When Jenny is injured in a car bomb attack overseas, she awakens beneath one of her grandmother's Amish quilts---and discovers something even more comforting: an invitation to recuperate back home in Lancaster County. Pennsylvania life proves healing in many ways---until she unexpectedly falls in love! After traveling the world, could she ever settle here?
Barbara Cameron twists the typical storyline of an "English" woman falling in love with an Amish man in her first novel in the Quilts of Lancaster series. Jenny has always felt a special connection to her grandmother's Amish community, despite her father leaving the faith as a teenager. When she's injured while reporting from a war-torn country, Jenny decides to recuperate in Lancaster, where she feels at peace. There she reconnects with Matthew, a man she became friends with on her childhood summer visits, whom she discovers she still has a crush on. But Jenny's still hurting, both physically and emotionally, and she's not sure if she's ready for a relationship - let alone one with a widower who has three children and belongs to a completely separate part of society. It's going to take the help of the handsome farmer himself, his adorable children, his meddling sister and Jenny's ever-faithful grandmother to convince Jenny that God has brilliant plans for her future, no matter how bleak the repercussions of her accident may look.
Jenny is the anti-heroine: she's insecure about her looks, worried about her future and cares more about others than herself. She's a woman that we should all be able to relate to. I loved that Barbara Cameron dared to create a character who struggled with her movements and speech; Jenny struggles with things that we take for granted yet she still manages to make new friends and fall in love. Her lifestyle is also unconventional, having spent most of her adult life in war-torn countries reporting on how children are suffering. Cameron really makes us feel the heart that Jenny has for the children she meets, and how she wonders if she's let opportunities disappear from her life because of her career. More and more women in today's society are getting married late and put off having families because they want to focus on their jobs, like Jenny, which is what makes her an appealing and modern character.
Her love interest, Matthew, is also appealing. He's an old-fashioned gentleman, always eager to help Jenny and constantly looking for opportunities to visit her, which is most endearing! Matthew is father to three children, and I have to admit that I like the storyline of a single woman falling in love with a man with a past and a brood of kids. The children added humour and lightness to the story and served to show us what a loving woman Jenny is. Not only does she fall in love with the Amish and Matthew, but Jenny becomes enamoured with his children. Annie in particular was incredibly cute and I'm sure every reader will have a soft spot in their heart for her.
I was incredibly impressed with Barbara Cameron's venture into the genre of Amish fiction and especially pleased with her unique take on the genre. Jenny had previous connections with the Amish community through her grandparents which made her involvement with the People, and her interest in Matthew, all the more believable. I also loved how Jenny wasn't a typical romantic heroine and had the same struggles that we all have - and much more. This is a fantastic novel and I'll definitely be looking out for the second in the series, A Time to Heal, in March 2011. 10/10