This is the 3rd and final book in the Ada’s House series. I reviewed The Bridge of Peace, which is book 2 in this series. Having also read (and reviewed) books 1 and 3 in the Sisters of the Quilt series (When the Heart Cries ; When the Soul Mends) was nice, because many of the characters were familiar and like becoming reacquainted with old friends.
Sylvia Fisher is not a typical Amish woman. She loves cows. Well, she loves all farm animals, but she particularly loves the dairy cows on her family farm. She also likes working the farm along side of her father.
While her grandfather was alive, he really got her- he understood her passion, and taught her his philosophies on dairy management. When he died, Sylvia has struggled to find a man who treated with the same kind of respect, and trusted her with farm matters. Her father, though perhaps more liberal than others, feels that once Sylvia marries, her traditional place in the home will become her focus.
Elam and Sylvia have been courting. Sylvia’s father, having only daughters, forges a farm partnership with Elam, assuming he and Sylvia will marry. Sylvia is upset with both her Daed and Elam, neither of whom bothered to consider asking her opinion before changing the operations of the farm.
Sylvia can’t imagine giving it all up. Elam’s marriage proposal leaves her conflicted. “Didn’t she want more from true love than heart-pounding attraction?” She promises him an answer in a few weeks, while she sorts out her feelings.
Three weeks later, after storming out, Elam hasn’t been back to the farm. Sylvia is ready to sort things out with him, and she thinks,“If he could see her side of it, and if she could see his side, they could work this out.” Her heart soars, as she sees Elam upon arriving home.
Her hope turns to horror, as she gets the news that Elam and her younger sister, Beckie, are going to marry. Sylvia is devastated. And, to make matters worse, her Daed refuses her plea to let her leave the farm.
Several years later, illness forces Sylvia and Elam into the same house- the house her grandfather left her in his will- the house she relinquished to Beckie andElam upon pressured requestbecause of illness. Sylvia does her duty as a sister, and takes care of Beckie and Elam’s young children, since Beckie is too sick to care for them herself.
Sylvia and Elam had been vaccinated for whooping cough, which put them in the position of caring for the farm and for the sick family “around the clock like a married couple.” An unplanned and unwanted situation necessitates an urgency for Sylvia to leave the farm, regardless of her father’s objections to letting an unmarried daughter move away.
Life on the Blank farm was more than Sylvia could have hoped for. She was partners with Michael, and was increasing the herd. Although her father forbade her to have any contact with her sisters and she had to give up her portion of the farm along with all the money he’d put aside as her salary through the years, Sylvia was content with the trade-off. Dora and Michael provided her with solace; she filled their need to nurture.
Life was good; simple. At least it was until prodigal son and recovering alcoholic Aaron Blank comes home. He’s intent upon buying an appliance store in town and convincing his parents to sell the beloved farm and move with him there. Sylvia and Aaron could not be on further ends of the pole.
In addition to this main story line, there are the continuing stories from the other books in the series. Cara came to the Amish as the niece of an Amish couple; hoping to hide herself and her daughter from a violent stalker who was bent on killing her. Cara and Ephraim were childhood friends, in her brief time visiting. When Ephraim was grown, he went to the city to try to find Cara, but was unsuccessful. Cara and Ephraim, are now in love and hope to marry (book 1, Hope of Refuge).
Also making appearances are Lena and Grey, from The Bridge of Peace (book 2), Deborah and Jonathon (book 1), and Ada and Israel. Being the final book in the series, all of the story lines are nicely wrapped up.
Because I totally loved this book, I give it 5 out of 5 stars. All of the characters, even those from the other series, feel like friends. It was nice to get an update, and I love how both series are intertwined. I do think reading the other books is helpful, but not essential. Not having read any of the other books should not be off-putting in the least.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
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