Saturday, 21 August 2010

On Her Own - Wanda E. Brunstetter

Barbara Zook was devastated when her husband David was killed. Will she be able to raise their four young boys and manage her beloved David's harness store on her own? When harness maker Paul Hilty arrives in Webster County, Missouri, he finds himself agreeing to help run Barbara's shop. Things are going fairly well until widower Bishop John Frey comes a-courting Barbara, and Paul's jealousy takes everyone by surprise. Will Paul try to beat out the competition or end up hightailing it back to Pennsylvania? Will Barbara marry for love or be forced to enter into a marriage of convenience?

This was a fairly average romance, pretty much like Mills & Boon or Harlequin set in an Amish community with a Christian emphasis. I normally really enjoy the Amish genre - especially Amy Clipston and Beverly Lewis - but this is the first of Brunstetter's novels that I've read and I can't say that it's up to the standards I'm used to. This little book was only 170-odd pages long, my first clue that there wasn't much to the story, and had a fairly predictable plot. Due to the shortness of the book, the characters didn't have a lot of space to develop and this made it hard to really care about them, and although it was fairly well written, there were several moments where speech seemed stilted, particularly with Barbara's eldest son, Aaron. Also, is Barbara a typical Amish name? There were a couple of characters whose names made me do a double take. All in all, this isn't a taxing read and would be nice, light reading for someone who has a low reading level and needs to practice their reading. But other than that, it was just too formulaic and predictable and - well, a bit boring, especially after reading Clipston's A Promise of Hope, which is also about a widowed Amish woman. I have a couple of other Brunstetter books on my TBR and I'll give them a go but I can't say that I'm impressed with her work. I can say that I've been inspired to write a predictable Christian romance and get it published with this company to pay off my student loan though... 5/10

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