|Isn't the dog adorable?|
A BOOK REVIEW OF HUCKLEBERRY SUMMER BY JENNIFER BECKSTRAND
Jennifer Beckstrand has another winner with Huckleberry Summer (Zebra Books, Kensington Publishing), book two in The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series. This book combines wonderful character development with humor, a dog, and unique subject matter in the Amish genre, to deliver a can’t-put-down novel. This book stands alone perfectly as is, but readers may want to start with book one, Huckleberry Hill, as it is a fun and interesting read as well. Readers will want to continue the adventures with Grandma Anna and Grandpa Felty as they find matches for their grandchildren on Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin throughout this series.
The summer begins with grandson Aden and his dog, Pilot, arriving on Huckleberry Hill from his Amish community in Ohio to help his grandparents on their farm and get himself straightened out. Aden is a vegetarian Amish man that has been arrested three times back in Ohio while being an environmental activist. Aden feels he has lived his whole life as a man of peace but somehow his peaceful efforts stir up trouble. Grandma Anna has picked the perfect Amish girl for Aden to help him settle down and invited her to work for the summer helping in the kitchen.
The perfect Amish girl is Lily and she is the exact opposite of Aden. She is fearful, timid, obedient, and well behaved. On Lily’s first day helping Anna, she is greeted by Aden’s huge dog, Pilot. Lily has been frightened of dogs ever since she was bitten at age 8 by a dog. This sets up Lily’s love-hate relationship with Aden’s dog, Pilot. While it is not love at first sight for Lily, she does begin to appreciate Aden’s good looks, caring heart, and easy manner. This is in sharp contrast to Tyler, the man that Lily’s father has picked for her. Tyler is a godly man and good provider but doesn’t stir up any romantic feelings in Lily.
Lily and Aden go on several adventures while getting to know each other better and finally Lily reveals the reason for her fear of dogs and her strict obedience to her father. The author gives excellent character development throughout the book. You can almost feel Lily trying to break the chains of childhood and become her own person. Unfortunate timing and circumstances interfere with her ability to make her own decisions.
Aden’s growth is more subtle but just as apparent when he finally decides to surrender his will, Gelassenheit – yielding to God’s will. Aden is the perfect man, always doing good deeds, thoughtful and loving, good looking too, but nothing he does will ever win over Lily’s father.
Huckleberry Summer is a romantic novel, filled with humor. Readers will appreciate the author prominently including a young woman with special needs, Treva. Treva is sensitively portrayed with dignity, value, and inclusivity. Jennifer Beckstrand’s writing is simply beautiful, ranging from at times humorous and uplifting to emotional and melancholy. Huckleberry Summer will be available on June 3, 2014. The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series continues with Huckleberry Christmas, releasing in October, 2014.