There are some Amish authors that really know how to pull readers into a story. Jennifer Beckstrand is one of them.
Now, those of you who know me probably are aware that I don’t read a lot of the authors who write Amish fiction. The authors who post to this blog are the exceptions and Jennifer Beckstrand is a wonderful example of what an Amish fiction author should be: genuine and sincere toward the Amish.
I read Return to Huckleberry Hill in two nights (which, given all that I do in a day, tells you how good the book truly is). One of the things I noticed right away was that the storyline was not a typical boy-meets-girl story. There was much more depth to the story as well as the psychology of the characters from an Amish point-of-view. You see, Reuben Helmuth is a man with feelings and a little bit of ego, something that isn’t always portrayed in Amish stories. I think sometimes people believe all Amish are the same: quiet, reserved, and cut from a cookie-cutter mold. Jennifer Beckstrand definitely makes it clear that Reuben is not a stereotypical Amish man.
Fern King is an interesting character, too. She is a determined young woman who demonstrates compassion and kindness toward Reuben in a way that is not typically portrayed in many novels. She is a real person with a depth to her feelings, especially when it comes to Reuben. Her patience in dealing with him and his internal turmoil over being jilted by his girl back—and by Fern’s brother, nonetheless! She offers him a strong lesson in forgiveness that isn’t always easy for him to accept.
Don’t we all have situations in our lives where it’s hard to move on? To forgive? Sometimes it takes longer than other times. Sometimes we, as humans, fail entirely. But Fern believes in Reuben and, with her determination and perseverance, she intends to succeed.
Truly, I enjoyed this book for so many reasons. The writing is wonderful (a major plus in my book!), the storyline is unique, and the characters are real. If you haven’t visited Huckleberry Hill, I encourage you to do so. And if you have already been there through the pages of Jennifer’s books, now is the time to Return to Huckleberry Hill with her latest installment in the series (which does NOT have to be read in order, by the way).