Saturday, August 4, 2018

THE HOPE JAR by Wanda Brunstetter, Review by Trixi Oberembt

A desperate young woman in hard times embarks on a path that she's filled with deception and lies. What she finds is unconditional love, the kind of family she's never had, and the first stirrings of faith.


This blends both Amish and contemporary fiction together, unlike many Brunstetter books which are strictly Amish. I found this story to have quickly drawn me into the lives of Michelle, Willis and Mary Ruth Lapp, Ezekiel, Brad, and the Amish community of Strasburg, Pennsylvania. I like that Wanda Brunstetter told this from multiple people and points of view, you knew how each person felt and what they thought at any given moment. I already enjoy this authors stories and love her writing voice. She writes characters you come to care about, and a community that feels like family. My heart went out to Michelle and her situation in life. I don't think she set out to hurt the Lapps but found it difficult to untangle herself from the lies she's told the longer she was with them. She began to see them as the grandparents she never had and they exemplified what love does for those you care about. Eventually those lies will be found and and the truth will be told; Michelle knows it's only a matter of time! Then there were Ezekiel and Brad, one an unbaptized Amish man and one studying to become a minister, both cared deeply about Michelle. It was fun to guess which one she might end up with. I especially loved getting a glimpse into the Amish life through this story. I've read many different fiction books, so I knew most of the Amish ways, but I did learn some new things as well. I have to agree with many other reviewers on this being one of the best books Brunstetter has written, and I've read several over the years!

The one drawback I have about this, it leaves too many open-ended questions not being answered for me at the end. I like my stories to be neatly tied up in a bow and this leaves me unsatisfied with many dangling threads. I'm positive the next Prayer Jar installment will cover these, but I would have loved to at least read an epilogue to have some closure on my questions. And we have to wait a whole year to get them! Next one is called The Forgiving Jar coming August 2019.

I would recommend this to Wanda Brunstetter fans, Amish/contemporary fiction fans, and those looking for a story to draw them in and keep them there until the last page!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. *

A Brand-New Series from New York Times Bestselling Author Wanda E. Brunstetter.

What happens when making an elderly Amish couple very happy means going along with a lie that gets bigger by the day?

Michelle Taylor is not who her new family in Lancaster County believes her to be. The Lapps were looking for their long-lost granddaughter when they met Michelle and she assumed the identity of Sara Murray. Once homeless and hopeless, Michelle has come to love her new Amish friends and even considers the idea of romance among them.
Finding an old blue jar in the barn that is filled with slips of paper containing thoughts, quotes, and prayers by an unknown author becomes a boost to Michelle’s budding faith— but also convicting. How can she tell the truth without hurting the ones she has truly come to love?

Available in paperback, hardcover, digital ebook and audiobook:
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