Saturday, May 10, 2014

Book Review: Plain Faith


Book Overview:  This is the true story of Ora-Jay and Irene Eash, Amish farmers from northwest Montana whose lives changed in an instant when a semi-truck struck the family buggy, killing their two young daughters. After the accident, the couple turned to their Amish community for comfort, but they remained haunted by the thought that they might not see their girls again in heaven. Would their deeds be good enough? Eventually Ora-Jay and Irene learned that grace---not works---was enough to ensure their place in eternity. But with that knowledge came the realization that they could no longer live in an Amish community that didn’t share this precious belief. Could they sever their connection to the Amish family they loved? This is the story of their journey to the hope that is heaven, a hope stronger than the loss of children, family, and a way of life. Fans of Amish fiction will appreciate such a real-life look into the Amish community, co-written by bestselling author Tricia Goyer, and readers of all kinds will resonate with this tale of courage, resilience, and the redemption found in the grace of Jesus.

Book Review:  Plain Faith is an amazing look at the Amish lifestyle from the inside looking out.  Told by the parents, Irene and Ora Jay Eash, with Tricia Goyer, it's an upclose and personal account of their story, their journey and triumph after unimaginable loss.

Even if you think you are familiar with the Amish lifestyle, this book will change what you think you know.

This book isn't a complicated read but it draws you in immediately with their down to earth, 'plain' talk.  They are such good people, the Eashes.  What happened to them could have happened to just about anyone.

But the aftermath of their story after burying their two young daughters is the 'stop and think' of this extraordinary book.  Have you ever had that feeling in your faith that something is missing?  That you attend church every Sunday, you abide by the rules of what a Christian (etc) should do and not do in the secular world yet something feels not quite right?  That's one of the ah-hah moments of this book. 

One of the points that stood out for me is when Irene stated "People saw me different when I wore my Amish kapp, or head covering.  People would see that and think "If that's what you have to share with me, then I don't want to listen."
It's an amazing moment to realize that the one true faith you've had for your entire life doesn't support you unless you live and breath THAT life.  But beyond the Amish faith, God is everywhere and in everything.  Sometimes stepping outside that life, like the Eashes did, you see it so very clearly.

This book is brave, courageous, heart-wrenching, tear inducing, thought provoking and admirable, to name just a few of it's endearing qualities.

I'd recommend this book based on it's quick, short chapters and easy flow of the book to teens in a youth groups, high school and college small groups at churches.
About the Authors:  You can read more about the authors, Irene and Ora Jay Eash here at this website:
and Tricia Goyer, author, here:
I received this book for an honest review from BookLook/Harper-Collins and was not required to write a positive review.  Any reflection of such is my own and this review is an honest reflection of such.


 Book Review by:  Kelly Santi

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Book Review: Until I found You

Book Overview:  When Kate Darby swerves off a mountain road to avoid hitting a California condor, she ends up trapped in her car, teetering on the edge of a cliff. Terrified, she breathes a prayer that changes her life. It's Nick Sheridan who comes to Kate's rescue. Nick is handsome and confident, and he seems to develop a habit of rescuing her, but Kate is in town only until her grandmother recuperates from a stroke. She's not planning to get involved with one of the locals.

Nick is a reformed veteran of life in the fast lane, a new Christian, and a travel writer. When he sees a car dangling on the edge of a cliff, the daredevil in him jumps into action. He doesn't expect to be swept off his feet by the car's occupant. He's made a vow--no dating for a year--but keeping that vow is going to be a lot more difficult now that he's met Kate Darby. . . .

My Review:  I confess I had not heard of this author before reading Until I Found You , but I can also tell you that now having read it, I certainly crave for more! Although the book starts out as a typical girl in distress, guy shows up and is her knight in shining armor and saves the day (more than once!), it quickly grows into so much more. There's depth to the characters, a story line that just has you turning page and after page and a beautiful weaving of faith
into a romance that sizzles with chemistry right from the start.

Nick is the typical charming, kind and brave hero of the book. Having left behind a life he doesn't want anymore in order erase the pain of loss and the hardships of choices in the secular world, he goes on a year long self imposed 'sabatical', that is until being in the exact right place at the exact right time, he meets Kate. His world is turned upside down and the readers follows him through his connection to her and his commitment to God and the struggle that is in between.

Kate, coming to rescue her treasured Nonnie after an accident and help take care of her, ends up being the one rescued. And doesn't anticipate, or have time for, romance or meeting a gorgeous, single guy who ends up saving her life. She brings as much heartache and pain from the past to the table as Nick does and together, they try to find their way in the journey of the world with a lot of twist and turns along the way.

This book is never quiet. It just builds from one momentum to another. From the beautiful analogy and lifelong love of the condor birds to the relationship of her best friend and longing for children, the author does a great job of building a story, developing the richness of her characters. You will absolutely fall in love with these two characters and their story. When you close the book after the last page, you will hope for a sequel!!

One of my favorite quotes in this book was Kate's grandma telling her "When all is said and done, the biggest pieces of this life are beyond our understanding. In the end, we're left with a choice. We can think life is a string of random events or we can believe God has a plan in our lives." That theme resonates through-out this book and makes it refreshing and lovely.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”            You can read more about Victoria Bylin here.