ARMS OF LOVE
The year is 1777. America is in turmoil and Amish life is far different than today.
Pennyslvania in the late 18th century, once called William Penn's Woods, is populated with an assortment of different faiths living together for the first time in American history. Included in this tapestry is a small and struggling group called Amish.
Surrounding this peaceful people are unavoidable threats. Both Patriots and the British are pillaging land and goods for the sake of the war. Young Amishmen are leaving the faith to take up arms and defend freedom. A simple walk in the untamed forests could result in death-from bullet, arrow, or wild animal.
Amid this chaos, Adam Wyse is fighting a personal battle. To join the war efforts and leave his faith would mean walking away from the only woman he's ever loved: Lena Yoder. But because of his love for her, he's made a promise that may keep them apart permanently.
When Adam withdraws from Lena, she's forced to turn to his brother, Isaac, for support. Must Lena deny her heart's desire to help Adam's soul? and will life in this feral and primitive New World be more than this peace-keeping people can withstand?
A complex, stunning novel that took me to unexpected places. Though set during the revolutionary war, I found the character's inner battles far more treacherous. Long did an excellent job of creating angst from both without and within while including fascinating historical facts into the mix. Historical lovers who aren't Amish fans will still enjoy Arms of Love while Amish connoisseurs will relish spotting the similarities and differences in the roots of this much-loved faith.
Life was hard. Complicated. Impossible in ways it's hard to imagine. Thankfully Long has enough imagination for all of us and she takes her characters (and her readers) on a fascinating journey of self-discovery. There were places where I read voraciously and other spots where I just wanted to close the book and not go on! Thankfully the story was too compelling to let go of and I persevered through the angst.
This book is so full of surprising revelations that it's hard to review for fear of posting spoilers so I need to tread carefully. Let's just say that Adam's love is deep and irrefutable even when it's impossible. There's something so alluring about a man who is willing to sacrifice for the woman he loves. By contrast, Lena's innocent, enthusiastic, for-sure-we're-forever faith is sorely tested many times over. And yet their romance is larger than life from the very first page -- even before we see them together. Long's masterful storytelling allows for incredibly intimate scenes that have nothing to do with kissing and everything to do with a connection so much deeper. But when they do get to kissing....wow!
Let's just say that this is well worth the read. A story that will satisfy your heart and your soul and leave you with lots to think about. In fact the author has actually included a four-week Novel Bible Study at the end of the book which looks fantastic. I'm excited to get started on it since I've long been applying gospel truths I read about in fiction into the reality of my life.
If you would like a chance to win a copy of Arms of Love please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. Please put the title in the subject line so your entry is easy for me to spot. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday April 8 2012. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!