Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Review: Huckleberry Summer

Huckleberry Summer
By Jennifer Beckstrand
Huckleberry Hill, #2
Kensington/Zebra, 2014


With one of their grandchildren happily married, Anna and Felty Helmuth are ready for their next matchmaking success. Because there's nothing more rewarding than sparking unexpected love--and putting Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin, on the map for romance. . .

Cautious to a fault, Lily Eicher strives to live up to her dat's high standards. She's certainly not the kind of proper Amish girl who would make time for someone as impetuous as the Helmuths' grandson, Aden--even if his lively spirit and caring ways are showing her just how wonderful following her heart can be. . .

Recklessly doing the right thing got Aden into big trouble. A fresh start at his grandparents' is just what he needs. And shy, pretty Lily is turning his world upside down and making him want to prove he can do good within the rules. But now both must find enough faith and understanding to risk pursuing their dreams--together. . .

My thoughts

Huckleberry Summer, book #2 in The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series, is a delightful Amish romance about an elderly couple who decide to meddle in their grandchildren's lives in order to help them find suitable mates. Although part of a series, it can easily stand alone. 

This is the second novel of Jennifer Beckstrand's that I've read, and I find her writing very refreshing and enjoyable.  Filled with charming characters, sweet romance, and gentle humor, Huckleberry Summer captured my interest from the first page as I was transported to the Huckleberry Hill community of Bonduel, Wisconsin , and the ending only left me wanting more of the Helmuth family.

With their matchmaking efforts and spiritual wisdom that comes from a lifetime of walking with God, Felty and Anna are at the heart of this series. Much more than mere matchmaking, they have a unique ability to gently impart spiritual wisdom into the hearts of their loved ones. Felty and Anna are two very memorable and beloved characters.

This time it's their grandson, Aden, who "can't seem to stay out of jail long enough to court anyone," according to Anna. But while he tends to be a little reckless and rebellious, his only "crimes" are the passion he has for the environment and animals. As a result of her dat's over protectiveness, Lily has a cautious nature and a need for her Dat's approval, which creates great tension between Lily and Aden.


Another character that will steal your heart is Aden's Goldendoodle, Pilot. I had no idea what kind of dog this was, so I did a little research and discovered that the adorable Goldendoodle is a hybrid dog breed resulting from breeding a Poodle with a Golden Retriever. Although I'm a cat person, I fell in love with Pilot.

Aden and Lily both experience some emotional and spiritual maturing in a way that touched me as a reader because I probably tend to be a little cautious also. Aden knew Lily better than she knew herself, and gave her courage with these words:  "There are some things worth taking the risk for. You can be brave when it's important enough."

Something I think most readers can identify with is the seemingly never-ending struggle of surrendering our will to God, to knowing what part is our responsibility vs. when we need to allow God to take over. This conversation between Felty and Aden was very moving:

        Felty:  "It sounds to me like you need to turn your life over to God and then listen when He speaks to you. . . . Have you truly turned your life over to God, or are you just giving Him lip service?"
        Aden:  "I feel like God is calling my number, but I can't answer Him because I don't have a phone."

Huckleberry Summer is a truly delightful and entertaining story, worthy of the description "feel good," and guaranteed to bring a smile while reading and even afterward. Highly recommended. 5-star rating for the enjoyment factor alone!

Jennifer Beckstrand

Jennifer Beckstrand is the bestselling author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series and the Forever After in Apple Lake series, set in two Amish communities in beautiful Wisconsin. She has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. She and her husband have been married for thirty years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and two adorable grandsons, whom she spoils rotten.

Connect with Jennifer online at www.jenniferbeckstrand.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Huckleberry Summer can be purchased online at Amazon and B&N.

Thank you to Jane Nutter and Kensington Publishing for providing an electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

1 comment:

  1. Carole, this is lovely. Thank you so much for your thoughtful review. Anna and Felty quietly slip their wisdom in when it's most needed. I hope readers will come away uplifted. Humor plus romance is my favorite combination. :)