By: Wanda, Jean and Richelle Brunstetter
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Publication Date: June 2019
Reviewed by Diane Lunsford
Wanda, Jean and Richelle Brunstetter deliver three inspirational stories set in Pennsylvania Amish Country in their latest release titled The Brides of the Big Valley.
Deanna Speicher has a wealth of responsibilities. Her son, Abner, was born with Downs Syndrome which didn’t mean she loved him any less. Rather, his sunny disposition inspired her to do anything to provide for her child. Deanna lost her husband, Simon, to a tragic accident when he fell from their roof while repairing shingles nearly a year ago. Her grief was compounded when shortly after his death, she lost her mother to a brain aneurism. Thankfully, with her faith and the support of the community, Deanna would get by; especially due to the kindness of Elmer Yoder. He had been a good friend even before Simon’s untimely death. They would meet at the local flea market each week where Deanna would sell her crafts. Elmer had a unique connection with Abner and it warmed Deanna’s heart to have this male influence in her son’s life. Maybe the future has more than friendship for Elmer and Deanna.
Rose Mary Renno loved working in her family’s furniture shop. Having just turned nineteen, she was excited to take older sister Linda’s lead and contribute more to the family business. While her tasks could seem mundane at times, Rose Mary enjoyed dusting the collections of decorative knick-knacks to make the showroom shine and welcoming. Over time, she would have the confidence Linda had with the customers. The area where Rose Mary could use more guidance was her current relationship. Best friend Marlene often put her two cents in when it came to Rose Mary’s affections for Tom. While he was raised the Amish way, Tom had bigger plans once he left for college. His hopes and dreams were to convince Rose Mary to try life beyond the Amish community. Bestie Marlene could see exactly what Tom was up to. Unfortunately, Tom’s hypnotic blue eyes and charismatic ways had Rose Mary smitten. When an ‘Englisher’ crash-lands his plane in the Renno fields, the signs begin to appear for Rose Mary. Maybe it isn’t she who should venture beyond her Amish life, but perhaps welcome an outsider into it.
Leila Fisher loved to sketch. It was her safe place. She used to enjoy school and socializing, but that changed when her friend Hannah decided she didn’t want to be friends anymore. To compound the difficulties she had with school, Leila was tasked with more responsibilities at the family store. Her mom, Darla, was pregnant with her fourth child and it was proving to be a difficult pregnancy. This situation forced Leila to take on more responsibilities beyond being a teenaged girl. After Hannah decided not to be friends, Leila much preferred to recede further into her sketching and card crafting. When Leila least expects it, Aden Troyer comes into her life. Maybe there is room for more than creating cards and sketching in her future.
Wanda, Jean and Richelle Brunstetter have penned three spiritually rewarding stories in The Brides of the Big Valley. I’ve had the pleasure of reading many of the Amish series by Wanda Brunstetter and hands down, these stories never disappoint. There is a perfect blend of faith and heartfelt lessons to be learned without the slightest notion of ad nauseum preaching. The pace holds a steady ebb and flow throughout the read and the ending to each story is never predictable. The Brunstetters have a signature style of planting subtle seeds throughout the story line that grow into a garden of ‘feel good’ at story’s end. I continue to be a fan of their work and always look forward to the next book in this series.
Quill says: The Brides of the Big Valley is chock full of inspiration and valuable lessons learned.