Title: Accidentally Amish
Author: Olivia Newport
Series: Valley of Choice, #1
Length: 788 pages (iPhone)
Rating: 2.5 stars
Escape the helter-skelter of the modern culture and join software creator Annie Friesen, hiding at the home of an Amishman. With her high-tech career in jeopardy, Annie runs from fast-paced Colorado Springs—and straight into the hospitality of San Luis Valley’s Amish community. There she meets cabinetmaker Rufus Beiler, and the more time she spends with him, the more attracted she becomes. When Annie finds she shares a common ancestor with Rufus, she feels both cultures colliding within her. But is her love for Rufus strong enough for her to give up the only life she’s ever known?
Favourite character: Ruth
Least favourite character: N/A
This felt confusing, not gonna lie. It’s four stories combined into one and the only thing really holding it together is their family tree, one of the stories taking place in the 1700s, which made it feel a bit…I don’t really know what the word is, but longer than necessary, I suppose. Then there was the fourteen different ways of spelling Beiler. It was also very stilted in writing, kind of like like the British or a robot or a British robot. Except for “I’m” there were no contractions, which you could expect from the Amish, but it’s everywhere and everyone, from the Amish, to the English, to the descriptions. It was “do not” instead of “don’t.” Which is fine, but when there’s one on every page, you start to pick up on it. It just doesn’t feel natural. Despite all of those things, I enjoyed it. I will most likely be finishing the series.
Sequels are a tricky business. They can enhance their predecessor or they can weaken it, especially if the first book was strong. Ideally, they demonstrate an improvement from prior books and offer more details about the characters and themes, depending on how the series is connected. This is one reason why I enjoy being able to begin a series at its inception and keep up with it as it grows. “The Inn at Hidden Run” opened the Tree of Life series and introduced readers to small-town Canyon Mines, Colorado, where Jillian and her father Nolan combine their professional talents to assimilate past and present.
Olivia Newport’s “In the Cradle Lies” intensifies some of the elements from the first book in the series, making this a commendable sequel. Even so, this book could be read as a stand-alone, although I would recommend reading the series in order to better understand the characters’ backgrounds. In spite of the cozy milieu, “In the Cradle Lies” reads much like a suspense novel, and I found it difficult to put down. The mystery is more ominous in this book, and the winter setting augments this. Jillian and Nolan remain the main protagonists, but I was glad to meet different secondary characters this time around in Jillian’s best friend, Kris, and the mysterious vacationer, Tucker. For quite a while I was not sure what to make of Tucker, who is tight-lipped about his life and who is obviously hiding something, yet is incredibly generous, his savoir-faire attitude blending with his strange reserve. As he learns, you can’t outrun your past. However, for those who have accepted Christ, the past is just that—the past—and we can trust in the One who knows us, loves us, and breaks the chains that enslave us. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
Intertwining the past and the present with her dual-timeline narrative, Newport demonstrates once again the substantial impact that our histories can have even decades later. Titling this series Tree of Life echoes with layers of meaning, particularly in this sequel. Aside from the obvious genealogical connection, I’m reminded of the eponymous tree in the Garden of Eden and how Adam and Eve’s disobedience led to their being denied its fruit yet also paved the way for the Savior. Also, cross-pollination serves as a metaphor in the narrative, alluding to the combination of the past and the present to form a stronger future and also to the subject of black-market baby snatching, taking a child from its original parents and transplanting them into another family. Although the faith element is very light, reconciliation is a solid subject, along with the realization that you cannot outrun either your past or God. Nolan observes that “[h]e couldn’t go back and change what he thought was right at a different point in time. But he could choose differently now.” The same is true for all of us, and because of Jesus’ sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection, no matter where we are in life’s journey or where we’ve come from, when we accept Jesus as Lord, He makes us new!
Recommended for those interested in genealogy, skiing, small-town life, father-daughter duos, and the criminal exploits of Georgia Tann, as well as fans of Liz Tolsma’s “The Pink Bonnet.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and CelebrateLit and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions are my own.
The Inn at Hidden Run is not your normal kind of historical fiction book. I really like that. This start out in the present with a young woman who shows up asking for a job. But she seem to be running from something. Why is what make you want to know.
Though we also get a story of a what is going on in Memphis in 1878. Though the eyes of a young woman named Elisa. She tells us about the epidemic of Yellow Jack or as we call it “Yellow Fever”. I do not know how this author does this but I loved it. I hope to get their other stories though out this series.
How the author combines the family tree elements or genealogy though this book to find the connection and the present members the family she runs into is really interesting and fun to read. The plot is written well. The characters are written well. To find out what the meaning behind Canfield and Eliza is something. For it does not get reveled until the end make it even more enjoyable to read.
I had felt really like I was going down a path of finding the connection with Jillian who was helping Meri and her family and why they were Medical doctors. We find that connection at the end. You will want to read this book if you are looking for something new and a historical fiction or event that happen in USA along with some fun in Genealogy.
Olivia pull to along and you will want to find out. She put these to element together seemly and I just love that. I have yet to see another author do this. I hope to get the next book in the series as I can not wait to read them.