Title: The Photograph
Publisher: Bethany House
Publish Date: Sept 8, 2015
Book Blurb:Eva Esch and her sisters are in a predicament. With the passing of their widowed mother, Eva's older brother Menno plans to move his growing family into the Eden Valley farmhouse where they all grew up, leaving little room for his three single sisters. Surely, Menno reasons, at least one of them will marry this coming wedding season. Eva does hope to marry, but she isn't sure she wants to give up her sweet shop for the life of a farmer's wife, and she has no other prospects.
When younger sister, Lily, disappears in the night, leaving only a brief note, Eva fears she has been wooed away from the People by an outsider. And when Jed Stutzman, a young Amish buggy maker from Ohio, shows up in Lancaster with a photo of a Plain young woman, Eva's world begins to tilt. She feels powerfully drawn to the quietly charming stranger--but the woman in the forbidden photograph is no stranger at all. . . .
Review: I am a huge fan of Amish fiction. Beverly Lewis is one of the greats in this genre. I've always found her books to be like soap operas, especially when she wrote her sagas, that were usually 3 books.
Recently she's been writing stand alone novels and for the most part they have been fabulous, but for some reason The Photograph feels like she's phoned this one in. My high school creative writing teacher would call this one a pot boiler.
There was the usual drama going on, with Lily running off and the sister's brother wanting to take over the family farm, forcing the sisters to possibly find a new place to live as well as Eva losing out on the candy shop her father had built for her.
The trouble with this book was how flat the characters felt to me and I wished the story could have focused on Lily and her reasons for leaving. You get all the information on her at the end, but it just didn't feel fulfilling.
Menno was the story's villain, but even that didn't feel right to me. I mean, how could he not care for his three sisters, especially as they were all unmarried, and they all had recently lost their mother.
I did like Jed and Eva. There romance, though to be perfectly honest, there wasn't much of one in the story was sweet. I liked that he came to really know her through the writings on her copy of "Little Women." The main conflict involves the photo that he finds in the book on the train to Lancaster. He mistakenly thinks the photo is of Eva.
Most books by Beverly Lewis are quick reads for me, but this one took me quite a while to finish because the story just didn't seem to go anywhere. It was like spinning wheels. It was a good enough book, but not one of Lewis' best.
Rating: 3 flowers