Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Review: Seek Me with All Your Heart

Prior to the chance to review Seek Me with all your Heart, I had never read a book by Beth Wiseman.  I've seen some of her titles mentioned, so I when I saw I could get this for my Nook on a night I was looking for something to read, well, I jumped at the chance.

From the publisher:
What would cause the Amish to move to Colorado, leaving family and friends behind?
Some Amish are making the trek to Colorado for cheaper land. Others are fleeing strict bishops with long memories.
For Emily Detweiler and her family, the move is more personal. Tragedy struck Emily in Ohio, shaking loose everything she believed was firm, including her faith. Her family took the bold step of leaving Ohio to resettle in a small Amish community in Canaan, Colorado, where they hope the distance will help erase painful memories.
David Stoltzfus's family moved to Colorado for reasons he doesn't understand. But Canaan is turning out to be something other than the promised land they all anticipated. Fearing that a health condition will cut his life short, David plans to return home to Paradise, Pennsylvania, as soon as he can. But then he meets Emily, who stirs feelings in his heart despite his apprehension about the future.
Emily's growing love for David surprises her, but she fears that he will find out the truth about her past and reject her. But what if the truth is that they are made for each other? And that God longs to give them the desires of their hearts if only they will seek Him first?
My thoughts:

This was a great book.  A bit confusing in the first chapter, what was going on did become clear pretty quickly.  The characters felt real, and their reactions and responses seemed pretty realistic most of the time.  And I found that I really cared about them.

I loved that this story takes place in Colorado.  I'm positive I've never read any other Amish Fiction taking place in this state... and I hope there will be more coming.

Spoiler warning:  As in evident from the first chapter, Emily has some issues.  Okay, well, first -- here's the first couple dozen pages:


Okay -- so now for the spoiler.  It isn't much of one.  From reading the first chapter, I knew that Emily had been raped, definitely by someone she knew, probably someone she liked.  Honestly, had I known that was the big tragedy in the publisher's description, I probably would not have read the book, so I guess I'm glad I didn't know.

Wiseman does an amazing job of showing a variety of very real responses on the part of pretty much everyone in Emily's family.  Emily is clearly fearful in chapter one, and her road to being able to trust again is fairly rocky, with progress being made only to be lost in an instant for no apparent reason.  Anger, shame, guilt, paranoia, loss of faith... honestly, I broke down in tears more than once in the story.  I really wanted to be able to take Emily into my arms and do something so she would stop feeling like damaged goods.

Emily was far from the only character I wanted to sit down and chat with.  In a good way... I know with some books, I just want to slap the characters and tell them to get a grip.  These characters were real people though, and mostly I wanted to be able to put an arm around them and help them see a different point of view.   

I read this book in the space of about 12 hours... only because I had to sleep.  And I started re-reading the book already. 

Disclaimer:  As Booksneeze Blogger, I did receive this book for free from Thomas Nelson.  No other compensation was received.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.

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