Sunday, December 15, 2013

REVIEW: In Your World, Book 2 Renewing Hope by Jennyfer Browne

Renewing Hope Blurb

The journey for Kate Hill and Nathan Fisher continues…

Kate Hill hopes to leave her English past behind her in order to be accepted by the Amish of West Grove, and marry her love, Nathan Fisher. But as she struggles to win over her Amish neighbors, she discovers that the sordid past of the Bishop’s son has caused a rift in the small community. Shunned for living the English lifestyle, Benjamin Yoder finds a friend in Kate, and wonders if there is hope in returning to the Amish life he misses.

Nathan Fisher wants his old friend, Benjamin, back with the Amish for many reasons- by forgiving Benjamin his English transgressions; surely the community will accept his Kate. With the Bishop’s steadfast obstinacy towards the English blight on his flock, it will be up to Kate and Nathan to heal their community by bringing home the son of the Bishop and renewing hope in the Amish through forgiveness.

Excerpt #1

“Bishop Yoder, pleasant day.”

I froze with a pie in my hand at the name on Ethel’s lips. Turning, I found the Bishop standing in front of the booth, eyeing the baked goods and jams. When he looked up to find me standing there with pie in my hands his friendly face faltered and a slight sneer appeared. It only lasted an instant before the man standing beside him spoke. I hadn’t even noticed the young Bishop, Zachariah Ropp standing there.

“It is good to see you again, Katherine Hill,” he said with a courteous nod of his head.

“I have heard many say your baked goods would make a fine addition to this market.”

The Bishop’s eyes narrowed at the young man’s compliment.

“I am happy to offer whatever I may, Bishop Ropp,” I replied, my voice soft.

Fannie came up beside me and transferred the pie in my hands to the table.

“She is blessed in her baking,” she replied simply.

“You have taught her much then,” Bishop Yoder stated, never taking his judging eye

from mine.

“No, she was blessed before she arrived with us, Bishop Yoder,” Fannie replied. “I dare say she outshines my own skills.”

“Really?” Bishop Ropp asked, his eyebrows rising slightly. “Naomi Yoder has said that no one can cook like you. Your cakes and dishes are always the first to go at your Sermons, I hear.”

Fannie wrapped her arm around my waist and smiled.

“Not any longer, I think,” she said. “I do believe Katherine’s pies disappeared while the main dishes were still hot on last Sermon.”

“You will make an Amish man very happy one day,” Bishop Ropp said before jerking his head toward his elder Bishop, who made a strangled noise in his throat.

Clearly Bishop Yoder didn’t think so.

“An Amish wife must know more than simply how to fill her husband’s belly,” he muttered and nodded his goodbye before stalking off toward the horse auction.

Bishop Ropp looked after him for a moment before offering his clipped farewell and following after. Ethel patted my hand and gestured toward the retreating Bishops.

“Do not worry over Bishop Yoder. He has just forgotten what a meal made with love tastes like.”

“I do not think Nathan Fisher starves so,” one of the other women teased.

“Leave her be, Mary,” Sarah said, winking at me as my blush deepened.

Excerpt #2

Perhaps this was the last test for members wishing to join the Amish- supper with the Bishop’s family to dissect the candidates one last time. So as the men entered the kitchen, with Nathan and Benjamin nervous under the Bishop’s critical eye, I tried my best to show everyone all that I had learned and lived by.

I was quiet.
I prepared a plate for the Bishop before anyone else. I kept my gaze solidly on my water glass unless spoken to. I spoke softly. I didn’t dare look up at Nathan although I could feel his eyes on me. I could feel every eye on me.

“What do you plan for the spring, Nathan?” I heard the Bishop ask halfway through the meal.

“I hope to increase my crops for the spring,” he said, his voice timid. “Perhaps wheat this year, or soy.”

“How do you plan to do more when it is only you?” he asked.

Nathan cleared his throat and I could hear his fork slide on his plate.

“I have hope that I will not be alone come spring.”

The room was quiet for a moment, the only sound that of chewing and forks along dishes.

“My son has his job at the mill. I do not see him offering much aid come spring.”

“No sir, I do not intend to rely on Benjamin to help in my tasks,” Nathan replied and cleared his throat again. “I hope to have my wife to help.”

Another awkward silence.

“And if you do not marry?” the Bishop asked. “You have hardly any stores for winter now. Jonah has taken your livestock to help you, but even he cannot support you.”

“I intend to marry, Bishop Yoder.”

I made the mistake of chancing a glance around the table, my eyes going wide at the scene. Nathan stared intently at the Bishop who waged his own war glaring at me, while Benjamin looked to his mother for help. Naomi was the only smart one in the group, keeping her eyes on her peas as she pushed them around on her plate. Finally the Bishop’s wife let out a noise and placed a hand on her husbands arm, pulling his searing gaze from me.

“It is time for Nathan Fisher to marry. That house has seen its mourning. It is time to fill it with children once more,” she said and smiled my way. “Katherine Hill may have a past we do not know, but she has brought our son home and his friend back from a darkness that would have swallowed him. I look forward to spending time in the sewing circle with her.”

The Bishop turned his gaze slowly back toward me, his look an unreadable mask once more as he spoke.

“We shall see.”

About the Author

Jennyfer Browne has always been a sucker for a good love story- a complex recipe with a dash of dashing, a pinch of heroism, and a hefty dose of outside forces that test young lovers.

Seasoned with tears and laughter, followed by a sprinkle of happy sighs fill out the perfect recipe.

Jennyfer also enjoys pie.

Ms. Browne lives in California with her wonderful husband and adoring son, where she enjoys the beach and sailing off on further adventures. A member of the Romance Writers of America and blessed with an overactive imagination, she writes sweet and savory romances with a twist of tart that always come to a happy ending.

Adri’s Review:
In the second book we continue with Nathan and Kate’s journey to finding faith and hope. While Kate is ready to put the past behind her, and begin her life as an Amish woman, there are others that aren’t so willing to help her do that.

Kate’s continued strength is amazing, Jennyfer Browne has written a character that is willing to do anything and everything. She is strong and loving. Yet gentle and easily hurt. I think one of my favorite things about the character is how she helps Nathan heal from the loss of his family and helps him move forward. I also enjoy how she stands up to those who are working against her and fights for what she loves.  

This book is also quite steamy in a non-graphic way. Once Kate and Nathan have married, it is so natural to have their relationship ease into a common marriage and all the previous sexual tension finally released.

I think one of the things I enjoyed most at the end of this book, was not to see it end, but to know that we will be getting a third book in the installment and it will be Benjamin’s story.

Anyway… Happy Reading… Adri  

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