Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review: Gabriel's Bride by Amy Lillard

Amy Lillard is one of my favorite authors of the Amish genre.  She uses humor in her books, which I appreciate, as well as just the right amount of romantic tension to keep me turning the pages.  The entire series of Clover Ridge books are a worthwhile addition to your library.


Readers who enjoy Amish fiction will not be able to put Gabriel’s Bride by Amy Lillard (B&H Publishing Group) down once they start reading.  This Amish romance is the continuation of The Clover Ridge series and follows the eldest son, widowed, taciturn Gabriel Fisher and his family in Clover Ridge, Oklahoma.  Readers need not read the previous two novels in the series, but will want to as the first two novels, Saving Gideon and Katie’s Choice, are just as exceptional as Gabriel’s Bride.

The book begins with Gabriel’s oldest child, Mary Elizabeth, leaving home unexpectedly to further her schooling in the English world.  Gabriel, who desperately misses his wife who died during childbirth six years ago, has no one to help with the cooking and housekeeping for him and his five sons.  He needs the help especially with his youngest son, sweet and delightful six year old Samuel with Down’s syndrome.

Soon Gabriel meets a 26 year old Amish woman, Rachel, who is in need of a job and place to live since her only close relative has passed away.  If Rachel doesn’t take the housekeeper job for the stern and unfriendly Gabriel, she will need to move to Ohio to live with a distant cousin with eleven children and give up her organic goat cheese business.

With some misgivings, Rachel begins the housekeeping job at Gabriel’s home but she’s not much of an Amish housekeeper.  She burns most of the food she cooks, her goats eat Gabriel’s prized experimental crop of red and gold wheat, and she has trouble keeping up with cleaning and sewing.  However Rachel and little Samuel develop a bond even if the older brothers have little use for her.

Only two weeks into this rocky start, the bishop and ministers pay a visit to Gabriel and Rachel to tell them their living arrangement is inappropriate since they are not married but living under the same roof.  Impulsively and although they barely get along, Gabriel asks Rachel to marry him, in name only, so they can continue the work arrangement and still satisfy the demands of the Amish ministers.

Slowly the barriers between Gabriel and Rachel begin to crumble and break down; love starts to grow secretly in each of their hearts.  The author skillfully brings the couple closer to a real marriage until little Samuel gets bitten by a rattlesnake.  Rachel blames herself for the boy’s injury.  She feel unworthy to raise Gabriel’s children and decides to run away from Clover Ridge to live with her distant Ohio relatives.  Delightful surprises await readers in the captivating ending to this most readable novel.

Amy Lillard writes beautiful romantic Amish novels.  She is talented in maintaining the romantic tension as well as interjecting humor between the characters in her books.  Readers of the Amish genre will savor every page of Gabriel’s Bride which was available February 1, 2014.

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