By Vannetta Chapman
Plain and Simple Miracles, prequel
Harvest House, 2015
Brian's Choice is an e-only novella prequel to the brand-new Plain and Simple Miracles collection from popular author Vannetta Chapman. These stories of love and family and Amish community in Oklahoma tell of the miracles that can happen when lives are lived in service to God and to one another.
Brian Walker has it all - a trust fund, the job of his dreams, and a beautiful woman at his side. But all of that changes in one tragic moment. Six months later he finds himself in the small town of Cody's Creek, Oklahoma, and eventually becomes a member of the Amish community located there.
Brian feels God's hand directing his path, and he begins to hope that perhaps his past is behind him for good. However, nothing prepares him for the day his bishop asks him a question.
Brian's choice changes everything.
A story about the miracle of faith, the solace of love, and our ability to forgive and be forgiven.
Most novellas that I read are enjoyable and seem to hit the spot when I don't have time for a full-length novel, yet rarely do they have the quality and emotional impact that merits going on my "best of the best" list. But Brian's Choice by Vannetta Chapman is one such novella. It's a poignant story that touched my heart and gave me much upon which to reflect.
Set in the Amish community of the fictional town of Cody's Creek, Oklahoma, this character-driven story is actually a prequel to Vannetta's new series, Plain and Simple Miracles. If this upcoming series is anything like Brian's Choice, then it will be good, very good - because it will not only entertain and cause you to smile at times, but have a strong spiritual impact as well. And the romance between Brian and Katie is the best kind, for it starts out with mutual respect and friendship, slowly growing to something much deeper over time.
"What are the odds that the truck I'm riding in would
break down in one of the few places in Oklahoma
with an Amish community?"
Brian is a strong, sympathetic character, one that I am not likely to soon forget. The contrast between old and new/past and present is vividly drawn as we see the change from a confident tenured professor to an humble Amish man mentored by father-figure Bishop Levi, "a safe haven in Brian's personal storm." The theme of God's will is central, and when Katie mentions Gotte's wille to Brian, he responds, "It would be simpler to say it was my mistakes - my sins - that led me here." (I can't help but inject how much I appreciate seeing the phrase "my sins" used in Christian fiction!)
But it's the overarching theme of choice that will speak to every reader. I loved how Brian used To Kill a Mockingbird to teach that, while we all have both good and bad qualities, we are entrusted with the responsibility of personal choice in how we react or what we choose to embrace. There's also a very moving scene when Brian reflects on his spiritual encounter with God while visiting the national memorial in Oklahoma City. I was intrigued by the Field of Empty Chairs and enjoyed searching online to learn more.
I highly recommend Brian's Choice and eagerly await the series. Book #1, Anna's Healing, releases on October 1.
Be sure to check out Vannetta's Pinterest board for Brian's Choice, which gives a great feel for this story.
Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Her novel Falling to Pieces was a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist. A Promise for Miriam earned a spot on the June 2012 Christian Retailing Top Ten Fiction list. Chapman was a teacher for 15 years and currently writes full time. She lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.
Find Vannetta online at vannettachapman.com, Facebook, Twitter.
Thank you to Vannetta for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.