Author: Leslie Gould
Genre: Amish Romance
Series: Amish Memories #1
Release Date: March 28, 2023
Publisher: Bethany House
Ivy Zimmerman is successfully navigating her life as a young Mennonite woman, one generation removed from her parents' Old Order Amish upbringing. But when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, Ivy's way of life is upended. As she deals with her grief, her younger sisters' needs, the relationship with her boyfriend, and her Dawdi and Mammi's strict rules, Ivy finds solace in both an upcoming trip to Germany for an international Mennonite youth gathering and in her great-great-aunt's story about Clare Simons, another young woman who visited Germany in the late 1930s.
As Ivy grows suspicious that her parents' deaths weren't, in fact, an accident, she gains courage from what she learns of Clare's time in pre-World War II Germany. With the encouragement and inspiration of the women who have gone before her, Ivy seeks justice for her parents, her sisters, and herself.
Reviewer: Marta Aldrighetti
This story was set in Oregon in June 2014. It's written in first person by Ivy. Ivy presents her family in this sentence: "For being Mennonite, we had the smallest family I knew of - just my parents, us three girls, and Gran."
Mennonites are different from Amish. They are less conservative. They wear jeans and t-shirts, can drive and go to college. It's interesting to learn these features through the pages.
I enjoyed reading this book because, first of all, the book is a Christian book, the kind I love reading. Second, it also tells about the year 1930, when we are in Germany with Ivy's ancestors. In that period, Nazis began to make racial laws.
I love historical books, it's important to know our past, and learn different points of view of the history facts and events. The author writes: "The young women in my story, both past and present, grapple with faith, justice, and serving where God leads."
The book cover is ok, but it doesn't catch my eye. I think it needs improvement. I recommend this book to everyone interested in history, love and war stories, and Christian and Mennonite characters. Enjoy!
I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House through NetGalley and Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
I have never read a book by Leslie Gould, but after reading A Brighter Dawn, I know it will not be my last.
This dual-time Amish Romance is unlike any Amish book I've ever read. The characters are so real they jump off the page, and the story is riveting. It is hard to compress it all into this review with so much going on.
We meet Ivy Zimmerman, a Mennonite in 2014, who is a bit of a rebel in some ways and in others is not. When her parents die in a tragic accident, her life changes drastically. She and her sisters are forced to live with Amish Grandparents they have never met, several States away. Many things are happening at this point. Her grandparents are old-order Amish and expect her to look and act a certain way. Her sister Brenna has nightmares from the accident because she was driving the car. Ivy is convinced it wasn't Brenna's fault, and something far more sinister is at hand. Fortunately, she has the International Mennonite Youth Gathering in Germany to look forward to. Her boyfriend will be there, and her great-great aunt Rosene is going with her to see her family.
While travelling, Rosene tells Ivy about Clare Simons, who visited Germany from America in the late 1930s. Clare's story is equally absorbing, and like Ivy, I longed for Rosene to continue it to find out what happened to Clare. She was still in Germany when Hitler began persecuting Jews and invading other countries.
In both stories, Clare and Ivy have romantic interests as different as night and day. And I can't really tell you any more than that. Clare's story is incredible and so believable I was hard-pressed to remember it was fiction.
This story will sit with you for days, and the surprising twists and turns it takes will make it hard for you to put it down. I highly recommend it!
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Bethany House through NetGalley for my honest review.
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