A Letter from Lancaster County
By Kate Lloyd
Lancaster Discoveries #1
Harvest House, 2017
Two sisters get a second chance at life and love
Angela---Her mother's untimely death, a struggling marriage, a strained relationship with her sister, Rose, and regrets over what might have been haunt her. Despite being a wife and mother, she feels she has little to show for her life.
Rose--Still single, she longs for a husband and children. But Angela has all that and still isn't happy. Rose wants to be closer to her older sister, but she and Angela couldn't be more different. Both strong women, will their sibling rivalry ever end?
When a letter arrives from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Angela and Rose decide to visit Aunt Silvia, their mother's Mennonite sister, in the heart of Amish country. This vacation could provide the opportunity both sisters need to sort out their issues. And yet instead of finding a new way of connecting with each other, Angela and Rose discover surprising family secrets that add to their strife and threaten Rose's romance with a new beau.
Through it all, the two sisters must find the faith necessary to face their personal problems and allow God to restore hope and healing to their hearts and relationship as only He can.
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A Letter from Lancaster County gets high praise from me. I found it a fascinating character study, rich and introspective, one that I wanted to take my time with and savor each page. This is the first of Kate Lloyd’s books that I’ve read, so I don’t know how it compares to her others. If this is indicative of the quality of her writing, however, I will be reading more.
First of all, this isn’t typical Amish fiction … for while it’s set within an Amish/Mennonite community, the main characters are English. Secondly, this is a relationship drama in which deeper themes emerge beyond what appears on the surface. It’s not a fast-paced novel that you find hard to put down, although I did find it difficult to put down. In short, A Letter from Lancaster County is a meaty story, one that you can enjoy as you sink into its depths.
The story peels back the layers in the relationship of two sisters, Angela and Rose, slowly revealing a backstory that affects who they are today and helps us understand their constant bickering and complaining. Angela deals with insecurity in her marriage, while Rose can’t forget “that hideous night God deserted me.” I felt a sense of realism – and while I didn’t always like the behavior of Angela and Rose, I liked them.
Spiritual themes are subtle in this story, but ever present. We see contrasts … love/hate, forgiveness/unforgiveness, hardness of heart/grace. The ending is simply heartwarming. Kate Lloyd is an impressive, consummate writer and I look forward to the next book in this series.
I was provided a free copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Kate Lloyd is a bestselling novelist whose books include "A Portrait of Marguerite" and the Legacy of Lancaster trilogy. A native of Baltimore, she enjoys spending time with friends and family in rural Pennsylvania and is a member of the Lancaster County Mennonite Historical Society. She now resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband.
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