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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • An Amish Fiction Gem

    This is a beautiful story of faith and the power of God’s love and a portrait of contentment even when circumstances seem hopeless. Maggie Esh suffers from rheumatic arthritis, and has since childhood. She lives with pain every day and has tried every remedy available to no avail. The story follows Maggie’s faith journey in the summer of 1951, when tent revival meetings took place in Lancaster County. Mennonite cousins invite the Old Order Amish woman to attend, as she’s in her rummspringe. Maggie is challenged by what she hears and is drawn to the meetings. She begins reading the Bible for herself, where she discovers her First Love, and ultimately finds healing for her whole self. Beverly Lewis has such a way with creating deep characters, and I couldn’t help but feel for Maggie and agreed with her decisions wholeheartedly. She wasn’t a woe-is-me kind of character because of her illness, but she tried to be content and not put her hope in remedies that could help her. When she rejected an offer for a ride with a fellow after Singing, it was a noble decision since she wanted to spare him the “burden” of not having a healthy wife or having to care for her. She wondered if it was a pity-offer and had rather not found out. Maggie’s character is wise beyond her years only because of her suffering. What an encouragement this character is in her story world but also to the reader! She counsels gently when needed but is quick to accept counsel from others who can relate to her circumstance. She is the type of friend a reader would love to have in real life! The focus of the love story is Maggie’s relationship with the Lord, which is a breath of fresh air. There aren’t too many fiction stories out there with this focus. And in the end, Maggie does find someone who loves her just the way she is. Once again, Beverly Lewis has given Amish fiction readers a gem. I received an ecopy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own

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  • The first love

    This story was warm and thoughtfully put together. I enjoyed the characters and storyline. Thanks for another great read

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  • Touching story

    Loved the constant reference to prayer and faith in this book.

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  • Get swept back to 1958

    The First Love by Beverly Lewis takes us to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It is the summer of 1998 when Maggie’s reminiscing takes her back in time to June of 1951. Maggie misses her mother every day and it is hard to see her father move on so quickly. Joseph, Maggie’s father, married Rachel just seven months after his wife’s death. Maggie has suffered from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since she was eleven and the debilitating pain keeps her confined to bed many days. Maggie longs to be like the other women in her community, but she does not believe any man would want to be burdened by her. Maggie could talk to her mother about her concerns and she misses her warm, understanding presence. A tent revival meeting is coming to the area for six weeks and Maggie asks permission to attend. The minister’s messages are meaningful and have Maggie thinking about God and his saving grace. The future is filled with possibilities and hope. Join Maggie on her journey in The First Love. I have read all of Beverly Lewis’s books and was looking forward to reading The First Love. I found The First Love to a slow paced story, though, it does pick up slightly in the second half. There are numerous characters in The First Love and it is hard to keep them all straight. Maggie comes from a large family with aunts, cousins, siblings plus there are her friends, the tent revival preacher, and so many more. There are two intertwining storylines in the book. At times, though, the book was disjointed (lacked a good flow). There is Maggie’s storyline plus her family adjusting to a new stepmother. I could understand what Maggie was going through with her painful disease. The pain gets to a person and affects their mood as well as outlook on life. It can be difficult to get up and do things during the day. I thought the author dealt with the topic respectfully and realistically. The ending wrapped up too quickly and felt unrealistic. It seemed the author had reached her word limit and quickly wrapped up Maggie’s story. The Christian elements are predominant. Relevant scripture verses are sprinkled throughout the story that help Maggie on her faith journey. We are also reminded the importance of prayer (anywhere and anytime), God’s grace, leaving our worries with God, reading the Bible, and having faith. I liked to see Maggie grow in her faith and become closer to God. I am giving The First Love 3 out of 5 stars. While this is not my favorite book by Beverly Lewis, I am still a fan of her work who looks forward to her next story.

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  • Lewis Explores Emotions-Juvenile RA, Blended Fam,

    Packed full of emotion and Biblical truth, this latest novel by Beverly Lewis explores young Maggie’s struggle with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis as she comes of age. The First Love also reveals Maggie’s family’s struggle to accept their father’s new wife, less than a year after their beloved Mamm dies. The reason I enjoyed the book was that it helped me see life from the perspective of people who have had a very different experience than myself. Lewis carefully brings out the details of a disease like Maggie’s. Life is never predictable, health-wise, from day-to-day. Others may or may not understand the inability of one with RA to do tasks one day that they could do the day before. Bad health can make a romantic future uncertain. I learned to love Maggie and was especially glad when she takes a risk that changes her life. I also really enjoyed the wisdom of Aunt Nellie. I am fortunate to have a godly person in my life with that kind of wisdom. The camp meetings are an integral part of the narrative, yet I was torn, wondering if there was a way to get this most important message across without being preachy. It felt like the book was only a vehicle for the message at that point. On to more positive. Having survived my own kids’ teenage years, I can identify just a pinch with Rachel who feels she is desperately trying to find her place in her stepchildren's lives, let alone hearts. What a tough journey she undertakes, so courageously! Quotables I loved: Aunt Nellie’s goal: ”Her goal is to make one person smile every single day. "Definitely one of my goals. "God won’t guide his footsteps unless he’s willin’ to move his feet.” God works best in those willing to obey. And lastly, a prayer for my adult children: "I pray you never disdain prayer. It’s the simplest way you can serve our Lord, and suffering won’t hold you from it...” I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. All opinions are my own and no review was required.

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