Arms of Love
by Kelly Long
This takes place in Pennsylvania in 1777, what was once called William Penn's Woods. The area is populated with several different faiths, including a small and struggling Amish group, living together for the first time in American history. The British and Patriots are pillaging land and goods for the war, so the Amish are not safe.
Adam Wyse, fighting a personal battle and in love with Lena Yoder, is thinking about leaving the Amish faith and enlisting. He has had a harsh life, his father has been beating him since he was nine years old, although his older brother Isaac never got beat. Isaac loved books and spent his time studying the Bible and making plans to become a Bishop while Adam worked with his father, Joseph.
Lena's father, Samuel, is in prison because he refused to turn over his last milk cow to the Patriots. He refused because his wife was pregnant and not doing well, he needed the milk for her. Even though Samuel doesn't like Adam, Adam would still go to the Yoder's to help them out, he would even take food and coin to the prison so Samuel would get extra food. Adam was there when Mary Yoder gave birth to Faith. Mary knew she wasn't going to live long so she asked him to promise her that he'd give up Lena's love, to give her up, until he was free from his father's rule and ready to build a new and free life for the two of them away from his father, which he did. She feared for Lena because she thought Adam would turn out like his father, a mean person.
Adam helps Lena get through the next few days, gets a wet nurse for baby Faith, sends his family over to do services for Mary and when these things are taken care of, he breaks things off with Lena, not telling her about the promise to her Mother. When Adam hears that Samuel is about to be tried, he gets Lena and takes her to town, he even trades his horse for Samuel's freedom, these things still don't bring Samuel around to liking Adam. Soon Lena and Isaac are pushed to marry, even though they are not in love. With Joseph and Samuel pushing them, they agree to marry when the Bishop comes around.
Throughout the story you know that something happened in the past, but just can't figure it out, what is it and is that what's causing Adam to think about going to war? Will Lena be able to follow through with the wedding plans to marry Isaac? Where does Adam end up?
I thought the book started out kind of slow, but as I read, I was anxious to see how things worked out for everyone. It was an interesting time period to be reading about and the additional struggle the Amish had during that period. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes historical Amish stories.
Kelly has put a reading group guide, as well as a four week Novel Bible Study on the Arms of Love in the back of the book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”