HERB OF GRACE
Amish widow Sarah Yoder has been struggling to raise her two teenaged sons and provide a home where family and members of her Old Order Amish church can find fellowship and friendship. Though she is close to her in-laws, lately it feels like her relationship with her boys is splintering. Her stepson Simon wants to move out west with his cousins to find work. And her youngest, Caleb, is spending far too much time over at the tumbledown home of a man who left the church long ago. Henry Byler only returned recently to Willow Creek when he inherited the family farm--under protest--and now seems caught in a struggle between the faith of his childhood and the world he's come to know.
Ruth Lehman, the local Dokterfraa, believes Sarah should use her gift for growing plants to become an herbal healer, too. Sarah is reluctant, however, uncertain if caring for others will take her away from her family--the place where she believes God wants her. But when she feels called to help members of her community, she soon discovers that the heart can be scarred as deeply as the body. As she compiles her herbs, she waits for God to do his healing work in a man who rues a harsh decision, in a lonely prodigal who has lost everything, and maybe even in a herbalist-in-training who firmly believes she will never love again.
Blissful sigh! An extraordinary beginning to a promising new series.
First off the cover art is...well...art! I love the soft edges, muted tones and hushed colours. And the entire series evokes the same mood -- the perfect introduction to the Healing Grace series. You can check out the other covers here: http://adinasenft.com/books/
In this first book, Senft settles her readers into a lively Amish community and promises us many enjoyable hours there. I loved getting to know Sarah and her large extended family. Feeling the pulse of the community on market day. Being drawn into the hearts of so many who need healing. Most notable is Sarah herself, a widow struggling to raise two boys on her own. None of it is easy and though she bears her heart to God she isn't always prepared to follow through with the promptings she feels. I loved that about her, because it's so real and relatable. But oh my goodness, when she does listen to the whisperings of the Spirit amazing things happen!
I get the feeling that Henry is on the cusp of finding his way back home after years of self-enforced exile. His journey has just begun in Herb of Grace, with enough of an open-ended story thread left at the conclusion that promises so much more. I'm hoping that includes a special relationship with Sarah, but only the author knows for sure. I will impatiently be waiting for the release of the next book and the one after that so all my questions can be answered.
And that brings me to the fact that this is a continuous series. Usually I avoid those like the plague, but I make some exceptions and this one is definitely worth the agony of waiting for the whole story to unravel despite the tumultuous ending. :-) But while there is still havoc on the horizon for Sarah, she has discovered the special peace that surpasses all understanding in this first book. That eases my soul as I wait to continue her story.
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of Herb of Grace please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday August 10 2014. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!
My thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for my review copy of this book.