The Lambright family's eldest daughter, Abby, runs her own sewing shop. There, she mends the town's clothes and their torn relationships. But the town maiden has sworn off any suitors of her own because of her unrequited love for James Graber, who is about to marry her younger sister, Zanna.
In an Amish community in the countryside of Cedar Creek, Missouri, hundreds of family and friends gather for the wedding of James and Zanna. Unfortunately today, Zanna is a run-away bride. Her older sister Abby finds her, comforts her, and learns the reasons why Zanna cannot marry James. As the story unfolds in this small close-knit community, Abby is always a voice of reason and caring for all the confused, hurt people involved. She even helps Zanna find artistic, fulfilling work for herself, so that she can be more independent in the future. Abby herself has secretly loved James for most of her life, but she unselfishly had expected to rejoice in her sister’s marriage to him. In the end, although hardly aware of Abby’s feelings for him, James compliments Abby by telling her she must be made of love and sunshine.
Learning a little about the Amish ways of worship and community interactions made reading this book a new experience for me. Confession before the whole community and the shunning that follows seem harsh. Yet, in this place, the consultations with the bishop and the acceptance of the older family members’ decisions seem respectful and well-meant. The characters’ dialogue conveys their love for one another, but with enough frustration, rebellion, and humor to make them likable and interesting.
Three and a half Stars
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