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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2012
This wonderful book is more than an Amish story. The main character, eighteen year old Ella, has actually been raised as a Mennonite in Pennsylvania, though she is willing to join the Amish Church so that she can marry her Amish boyfriend Ezra. Now it seems that their families are conspiring to separate Ezra from her by sending him to another state to learn dairy farming, and at the same time Ella's father has returned, after abandoning his family many years ago, resulting in Ella learning that she has been kept in the dark about important family secrets. Feeling resentful toward her family and alienated from them, Ella cleverly schemes to ensure that she and Ezra won't be separated by suggesting that he apprentice at a dairy farm next door to the farm in Indiana where her mother was born and where she still has relatives.

Without telling her family her plans and without telling Ezra that her family doesn't know, Ella stealthily arranges to go to Indiana with Ezra. Her plan works flawlessly until both her family and Ezra's discover it. Then Ezra's family is furious with him, and he in turn is furious with Ella. Ezra's family comes to take him home and Ella is left in Indiana by herself. Torn between returning to Pennsylvania to try to patch things up with Ezra, and remaining in Indiana so that she can avoid her estranged father, and investigate an old family mystery shared with her by her grandmother, Ella chooses to stay until family tragedy suddenly calls her back to Pennsylvania. Readers will be delighted with the way God's plan for Ella unfolds and with the way biblical truths about the central importance of a relationship with Christ, both for every individual and every marriage, are revealed in this beautiful story of forgiveness and redemption!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2012
I really liked book number three in The Women of Lancaster County. The Amish Bride was a very fun read. I loved Ella and her story. If you have read the first two in this series you are going to like this story of redemption. This book did have an unexpected ending. I did not see it coming, but I really did like it.You don't have to read the first two books in the series but it would be best to so that you can follow the characters better. I gave this book 4 stars.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2012
Oh this book was so good. I couldn't put it down. I loved "The Amish Nanny" and "The Amish Midwife" but "The Amish Bride" is my favorite so far.

This book begins with the character Ella Bayer. She is very adamant to what she wants in life. She wants to own her own bakery and she wants to marry Ezra Gundy. There is only one problem. She is Mennonite and Ezra is Amish. Ella is willing to become Amish to marry Ezra. It seems that both families would like nothing more than to keep them a part from each other.

Ella does a lot of planning on how to keep her and Ezra together. While she doesn't come right out and lie, so she thinks, she just eliminates some important facts.

Ella finds out that Ezra is being sent to Indiana to work on a dairy farm. Ella devises a plan that would allow her to spend time in Indiana close by the dairy farm where Ezra is staying.

Will Ella's plan work out for her? Does she and Ezra end up together? Does Ella become Amish?

This book is filled with a lot of characters. Some were very endearing to me. It would take up too much space to try to write about each one in this review. Besides, I think it would give away too much of the story. You will need to pick up a copy of this book to find out what makes it such a fantastic read!

This book addresses the issue of forgiveness. How often do we hang on to our hurts when we have been wronged? It is so easy to nurture those hurts and not let go. Forgiveness can be a tough issue at times and it isn't always so easy to readily forgive. This story also shows us the value of letting God be in control of our life. Too often we are in the driver's seat and we wonder why our life is so messed up.

Thank you Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould for writing a book that is such a good read that you don't want it to end.

I'm hoping that we see a fourth book in The Women of Lancaster County. I want to find out more about Ella and her future!

I won this book on Thank you so much for the chance to do so. I have enjoyed this book immensely. The opinions that I shared are mine alone.
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on December 17, 2012
Ella Bayer has a recipe for her life: go to baking school, open her own bakery, join the Amish church and marry her longtime love, Ezra Gundy. God may be in the picture somewhere, but He's only peripheral to her plans. Headstrong and feisty, Ella has no doubt that her recipe will lead to a bright, happy future. Heaven has other ideas for Ella, though, and throws some surprising ingredients into her life, stirring up events in ways that Ella could never have imagined.

Ella was certain that her family's secrets had all been unveiled when her cousins, Lexie and Ada, finally forced the truth about their parentage from the older generation. Her Mammi's revelation that deeper secrets remain and are tied to an old, encrypted journal kept by her great-grandmother intrigues Ella and sends her on a search for clues to decipher the journal and learn more about the fascinating woman whose personality seems so similar to her own. Though her curiosity is aroused, Ella is reluctant to trace the book back to her maternal grandmother's Indiana origins, for it would mean leaving behind Ezra and her family. The arrival of her absentee father and the Gundy's plans to send Ezra away, keeping him away from the marriage with Ella that they starkly oppose, provide her with the incentive to follow him to Indiana and use her time there to search for clues, attend baking school and work to gain the knowledge she'll need to open her own store. Things don't work out quite as she'd envisioned them, however, and Ella is bereft when Ezra is forced to return to Lancaster County while she remains behind in Indiana. Their separation leads her to rely on others for support, including a young Amish neighbor named Luke and her cousin Rosalee. Driven by loneliness, desperation and curiosity, Ella delves further into her family's secrets and learns a lot more about herself in the process. Ella undergoes a gradual transformation, changing from a willful, resentful girl to a young woman of faith with a heart open to forgiveness.

The Amish Bride is an uplifting read that, though not as good as the previous two books in the series, certainly rates an excellent review. The plot is well-paced with equal parts mystery, r0mance and inspiration. Unlike other Amish fiction novels that I've read recently, its focus is broad and not restricted to a love story that ends in a predictable conclusion. It touches on controversial topics including abuse and betrayal in honest and thoughtful ways. Ella's character is three-dimensional and full of flaws. She jumps to conclusions, acts impulsively and feels as if the world owes her everything that is good and perfect. Though it takes time, she learns how wrong she is and her journey of growth and change, though full of many wrong turns, inspires the reader to look into her own heart for a similar need for change. The supporting cast of characters are also realistically portrayed, but their personalities remain a bit flat which is one of the very few negative aspects of the book. Overall, I found the book both entertaining and insightful and give it a fully deserved five-star recommendation!
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on November 15, 2012
In The Amish Bride, the reader is swept away to beautiful Amish country -- the picture of idyllic living with blooming daffodils, grazing cows in emerald green pastures, and clean clothes flapping in the breeze -- but underneath the guise of tranquility lie secrets, pain, and betrayal.

Ella Bayer is a lovely, young Mennonite woman who wants only to attend baking school, start her own bakery, and become the wife of her Amish sweetheart, Ezra Gundy. Seeking to separate the two, Ezra's family arranges for him to leave Lancaster County to work at a dairy farm in Indiana, although Ella has made it clear that she is willing to join the Amish church.

Meanwhile, Ella's grandmother gives her a book filled with mysterious codes and secrets, and entrusts Ella to crack the code for reasons of her own. To do so gives Ella the perfect opportunity to go to Indiana with Ezra, where the author of the book had lived, and her mammi has prepaid for her to go to baking school there as well. While there, Ella meets Luke, a shy, but kind Amish man and ends up working in close proximity to him.

Upon discovering that the two of them are together, Ezra's family immediately summon him back home, leaving a heartbroken Ella in Indiana. When a mysterious man shows up in Ella and her family's life, and disturbing secrets come to light -- will Ella stay where she is, or return to Lancaster to become Ezra's wife? Will she crack the code in the book and what are the consequences should she do so?...and if she leaves Indiana what of her friendship with Luke? Have they become more than mere friends?

Ok, I'm ashamed to admit it, but this is the first Amish book by Mindy Clark that I have read and I loved it! Although this is the third book in The Women of Lancaster County series it can be read as a stand alone. Her writing technique (I love how she pays so much attention to detail) and storyline is intriguing -- her characters -- all too human. Interspersed with a thread of suspense, and tough topics such as adultery, spousal abuse, and abandonment, this is one not to be missed!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2012
In book 3 of the Women of Lancaster County, Clark and Gould continue the stories of Plain women finding true love and determining their future.

Mennonite Ella Bayer is in love. She is sure that she will marry her teenage boyfriend, Ezra Gundy, join the Amish church in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and live happily ever after. There is only one thing standing in her way...her mother... who is just as determined that Ella won't be marrying Ezra after all.

Ezra family, like Ella's mom, is concerned about Ella and Ezra's relationship. Although Mennonites and Amish are both Plain, they are very different in what they believe. One of the two young lovers must forsake their heritage to be able to marry the other.

Amid mounting tension, Ezra gets sent to Indiana and away from Ella by his father to learn about Amish dairy farming. Without her family's permission, Ella runs off to Indiana to join Ezra. While there, she meets young Amish farmhand, Luke, and strikes up an unlikely friendship with him. When family tragedy forces her to return to Pennsylvania, Ella must face her past and determine which Amish man will share her future.

My Thoughts:

The Amish Bride was a cute, engaging book. It kept my attention and had me guessing at the ending up until the last page. I love the fact that Ella's character is fully Mennonite, embracing all their beliefs, but also fully her own, somewhat rebellious person. She is real and delightful.

I also loved the ending that the authors chose. It was not a pat, predictable ending. It was genuine and unexpected. It was the ending I would want for my child.

If I were to rank the books in this series in order of my favorites, The Amish Bride would come in second. It was not as good as the first book, The Amish Midwife but better than the second book, The Amish Nanny.

My one complaint was that there needed to be a family tree in the front of the book to refer to. I got a little confused trying to keep all the characters and all their family relationships straight. (There may be a family tree in the print version of the book, but in the Kindle version that I read, there was not.)

I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

I received a complementary Kindle version of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2012
This was a very fitting finish to the 3 books in the series, not how I expected but an excellent read showing hos we all need to stop sometimes and sort through our problems, the Amish way of doing things can often be very helpful.
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on May 26, 2013
Ella Bayer is feisty, stubborn, smart, pretty and a free spirit. She knows what she wants and how to reach her goals. But she flinches at the thought her desires may not be God's will.

Her boyfriend, Ezra's family and Ella's mother seem determined to stop their relationship. Ella secretly finds a room and a job in Indiana when Ezra is sent to work at a dairy there. She also dreams of cooking lessons from a nearby school.

Ezra is ordered back to Lancaster County. Ella is stuck in Indiana. However, her grandmother urgently wants Ella to decipher a code in a book written by Ella's great-grandmother, who grew up in Indiana.

Ella meets helpful people and some who dislike her. She becomes friends with the dairy owner's son, Luke and his young brother.

The cooking school owner insults Ella's projects. She can't figure out the book's code. She looses her cell phone so can't contact Ezra. Her employer may not have enough business to keep paying Ella.

Will she marry Ezra and change from Mennonite to Amish? Will she pass the cooking lessons to someday open her own shop? Will she gain approval from the dairy owner? Why is his wife often ill? Can she find more business for her employer? How will Luke figure in Ella's future? What will she learn from the mysterious book? How will she settle her relationship with God?

A well-written story about characters who feel `alive', The Amish Bride shows this culture in a better light than some Amish tales. An enjoyable read with satisfying surprises to the tale.
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on June 6, 2013
Ella Bayer, a Mennonite teen with Amish connections, has finished high school and is ready to get on with her life. This includes attending a baking school, with the dream of owning her own bakery one day, and marrying her Amish boyfriend, Ezra Gundy. Family conflicts continue--some introduced in the first two books of the series, The Amish Midwife and The Amish Nanny--with new issues impeding the path Ella has planned.

She avoids her estranged father, deceives her mother, endures separation from Ezra, tolerates humiliation from her teacher, and assists her cousin and new friends as she sorts out her life goals and what God might want. Should she join the Amish church? How can she ever forgive her dad?

Added to the drama of intertwined relationships is the element of suspense Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould skillfully weave into their tales. Ella's great-grandmother left a journal, partially written in code. Ella endeavors to unravel the meaning behind the drawings and strange writing as she discovers more of her mother's family history. The lessons learned parallel her own life of joy mixed with pain. Her journey of self-discovery also opens the door to greater sensitivity and understanding of others.

This book can stand alone, but the series is best read in order. The book will be out August 1, so you have time to read the earlier ones. Don't miss them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2012
The Amish Bride is one of the best amish novels I have read in a long time.
I truly enjoyed every word and was sad when there was no more to read.
Definitely a must read.
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