A wonderful start to a new Amish series from Adina Senft: "Herb of Grace"

Herb of Grace

about the book...

Amish widow Sarah Yoder has been struggling to raise her two teenaged sons and provide a home where family and members of her Old Order Amish church can find fellowship and friendship. Though she is close to her in-laws, lately it feels like her relationship with her boys is splintering. Her stepson Simon wants to move out west with his cousins to find work. And her youngest, Caleb, is spending far too much time over at the tumbledown home of a man who left the church long ago. Henry Byler only returned recently to Willow Creek when he inherited the family farm--under protest--and now seems caught in a struggle between the faith of his childhood and the world he's come to know.

Ruth Lehman, the local Dokterfraa, believes Sarah should use her gift for growing plants to become an herbal healer, too. Sarah is reluctant, however, uncertain if caring for others will take her away from her family--the place where she believes God wants her. But when she feels called to help members of her community, she soon discovers that the heart can be scarred as deeply as the body. As she compiles her herbs, she waits for God to do his healing work in a man who rues a harsh decision, in a lonely prodigal who has lost everything, and maybe even in a herbalist-in-training who firmly believes she will never love again.

my review...

Adina Senft's latest novel provides a wonderfully entertaining read while imparting wisdom that will feed the soul. As with her prior books, she has achieved a wonderful combination of interesting characterization with life drama that kept me turning the pages from start to finish. From family conflicts to romance to moments that result in heart-ache, this book has it all!  Amish widow Sarah Yoder is one of those characters who quickly becomes someone you feel is as real as can be, and I felt like cheering her on as she steps out of her comfort zone to discover if God has something new in store for her. While reading this story, I found myself contemplating God's will and how we discover his purpose for our lives. I love how Adina has clearly shown that often we don't have full certainty of what God has called us to do, but that he gently guides us (and sometimes pushes us) where he wants us to go. And then, like Sarah, we can only step out in faith, believing like Sarah when she knew there was "something God could do with these hands of mine if I just had the courage to let him". May we all have that courage!

I strongly recommend "Herb of Grace", for those readers who typically enjoy Amish fiction, but also for those who might normally choose a different genre. This isn't just good Amish fiction - it's good fiction, period. I eagerly anticipate the next addition to the series! 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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

about the author...

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.

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