Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Provided by: Revell Reads
Series: Amish Beginings, Book 2
Subjects: Ships, Philadelpia, Amish, Romance
Genre: Amish Historial Romance
Setting: Philadelphia 1730's
In 1737, Anna Konig and her fellow church members stagger off a small wooden ship after ten weeks at sea, eager to start a new life in the vibrant but raw Pennsylvania frontier. On the docks of Port Philadelphia waits bishop Jacob Bauer, founder of the settlement and father to ship carpenter Bairn. It's a time of new beginnings for the reunited Bauer family, and for Anna and Bairn's shipboard romance to blossom.
But this perfect moment cannot last. As Bairn grasps the reality of what it means to be Amish in the New World--isolated, rigid with expectations, under the thumb of his domineering father--his enthusiasm evaporates. When a sea captain offers the chance to cross the ocean one more time, Bairn grabs it. Just one more crossing, he promises Anna. But will she wait for him?
When Henrik Newman joins the church just as it makes its way to the frontier, Anna is torn. He seems to be everything Bairn is not--bold, devoted, and delighted to vie for her heart. And the most dramatic difference? He is here; Bairn is not.
Far from the frontier, an unexpected turn of events weaves together the lives of Bairn, Anna, and Henrik. When a secret is revealed, which true love will emerge?
The characters are introduced by contrast which initially felt odd. These are made up examples but its like the author would begin one chapter "She was wearing a white shirt" and the next "He was wearing a black shirt" and then next "She loved cotton candy" and the next "He hated cotton candy".
After a few chapters of this, I realized that through initially stressing contrast, the author is able to bring the characters together through the plot points and allow them to discover similarities to each other more and more as the book goes on. In this way, its a conscious, rhetorical decision and makes the book about teamwork, forgiveness, and community.
Also, its very clear that the author did a lot of research for this book and that the facts in it have been checked and confirmed.
But to me, it seemed like there was a LOT going on at any one time. Constant statistics and tidibts were overwhelming and distracted me from the main plot line.
I dont want to give away any spoilers but from the 100 pages we have the following:
- Information about Philadelphia in 1737 such as the way roads were named
- Information about Ben Franklin
- Information about Poor Richard's Almanak
- Information about Triangular Trade
- Information about fires in history, such as in London and Germany
- Information about German religious history
- Information about Amish church politics
- Information about sea voyages
- Information about adoption
It seems like the book is trying to please everyone and fit in every genre. It has Amish aspects, it has romance, it has historical aspects, it has cultural diversity, it has religion, it has adoption, it has sea journeys, dialogue in other languages, and on and on. For me that is too much.
That said, I did not read the first book in the series, Anna's Crossing so I dont have the same attachment to Anna and her family that I would have if I had read Book 1 before this one. I got the impression that Bairn, a main character in this book, was introduced just in the last few chapters of Anna's Crossing. I'm sure that the anticipation of what happens next would make the book more interesting.
The target audience seems to be those who enjoy Amish, historical, romance etc books and especially those who love Philly. If you enjoyed the first book and the voyage to America focus, then this book does continue with a few characters spending months on a boat.
It would also be a good gift for those who like "educational" fiction and more substancial romance books.
You can order a copy from Amazon here.
About the author
Suzanne Woods Fisher has a specialty: she writes about real people living in faith-based communities. With over 750,000 copies of books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than twenty-five books, ranging from children's books ('The Adventures of Lily Lapp' series) to novels ("The Choice") to non-fiction books ("Amish Peace: Simple Living for a Complicated World").
When Suzanne isn't writing, she's probably playing with puppies. She's been involved with Guide Dogs for the Blind for over fifteen years. Raising puppies, she says, is like eating a potato chip. You just can't stop at one.
Readers are invited to stop by Suzanne's website at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com