A beautifully written novel: Balm of Gilead by Adina Senft

Balm of Gilead

about the book...

The third installment in the Healing Grace series finds young Amish widow Sarah Yoder facing her greatest challenge--herself.

Sarah Yoder hasn't seen Henry Byler since he became engaged to an Englisch woman, which is best for her peace of mind. Since Henry never joined the Amish church, any relationship but a neighborly one is impossible. So she stays busy with her family, welcoming her son back from the ranch he's been working on in Colorado, doing a little matchmaking for her sister-in-law, and making the teas and tinctures that heal the members of her church.

Then Henry seeks her out, desperate for a balm for his sensitive hands before his success as a potter is jeopardized, and Sarah must call on every ounce of strength to deny the cry of her heart. Yet there is Someone who just might have a special cure in mind-a healing balm with the power to change everything. But with Henry's wedding only weeks away, is it already too late?

my review...

“Balm of Gilead” is a beautifully written novel that gently draws readers back into the lives of Sarah Yoder and the Amish community that surrounds her. The story continues to follow Sarah in her discovery of who God has made her to be and what her place is in the world, and it does so in a way that isn’t afraid to explore both the blessings and the challenges of being Amish.  Senft’s characters are richly drawn and are so endearing I guarantee you won’t be able to get enough of them! I think what I most love about this novel, and indeed the entire series, is that the author depicts Sarah as someone with all the same sort of struggles readers can relate to in their own lives, even though Sarah’s Amish setting may be foreign to most of us. Sarah struggles with insecurities and with heartache, with knowing when to speak up and when to allow God to move. And we can all learn from her humble attitude, which always seeks forgiveness when she’s committed a wrong.

I not only enjoyed Sarah’s story, but also the many different subplots woven into the book. But really it’s the drama Sarah finds herself in, whether dealing with her children or her forbidden relationship with her Englisch neighbour Henry, that especially kept me turning the pages from start to finish. As I came to the final chapter, I found myself smiling at how things had been resolved, but also feeling a bit saddened that this is likely the last story we will be treated to from the Healing Grace series.

With wonderful characters and a well-crafted plot, “Balm of Gilead” is another solid addition to Senft’s collection. I award this story a high recommendation and 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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