Saturday, May 19, 2012

An Amish story from long ago -- Arms of Love

Arms of Love by Kelly Long is set in a time period quite different from most Amish stories.

Book Description

The year is 1777. America is in turmoil. And Amish life is far different than today.

Pennsylvania in the late 18th century, once called William Penn’s Woods, was an assortment of different faiths living together for the first time in American history. Included in this tapestry was a small and struggling population called Amish.

Surrounding this peaceful people were unavoidable threats: both Patriots and the British were pillaging land and goods for the sake of the war, young Amishmen were leaving the faith to take up arms and defend freedom. A simple walk in the untamed forests could result in death, if not from bullet or arrow, then from an encounter with a wild animal.

Amid this time of tumult, Adam Wyse is fighting a personal battle. To possibly join the war efforts and leave his faith, which would mean walking away from the only woman he’s ever loved: Lena Yoder. But for that love he’s made a promise that may keep them apart permanently.

My Thoughts

There are many positive things about this book.  I enjoyed getting a different perspective of Amish life from the setting of their very earliest days in America.  Their struggles were in some ways no different from other Americans during this time of unrest.  But the peaceful beliefs of the Amish created conflict with not only the enemy but also with their fellow countrymen.

There are interesting characters and relationships in the story -- Adam Wyse, Lena Yoder, and Ruth Stone were probably my favorites.  Watching the characters work through trying situations and come to grips with their personal turmoil kept me involved as a reader.  And as usual for Kelly Long, the story is a little "edgier" than some Amish fiction -- providing more description of passion between characters, although very tastefully and appropriately done.

Some elements of the story, though, keep this from being one of my favorites.  The main problem for me is the flow of the story.  The pieces just don't fit together as well as in other books I've read by Kelly.  Some points of the plot are repeated so frequently that they get old.  Some scenes seem thrown in for almost no reason, with no real connection to, or at least not sufficiently woven into, the rest of the story. 

To my fellow Amish fiction fans, I would recommend this as a read you would probably enjoy -- whether or not it rises to the top of your favorites list.

This book was provided free of charge by the Book Sneeze reviewer program for my honest review.

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