Rebecca Kauffman's tranquil Old Order Amish life is transformed when she suddenly has custody of her two teenage nieces after her "English" sister and brother-in-law are killed in an automobile accident. Instant motherhood, after years of unsuccessful attempts to conceive a child of her own, is both a joy and a heartache. Rebecca struggles to give the teenage girls the guidance they need as well as fulfill her duties to Daniel as an Amish wife.
Rebellious Jessica is resistant to Amish ways and constantly in trouble with the community. Younger sister Lindsay is caught in the middle, and the strain between Rebecca and Daniel mounts as Jessica's rebellion escalates. Instead of the beautiful family life she dreamed of creating for her nieces, Rebecca feels as if her world is being torn apart by two different cultures, leaving her to question her place in the Amish community, her marriage, and her faith in God.
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect of this book and was pleasantly surprised. Although it is written in a rather simplistic manner, it suits the book and doesn't detract from the values of the story. Although written in the third person, I really felt like I got inside the heads of Rebecca, her husband, Daniel, and her nieces, Jessica and Lindsay. I felt like I was experiencing the hurt of the girls at being uprooted from their normal life and the confusion Rebecca had over what was the best way of caring for her nieces. Overall, I thought that the book presented a realistic picture of two "worldly" girls moving to an Amish community. The ultimate decisions of Lindsay and Jessica weren't what I expected, but this made it even more believable! I also appreciated the Christian emphasis of the novel - which was far more present than in Beverly Lewis' Amish books - and the verses that Elizabeth reminded Rebecca of in her time of need. I must go back sometime and write them down! Elizabeth and the other Kauffman family members fitted into the story neatly and really gave the book its "Amish community" atmosphere and the scenes in the bakery truly made me feel like I'd been transported to Lancaster country. I'm glad that this book is part of a series as I'd love to read more about the family. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am pleased that it exceeded my expectations. If you're looking for an enjoyable, thought-provoking story with realistic characters and strong Christian values that is an easy read then I'd definitely recommend this! Can't wait to get hold of the next book! 10/10