A Love Made New by Kathleen Fuller (review)

alovemadenew_tnzFrom the cover:

Abigail Schrock knows God can make all things new, but does that include her broken heart?

It seems as if everyone is falling in love in Birch Creek, including Abigail Schrock. But when heartbreak descends on her already fragile world, she can’t help but feel that if she’d only been a little prettier, she could be on her way down the aisle. To make matters worse, Abigail’s two sisters have found love, and all Abigail can seem to find is the chocolate she has stashed away in the pantry.

Asa Bontrager has never had trouble with the ladies in his Amish community—his good looks have always gotten him far. Which is why he’s baffled by the call he’s received from God to pursue Abigail, a woman who seems determined to turn him away.

Can Abigail find the peace and joy she so desperately desires? Will she allow herself to stop running and melt into the embrace of unforeseen comfort? If she does, she may discover a love powerful enough to restore her hope in a promising future.

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This is the most recent entry in The Amish of Birch Creek series, and the first Amish novel I’ve read.  I’m happy to say that for a first novel in a sub-genre, this was a good choice.

She was sailing in the wind, like a kite with a broken string. (p.151)

Abigail is a truly likable heroine, full of insecurities stemming from weight gain and rejection.  She’s skeptical when Asa, who never noticed her before, starts to pursue her.  Asa, for his part, is endearing in his strong faith and steady pursuit.  Having learned his lesson on not listening, he does his best to follow the promptings of God, even when prompted to do that most difficult of tasks – to wait.

Asa and Abigail’s romance is intertwined with two secondary plot lines, both of which added interest to the novel (and in one case a little much-needed, albeit brief, excitement) without detracting from the main storyline.

While it is a third in series book, there was no issue with reading it first.  Although there may have been some spoilers about relationships from past books, the feeling that one often gets of having missed too much from not reading the previous books was minimal.

I appreciated the inclusion of a glossary at the beginning, as it did include words I might not have figured out otherwise.  However, the use of these words interrupted the flow of the story at times.  I guess I’ll need to read more Amish fiction that includes these same words to see if this minor difficulty decreases with familiarity.

Dealing with themes of listening to God’s voice and the need to practice forgiveness, however difficult, this was a sweet and enjoyable story.  While it was never very exciting, it was an engaging read with gratifying resolutions to each storyline.  Along with a scene that I found both touching and amusing, where Asa comes upon Abigail basically two-fisting candy bars, it also includes one of the most adorable first kisses I have ever read.

3.5/5 stars – Recommended and can be read as a stand-alone.  I’m looking forward to reading more of this series, more from Kathleen Fuller, and finally reading the other Amish novels sitting on my bookshelves.

A Love Made New, an Amish of Birch Creek novel by Kathleen Fuller | Thomas Nelson, Sept. 13, 2016 | paperback, 320 pages

This review refers to a review copy received from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a review.  All opinions expressed are my own.


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