Monday, June 27, 2011

Book Review: Courting Miss Amsel

I just finished reading Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer.  It wasn't until I had finished the book that I realized I had reviewed another of Sawyer's books in the past, In Every Heartbeat.  One of the things I really liked about that book was how well-researched it felt, and the flawed, believable characters.  This was certainly true of Courting Miss Amsel as well.

Courting Miss Amsel occurs in a totally different time and place -- Nebraska in 1882.  I'm drawn to fiction in the plains states, and this one did not disappoint.  Sawyer writes as though she has experienced a serious blizzard or two (but why does every story set in this part of the country involve a blizzard?  Hmmm...).  That is another way of saying, she certainly seems to have captured the spirit of this part of the country.

The basic plot line is that Edythe Amsel comes to this little town in Nebraska to teach school.  She's escaping her emotionally abusive father, and although she isn't terribly religious, she clearly feels called to teach.  And she's good at it.

Two of her eighteen students are being raised by their bachelor uncle, Joel, and it doesn't take long for Joel to be attracted to the new teacher, and for her to be attracted to him.  She doesn't want to be courted, and he doesn't want to be yoked to an unbeliever.  So there are definitely some issues.

What I really loved about this story was how believable so many of the characters were.  The children were simply precious and I had a picture in my head of each of them.  Edythe's landlady has to be my favorite character in the book.  I want to be her when I grow up...

This was a pleasant read, relaxing, perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.  I truly enjoyed it.

Disclosure:  Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.  No other compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.

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