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Gladden the Heart (Amish Turns of Time Book 5) Kindle Edition
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This novel is part of an ongoing series, Amish Turns of Time, and this one is book 5. I can be honest and say, I have not read any of the previous novels so I can't say whether doing so would have made me enjoy the premise behind this one any better. I have read previous novels that were part of a series and could follow along until I get the just of what is going on with the characters. In this case, I honestly couldn't care about any of them.
It involves two very different set of people living amongst one another, an Amish Order and the Methodists which are close neighbors to one another. Those readers who are familiar with Amish fiction, understand that they are very faithful and committed to their religious beliefs. They try to keep those in the community from being affected by those outside their faith, and in this case with the Methodist preacher who comes to stage tent revivals, a few of the Amish are a bit curious like the main character, Susana who occasionally peeks into the tents to see just what all the fuss is about. Her Amish boyfriend, Adam is making plans to marry Susana and doesn't want to see her dabbling in the other faiths, no matter how curious she is. When her favorite cousin Noah suddenly has spells in which is preaches without remembering any of it, not only is Noah's wife Phoebe at bit concerned, but also the entire Amish community who like to believe that all their preachers come from being chosen in the community not just those who suddenly have the ability.
I received Gladden the Heart by Olivia Newport compliments of Barbour Publishing and Net Galley. For me, this entire novel really never connected. It felt like bits and pieces of two very different parts of the book were spliced together. The beginnings and endings of each set of circumstances seemed disconnected and choppy and thus for me, I had a difficult time truly caring for any of the characters. The spells that Noah continues to have increase in frequency and I can understand why those in the Amish faith might fear this situation, and thus the need to keep them separated while the leaders of the community can figure out just what to do with them. Other readers might feel differently about this novel, but for me, it just fell flat and thus the need for a 2 out of 5 stars in this reader's opinion. This just wasn't a favorite for me.
While Gladden the Heart is part of a series, it is a stand-alone novel. I thought the concept behind Gladden the Heart is intriguing, I did enjoy the final product. “Sleeping preachers” is an interesting phenomenon, and it could have made a great story. Is it God’s will for this to happen to Noah? I actually did a little research in “sleeping preachers”. I just felt that the author could have done so much more with this subject. Why did the Amish believe Noah’s preaching was wrong? What was the main difference between the Amish faith and other religions at this time in history? I thought the pace was sluggish (actually, slugs move faster) and the writing was not up to Olivia Newport’s usual standard. The book was awkward and the characters flat. There are numerous Bible verses (scripture) and sermons contained within the story (after a while, I started skipping past them). I really struggled to finish this novel. I can tell when I am not enjoying a book. I start checking to see how much farther until the end and I start speed reading through boring parts. When I start hoping for a good murder to spice up the storyline (especially when I am reading an Amish novel that is not a mystery), then I know I do not like the book. The romance between Susanna and Adam failed to come to life. I never felt love between the couple. Susanna’s mother was an annoying character. Her fear (for the time period) was understandable. The characters lacked depth. There is also a repetition of information (it felt like padding). I am rating Gladden the Heart 2 out of 5 stars. I do not want to discourage readers from Olivia Newport’s novels. While Gladden the Heart was not for me, I have appreciated many of her other books (Valley of Choice series).
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Gladden The Heart is book #5 of Amish Turns of Time Series, written by Olivia Newport.Read more
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