Saturday, July 2, 2016

My Bookshelf: Amish Sweethearts by Leslie Gould

Their two worlds couldn’t be further apart.
Can anything bridge the divide between them?
        For years Zane Beck and his Amish neighbor Lila Lehman were the best of friends. But just as Zane gathered the courage to discover if their friendship could develop into something more, her controlling father arranged for her to be courted by their bishop’s son. Zane, heartbroken and frustrated, joined the Army, running away from his shattered dreams.
        The passing of time and the distance between Zane and Lila haven’t been enough to halt their—now completely hidden—feelings for each other. Any hope for their love grows even more impossible though as Zane’s service takes a dangerous turn when he’s deployed to Afghanistan. Being on the frontline, confronted with the hard choices of war, has him questioning everything, including whether he can continue to serve or not. But all choices have consequences, and with Lila preparing to marry another, will these one-time sweethearts ever find the life together that they both still long for?

        Amish Sweethearts is the second book in Leslie Gould’s Neighbors of Lancaster County series, coming after Amish Promises, and is the first book I have ever read by her. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, though I was pretty excited for this story, but unfortunately I have to say I was sorely disappointed. The storyline was slow, and there just didn’t seem to be much depth in so many of the scenes, and I found myself completely bored before I was even halfway through the book. So, if I’m honest with you, I have to say I didn’t actually “finish” this whole book, per se. I did skim it, and read a good deal of the end where things were actually slightly interesting, so I do know everything that happened. I just didn’t exactly read it. I really hate to have to do that with any book, but I just didn’t want to read if that meant reading that book—and I read all the time. I love it. So you know when a half-finished book sits on my table gathering dust, I’m really not enjoying it because once I get a few chapters in, I’m usually hooked and will finish the book within a couple of days, if not a couple of hours.
        Zane and Lila are perfectly wonderful characters, but both had their own flaws that made them a little bit harder to really love. Zane makes so many snap decisions! I mean, the whole reason he was in the Army was because he was running away from what might have been with Lila, and that’s by far the biggest snap decision, especially since it changes the course of his life for the duration of this book. But somehow he doesn’t learn from that mistake, and he almost gives his life away again later in the book, even going so far as to almost drag Lila down with him.
        And that brings me to the one issue I had with Lila. She’s so wishy washy! Now I know she’s had a hard life, and I know it’s difficult to go between what her dad wants—her to marry the bishop’s son—and what her heart desires—Zane. But still, to go back and forth the way she does, constantly leading on Reuben while still holding on to what little remains of her relationship with Zane, is just too much for me. While I understand it was a hard decision to make, she could have at least been honest with the both of them. And the way she just all the sudden makes a decision near the end kind of surprised me. After all that struggling, it seemed she made a really snap decision on what she wanted in her life.
        Anyway, I wish that I could say I liked this novel more than I did, but that wouldn’t be honest, so I’m going to have to say it definitely wasn’t my favorite book, and I’m only going to give it three out of five bookshelves. The end did get slightly interesting, and I did enjoy that part, so that’s why I’m giving this novel as many bookshelves as I am, but I wouldn’t highly recommend this story. Now I’m not saying don’t read it, because everyone has different opinions and you might just like it far more than I did, I’m just saying proceed with caution. And I hate with everything in me that I’m saying that, because as a writer myself I know how hard it is when someone criticizes your work, so I really despise doing it, but I vowed to write honest reviews, and I’m not going to stop now. So that’s what I really thought of this book.
        Happy reading!

I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway.

To see where I’m linking up, check out my Where I Party page.

All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Leslie Gould and Bethany House Publishers.

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