Welcome to an Amish soap opera. Yes, it has all the elements of a good soap opera; betrayal, a secret child, near death, love and so much more. As this is the fourth book in this series, it is a really good thing that there is a section that catches you up on the series prior to the story actually starting. There is no way you would be able to easily follow it without that! The story is complex, multi-layered and extremely interesting. There are so many story lines going on a once that there is absolutely no down time. The story has a fast even pace that keeps you in its grip. What is going to happen and what next is continually going through your mind. The characters are unique and well written. Not everyone is Amish and not everyone in the Amish faith is rigidly following their faith. Really world problems are wound into the story including some that aren’t always thought to be problems in the Amish community. I loved this book and couldn’t put it down. It’s not a typical Amish story yet many of the elements are there. It has a lot about faith but not at all preachy. Things progressed fast and still I couldn’t wait to see how Ms Woodsmall was going to tie up all the loose ends. Though it did feel like a soap opera, it was a refreshingly different Amish story that has me wanting to read more of Ms Woodsmall’s books.
A small group of Amish have gone to Maine to start a new settlement. They are running an orchard and everyone is needed to make it work. Slowly other Amish families are joining them but the original members of the settlement aren’t following the rules as closely as some would like. There is also strife in the house due to a couple relationships. Rhoda has broken off her courtship with Jacob due to falling in love with his brother, Samuel. How can Rhoda and Samuel marry with the bad feelings Jacob has. Leah has been secretly dating Landon, an English man who works with them. She’s even been attending church with him! Phoebe is pregnant but she’s also very sick. Things aren’t looking good. Can the personal lives and their new settlement work through all the problems that are being presented?
As love restores Rhoda, a sudden tragedy is the test of faith she never saw coming.
More settled in her heart than ever before, Rhoda Byler feels a newfound confidence living in the Old Order Amish settlement she helped establish in Orchard Bend, Maine. Time has helped to heal the wounds of Rhoda’s recent severed relationship, and she finds that even her unusual gift of profound intuition is less of a burden as she continues to seek God’s wisdom for her future. She is happy to be working alongside the King family and the love of her life as they tend and nurture the settlement’s orchard.
Yet when Leah King’s involvement with Englischer Landon Olson becomes known outside of the Maine community, her disregard of the Ordnung could threaten all the Orchard Bend Amish are building. In the midst of addressing the discord, a shocking tragedy challenges the young settlement like never before, threatening to uproot Rhoda’s peace and the future of everything she holds dear.
When several members of Orchard Bend Farms are displaced, the estranged King brother is called upon to return. Can those who founded the new Amish community in Maine unite Or will the lingering pain of past hurts and present struggles result in the end of their dreams?