Sunday, October 10, 2010

Book Review: Rachel's Garden

Rachel's Garden (Pleasant Valley)
Author: Marta Perry
Rachel's Garden
Publish Date:
March 2010
4 stars
Book Blurb:
It has been almost a year since the Amish community of Pleasant Valley lost Ezra Brand to tragedy. Now his wife Rachel struggles to raise their three children and run their farm.
Rachel's friends and family have come forward to help. But all of their constant advice, however well intentioned, puts undue pressure on Rachel. And when Gideon Zook, Ezra's best friend, asks her permission to build the greenhouse Ezra had always promised her, she finds his presence too painful a reminder of losing her husband.

As spring turns to summer, and Rachel puts her heart into growing the plants that have always brought her joy, can she discover the courage to embrace new beginnings?

Review: Rachel's Garden is the second book in the Pleasant Valley series of books by Marta Perry. It focuses on the lives of Rachel Brand and Gideon Zook who's lives are effected by an accident that claimed the life of Ezra Brand. Ezra was Rachel's husband and Gideon's best friend.

The book shows Rachel learning to forgive herself and coming to grips with the fact that Erza's death was an accident and just because Gideon survived doesn't mean he was to blame. She's also working hard at keeping the family farm going, with the help of her husband's two brothers.

Marta really gives us a wonderful picture of Amish life in this story, and it is wonderful that you can read these books out of order, without being lost. Leah's story was the first in the series, and though she's a prominent character in this book, the stoy is Rachel's and hers alone.

The book also shows how children cope with the loss of a parent in a society where photography isn't allowed. It was heartbreaking when each child had a hard time remembering their father. Gideon and Rachel both helped them with tales of their dad, until his face was fresh in their minds again.

It was really refreshing to see how each of Rachel's children coped with their loss. The other part of the story that was particularly touching was Joseph's pet goat Dolly's pregnancy, especially the part where Dolly gives birth. There won't be a dry eye for miles as you read about her birthing twins.

There's also some suspense to keep things interesting and Marta does this well, as she also writes for Love Inspired's Supsense line of books. She gives the reader just enough to keep them wondering what's going to happen next without putting them on the edge of their seats.

All in all, this was an excellent read, as most of Marta's books are. It definitely leaves you wanting the next book in the series. Plus it is nice to learn a bit more about the Amish way of life.


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