Love Lost, Love Found: A Book Review

letters-566420_1280So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT

The Love Letters by Beverly Lewis focuses on Marlena Wenger, a young woman struggling to hold on to Old Order Amish ways amidst a family open to new ways, who is sent away from her beau to help her Mennonite grandmother who has recently become a widow. Soon after, she finds herself as surrogate mother to her newborn niece, and facing the unbelievable decision of letting go of flesh and blood or letting go of her future husband. Is it possible that Small Jay and the homeless man he has become attached to can find a way to fix everything in the Brownstown Plain community?
love lettersIt seems that The Love Letters is a book in a series. While I love series, I agreed to review this book without realizing I was picking up a book in the middle of a series. The first few chapters of this book were very slow and confusing for me. I really struggled with the fact that based on what I know about romance formula, Marlena and Small Jay were going to fall in love.

Despite the beliefs of the religion, I just couldn’t find myself ok with the age difference and difference in mental capacity. I kept finding myself arguing that while all people deserved love and to be loved, this wasn’t the way this should happen.

The majority of this novel deals with the internal conflict Marlena faces time and time again as she searches for her place in God’s kingdom. She desperately tries to cling to the way things have always been, while questioning and attempting to shun the idea of having a personal relationship with God.

While I don’t feel anyone should make hasty decisions when evaluating their relationship with God, there were many times throughout this novel I wanted to yell at Marlena. Not only was she clinging to a religion instead of God Himself, she was holding tight to a man who didn’t seem entirely faithful to his faith. Amish have always been known for taking care of their families and yet he seemed to be pushing Marlena to push hers away.

The main character in this novel in Marlena. However, a parallel plot line is Small Jay and Boston, his homeless friend with the mysterious sack of love letters. Each of the men, young and old, are searching for their place and acceptance. They help each other to discover exactly what they are looking for.

Once I figured out how each family was involved in the plot, the novel became not only easier to read but also an enjoyment! The character development of Young Jay’s father became just as important to me as Marlena’s. I would very much like to go back and read the prior books in this series. However, once you get past the first few chapters, this is very much a stand-alone book. You do NOT have to read the books before it to understand everything that happens within this one. I simply wonder if the beginning would have been a bit faster paced if I had some background knowledge coming in.

FINAL RATING

My typical way of rating 5 star books is by their ability to make me cry literal tears or laugh out loud. There was quite a bit of loss in this book. Loss as in life and loss of respect, loss of love, loss of impressions, just loss. That loss leapt off the pages into this reader’s heart and escaped through my tears. Not much laughing to speak of, but the pain was palpable.
So, if you’re still reading this book review, consider me giving you a high five right now! I am giving The Love Letters by Beverly Lewis 5 out of 5 stars.

**I have been provided with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. Please be aware that I was afraid of doing this review because as a Christian first and an English teacher second, I don’t lie about what I read. This review is my honest opinion. Had I disliked the book, you would see a rating that reflected that.**

6 comments

  • Carrie,
    Thanks so much for this review! As you may remember, my mother and I enjoy Amish romances. She is, in fact, reading one right now. 🙂 I’ll write the name of this one down too and look it up to find out more about it.
    Love reading your reviews! (But the threads of loss might me the defining factor and not sure that Mom needs ore of that now!) 🙂
    Amy

    • Amy,

      A daughter/sister does die early on. I’m not sure I’d recommend this because of the circumstances at the time. Beverly Lewis is an awesome author, however, and has many Amish set books. I have not read this series, but I believe it is number 4 in the series.

  • What a frank and honest review. However, if the early part of the book confused you, I think it should have been rated lower. I can only assume the latter part of the story made up for that tenfold. I guess your wish to yell at the main character came from your total involvement.

    • Francene,

      😀 Yep, characters become my friends! I talk to them the same way I would an IRL friend. Which might explain my lack. 🙂

      Thank you so much for dropping in!

  • I enjoy reading Christian perspectives on books and appreciate your complete review of this one. I love reading fiction, though have little time for it these days, but might just have to read this one! Thanks for sharing! #ultrablog

    • Diane,

      Time? We should have that? That sentence made me laugh! I read this weeks ago, knowing the review needed to go up in one of my busiest weeks of the year. If I hadn’t got an e-mail with the info for a book tour for another book, one I apparently forgot I’d promised to read, review, and be on the tour for, I probably would have missed posting this. 😀

      If you do find time to read it, I’d love to hear what you thought!