Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book review - catching up #2

 The Bishop’s Daughter by Wanda Brunstetter is the third and last book in the Daughters of Lancaster County series. In the first book, an Amish child is kidnapped from the farm where he lived and the book followed the oldest daughter in the family who was watching the boy when he was taken and the family who ended up keeping the boy as their adopted son. In the second book, the Amish family is still looking for the boy and the adoptive father who kidnapped the child all but leaves his wife and the boy because of his guilty conscience.

In this book, Jimmy finds out that he was kidnapped and is originally from Lancaster County. He leaves Washington and returns to Pennsylvania in hopes of finding his real family. Along the way, he meets the Bishop’s daughter Leona who has lost her love and her “one chance” at marriage.

I’m not a fan of Brunstetter. This is the first series of hers that I have read and it took me 2 years to read the final book. I understand the concept of drawing the story out to make a book, but Jimmy told or tried to tell his story 3 or 4 times throughout the book and always got cut off somehow. Or when someone was going to tell him the story of the kidnapped Amish boy, they got cut off. I’m not sure why these people can’t remember what they were talking about and pick up a conversation where they were left off before being interrupted.

There were strong Christian themes in the book and I knew going into it that there would be, but I was a little put off by the way the kidnapper was portrayed. Yes, he is an alcoholic and yes, he kidnapped the boy, but instead of being repentant of his ways, he was boorish at anyone who he deemed a religious nut or zealot. In his opinion, anyone who attended church of any kind is a religious nut. It was a ridiculous characterization of the only non-religious character in the book and it was a little off putting.

The other thing that drives me nuts about this story is that every single person takes the blame in some way or another for something that was a total accident or that they had nothing to do with whatsoever. In one of the other books, an Amish man was killed because he was rescuing quilts from a Quilt Shop and after the third or fourth time he entered the store the roof collapsed and he was killed. Ummmm…. No one else’s fault. Why keep running into an obvious burning building if people are not inside? Things can be remade.

I’m not totally sold on this author so I am not sure that I will read anymore of her books.

On the other hand…..

I adore Beverly Lewis’ books! In The Postcard, Rachel Yoder loses her husband, young son and unborn child when their horse and buggy are hit by an automobile. In the weeks following the accident, Rachel loses her sight in what can only be called hysterical blindness and Rachel and her young daughter are forced to move in with Rachel’s parents who have recently opened a B&B.

Philip Bradley is on a writing assignment from NYC and is staying at the B&B for a few days. He becomes enamored with a roll top desk in his room and finds an old postcard in one of the drawers. The postcard stirs up trouble with Rachel’s parents who seem to be hiding a secret and Philip makes it his mission to find out what happened long ago.

I’m still confused about how this postcard is going to bring Rachel and Philip together. And even once the readers know the back story behind the post card, I am still not sure why Rachel’s parents are so against Philip doing his research. I guess it will be explained in the next story.

If you like your books to be complete stories, you should probably stay away from Brunstetter and Lewis. I know that Lewis does enjoy having stories that last 2 to 5 books. And in all of her books that I have read, it made sense and I didn’t mind it. It’s too soon to tell for The Crossroads series, but at least it is only 2 books.


Deb said...

Thanks for the great book review...and for pointing out one of those "flaws" that I also dislike in books and movies...people not getting to finish a sentence (or not asking obvious questions)!!

I have enjoyed all of Beverly Lewis's stories also.


Brenda said...

I do like books that carry on - as long as I am enjoying the book!! If I'm not, it's kinda annoying because I just want it over with, and thought it would be when I got to the end!! Kinda like tying up loose ends!!
Good reviews, the 2nd one, I might have to check out!! Thanks!!