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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lydia's Charm by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Lydia's Charm by Wanda E. Brunstetter
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Full Length (376 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Camellia

Visit Amish Country during the fall as Lydia King attempts to make Charm, Ohio, feel like home after losing her husband. But is her heart ready to open back up to love when gifts appear on her porch from a mystery source? Could it be from the widowed father of four energetic boys, or is it from the man who has rejected romance to be his family’s caregiver? When life hands Lydia another challenge, will the gift giver be there to support her?

The forgiveness, perseverance, work ethic, and Christian-giving in Lydia's Charm showcases the best in human nature, These attributes override the selfishness, prejudice, flaws, and irascible attitudes of a few who threaten to destroy loving relationships. This gentle love story takes the reader on a vicarious journey with Lydia King as she makes a life in a new community. With faith, hope, and love, she endures the mundane troubles, s horrific loss, and uncertainty but she prevails admirably with God’s guidance and a LOT of help from amazing people.

Lydia King is a charming young widow with a four-year-old son Josh. She longs for her mother’s approval that seems to always be out of reach. As she seeks God’s will for her life, she must withstand sorrows and fears that threaten to overwhelm her at times. When she can no longer bear her burdens, she turns to her Bible and prayer to seek understanding and comes to the realization that “if we feel sorry for ourselves, it will suck us under like quicksand”. While she has always been kind, even-tempered, hardworking, gentle, and loving, she emerges from her grief a stronger woman that makes her even more beautiful in the eyes of those who see her for who she really is.

Levi Stutzman, the only normal size person in his family of “little people”, has his flaws and hang-ups, but he is protective of his family and of others who need a helping hand. Even though he vows to never marry, he loves Lydia and wants the best for her. Of course, his mother wants the best for him and she is a very special person to get to know.

Menno Troyer, a widower with four rambunctious boys, works hard to make a living for his family and to run the household that his Sadie had seemed to do so easily. He is swamped and his boys unruly. He thinks Lydia would be a perfect mother for his sons. How God leads him in the right direction for his life grabs the reader’s attention.

The secondary characters reinforce the strength of the community of Charm, Ohio. They enrich and add texture to the story while creating mini stories of their own.

Wanda E. Brunsteller skillfully incorporates the Amish way of life into the actions of a community of people who work hard to make a living, but still find time to have fun and to nurture and “practice-what-they-preach” in their religious beliefs.

Lydia's Charm is an amazing story about living by faith. Ms. Brunsteller’s straightforward style of writing and her character development create an uplifting story of love and highlight the best of human nature while revealing the imperfections that are overcome. She gives the reader a most satisfying happy-ever-after.