Gladden the Heart by Olivia Newport

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My thoughts:

When Noah begins preaching while under trances, the Amish community is at odds on how to handle it. The Bishop thinks it’s against the Amish law, the English think it is something they have seen before and the close family members know it is not Noah pretending to preach to get attention.  This story had a very strong spiritual theme and I enjoyed learning more about the beliefs of the Amish and the Methodist’s at that time. There is a little romance but it helped show how difference of opinions can still overcome the difficult situations that come up in life.  I enjoyed this slower paced family, faith and coming together of a community story.

“I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.”

About the book:

“When you have experienced the Holy Ghost as I have, you would see that it is difficult to turn back.”

When the lively fervor of nineteenth century revivalism endangers the staid customs of the Amish community in the lush but rugged Kishacoquillas Valley of central Pennsylvania in 1847, the Amish church must deal with a divisive question: What is a genuine spiritual experience?

The question turns personal when Susanna’s beloved cousin Noah begins preaching while under trances and even though he is not a minister he gives long sermons that attract increasing attention. Curious, she helps to keep Noah safe during his trances. At the same time Adam, Susanna’s intended, feels pressure from the bishop to speak out against the ways of revivalism.

Susanna and Adam are pushed to opposite sides of a controversy that threatens their traditional Amish faith.. Now they must grapple with whether love is possible…even if they come to different conclusions.

When Noah goes missing at a time of day when he often preaches while asleep, circumstances thrust community members with divergent opinions into a crisis that demands they recognize the humanity they share regardless of beliefs. But can strong-held opinions be softened by the truths that shape their lives?

About the Author

Olivia Newport
Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to discover where faith and passions meet. She chases joy in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is. Her books include the Avenue of Dreams series set in 1890s Chicago; the Valley of Choice series, which intertwines contemporary and historical Amish stories; the historical Amish Turns of Time series; and Hidden Falls, a warm, contemporary, small-town novel.

Brightest and Best by Olivia Newport

I really enjoyed reading this story that takes place in 1918 and tells of the conflict that arose between the state of Ohio and the Amish settlement of Geauga County, Ohio regarding the schooling of their children. I found this bit of history very interesting and liked how the author showed how it affected the lives of the Amish children and the feelings it brought up in the parents. They had to take a stand on their religious beliefs and values and were not wanting their children put into the English school system. The insight into the Amish lifestyle and how different the English schools taught compared to the Amish was very interesting. The characters were very realistic and I could certainly feel the emotions and the tension as it built between the Amish and the government. A little romance rounded out this story to one I really liked. I enjoy reading Amish stories and this is one I would highly recommend.
I received this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion.


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