Saturday, September 15, 2012

Math and the Amish? -- Kate's Song + Rebecca's Rose

Kate's Song + Rebecca's Rose = great Amish romance!

OK, I can't help it -- I'm a math teacher.  And when I learned of Jennifer Beckstrand, mathematics-degreed mother, turned Amish author, I was intrigued.  So I had to give her books a try . . . and I'm very glad I did!

Kate's Song

Kate Weaver is a young Amish woman with a special gift of song.  During her rumschpringe (which her older brother likes to remind her has gone on for six years), she has left home to attend a music academy and  pursue her dreams of using that talent on stage.  Although her musical endeavors have gone beyond her dreams, not all has been good in her personal life, and she comes home, needing physical and emotional healing.  Once there, she finds mutual interest with her long-time friend Nathaniel King, and soon that interest goes past simple friendship.  More than anything, Kate longs for a definite answer from God about the direction her life should take.  After much soul searching she finally believes she has God's answer, but misunderstandings abound and become roadblocks in her attempts to follow God's plan.  Will love and truth prevail as she tries to find her way to live out her song?

Rebecca's Rose

Rebecca Miller is a girl on a mission.  She is driven to fulfill every dream on the list made my her late friend Dottie Mae before her untimely death, quite a daunting task to fit in between all the responsibilities Rebecca shoulders in caring for her sick mother and trying to please her demanding father.  Rebecca's sense of obligation to her friend prompts her to try out quite a range of adventures before time to settle down and be baptized into her Amish church.  Levi Cooper seems an unlikely companion in those adventures, but circumstances seem to throw them together.  As they spend time together, Rebecca is surprised to learn of Levi's Amish connections but has no hope that anything permanent can come for the two of them.  And when Rebecca learns of Levi's deepest secret, her whole world is turned upside down.  Will love and forgiveness be able to overcome hurt and anger?

Jennifer Beckstrand brings a new voice to the Amish fiction genre.  The conflicts her characters face seem a little "rougher and tougher" than in some of the other stories I've read.  In both of these stories, she has an interesting way of drawing you directly in to the characters' dilemmas without revealing the whole problem at once.  The complexity of the situation grows throughout the story, and then another "kink" appears to add a new level of intrigue -- even if you feel confident of how things might ultimately work out.  She certainly kept me hooked to the very end of both books.  And I'm definitely looking forward to next year's release of  Miriam's Quilt, the next installment in the Forever After in Apple Lake series.

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