Adina Senft has once again produced a simply sweet and engaging Amish romance novel, filled with twists and turns, enjoyable beyond compare with her new novel, Balm of Gilead (Faith Words). The title, Balm of Gilead, refers to a species of poplar tree with fragrant, sticky buds that are used as a salve for certain skin conditions. This is the third book in the Healing Grace series. Characters from the prior two novels reappear in Balm of Gilead yet the book reads fine as a stand-alone novel but readers are strongly urged to read Adina’s two previous novels in this series, The Wounded Heart and Herb of Grace.
Reading this novel is an intoxicating experience as readers are pulled into the Amish experience of neighborliness, forgiveness, and Godliness. The food descriptions will delight even the most talented cooks. And the romance will surprise, confound, and in the end, gratify readers.
Adina Senft has done a beautiful job with character development as she tells the tale of widowed Sarah Yoder and longtime friend Henry Byler. Henry grew up Amish but never was baptized. He left the Amish to work among the English creating pottery pieces. Currently he is engaged to an English woman, Ginny, who owns and runs the local inn, Rose Arbor Inn. Henry’s hands are cracked and bleeding when he is creating his pottery pieces and he needs Sarah’s expertise with herbs for a remedy. It is bittersweet for Sarah to spend time with Henry as she loves him but realizes he is off limits. Henry is no longer Amish and belongs to another woman. Adina does a fantastic job engaging the reader in the agonizing longing of a woman for a man.
Additionally, Balm of Gilead has several thought-provoking and topical side stories interspersed within its 294 pages. All in all, readers will find the book eminently readable and inspiring in its strong Christian content. Balm of Gilead was published July 21, 2015.