws the reader in. It isn't too long, but it doesn't have a lot of frills and fluffy writing that is unnecessary either. It gets to the heart of the matter and expresses the story concisely, and in a very simple manner which is refreshing and shows a lot of clarity. I enjoyed it very much and I think readers who love Amish fiction will as well.

What I didn't like:

I understood the reason the author kept Susanna and her sisters at arms length. It helped to enhance Susanna's character and provided the conflict necessary for the story, however, I do think it went on a bit too long for my tastes. I suppose I wanted something to happen earlier on that would draw the sisters together. It is most likely just a personal thing and certainly not a deal breaker.

Bottom Line:

This is a very sweet and heartfelt story of three women who learn a long held secret that changes each of their lives forever. Susanna is real and believable and her grief at the loss of her mother is palpable. Perry writes a poignant and beautiful portrait of the Amish and their lifestyle. A very enjoyable novel.

Susanna's Dream is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 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 Lost Sisters of Pleasant Valley: Lydia’s Hope; and the Pleasant Valley series: Naomi's Christmas, Hannah's Joy, Katie's Way, Sarah's Gift, Anna's Return, Rachel's Garden, and Leah's Choice. She lives with her husband in a century-old farmhouse.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Susanna's Dream by Marta Perry.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, February 25th.

1. Please leave a comment describing your experiences with the Amish.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


traveler said...

I haven't any encounters or experienced Amish. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Linda Kish said...

My only experience is visiting Lancaster, PA when I was young.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

The closest I've come was a dear friend at my church. She was raised near an Amish community and lived with her grandmother. The Amish let her attend thhhheir school since they were so far out, so she made many friends as a young girl. She was the sweetest lady, but had a husband that ruled her like you would a child. She was best friends with my best friend, when I had moved away for a number of years. He would actually ground her when they stayed too long and wasn't home when she said she would be. She wouldn't fuss with him about that or any thing. That part came from the Amish ways. I felt sorry for her and asked once why she didn't stand up to him. She said oh no, I am to do whatever he says because he is the head of the household. She has now gone to be with our LORD. I do love reading Amish books tho. My first being one from Beverly Lewis, the one who started this genre. I am a subscriber and would love to win Marta's book. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Nancy said...

I know that they are hard workers. They put up the framework for my husbands workshop in a day and they sometimes will volunteer some time for habitat for Humanity in our community. I know that we buy cheese from them from a shop that's great. However, I don't know personally any amish people.

Anita Yancey said...

My only experience with the Amish, is that we drove through the Amish country in PA once. But that is as close as we got. Thanks for having the giveaway.


bn100 said...

Haven't any to share

lag123 said...

I don't have any experiences to share. I love to read Amish fiction though.

lag110 at mchsi dot com