Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Bittersweet, But Full of Hope | Review of A Love Undone

About the Book (from Waterbrook Multnomah)

A husband and son abandoned to forge a path alone. 
A young woman who sacrificed her dreams. 
How will the God of grace and hope help them find their way?

At nineteen years old, Old Order Amish Jolene Keim was on the brink of happily-ever-after when everything changed, stealing the future she expected and burdening her with an unbearable decision. For the next ten years, Jolene throws herself into family life—and then she meets Andy Fisher. The horse trainer and father to a sweet nine-year-old challenges her and holds up a mirror to issues Jolene has been unwilling to face.

Andy is cautious about his deepening friendship with Jolene, but he believes she knows the truth about him—that he is a grass widower. As a man whose wife has abandoned him six years past, he is unable to divorce or remarry according to the Amish ways. Andy has wrestled with God concerning his reality, and he had found peace with the solitary future facing him…until he met Jolene.

As Andy and Jolene find themselves confronted by difficult choices, will they trust in God's guidance—or will the allure of their deepening friendship only lead to further temptation?

Available Now

My Rating


My Review

Cindy Woodsmall writes about difficult circumstances and true-to-life characters with skill and grace. There are three main characters in A Love Undone, in addition to the (mostly) sweet, complex cast surrounding them: Jolene, Andy, and Ray (Jolene's brother). These three have all been affected and changed by deep pain and tragedy, and more hardship threatens in the things unsaid or misunderstood.

Since Andy's history is clear from the book's description, I hope it won't be giving much away to compare the unfolding drama to Jane Eyre (as I'm sure others have noted!). While A Love Undone is a much brighter story, there's definitely a tension in the spark and passion that shouldn't be pursued. It makes this book a sad and difficult read in one sense, and yet...

There is hope in the love of family, the kindness of friends, the effort of good work, the beauty of life, and a faith that lasts through winter's lack. The journey starts out long as Jolene faces great loss, then "speeds up" in the short summer she meets Andy, and finally draws out long again in the wonder-what-they'll-decide conclusion.

This is an Amish novel of secrets, forbidden love, and hope that blossoms even in heartbreak. When the meaning behind the title becomes clear farther along, it casts the whole story in a bittersweet light...but still, there is hope. A Love Undone takes its characters through impossible circumstances, but leaves them stronger and keeps the reader engaged.

*With thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah through Blogging for Books for providing me with a copy of the book.*

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