Book Review

Book Review of The Guardian by Beverly Lewis

The Guardian by Beverly Lewis

The Guardian (Home to Hickory Hollow Book #3) - A Beautiful, Satisfying Novel

The Guardian is the 3rd book in the Home to Hickory Hollow series, but totally stands on its own. It's a beautiful and warm story about a school teacher, Jodi Winfield, who is house sitting for her cousin in Lancaster County, and the dual narrative about Maryanna, an Amish widow raising four children on her own.

Jodi is struggling with the recent death of her sister and the fact that there is some tension between her and her fiancee over the issue of having children in the future. With a broken heart over her sister's death, she feels herself slipping away from God and wondering if her fiancee's desire for children is beginning to drive a wedge into their wedding plans. Separated from Trent by an ocean since he's teaching English to students in Japan, she has time to mull over the path her life is taking amidst the peaceful setting of farms and fields during the sultry summer weeks she spends at her cousin's home.

Jodi's life takes a new twist when she finds a little Amish girl on the side of the road in just her underpants with a bruise on her forehead and brush burns. Finding little Sarah is the beginning of finding herself.

I won't share any spoilers so I'm not going to go further into the story. I can say that I really enjoyed Jodi's journey and her eventual acceptance and friendship with her Amish neighbors in Hickory Hollow. Maryanna's story (Sarah's mother) was also an interesting one. Maryanna's parents (and circumstances surrounding her children) are gently pressuring her to remarry and there is a bit of humor with the resulting widowers who come courting. I enjoyed the big, sweet slice of Amish life wrapped around Jodi and Maryanna's stories and loved learning after reading the novel that many of the places (and some of the events) described in the book are real.

This is the first time I've read a book by Beverly Lewis and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. I expected it to be syrupy and maybe even boring, but it hooked me right from the cover to the very last word. The descriptions were beautiful and it's hard to explain but there was just a different pace to this book than almost anything else I've ever read. The pacing of the book was steady and yet leisurely at the same time with a subtle tension throughout where you just HAVE to know what happens. It took enough time to really flesh out the main characters and make you care about what happened to them.

I thought the portrayal of the Amish felt realistic and wasn't phoney or overdone. These are "real" people with their own troubles and joys. I can say though that it did make me feel like packing up my stuff and moving to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, LOL. ;-) I was inspired afterwards to watch some documentaries on the Amish and do a bit of research on my own. I highly recommend looking up the BBC documentary on YouTube called: Amish - A Secret Life about Miriam and David Lapp. It's set in the same area at The Guardian and will give you a deeper and beautiful glimpse into the Amish life that perfectly supplements this novel.

The ending of The Guardian wrapped everything up and doesn't leave you hanging. The whole reading experience reading was so pleasant that I know this won't be my last foray into Beverley Lewis territory. One thing I want to note is that The Guardian is the most clean and wholesome book for adults I've come across in....well ever. There is no swearing or inappropriate situations. While there is a mention of courting, it's so sweet and appropriate, I'd hand this book over to an elementary student (or a Christian family who is against dating) with no problems. That isn't to say the book is childish though! It's an excellent read that is so good and satisfying that I highly recommend it!

One last thing I want to mention is that the cover is just SO beautiful. It's a perfect representation of the book itself. That's the reason why I wanted to read the book in the first place, even though this is NOT my usual reading fare AT ALL. The cover totally sucked me in with the delicious colors and that sweet pink cheeked baby girl. I had to read it. I almost didn't care what it was about, lol. Fortunately, this was one of those situations where you CAN judge a book by it's cover. The inside doesn't fail to deliver what is represented on the outside.

I'm really glad I chose to read The Guardian. I'm sure it will please Beverly Lewis fans as well as new comers to Amish fiction or just someone looking for a wholesome, satisfying read. Highly recommended!

*I recieved an ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy) of the Guardian in exchange for my honest review.

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