Monday, May 4, 2015

Book Review: The Love Letters (2015)

The Love Letters. Beverly Lewis. 2015. Bethany House. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I enjoyed reading Beverly Lewis' The Love Letters. I really appreciate that it is a stand-alone novel, that is that the story and most importantly the romance is resolved in this one book. That isn't always the case with Beverly Lewis's books. They can be great, but, frustrating at the same time.

The Love Letters is set in the 1960s. The heroine of The Love Letters is Marlena Wenger. She has come to stay with her grandmother (Mammi) for awhile--for the summer at least. Her grandfather (Dawdi) has recently died, and she's come to help her grandmother out. While there tragedy happens: her sister (who had left the community) is in a car crash and dies leaving her infant daughter behind. (Her husband is off fighting in the war.)  Marlena and her grandmother welcome the baby into their lives. And life continues on: some joyous moments, some frustrating ones. In particular, Marlena's intended--Nat--is very angry that she's raising her niece. Because he feels that her sister died outside of the faith--outside of God's grace and mercy. And that her daughter has no place at all within the Amish community.

Readers don't just spend time with Marlena and her grandma, but, also a whole community. Some neighbors we get to know very well.

One of my favorite characters in fact, was Jake Bitner, or "Small Jay." I loved getting to know him and his cat Sassafras. I loved that parts of the book seemed to be from his point of view. He was so easy to love. On one of his walks, he meets a homeless man with memory issues. Sometimes he can't even remember his own name or if he has a family somewhere. But he does have a notebook, I believe, where he rights down what he can remember--when he can remember. He also has a stack of letters he carries with him that Jake reads aloud to him. This mystery of who this man is plays a big role in the novel. Readers also get to know Jake's mother, Ellie, very well.

I found the novel to be well-written and interesting. I liked the characterization. I liked the setting.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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