Publisher: Mira; Original Edition (July 26, 2011)
Source: Review copy from Netgalley
Genre: Amish Mystery
Against the peaceful night sky, a barn burns…
Sarah Kauffman sought permission from her church elders to paint murals on a few of the Amish community's barns. Each was designed like an old–fashioned quilt square, representing a piece of the Amish traditions Sarah loved. The works of art were intended to draw more tourists to the Home Valley in the struggling economy. But instead, they invited a menace. One by one, each barn is set ablaze and destroyed…
The arson fires spread fear through the community— amongst Amish and Englischers alike. Now Sarah wonders if she's being punished for her pridefulness…or whether there's a more malevolent will at work.
As an outsider, arson investigator Nate MacKenzie struggles to investigate the crime scenes while adhering to Amish ways. With Sarah as his guide, he warms to the Plain People and their simple ways. As the fires rage, beliefs are challenged, a way of life is questioned and family secrets are exposed. In the aftermath of the destruction the people of the Home Valley must join together to raise their barns and their hopes for the future.
This was a good mixture of Romance and Mystery. Sarah is a young Amish woman who loves to paint. Her bishop allows her to do it from the standpoint it might bring in tourists. Sarah sees it as an acceptable way to do what she loves without appearing prideful. The barns she has painted symbols on are burning and this causes an outsider to be brought in to investigate the crimes. Sarah now faces her feelings for a man who is not Amish. This is another no-no. I loved the way the author didn’t try to put the character’s in an all restrictive, “don’t talk to the Englishers”, type of story line. I live in a community in Florida that has both Amish and Mennonites. The postal clerk in this small community is Amish and is one of the most pleasant people I know. For this reason I felt the book was much more on target than what is often pictured in Amish books. The characters were well thought out. I loved the idea of a budding, yet forbidden romance. The ending was okay. It was good enough to make me say, I can’t wait to see what is next in this series. So if you are the type who loves Amish fiction with a twist of mystery then this is probably the book for you.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.