Monday, March 5, 2012

Abby Finds Her Calling by Naomi King

The Lambright family's eldest daughter, Abby, runs her own sewing shop. There, she mends the town's clothes and their torn relationships. But the town maidel has sworn off any suitors of her own because of her unrequited love for James Graber, who is about to marry her younger sister, Zanna...
On the wedding day, Zanna is nowhere to be found, breaking James' heart. Zanna has brought shame to her family, but there's more in store for them when they discover how far she has fallen. Long-buried secrets come to light, and they test the bonds of the Cedar Creek community. Abby is at the center of it all, trying to maintain everyone's happiness. But will she ever find her own?

Up until a few months ago, I hadn't read any of the immensely popular genre of Amish Romances, so I decided to try a few by agreeing to review them.  Abby Finds Her Calling is, by far, my favorite of the three I have read.  It connected with several themes that are close to me.  The problem in writing a review is how to tell you about the things that touched me, without giving away the entire story, but I'll give it a shot.
Aging parents:  There is a scene between James and his father, who suffers from the dementia so common to aging.  When his father speaks out during a church service, James doesn't react with anger or embarrassment.
The world went still.  Time crystallized.  James suddenly saw this moment through the bright shine of sunlight on an icicle...something told James to cherish this fine moment when his father was mentally clear - and to believe every word Dat had said.  A sweetness flowed through him.  For the first time in weeks, James felt peaceful and right with the way things were.
The bond between mothers and daughters, and the friendships of women:  To tell you about my favorite mother/daughter moment would reveal secrets I can't tell, but Ms. King accurately depicted the way love overcomes a mother's anger or disappointment.  The women of the community also overcome their differences to join together to help a friend.
As she looked around the table, at familiar faces lined with love and laughter, Abby realized that gatherings like these were the batting and backing that held the crazy quilt of their lives together.  Every one of these women had her own talents and strengths - added her own colors to the community - yet despite differences of opinion and age, they fit together all of a piece, like the multipatterned squares of this crazy uilt they would complete today.
Faith:  Naturally, faith would play a part in any story based on an Amish community, but this book seemed to touch it more, or maybe it was just my personal mood.  Either way, there is deep wisdom in this story that teaches lessons beyond the usual platitudes.
"But you who gossip and place blame - whether upon Zanna Lambright or each other - stand just as guilty in our own way...After all," he continued, "we're quick to consider [spoiler] a big sin while we minimize the sin of gossip and speculation.  Truth is, bearing false witness is breaking one of God's commandments, same as if we engage in infidelity or lewd behavior."
There is also a scene in the book, featuring one of my favorite scriptures, "But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart."  It teaches a lesson in really hearing God's word.  There are many verses we know by heart because we've heard or read them so many times, but do we really know what they say? 

Most of all, this is a story of incredible forgiveness and acceptance, and the way God can use open hearts to work miracles.

This review is part of a blog tour organized by Tracee at Review From Here.  I received a free advance copy from the author as part of the tour.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for your wonderful review of my book! I so appreciate the way you chose passages to illustrate what you like about my story and characters!