An Uncommon Grace, by Serena B Miller

book coverGrace Connor, a military nurse formerly stationed in Afghanistan, hopes that moving to a farm in rural Ohio will help her recover from the ravages of war.

 Levi Troyer finds his pacifist beliefs challenged when he discovers his stepfather has been killed and his mother wounded by an unknown intruder. Levi and Grace are thrown together when she comes to his family’s rescue and saves his mother’s life. A deep attraction develops—even though a relationship between them is strictly forbidden.

 Levi belongs to the most conservative and isolated of all Amish sects—the Swartzentruber Amish. Even before meeting Grace, Levi had begun to question some of their teachings. He has considered leaving, but knows he will be banned forever from contact with his younger siblings and widowed mother—who need him to survive. He is torn between his love for Grace and his responsibility to his family.

 Grace considers leaving her beloved farm and reenlisting rather than continuing to live near the man she loves but cannot have. Levi must confront the Bann if he pursues Grace. And a murderer must be caught. When lifelong allegiances are tested, can love and justice prevail?

 The majority of Amish novels feature the Old Order tradition, so one featuring the very conservative Swartzentruber group is a rare find. During An Uncommon Grace, we learn why not all Amish are the same. The Swartzentrubers are mostly isolated from other Amish groups and have even stronger limits on the amount of Englisch technology that can be used. Swartzentruber buggies do not have red warning triangles on them, and use of the phone – even for business or emergencies – is totally forbidden. When Levi discovers tragedy at his home he has no choice but to ride to his Englisch neighbor for help, which is where he meets Grace who is currently staying with her grandmother.

I came away from this book really disliking Levi’s community. Severely limiting contact with the Englisch community is one thing, but these people were rude to members of other Amish groups. Several times the bishop insulted Grace and Levi’s Old Order aunt, both of whom were selflessly assisting Levi’s family. With the way the community was portrayed, it is no wonder that Levi was contemplating leaving. On the other hand, I adored Grace’s grandmother and how she loved Levi’s family regardless of the differences between them. What we see in this novel is uncommon grace versus demanding legalism; thankfully, the lesson is that grace will always win out.

Publisher: Howard Books

Publication Date: 03 April 2012

Page Count: 352

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I downloaded my free copy of An Uncommon Grace from Simon and Schuster/Howard Books on the NetGalley website. I was under no obligation to write a review.