I escaped to spend a little time at the beach last week finishing Firestorm by Laura V. Hilton. Ran to our local Post Office and then hit the beach. A cool Pacific Northwest morning with my coffee, slippers, and the sand. Delightful. I really enjoyed the book and I’ll tell you why. I also much include some things about this Amish Fiction that gave me pause. Overall I enjoyed the book and loved that it set me up for another book to come out and continue the story, I would totally continue to read, which does tell you I liked the book. I’d give the book four stars because of the few hangups that even now after I’ve completed the book I can recall. Almost like a stick in my craw.
The story itself had some fun elements to it that made it a quick and easy read. The characters were likeable and while it has the tell tale romance there were some fun bits that kept the story entertaining. I’ll be honest and tell you that the fact that it’s a contemporary setting paired with the Amish community is something I am familiar with. However, Hilton did some things I’m not quite as familiar with. One of these elements really kind of bothered me and one of the similar elements made the story better for me. Hilton used some words, lingo, that is modern but I just couldn’t envision Amish people using, or at least using without internal conviction or external reprimand. However, it is true with all the current worldly elements even Amish people face in our world… I mean think about the TLC, reality type, televisions shows about things like “Breaking Amish” or “Return to Amish” that maybe I’m off base here and it is as common as the book seems to make it. When Hilton had the main character Bridget use “hot” to describe a brand new love interest, had her father use “idiot” to insult Gabriel – the same love interest, and then used the term “sexy” later in the book I just couldn’t quite get past it, I found it distracting.
It is clear that Bridget has some beliefs that may have been explicitly taught or implicitly obtained in her Amish upbringing that when she faces adulthood and making her own choices she finds herself struggling, and feeling a bit lost. For example, she has some guilt when reading the Bible for herself, dislikes having decisions made on her behalf, and the level of care and love she feels like she is given by the men in her life leaves her feeling unknown or cared for. These all contribute to her worldview and experience which makes for an interesting internal struggle and intriguing story as she pursues Gabriel and he seems contradictory to all she knows. I thank Hilton for these undercurrents and it’s what made me keep reading.
It is clear that Bridget has some beliefs that may have been explicitly taught or implicitly obtained in her Amish upbringing that as she faces adulthood and making her own choices just don’t seem to sit well with her. Guilt when reading the Bible for herself, having decisions made on her behalf, and the level of care and love she feels like she is given by the men in her lives were all part of her worldview and experience that make for an interesting internal struggle and intriguing story as she pursues him and he seems different. I thank Hilton for these undercurrents and it’s what made me keep reading.
In the end I really did enjoy the book, would pass it off to another Amish Fiction lover, and honestly might even suggest it for someone who hasn’t read any Amish Fiction before especially if they had avoided it due to the unrealistic level of innocence in the community. I would also be intrigued to know more about this Amish community in Michigan that is just budding at the time of this story. Hilton did a great job of leaving me wanting more and also helping me enjoy an interesting piece of Amish history.
Read the summary below, learn a bit more about Laura V. Hilton or enter the awesome giveaway below. Happy summer reading! Send suggestions for titles that you’d like me to read or review to firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you don’t want to miss out on other book reviews like this be sure to subscribe to my newsletter.
About the Book
Author: Laura Hilton
Genre: Christian Amish
Release Date: July, 2018
Bridget Behr and her family migrate from the bustling Amish community where she grew up in Ohio to the mostly unpopulated Upper Peninsula of Michigan after a stalker breaks into their home. While her father and brother try to find work in the area, the family is forced to reside in a borrowed RV until the house and barn are rebuilt. While Bridget is hoping for a fresh start, she’s afraid to trust anyone—even Gabriel, the overly-friendly Amish man who lives nearby. Bridget thinks he’s a flirt who serial dates and doesn’t even remember the girls’ names.
Due to not enough construction work in his Florida community to keep him out of trouble, Gabriel Lapp has been sent to Michigan to work. His father is desperate for his son to settle down. When the family walks into Gabe’s home in the middle of a thunderstorm and he discovers their circumstances, he offers to help with construction. For Gabe, the beautiful girl he teasingly calls “the recluse” once he discovers she doesn’t attend youth events, confuses him like none other.
As Gabriel and Bridget grow closer, they realize there is more to a person than meets the eye. Just as Bridget is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding love, tragedy strikes. Now Bridget and her family must decide if they should move to another Amish community, or dare to fight for the future they’d hoped for in Mackinac County.
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About the Author
Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with over twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write.
Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.
When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.
Guest Post from Laura Hilton
I read a series of books a year or so ago by another Amish author who had set her books in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. As a Michigan native, I was curious, and I researched, but found nothing about Upper Peninsula Amish except a notation that one had tried and failed. So I contacted the author. She told me that she’d never been there, and her research had all been hearsay, so with that lack of firsthand knowledge and no trip to the Upper Peninsula planned, no trip to see for myself would be possible. At least at that time.
Then God intervened. My son who is in the United States Coast Guard was stationed in the Upper Peninsula this past summer (2017.) He saw the Amish driving around in their buggies. And he felt like a stalker as he followed one to see where he went and drove through the area. He even sent pictures. (Shhhh.)
Yes, there are Amish in the Upper Peninsula – at least at the time this book was written.
Okay, as a Michigan native, I used some terms that may not be familiar to non-Michiganders. A Yooper is someone who lives in the Upper Peninsula. A Troll is someone from the Lower Peninsula. A pastie is kind of like a Hot Pocket, except it’s a meat pie made with root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and rutabagas. They are so good. And the straits are the area of the Great Lakes connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
As for the wildfire, the earliest wildfire I could find any documentation on in the Upper Peninsula was in April. It is generally a snowy area — trust me. I lived near the Muskegon area and saw snow drifts in May. We sometimes had over six feet of snow on the ground at one time. So, to get the wildfire when I wanted/needed the wildfire I used artistic license. Yes, fires really happened in Michigan’s history. Just not in the month mentioned in the book.
I am attaching a meme about Michigan seasons. We’ll call the fire set in “fool’s spring.” My son got married during the “third winter” this year. April 21 and there’s snow on the ground. He and his beautiful bride got married at a water fall (Tahquomenon Falls) very near where the story is set.
Thanks for reading Firestorm!!
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To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away
Grand prize: Firefighter Puppet 9 (Melissa & Doug), Copies of Amish Firefighter and Firestorm by Laura Hilton.
First place prize of “I Love You to the Cross & Back” Mug (Gardenfire) & Firestorm by Laura Hilton!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cf87/firestorm-celebration-tour-giveaway