Monday, June 5, 2017

Love Still Stands by Kelly Irvin ~ Review

Title: Love Still Stands (New Hope Amish #1)
Author: Kelly Irvin
Genre: Adult, Inspirational Romance, Amish Romance
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Release Date: September 1, 2013
Source: Goodreads FirstReads
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Readers of Kelly Irvin's Bliss Creek Amish novels will be overjoyed to discover her new series for lovers of Amish fiction: The New Hope Amish. In the first installment, Love Still Stands, a group of dedicated families leaves Bliss Creek to establish a new community in Missouri. Among them is Bethel Graber, a beautiful young woman with a passion for teaching. But after being disabled in a terrible accident, overseeing a classroom is out of the question...and romance seems a long-lost dream.

Bethel begins physical therapy, determined to make a fresh start. But that won't be easy in the town of New Hope, where the locals seem anything but eager to welcome their new Amish neighbors. Amid growing intimidation from the community, Bethel must find the strength to face her many challenges and the faith to believe that God still has a plan--and a love--for her life. 

This was a bit of a different Amish Romance for me. There were some new issues and complexities to the relationships that I really enjoyed. They made the characters seem far less fictional and much more like real people dealing with real life. There's also more than one relationship that needs a little help if it's going to be everything it should.

Bethel is our main character. Recovering from an accident, she needs physical therapy. Which, as you can imagine, causes conflicts with some of her beliefs. Water therapy, weight training, and stretching are all hard to do in Amish traditional clothing. I feel like the author handled this conflict beautifully, showing the delicate balance between tradition/beliefs and doing what's best for their community. Their way of finding a way to stay true to what they stand for, while at the same time giving Bethel the things she needs, was amazing.

On the side we have Bethel's sister and brother-in-law fighting a very hard battle against depression. Another delicate balancing act between having faith in God to see them through and doing what needs to be done to keep people well. While this storyline took the backseat to Bethel's, I feel like it was an important one and loved how it gave a face to in issue that many just don't understand.

The downfall to me was the stress between the new Amish community and their country town neighbors. It was just one thing too many and really just made the non-Amish neighbors seem like complete jerks (with the exception of one or two). It was over-stereotyping and I just didn't seem to enjoy that little bit of the story.

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book**

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