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A Courtship on Huckleberry Hill (The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill) Mass Market Paperback – December 26, 2017
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About the Author
Jennifer Beckstrand is the RITA nominated and award-winning author of the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series. She loves writing about the plain Amish life and the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. She and her husband have been married for thirty-one years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten. Readers can visit her website at www.jenniferbeckstrand.com.
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A little background first: In general, I like mysteries, sci fi and fantasy, if there happens to be some romance in it (like cozy mysteries) then that’s OK, as long as the story isn’t dominated by super beautiful leading lady and ultra-handsome leading man constantly feeling electric impulses every time they are near and focused on all the visceral stuff related to attraction between a man and a woman. That gets old REALLY FAST with me (and I’ve said it so much that my saying it is probably getting old). And Amish fiction just isn’t appealing. Part of me jokingly feels like it’s kind of unfair, considering most Amish people probably don’t read these books, so they can’t correct them if they find them offensive or inaccurate. But that’s just a thought I have – shows how little I know about the subject. Any how, I digress. In this case, I thought I’d challenge my reading palate by reading this one. I’ve always liked stories about teachers, especially in the “one room school house” situation. So, I figured that should make it interesting.
But I’ll start with the negative-ish and end with the positive.
The story is almost exactly what I expected it to be. It was very predictable and I knew nearly every step of the way what was going to happen from the very beginning. That’s why it didn’t “knock my socks off”, like some books do. And some people love that kind of writing, which is great for them, but kind of ho hum for me.
The premise is a bit annoying. I HATE when people meddle in the romantic lives of other people. I feel like it’s none of anyone’s business. However, in this case the matchmaker is very up front and not trying to be sneaky on either side, so the “victims” are clearly forewarned. And the little matchmaker lady is so blasted cute, how can you not like her.
Without giving too much away, I’m a little baffled that people aren’t more communicative about who they are related to and who they live with. It keeps the story moving, but I’m like “Why doesn’t this dude know where this chick lives yet??? After all, she’s the teacher!!!” But as I said it keeps the story moving along, much to my frustration at the lack of logic, especially being, it’s a small community. Frustration at lack of logic isn’t a compelling story telling devise for me.
As far as writing style, it is quite plain, much like the plain people being featured in the story. Not a lot of embellishment, just enough to make the story move, but not enough to make you sink in and feel like you’ve visited the place or watched the story like a movie. That’s neither a positive nor a negative, some will like it, some will not. I’m just stating a fact.
Now the really good stuff – the characters were sweet, I liked Elsie and Sam and little Maizy and the dear little grandma, she was quite a character on her own. I liked A LOT that the author dealt with the tendency of people to mean well, but coddle disabled people (I grew up with a disabled brother – we did not coddle him. We protected him, but we trained him to be the best he could be with his limitations.) I liked that children learned valuable lessons in kindness and care, and despite the lack of reality, I liked that a lot of things worked out well and good was rewarded and badness did not get any reward (thinking of a certain pesty “friend”.)
I admit I almost gave up at the 50% mark, it was just dragging along (with a lot of that electricity and attraction stuff that takes me out of the story) then all of a sudden, a number of big challenges were met, which made the story move a long a bit better. It made me laugh out loud a few times and smile and gave me a bit of tension. All in all, it was cute and I liked it.
If you like “nice” stories that don’t challenge you too much, this is a good one to read. I don’t mean that condescendingly either, I know and have known a number of people who like just that kind of reading. Enjoy!!!
Elsie being the new teacher and trying to help with a difficult lost child and battle the over protective brother who also needs her help. Very heartwarming! God bless the teachers that go out of their way to help the students. Funny, sweet, love, heartache.. It has it all
Her newest book "A Courtship on Huckleberry Hill" is another winner.
New teacher Elsie stirs up the school children and a big brother too. She guides them to looking at their hearts and and their lives even when it causes her trouble in the long run. Her love pushes her into doing whats right, come what may.
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