A Hopeful Heart by Amy Clipston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Paperback, 321 pages
Published June 21st 2013 by Zondervan (first published June 11th 2013)
ISBN 0310319986 (ISBN13: 9780310319986)
Series: Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel #1
Having lost her husband four years ago, Hannah longs to have another love in her life. Her brother-n-law has always had feelings for her, is good with her children, is devoted to their horse farm business, but Hannah just doesn't have those romantic feelings for him. At the hotel where Hannah works, a new guest catches her attention. Trey Parker is looking to buy a bed and breakfast to honor his late wife. When he notices Hannah, he realizes his heart has feelings that he's not had since his wife passed. Coming from two very different worlds, Hannah and Trey seem to be at a crossroads they didn't envision.
Being the first one in the new series, I'm hoping their story will continue on in the next one. I really enjoyed all the characters and each one had a little depth to them so it was easy to keep up with all of them. Hannah's struggles were very well written. I really felt I could understand her frustrations with gossip, her tug of war between two different worlds, and her determination to bring her decision to the Lord for guidance. On the other hand, I found myself wanting to "hear" a little bit more from Trey's view point.
While I really enjoyed this story, I was also a little frustrated with the lack of Trey's thoughts to becoming Amish. I felt like he was uprooting his life already from New Jersey, was living in a hotel, why would it have not been easier for him to become Amish or even just consider being Amish? Throughout the story it was mentioned that Hannah would have to leave the Amish or Trey would have to join the Amish, but it was only in passing. Only one time did a character actually mention that thought out loud. I would have really liked to hear his thoughts on why he couldn't consider being Amish. Not that I blame him, that's a huge lifestyle change, but I would have liked to see how his character dealt with those thoughts.
I know it's not the Amish style to cause arguments, but I would have loved to see someone deal with the gossip that was going on throughout the story. Hannah's mother-n-law and her brother-n-law both started some very hurtful gossip and I would have loved to see that brought before the church. (Though, at times, I felt it wasn't really gossip, as some of it was true, Hannah just hadn't mentioned it to anyone yet.) I also wonder why it was so easy for Hannah's in-laws to be so hard on her and to spread gossip in the first place. They're family, so why cause more problems for each other? Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoyed this aspect of the story. Some of the feelings Hannah had for her mother-n-law are ones I have felt myself. I liked being able to relate to Hannah in that way.
Overall, I enjoyed the beginning of this new series and will say it definitely has me eagerly awaiting the next one. I need to know how Hannah works things out with her daughter Lily. Oh, and of course I want to see how Trey's bed and breakfast turns out.
I was graciously provided a free digital copy of this book from Zondervan in partnership with Booksneeze to review it. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
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