THE FIRST LOVE
Jah, that was undeniably a difficult time, one that opened my eyes in countless ways. And my heart, most of all. It was a season of sorrow and searching, of questions and answers. It was the summer of my first love.
It's the summer of 1951, and Maggie Esh is in need of some hope. Sweet-spirited and uncommonly pretty despite struggling with illness, she is used to being treated kindly by the young men of her Old Order Amish church district. Yet Maggie wishes she were more like other courting-age girls so she could live a normal, healthy life. When tent revival meetings come to the area, the words of the preacher cause her to reconsider what she knows about faith. Can she learn to trust God even when hope seems a distant dream!
"Remember to seek the Healer and not the healing. Whether you're ever healed or not, Christ Jesus is by far the most important gift." (p 147)
Definitely my favourite Beverly Lewis novel to date. Maggie's health issues mirror my own so I was quick to connect with her struggle to understand God's purpose in it all as well as her frustration at not being able to do the things she used to. A coming-of-age story that includes an incredible faith journey. I love how the revival meetings plays a role in her spiritual awakening and how she applies that new knowledge into her life, blessing those she loves in the process. So sweet and hope-filled.
Lewis also tells the story from Maggie's stepmother's point of view. Rachel struggles to fit into her new husband's family. It isn't easy since the children are still grieving over their mam's recent death. She faces everything from wary reserve to open hostility as she attempts to draw close to them.
This is Beverly Lewis at her best. There's such a gentle quality to her stories even though they deal with the grim realities we all have to face in this life. Opening one of her books is like listening to a traditional storyteller. The words just flow and soothe and I can actually hear the distinctive voice of each character as if I'm right there. A heartwarming, inspirational novel that gives voice to those of us who live with physical challenges.
"Honestly, I have to remind myself that physical limitations can actually be helpful -- even liberatin' -- when my deepest longing is to follow close after Christ. It sure teaches me to pray without ceasing." (p 273)
Book provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.
If you would like a chance to win a copy of The First Love, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add an email to your comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday December 16 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!