Covered Bridge Charm
By Dianne Christner
Shiloh Run Press, 2016
Carly Blosser may not match the typical description of a conservative Mennonite woman—unmarried at 27, living alone, and careening around her Oregon neighborhood on a pink bicycle—but she has a soft heart for the elderly Mennonite residents at Sweet Life Assisted Living Facility, where she works as a caregiver.
When Carly’s plans for a new volunteer program go awry, she shifts her focus to one lonely resident named Martha. Adam Lapp, a wood shop instructor at Sweet Life, joins with Carly to reunite Martha with an old flame before her 85th birthday.
Carly and Adam’s hunt involves carved initials on covered bridges, digging up the past, and the appearance of a newcomer, who hinders the budding romance between the two. Soon, new clues sweep them all in a harried race to the finish line where love is sure to be the ultimate prize.
Dianne Christner has penned a lovely story that is uniquely different and quite entertaining. Covered Bridge Charm, set in the Oregon Mennonite community, has rich characterization, spiritual depth, and is a story with heart. I’m so glad to have discovered Dianne’s writing.
Carly and Adam both work at the Sweet Life Assisted Living Facility and captured my heart with their empathy for the elderly. Adam, who teaches a woodworking class, finds himself caught in the middle between his dad and uncle in their ongoing feud. And Carly is quite the character! While some consider her to be a little independent and strong willed for a Conservative Mennonite, no one can fault her heart and passion for the assisted living residents. I love that she rides a pink bicycle everywhere, often getting in situations that require Adam to give her a lift in his truck. And she has the most adorable pet, a unicorn lop rabbit with one ear up and one down – a rescue bunny that “had always been on the nippy side when he didn’t get his way.” I loved seeing how there was a hierarchy in Cocoa’s world, and let’s just say that Carly was not at the top.
Dianne writes with a gentle humor and compassion for the assisted living residents and I easily became involved in their lives. That the staff had descriptive names for them was so cute – like Nines (due to dress style), General, Magnificent, and Klepto (no explanation needed). Carly was clever at finding ways to reduce their loneliness and particularly touching was her encouragement that Martha read from the Psalms to her friend, Dot, who suffered from dementia. I appreciated these words of Dianne from her Goodreads page . . . “Covered Bridge Charm was birthed from my experience as a caregiver for elderly in-laws. This experience stirred up a passion against the aging process and the pain and humiliation which accompanies it.”
Covered Bridge Charm is a heartwarming story of relationships, and I loved the chemistry between Adam and Carly. There’s a lot of interesting secondary characters who add to the richness of this story, so I hope we get to return to this Mennonite community.
Dianne Christner - Christian Fiction Author - writes Christian romance novels. She writes both historicals and Amish fiction. Raised in the Mennonite church, she brings authenticity to "The Plain City Bridesmaids" series.
She keeps a lighthearted reality blog called plaingirl romanticizing. Her passion is reading and connecting with other readers and writers.
Thank you to Barbour for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.