A BOOK REVIEW OF FIRST IMPRESSIONS BY SARAH PRICE
Sarah Price takes the themes from the classic novel Pride and Prejudice to write a superb Amish romance, First Impressions (Realms). First Impressions is the first book in a new series by Sarah entitled The Amish Classics Series. In the series, the author will be taking novels by the famed writer Jane Austen and recreating them in current day Amish settings.
Our protagonist is Lizzy who has a strong, clear voice in the book. She is the second oldest of five marriage-aged daughters living in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Her Maem (Mother) is constantly plotting to find suitors for her girls and is thrilled to find out that three eligible bachelors from Holmes County, Ohio have arrived in town to begin farming. Lizzy’s Daed (Father) is a sweet, tenderhearted man who tries to tame his wife’s plotting and favors Lizzy when her Maem gets too out of control.
Two of the new young men, Charles and George, make a good first impression. Both are charming and good looking. But the third man, Frederick, is immediately labeled proud and haughty. And that first impression sticks to Frederick without regard to whether there is any truth behind the label.
Lizzy’s older sister Jane begins to consider Charles as her special friend. All are expecting a wedding and Maem is thrilled beyond belief to be marrying off one of her daughters.
Meanwhile a distant widower cousin, Wilmer, arrives trying to force Lizzy to become his wife. Lizzy clearly tells Wilmer she has no interest in becoming his wife and that she will only marry for love, not for convenience. Lizzy’s Maem is furious that she turned down Wilmer and is convinced that Lizzy will end up as a “maedel” – an older unmarried woman. Thankfully, her Daed, agrees with Lizzy and insists that she does not need to marry Wilmer.
To make matters worse, unexpectedly Charles is called back to Holmes County due to a family illness, but he doesn’t write or attempt to contact Jane. Jane eventually receives a letter from his sister stating Charles is considering marriage to another woman from Holmes County. Such bad news throws the whole household into a depression.
At this point it is hard to think that there can be a happy ending for all of the characters. But as the book so eloquently states, “Different perspectives engender different realities.” Such a deep thought, but so true. When Lizzy figures out that her own pride and prejudices have caused her to misjudge others, she decides to embrace God’s plans. The author has included a beautiful Bible verse, “’For I know the plans I have for you’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Such glorious words of hope for Lizzy!
First Impressions is a book to be treasured. It has a thought-provoking message on the foolishness of letting pride get in the way of our relationships, wrapped in an exciting and fast paced, very readable novel. First Impressions will be released May 6, 2014.