Every year, young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive “resident” status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides!
In The Promise Box, the second book of best-selling author Tricia Goyer’s Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series, Lydia Wyse, a book editor from Seattle who grew up Amish, returns to the small community of West Kootenai to give comfort to her father after her mother’s death. She is drawn back to the familiar Amish ways after finding her mother’s most precious possession, a Promise Box of prayers and scripture. What her publisher sees, though, is an opportunity for a sensational “tell-all” book about the Amish.
Lydia soon finds herself falling in love with Amish bachelor Gideon Hooley. She wants nothing more than to forget her past and look forward to a future as an Amish bride. But will the pain of her childhood—and her potential betrayal of her community—keep her from committing her whole heart?
The West Kootenai community in Montana is a place where Amish and Englisch live and work side by side. It’s off the beaten path and is difficult to locate on a map. It’s also the setting for Tricia Goyer’s earlier Big Sky series, and many characters from it appear in The Promise Box. Because of the many references to events during that series I suggest reading that first so you know what happened.
Lydia and Gideon have a fiery first meeting. When he notices an Englisch woman taking a photograph of the Wyse property Gideon confronts her, not knowing that she is the prodigal Wyse daughter. An attraction blooms between them, one they both initially avoid due to their differences. Her baptism into the Amish faith removes many of those differences. Instead, they find common ground. Both harbor guilt for events that weren’t their fault and that they couldn’t have controlled. Both need to let go and accept the blessings in their lives.
The Promise Box focuses, as the title suggest, on God’s promises to His people. Even during the darkest times – and all of us have witnessed many, I’m sure – we are reminded that He is there for us and can bring positives from the negatives in our lives and of our characters. This is illustrated in the wayward horse named Blue that Gideon is training. The owners had thought Blue untamable and contemplated having him put down. But with Gideon’s careful and patient training, Blue becomes a remarkable creature.
There are many books in the Amish fiction market. These recent contributions by Tricia Goyer stand out in the crowd. The setting of Montana is different and therefore necessitates the description of the challenges presented by living in the northwest. You don’t find much mention of bears in books set in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, for example. Also in these books, the Englisch are regarded more as friends than nuisance tourists to be tolerated. If you’re looking for Amish novels that aren’t as ‘cookie-cutter’ as others on the shelves, I definitely recognize these by Tricia Goyer.
Thank you to Tricia Goyer and Zondervan for my free copy of The Promise Box, which I received in exchange for an honest review.
Publication Date: 21 May 2013
Page Count: 336