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Ratings and Book Reviews (2 3 star ratings
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    Hilarious Look at Serious Problem

    One good Jennifer Beckstrand deserves another. Or 10, as this series, The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill proves. While Home on Huckleberry Hill is my first Huckleberry Hill book, the book stood alone great. Home on Huckleberry Hill, #9 in the series, is a hilarious look at a serious problem. One that a good Amish couple would never, ever have. Starting with Mary Anne’s octogenarian grandparents, you will be doubling over in laughter by the first page. Ah, the dirty secrets of the Amish. Mary Anne certainly has one. After a miscarriage four years ago, she has grown so estranged from her husband, Jethro, that she wants a divorce. But, of course, there is no such thing in the Amish church. Mary Anne creatively finds a way to escape Jethro’s overbearing ways. If only she could keep her decision between her and Jethro. No such luck. “Gossip traveled faster than a runaway horse in Amish country, but it seemingly traveled like lightning in an Amish grocery store.” As I read this book, it was easy to reflect on the early years of my marriage, and even selfish moments since. Who gives in? Who declares themselves wrong? Who steps up to the plate and magnanimously, truly, forgives and moves forward? I loved Mary Anne’s mammi and dawdi, but after a while I did want to tell them to stop insulting Jethro by name-calling. I was half-afraid that, though Jethro had indeed ignored his wife, the whole burden of the failed marriage would land solely on him. Ack! Jethro’s family! Especially his mamm and his brother, Willie Jay. “Willie Jay had no idea how entertaining he was from a distance.” But up close he’s a terror of a sermon. As the bishop put it so well (and I hope we see more of him in the other books), “I can’t make anybody do anything, and I wouldn’t want to. Gotte will force no man to heaven.” But will Jethro use the Scriptures to force Mary Anne back to him? Or will he finally look at himself and say, “Is it I” causing the problems? Will Mary Anne hold out forever or will she tear down some walls and forgive? If you haven’t read Beckstrand before, you’re in for a treat. Her sense of humor is hilarious and inventive. And you will feel like you’ve grown with the characters along the way. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through Celebrate Lit. This does not affect my opinions, which are solely my own.
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    Clever tale of a marriage restored to love

    After only a few pages of Home on Huckleberry Hill, I was put in mind of how much I enjoyed Jennifer Beckstrand‘s book Abraham. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out. Her books make me laugh and, at times, cry! I laughed as Anna Helmuth, Mary Anne Neuenschwander‘s mammi, reminisced with her husband, Felty, their own past marital troubles as she plans to fix Mary Anne and Jethro’s troubles. She is delightfully unconcerned with the neighbors eavesdropping in the aisles of the grocery store who quickly start a rumor that these grandparents are considering getting, shockingly, divorced! “We’ve given them all a little excitement to start their day. It does my heart good to see it.” Mary Anne can’t stand being taken for granted any longer. She moves out to live in the woods. The Amish cherish marriage and do not believe in divorce. At first, Jethro is appalled that Mary Anne would take his tent, cot, and sleeping bag among other things. He feels entitled to ownership over everything because he earns the money to purchase things. He is also embarrassed. Not everyone approves of what Mary Anne did. Her grandparents, Anna and Felty, are staunch supporters though. They move into the woods to show ’solidarity’ and maybe have a plan to help arrange a marriage truce. Cousins also join in the show of solidarity. The woods behind Mary Anne’s home fills with the noises of children, a dog, and even a few chickens. I can’t think of a funnier way to encourage Mary Anne to move back home! Eventually, after some awful decisions, Jethro begins to ask himself if he is part of the problem. His efforts to change are touching as his sweet and tender regard for Mary Anne returns. It was encouraging to see this marriage return to the bliss they had before. Marriage isn’t always easy but it is worth fighting for to make it work (in cases where there is no abuse, etc.). Read this excellent Amish romance! Home on Huckleberry Hill is charming and oh so funny. The loving amends at the end is worth it. I received a free advanced reader copy of this book. All opinions are completely my own.
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