About the Book
Title: A Courtship on Huckleberry Hill
Author: Jennifer Beckstrand
Genre: Christian Amish Fiction
Release Date: December 26, 2017
Elsie Helmuth’s plain-spoken ways got her in trouble once before, so she needs to make a good impression at her new teaching job. But she’s not about to let disabled student Wally Sensenig work below his potential. And she definitely won’t put up with his hot-headed older brother sabotaging her efforts, no matter how handsome he is. . .
Sam is nearly at the end of his rope caring for his ailing, widowed mother, working their farm, and raising his siblings. He’ll admit Elsie’s ideas are bringing Wally out of his angry shell—but why does she have to be as stubborn as she is pretty? Yet as it turns out, Elsie has taught Sam something about himself as well. And he’ll do whatever it takes to make up for his mistakes—and win her heart forever.
I have a dilemma, on one hand I liked Matchmakers on Huckleberry Hill a lot, on the other hand I liked it not so much. I can’t give it a full 5 stars, because it wouldn’t be fair to the authors who wrote books that strongly resonated with me, but 3 would be average and it’s not just average and it is not deserving of less than 3, just because it wasn’t “my thing”, so I have to give it 4. Here’s why:
A little background first: In general, I like mysteries, sci fi and fantasy, if there happens to be some romance in it (like cozy mysteries) then that’s OK, as long as the story isn’t dominated by super beautiful leading lady and ultra-handsome leading man constantly feeling electric impulses every time they are near and focused on all the visceral stuff related to attraction between a man and a woman. That gets old REALLY FAST with me (and those who read my reviews are probably finding me saying this is “getting old”). And Amish fiction just isn’t appealing to me. Part of me jokingly feels like it’s kind of unfair, considering most Amish people probably don’t read these books, so they can’t correct them if they find them offensive or inaccurate. But that’s just a thought I have – shows how little I know about the subject. Any how, I digress. In this case, I thought I’d challenge my reading palate by reading this one. I’ve always liked stories about teachers, especially in the “one room school house” situation. So, I figured that should make it interesting.
The story is almost exactly what I expected it to be. It was very predictable and I knew nearly every step of the way what was going to happen from the very beginning. That’s why it didn’t “knock my socks off”, like some books do. And some people love that kind of writing, which is great for them, but kind of ho hum for me.
The premise is a bit annoying. I HATE when people meddle in the romantic lives of other people. I feel like it’s none of anyone’s business. However, in this case the matchmaker is very up front and not trying to be sneaky on either side, so the “victims” are clearly forewarned. And the little matchmaker lady is so blasted cute, how could I not like her.
Without giving too much away, I’m a little baffled that people aren’t more communicative about who they are related to and who they live with. It keeps the story moving, but I’m like “Why doesn’t this dude know where this chick lives yet??? After all, she’s the teacher!!!” But as I said it keeps the story moving along, much to my frustration at the lack of logic, especially being, it’s a small community. Frustration at lack of logic isn’t a compelling story telling devise for me.
Next is neither a positive nor a negative statement, because some will like what I describe, some will not. I’m just stating a fact …. As far as writing style, it is quite plain, much like the plain people being featured in the story. Not a lot of embellishment, just enough to make the story move, but not enough to make you sink in and feel like you’ve visited the place or watched the story like a movie.
Now the really good stuff – the characters were sweet, I liked Elsie and Sam and little Maizy and the dear little grandma, she was quite a character on her own. I liked A LOT that the author dealt with the tendency of people to mean well, but coddle disabled people (I grew up with a disabled brother – we did not coddle him. We protected him, but we trained him to be the best he could be with his limitations.) I liked that children learned valuable lessons in kindness and care and despite the lack of reality, I liked that a lot of things worked out well and good was rewarded and badness did not get any reward (thinking of a certain pesky “friend”.)
I admit I almost gave up at the 50% mark, it was just dragging along (some due to that a fore mentioned electricity and attraction stuff that takes me out of the story) then all of a sudden, a number of big challenges were met, which made the story move a long a bit better. It made me laugh out loud a few times and smile and gave me a bit of tension. All in all, it was cute and I liked it.
If you like “nice” stories that don’t challenge you too much, this is a good one to read. I don’t mean that condescendingly either, I know and have known a number of people who like just that kind of reading. Enjoy!!!
DISCLAIMER: I received this book as a gift. No compensation was received. The opinions I express are provided without obligation.
Click HERE to purchase your copy.
About the Author
Jennifer Beckstrand is the RITA-nominated, award-winning Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hillseries and The Honeybee Sisters series for Kensington Books. Her much-anticipated Amish series, The Honeybee Sisters, has created a lot of romantic buzz. Sweet as Honey received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and Sweet as Honey and A Bee in her Bonnet were both awarded Top Picks from RT Book Reviews. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth and the Honeybee sisters’aendi Bitsy. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a passion for Jane Austen and Shakespeare. She and her husband have been married for thirty-three years, and she has six children and six adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.
Guest Post from Jennifer Beckstrand
I have a very special place in my heart for teachers. My dad was a high school math teacher. My mother taught second grade for over twenty years. My son-in-law taught choir in high school, and my daughter taught seventh-grade science. Another daughter taught American history labs at the university and still another daughter taught classes for a youth summer program.
Elsie Stutzman is a dedicated teacher who was dismissed from her last teaching job in Ohio and is trying to make a fresh start and a good impression in Bonduel, Wisconsin. Unfortunately one of her students, Wally Sensenig, is making things difficult for her, and Wally’s hot-headed older brother seems determined to get her fired. But Elsie is a dedicated teacher, too stubborn to back down and too steadfast to give up on anybody.
Elsie’s grandparents, Anna and Felty Helmuth, have other plans for her. They want her to fall in love with one of the local boys, but they’re finding it a little difficult to get the two young people together.
Teachers have an immense impact on our lives. We all remember a favorite elementary school teacher who inspired a love of learning or a high school teacher who encouraged us to reach for greatness. One of my favorite teachers was Mrs. Zobell, who taught ninth grade English. I distinctly remember her reading “The Outsiders” out loud to our class. She had a way of making great books and great stories come to life, and she sparked a love of reading (and writing) that I will always be grateful for. The teacher who had the most impact on my life is my dad. He helped me through Calculus in high school and inspired me to major in math in college.
I hope we will take the time this month to thank the teachers in our lives for all they do for us and all they do for our kids.
Who was one of your favorite teachers and why?
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To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to three winners!! https://promosimple.com/ps/c6cf
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!