A Hand to Hold by Kathleen Fuller is the third and final installment in her Hearts of Middlefield series. I first sampled Kathleen's writing in her contributions to a couple of Amish novella compilations and am glad to have discovered her.
A Hand to Hold tells the stories of two young Amish women -- Ruth, who is following her long-time dream of being a teacher, and Deborah, who is dealing with the challenge of being a young single mother. Ruth has her lesson plans (and her life) all in order and can't wait to begin the school year, when Zach enters the picture and . . . well, let's say those plans are quite drastically disrupted as Ruth finds adventure she never expected. Deborah returns home to Middlefield after receiving word that her mother has died -- leaving behind an unanswered proposal in Paradise. As she deals with the difficulties of fitting back in with her grieving father and bitter sister, Stephen comes along to help . . . in more ways that anyone expected.
Although told in an Amish setting that I enjoy so much, the story is universal, and the characters have real, everyday conflicts to deal with. Forgiveness, having the chance to change for the better, understanding of yourself and of others, sincere love -- all of these help make A Hand to Hold a great read. Thanks, Kathleen