Rosemary Opens Her Heart by Naomi King (New American Library) is one of the best Amish romance novels out there. Naomi King is an expert at writing about relationships with plausible characters and realistic situations. Rosemary Opens Her Heart is book two in the Home at Cedar Creek series. It can surely stand-alone but book one, Abby Finds Her Calling is also such a wonderful book to read. Truly this is a series that can change the way readers view their community.
Rosemary is a 23 year old Amish widow from Queen City, Missouri who just recently lost her husband. She is deeply mourning her loss, and continues to wear black daily. Rosemary and her toddler daughter, Katie, live with her widower father-in-law, Titus, and his twelve year old daughter, Beth Ann. The whole group makes the long trip to Cedar Creek, Missouri to attend the wedding of Zanna Lambright and Jonny Ropp.
When Zanna’s nephew, 22 year old Matt Lambright first sees Rosemary, he is immediately smitten. Matt is handsome, kind, and successfully raises sheep. And he comes on way too strong to Rosemary who is still grieving. She tries telling him as forcefully as she can that she is not interested in him or any relationship. But Matt doesn’t stop pursuing Rosemary. He quickly becomes friends with Rosemary’s young daughter, Katie. Everyone in Cedar Creek seems to be telling Rosemary how great Matt is and how she should give him a chance.
When Rosemary gets back to Queen City she believes she hears her deceased husband Joe telling her, “Be true to yourself now. Follow your dreams and live your life to the fullest.” She interprets this to mean she should move on with her life, that Joe would not have wanted her to wallow in sadness forever for him.
Shortly after returning to Queen City, Titus and Matt decide to combine their sheep raising businesses and Titus would move his family and herd of sheep to Cedar Creek. Titus announces they all will be moving as soon as Matt finds a farm in Cedar Creek for Titus to buy. Rosemary is upset with the notion that the husband or father has the final say in decisions. She wonders if God figures that as a woman, she should be happy with whatever the men in her life provide for her. She yearns to spread her wings and exert her independence. Will Rosemary refuse to move to Cedar Creek? Will Matt and Rosemary ever have a chance to be together?
Intertwined with the story of Rosemary and Matt, several other relationships are advanced. This book is filled with romantic tension as well as community togetherness and charity. This book is so uplifting, it will make readers want to act with more kindness and thoughtfulness towards their own family and neighbors. Rosemary Opens Her Heart is truly an inspiring book; it was published November 6, 2012.