Wednesday, January 22, 2020

"Love's Thankful Heart" - Three Novellas

The Amish romance has been a strong sub-genre of Christian fiction for close to four decades now, and it seems to be still going strong. A decade ago, I posed the question, “Does it always have to be an Amish romance?” – a kind of vague complaint. Then one of my favorite authors, Dale Cramer, pulled from his own heritage and wrote a series of Amish romances. And I started the series, because it was Dale Cramer, and actually read (and enjoyed) them. But that was my total experience with Amish romances. Until now.

Love’s Thankful Heart is a collection of three novellas by three authors, all writing an Amish romance centered on the Thanksgiving season. Laura Hilton has written a number of works in the genre, as has Rachel Good. Thomas Nye writes in a kind of sub-sub-genre – Amish romance horse stories (I didn’t know this sub-sub-genre existed).

In Laura Hilton’s “Gingerbread Wishes,” Becca Troyer is selling late-season vegetables in a small-town Missouri farmer’s market when a member of a performing mime group kneels and presents her with a toy ring and a proposal. She’s flustered and embarrassed, not the least reason being she’s quietly attracted to a local boy, Yost Miller, a good friend but one who seems disinterested in romance. The mime, of course, is Yost, and he’s anything but disinterested. His problem is shyness. He’s also a volunteer firefighter, and a crisis occurs that changes their relationship.

In “Thanksgiving Stranger” by Rachel Good, Crist Petersheim is a former Amishman disillusioned with faith after a family tragedy. He’s wandering around a rough area downtown area of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, appearing to be homeless. He’s actually working undercover, trying to spot and identify illegal drug activity. Faithe Beiler and her mother operate a restaurant in downtown, and it’s here that Crist seeks a cup of coffee. Over the days and weeks leading to Thanksgiving, the man who’s lost his faith will fall in love with the woman who ardently holds on to hers, no matter what the circumstances.

“Thanksgiving Frolic” by Thomas Nye, Monroe is in love with Rosemary, and she’s possibly in love with him, but he seems to take too many chances with the fancy horse he uses for his buggy. They’ve been courting for three years, but Monroe seems to not want to move beyond courtship. Part of the problem is a silly bet he made with a friend, and part of the problem is Monroe’s father, who believes in charity begins at home and looks askance at any farmer who doesn’t take care of his own farm first – like Rosemary’s aging grandfather. These obstacles, and more, look like they’ll stop any hope the two have for marriage. Or will they?

The three novellas of Love’s Thankful Heart share the Thanksgiving season in common, but they represent three very different approaches to the Amish romance.

Top photograph by Randy Fath via Unsplash. Used with permission.

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