In the fourth and final novel of Kelly Irvin’s Every Amish Season series, Winter refers not only to the time of year but to what might be considered the season of life for the two main characters. And in choosing to tell a story of two characters in their seventies, the author tackles some sensitive issues related to aging. Debilitating illness, forgetfulness, frailty, the changing relationships with different generations of family, loss of independence, and the need to still feel useful despite all of those factors.
Older characters are some of my personal favorites in fiction, but the downright surly nature of Zechariah Stutzman made it difficult to warm up to him. But as Laura Kauffman slowly sees what was attractive in him come out, and they each begin to warm up to the idea of an unlooked-for second The One, I was pulled along with her and could see the potential for them to have a life together.
As they each deal with their families, and the sub-plots involving their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren that swirl around them, there are so many touching moments in this novel. And it was interesting to read the depictions of different aspects of Amish faith and tradition, as well as the way in which this fictional community deals with change.
While not absolutely necessary to read this series in order, there are appearances by the rest of the group of four widowed friends and their relationships are discussed. If you enjoy Amish fiction with emphasis on faith and family, and stories of widows finding new love, then this just might be the series for you.
With Winter’s First Frost by Kelly Irvin (An Every Amish Season Novel, #4) | Zondervan, February 5, 2019 | paperback, 352 pages
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From the publisher:
With the coldest season comes the warmest of second chances.
At age seventy-three, Laura Kauffman knows she is closer to the end of life than the beginning. If God willed it, she would join her beloved late husband soon. Even so, Laura wonders what purpose God might have for her in this winter of her life—and why this season seems so lonely.
Widower Zechariah Stutzman is facing his own barren season, despite the great-grandchildren swirling around him. With his Parkinson’s worsening, he had no choice but to move in with his grandson’s family, though now he feels adrift and useless.
When Laura offers to help with Zechariah’s five great-grandchildren after their mother has a difficult childbirth, Zechariah is unsure how he will adjust to the warm but tart demeanor of this woman he has known since grade school. But soon Laura and Zechariah learn they are asking God the same questions about loss and hope. And they begin to wonder if He is providing answers after all.
With Winter’s First Frost reminds us that God’s purposes always bear fruit—and sometimes love is sweeter with age.