A Miracle of Hope
By Ruth Reid
Thomas Nelson, 2013
How far can God's mercy reach?
Lindie Wyse is pregnant out of wedlock and thinks an arranged marriage is the only way to preserve her future. Josiah Plank is certain he'll never love again, but he needs someone to care for his eight-year-old daughter, Hannah. The two take on their arrangement tentatively at first but soon realize they are each in for more than they imagined.
Lindie experiences a breakthrough with Hannah when she recognizes Hannah's special gifts, but a risky pregnancy and serious health issues threaten to demolish the foundation Josiah and Lindie are building. Will their growing love survive despite their struggles, or will their hearts become as cold as the northern winter?
I promise my name - not my heart.
With this commitment, penned by Josiah in a letter to Lindie, Ruth Reid begins the story of two people - strangers brought together by necessity, with a past that attempts to define their present - and shows the healing and redemptive nature of God through her prose. A Miracle of Hope is a wonderfully well-written, entertaining and unusual Amish story, with plot and characterization so strong that it should go beyond Amish fiction fans and appeal to all readers.
Michigan's Upper Peninsula in winter
Although I rarely get to experience snow where I live, Ruth's descriptions of Michigan's Upper Peninsula during the winter are vivid and almost hauntingly beautiful - yet the hardship, loneliness, and "cabin fever" elements are very real. But it's character depth that is this story's strength, and it is easy to connect with them from the very beginning.
Josiah is a good man - caring, honorable, kind - and I was immediately drawn to him. Lindie enters into a marriage of convenience, feeling that "all she had to offer any man was a marred life." Josiah and Lindie reflect what marriage should be: a husband and wife facing difficulties together, loving sacrificially and unconditionally, growing closer to God in the process. The chemistry and attraction between them is real; romance fans will find this part very satisfying.
But it's Josiah's eight-year-old daughter, Hannah, that is at the heart of this story. Deaf from birth and struggling after the death of her mother, she begins to open up when Lindie discovers her natural ability for drawing. Hannah's relationship with God and a hint as to her supernatural giftedness are intriguing. I loved this conversation between Hannah and Lindie:
"You are special." Lindie smiled.
"That's what God tells me too." She pointed to her head. "I hear him. He calls my name."
I've always shied away from stories that even hinted at a supernatural element, but we know that God is not limited and often acts in ways that we could never imagine. Ruth has beautifully used the vehicle of fiction to give us a moving story that rises above any reservations I might have had, and I hope we see much more of Hannah.
For me, the spiritual strength of this story is knowing God as Healer and that, no matter how difficult or tragic life's circumstances, God is in the business of redeeming what we thought was lost. Upon finishing A Miracle of Hope, I couldn't help but think of this Scripture passage . . .
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits--who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. (Psalm 103:2-5 NIV)
A Miracle of Hope is book one in the Amish Wonders series, and if I could ask Ruth one question, it would be, Where are you going next? These characters will stay with me for a long time and I hope to travel further with them. This book goes on my favorites list! Highly recommended to all readers.
Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA best-selling author of the Heaven on Earth series. She's a full-time pharmacist who resides in Florida with her husband and three children.
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Thank you to Litfuse for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.