Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Book Review of Taken For English by Olivia Newport

Olivia Newport is an amazing author.  She has a whole slew of successful novels. Not all of her books are Amish fiction, several are historical romance novels, and currently she has a 13 part serial novel called Hidden Falls in publication.  I read Taken for English, it is a wonderful book, so without further ado, here is my review:

Reading Taken for English by Olivia Newport (Barbour Publishing) is like unwrapping a gorgeously wrapped present then finding that what’s inside is even more wonderful than the beautiful covering.  Olivia knows how to write an Amish romance and she delivers with several delicious romances as well as a good mystery within the covers of this delightful book.  In addition to the continuing love story of Annalise and Rufus, interspersed is a separate, yet fascinating, action packed historical tale of Rufus’s Amish ancestors sent by their bishop to look for a farmable spread of land to begin a community in the summer of 1892.

Taken for English is the third in the series Valley of Choice, but easily stands on its own with no problem.  The story begins with Annalise, who was raised English, taking her Amish baptismal vows as sirens alert the congregation that something is amiss in their community.  Thus begins the mystery of fires being set around town, always in uninhabited settings.  Several capable suspects are introduced.

Rufus, who is Annalise’s beau, is having financial problems with his cabinetry business, he doesn’t feel financially ready to ask Annalise to marry him.  In addition, the family farm is suffering and Rufus wants to help his father.  How long can Rufus delay an engagement to Annalise after her baptism into the Amish faith?  Readers will be rooting for Annalise and Rufus, two very pleasing and engaging characters.

As Annalise is trying to live her new faith the best way she knows how, she feels called to help a young girl, Leah, who is new to their Westcliffe, Colorado Amish community.  Leah’s somewhat dysfunctional family left Pennsylvania to move to Colorado which required Leah to leave her steady boyfriend behind.  Leah is disheartened and has run away from her family.  She is looking for a way to earn money to purchase a train ticket back to her boyfriend in Pennsylvania.  Annalise tries everything she can think of to befriend Leah, but Leah isn’t making it easy.  With all of Leah’s anger issues, could she be the one starting the fires?

Meanwhile, Annalise’s best friend Ruth, is suffering growing pains in her journey transitioning from Amish to English lifestyle while she is working and going to nursing school.  Ruth is troubled by the attention she is getting from two Englisher fire fighters, Bryan and Alan, as well as her old Amish boyfriend, Elijah.  Elijah has waited for Ruth even though she has left the Amish faith and he has a secret of his own to reveal.  Who should Ruth trust?  Could any of her three potential suitors be involved in setting the unexplained fires?

Taken for English is an enjoyable read with appealing characters and thought-provoking relationships.  The ending wraps up all loose ends in a happy and rewarding style.  Olivia Newport truly provides a quality Amish Christian faith novel interlaced with several captivating romances, a portion of history and action, plus one curious mystery.  Once finished with Taken for English, readers will certainly want to read the first two books in the series Valley of Choice to learn more about the start of the opposites attract relationship between Annalise and Rufus.  Taken for English was published February 1, 2014.

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