Saturday, March 3, 2018

Book Review: 'Understanding Becky's Heart' by Emma Cartwright

Emma Cartwright makes is clear in the beginning of her short story her direction she will be taking with this series: `If you enjoy inspirational fiction and love pure, clean love stories be sure to look out for further Walnut Creek Series Amish Romance books as they are released.' What is so often a major part in young adult romance stories is the physical aspect of love. Emma chooses to make he characters more concerned with the spiritual aspects, and that is likely why she has placed her love stories in the Amish region with Amish characters. `Many of us presume to know God's will for our lives, and don't realize that His timing often does not match our own. Becky paid more attention to what the world said about her than what God's word says about her. Finally, she opens her heart to possibilities which gives her hope for the future. In the next novel, Becky will have a chance to explore what this means for her. Come and see what happens to Becky and Micah in the Amish community of Walnut Creek. The foremost reason that I love writing about the Amish is that their lifestyle is diametrically opposed to the Western norm. The simplicity and purity evident there is so vastly refreshing that the story lines derived from them are suitable for everyone.'

Emma's manner of writing is clean and uncluttered and real. We meet our heroine in typical Emma fashion: `Becky Swartz slid the last batch of snicker doodle cookies out of the oven and inhaled deeply. After moving them carefully from the pan onto the wire racks to cool, she sampled one that was already resting there-- well, one more. Sugary sweet things were one of the few pleasures in her life, and she wasn't going to deny herself. Her somewhat plump figure testified to that fact. She looked down at her dark dress covered by a long apron and shook her head slightly, making her kapp strings tickle the sides of her neck. It was no surprise that she was this size, but she loved to eat, so what could be done?'

Emma's short story, the prelude to her series is summarized by the author: `23-year-old Becky is not beautiful. She has never been courted by any of the boys in her Amish community. Taller than most men, plump and plain, Becky knows that she is not attractive and resigns herself to helping to her aging parents. Her sister, Rachel, sees Becky in a different light and longs for her to be happily married, so when a newcomer from Pennsylvania arrives, Rachel seizes the opportunity to present Becky to him as a desirable match. However, Micah arrives in Iowa with one objective: to work. Hurt and dejected due to a previous disappointment in love, he has no intention of risking his heart to any woman ever again. Rachel sees what Micah and Becky cannot. Becky has never been loved and Micah has been devastated by love, but the two of them can mend each other's hearts. Will Becky and Micah give up their stubborn view in time to find solace and joy with each other?'

A very solid beginning to a clean romance that leaves a little glow when it is finished. Grady Harp, June 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.