Even better than the first book in the series! My review of "The Hidden Life" by Adina Senft @FaithWords


Emma Stolzfus has never been courted or kissed, and now that she's 30, it has become her place as the unmarried daughter to look after her elderly mother. But in the dark hours when her mother is asleep, Emma writes letters and essays to Amish periodicals, short stories, and even a novel she's been working on for the last five years.

When a New York literary agent, Tyler West, takes an interest in her work, Emma secretly goes to meet him. When she returns, something about her is different-and the men of her Amish community take notice. But how can she settle for second best when her heart made its choice years ago-to a man she can never have? Only her friends, Amelia and Carrie, know the truth in her heart as they work together on their quilt ... and only they understand when an old tragedy comes to light that will either hurt or heal ... and reveal Emma's hidden life.


I never thought I'd say this, but I loved The Hidden Life even more than the first book in the series, The Wounded Heart, and I gave that book rave reviews indeed! The reason? Emma Stolzfus is simply one of my favorite characters to come along so far this year! She has a special knack for stumbling into trouble, skirting along the edge of what is acceptable in her Amish community, and refusing to live her life solely to please other's expectations of her. I loved the predicaments humble Emma suddenly found herself in, that after years of waiting to catch the eye of the perfect man while caring for her elderly parents, rumors are flying about not one, not two, but three men who seem intent on courting her! As with the first book, I found that this second installment in the series was a compelling read, written with sensitivity to the Amish culture, but also exploring some of the difficulties in living a plain life as well. Emma's dilemma is a unique one of how to use the gift God has clearly given her, the gift of writing, when her community frowns upon a woman's voice being heard in such a manner.

I loved the scene where Emma is considering whether she's ever truly listened to God in his attempts to guide her, where she contemplates "Had she really treated the Lord of Heaven the way people treated her? Asking for everything under the sun, but not listening for a reply? Maybe God had been ready to show her His will, and she'd been up and away to can bean pickles, or off to her typewriter, or going somewhere else to do goodness knows what, and His counsel had blown away on the wind she kicked up as she bustled hither and yon". These are words that leave me pondering how I listen (or don't) to God myself. Any book that can both entertain and leave me thinking is a book worth reading!

Adina Senft is quickly become one of my favourite writers of Amish fiction, and I look forward to the final book in the series, The Tempted Soul, coming in 2013. Senft's characters are beautifully developed, with original characters who will move you to both laugh and cry, and this story is one I plan on revisiting in the future. 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Faith Words, for the purposes of this unbiased review.


Adina Senft grew up in a plain house church and was often asked if she was Amish. (The answer was no.) She holds an MFA in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania, where she is part of the adjunct faculty. Between books, Adina enjoys playing the piano and Celtic harp, making historical costumes, and spoiling her flock of rescued chickens.