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The Crow’s Call
by Wanda E. Brunstetter
I like Wanda E. Brunstetter’s foray into mystery with The Crow’s Call which begins the Amish Greenhouse Mystery Series. It is a spinoff from The Prayer Jars trilogy, but that association does not impact the reader’s enjoyment of this new series. Having read the trilogy, I did enjoy the pleasant surprise of encountering a few familiar characters.
The Crow’s Call begins with a family tragedy that will forever affect the King family. Woven into that background are mysterious occurrences which damage the Kings’ greenhouse and livelihoods. Amy, frequently the focus of the narration, tries to bear the burdens of maintaining her family both emotionally and financially, but the job is really too big for one young lady.
With interesting Amish characters who work at their relationship with God and others, this book includes the characters’ thoughts and prayers and the Bible verses they rely on as they deal with issues in their lives. The mystery of vandalism is not resolved nor are the issues of the depression of a young widow and the rebellion of her brother. I assume these problems will be carried into the next book in the series. A new Englisch couple moves in across the road from the greenhouse. The wife in the family suffers from a physical disability, but also from an unreasonable dislike of the Amish. She is rather mean spirited, but I have the feeling there must be a story behind her attitude. Other plot threads are an unexpected suitor from the past for the matron of the family and the opening of a rival greenhouse.
It was refreshing to read a mystery with no murders. I enjoyed learning more about Amish customs and beliefs. Reading The Crow’s Call is a good antidote to current social upheaval as this book emphasizes treating others with kindness and trusting in God.
I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Barbour Publishing (Shiloh Run Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Christian, Women’s Fiction, Mystery
Notes: This is most definitely part of a series, meaning if you want total closure on all threads, then this is not the book for you. I enjoyed the book, want to learn more about the characters, and anticipate further interesting plot developments, so I am “all in” to experience the rest of the series as it is published.
Publication: March 1, 2020—Barbour Publishing (Shiloh Run Press)
Things she used to take for granted that had once seemed like simple chores now felt like heavy burdens she could hardly bear.
“It’s best not to worry—especially about things that are beyond our control. We need to pray every day and put our faith in God. And it wouldn’t hurt to ask Him to put a hedge of protection around us.”
She couldn’t let her discouragement tear down her faith. The best remedy was reading God’s Holy Word.
The Healing Jar
by Wanda E. Brunstetter
Examples of difficult situations and decisions abound in Wanda E. Brunstetter’s The Healing Jar along with positive, Godly responses to those circumstances. Frequently the characters pray and then continue with their daily activities as they wait on God to answer their prayers by changing their circumstances or their hearts. Often He acts in surprising ways.
The main characters in these stories are all connected to the Amish Lapp family, and they all independently stumble on prayer jars hidden on the Lapp property. What remains a mystery to the young ladies, until a discovery in this book, is who accumulated Scriptures and heartfelt petitions to God on slips of paper in old canning jars.
The matriarch of the Lapp family is Mary Ruth. The other main character in The Healing Jar is her granddaughter Lenore Lapp who longs to be a wife and mother. The story of Sara, a granddaughter who was not raised Amish, continues in this book as she tries to discover the identity of her biological father. Michelle, who in an earlier book pretends to be Sara, finds happiness in her conversion to the Amish way but faces challenges when her husband wants to move away from her new family and friends.
I enjoyed this gentle book and recommend this trilogy to those who are interested in learning more about Amish life and customs and to readers looking for romance with a Christian focus. I do think this series should be read in its entirety and in sequence as it is very character based. Perhaps because of the way the series builds and the closure this book provides, it is my favorite of the three books.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Barbour Publishing (Shiloh Run Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Christian, Literary Fiction
Notes: #3 in the Prayer Jar Trilogy. I recommend it, but not as a standalone.
Publication: August 1, 2019— Barbour Publishing (Shiloh Run Press)
“We must learn to trust the Lord, even with things we don’t understand. As we go through troubled waters, it should strengthen, not weaken, our faith. And remember, dear one, prayer is not a business transaction. We don’t give something to get something in return.”
It was frustrating how a person could think they had worked through a situation, even felt peace about it, and then out of the blue, the pain of it all came right back to haunt them.
“It just goes to show that even when people make terrible mistakes, God can take a negative situation and turn it into something good.”