July 4, 2015

Amish Promises, A Novel (and a very tense novel at that!)

I just finished reading Amish Promises by Leslie Gould and am still wiping tears. This is no lighthearted story, but a gripping tale of love, family, and living with the aftermath of trauma that crackles with tension on every page.

From the book's back cover:
When Joel and Shani Beck arrive at their new home, they're looking for peace. Shani is thrilled to have Joel back from Iraq, but he needs time to heal, and the quiet of Lancaster seems just the place. They can't imagine any trouble with their Amish neighbors, the Lehmans, but things get off to a rocky start when their son is involved in an accident that injures one of the Lehman boys.

Eve Lehman has run her brother's household ever since the death of his wife, but Tim's a stern patriarch. Despite his protests, she's drawn to the new neighbor, Shani, and the two begin to form a strong friendship forged on faith and family. Things seem like they've quieted down until Joel's single and handsome army friend Charlie catches Eve's attention--a man unlike any Eve has ever met. Suddenly life for both families becomes more complicated than any of them could have ever imagined.

My Review:
Is duty and honor alone enough to sustain a relationship? What about love, acceptance, and tenderness? What if tragedy alters a family to the point that all one can do is go through the motions, holding on by sheer duty? What if you fall in love with the wrong person at the worst possible time? The two very diverse families in Amish Promises deal with all of this in a very powerful way. It’s a gripping story about what two families do in spite of challenges, differences, mistakes, and fears borne of past traumas. And the key that makes the impossible possible.

To be honest, I would not have expected an Amish story to hold so much tension, but this one grabs hold of you on the first page and tightens the tension with each page that follows. I laughed, cried, and worried about each of the characters and how the obstacles to their happiness could ever turn out. Leslie Gould is a subtly powerful storyteller and Amish Promises is the first book in a new series I very much look forward to reading.

Stay tuned for a little insider scoop from Leslie on the next book in this series, Amish Sweethearts, coming soon.

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I've published five novels and 2 novellas (more about those on my website.) I've been writing all my life, but decided in 2007 to get serious about being published.

I love action movies and Jane Austen. (she’s dead, I know. I found that out when I tried to get her to endorse my novel)

They let me play Bass guitar and sing in a worship band.

I can produce 4 dozen homemade cinnamon rolls in a flash for a crowd of drooling young adults. Or publishing house editors.

I used to have a Harley. Now we have six (going on seven) grandkiddos. Decent trade, really.

I am a proud Grammy. Don't even think about taking candy from my babies.

I hate shopping (Yes, I'm aware that I'm a girl)

I've lived in Oregon all my life, spent time in Eugene (Go DUCKS!), Springfield, Reedsport, and Smith River. Which is not really a town, but a river, about 70 miles long, a tributary of the Umpqua River in southwest Oregon.

Although it's not a town, it is a community with a strong sense of pioneer history. It's cool to say you've lived there, especially if you lived there during the days when you had to take a boat to school. No joke! The old farmhouse my grandfather and my mother grew up in still stands, nestled into a narrow, pasture carpeted valley, complete with a swimmin' hole and its own 'crick'. It may turn up in one of my novels.

There's a rumor that my ancestors had a connection with the Mafia back in Sicily. I used to fantasize as a kid about a big black limo with tinted windows pulling up and whisking me away from school. Ahhh. So THAT'S why I'm having so much trouble conjugating my dangling participles now.

NOT RANDOM: I am challenged by the truth and amazed by the grace of God. And it's either in spite of or because of that grace that I hold a PhD in Learning Stuff the Hard Way.