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    The best laid plans...

    The Hawaiian Quilt by Wanda Brunstetter and Jean Brunstetter is another delightful book by a favorite author. Readers follow Mandy and three friends from their Indiana Amish community to a cruise through the Hawaiian Islands. Mandy and Gideon have an "understanding" but is it "real" love? As Mandy questions her Amish roots and what she really wants for her life, her feelings for him begin to change. Unchanging, though, is her love for God and her search for what He wants in her life. Can Mandy find her way? Can she really leave all she knows to make a life for herself in Hawaii? The Brunstetter authors have put together an interesting and contemporary look at the Amish with this journey to Hawaii and life back home in Indiana. With camera and phone mishaps, hurricanes and exciting surfing scenes, with some conflict and well-meant friendly interference, the authors keep interest high. Beautiful descriptions of the Islands, their flowers, waterfalls, and sunsets create a hankering to visit this 50th US state. The main characters have depth and reality and their emotions, strengths, and foibles resonate well with readers. Ah, and not to forget the quilt! The thread of this part of the story is sweet and touches the heartstrings! At the conclusion of the book, the authors have included a couple recipes and discussion questions. All in all, The Hawaiian Quilt is not just another ho-hum novel about the Amish...it is one that reminds readers about the importance of family, faith and hope amidst adventures in Hawaii! I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley.
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    A sweet inspiring story

    It seemed unusual for four Amish friends to be making a trip to Hawaii in a cruise ship but it made for an interesting story. Seeing things from their perspective on a cruise was eye-opening. They split up in pairs on tours of the islands. Not only because they had different interests but also because they could share pictures and stories with each other since their time off ship was limited. But Mandy and Ellen got in trouble when Mandy lost her cell phone and they spent extra time looking for it. When they rushed back to the ship they discovered that it had already left. What do they do now when all their belongings are aboard ship and their two other friends won't know where they are? Lots of prayer, faith in God's plan and openness to what comes along helps them be strong. Mandy especially struggles with where she truly belongs and who she belongs with. Follow these friends on an adventure of a lifetime as they are carried from Indiana to Hawaii and back. And read to find out how a Hawaiian quilt Mandy finds in a thrift store opens her future to unexpected things. I loved this story and the characters were fun to get to know. I received this book from the publisher for my honest opinion, which I have given
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    Engaging novel!

    The Hawaiian Quilt is the latest novel by Wanda E. Brunstetter and Jean Brunstetter. Mandy Frey is almost twenty-one years old and lives in Middlebury, Indiana. Mandy has been courting with Gideon Eash, but Mandy is not sure he is the right man for her. Mandy has been wanting to go on a trip to Hawaii for two years since hearing about it from her cousin, Ruth. Mandy and her three friends (Ellen Lambright, Barbara Hilty, and Sadie Kuhns) are going on a cruise to Hawaii (they are not supposed to fly). They take the train to Los Angeles, California to board the ship. Everything goes along swimmingly until the island of Kauai. Ellen and Mandy went off on their own instead of sticking with a group. They easily lose track of time (neither of them are wearing a watch), and Mandy lost her cell phone somewhere while sightseeing. When they arrive back at the dock, the ship has already departed. They are stuck on the island until the next boat comes through (personally, I would find a way to the ship’s next stop, but that was not part of the book). The girls are taken in by Luana and Makaio Palu at The Palm B&B. Mandy is glad for a little extra time on the island. Mandy feels at peace on Kauai. Luana gets the girls some island clothes for them to wear while on Kauai (which Mandy adores). When Makaio in injured leaving Luana without assistance, Mandy and Ellen offer to stay until April. Luana can use their help, and they work out a deal (work in exchange for room and board). Mandy meets Ken, who lives nearby with his parents on their chicken farm. Ken takes Mandy and Ellen around the island to see the various sights (though he only has eyes for one of the girls). Barbara and Sadie head for home and continue on with their lives. Barbara is lucky enough to get a job at Peggy Eash’s quilt store (Gideon’s mother). Slowly, while Mandy is away, Gideon and Barbara spend time together and get to know each other (a friends). Gideon misses Mandy and hopes that she will return home soon. But what happens when Mandy returns home? Can she be content back in her old life? Will Mandy be ready to be baptized and settle down after her time away? You will have to read The Hawaiian Quilt to see what choices Mandy makes. The Hawaiian Quilt is a lovely story. There are beautiful descriptions of Hawaii, the gorgeous quilts at the B&B, the vegetation, the ocean, animals, and etc. I enjoyed reading about Mandy and her friends on their adventure. It might be their only opportunity to ever go on such a trip. The Hawaiian Quilt is an engaging, well-written story. It captured and held my attention throughout the novel. It is an easy novel to read that can be finished in a few hours (a great way to spend an afternoon). I thought The Hawaiian Quilt was such a sweet novel. It was different from other Amish novels and I liked that about it. I give The Hawaiian Quilt 4.5 out of 5 stars (I really liked it). It is a little predictable, but it does not detract from the storyline. Another hit from Wanda and Jean Brunstetter. There are recipes at the end of the book along with discussion questions and the history of Hawaiian quilts. I will definitely be reading the next book by this writing duo. I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.
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