3 out of 4 stars
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I have read several Amish books in the past, and I've always enjoyed these stories. The Blue Gate by LL Fox is a heartwarming Amish tale, much like others I have read, and the synopsis may sound similar to most other stories of this genre. However, it definitely has its own aura of uniqueness.
Senta Miller is a young Amish woman who has reached courting age. Several of her close acquaintances are moving on and marrying, but Senta faces a difficult situation. Her parents are experiencing health problems, and the bishop asks that Senta stay in their home and become a permanent caregiver for them. Senta's possible future of courting and marriage is pushed aside as she spends her early years of adulthood caring for her parents. She gets a job with a CPA and is able to do her job from home using a computer. As the years pass, she increasingly becomes curious about the outside world and what she has been held back from, including the world outside of her Amish community. One day when she meets an interesting stranger, her stable world is thrown into a whirlwind.
I was really drawn into this book very early in the story. There was an intriguing and almost magical prologue presented to the reader before the main setting was reached. The author did a great job of creating wonder and mystery about the purpose of the prologue and how it could later tie into the story and main characters.
As the main story started, I found myself quickly drawn to Senta's character. As the book progressed, her personality really grew, and it brought the story to life. Another character, a boat captain named Jerrick Douglas, was introduced in an early chapter. It was not immediately clear how he would fit into the story, but I could tell from the beginning that he was going to be an interesting addition to the storyline. Once I reached a certain part of the story, it was very hard to stop reading.
I will say that there were a few parts that seemed a little bit unrealistic or rushed. I found it odd that for the nearly 20 years that Senta was caring for her, Senta's mother never seemed to be very sick or as ailing as you would think since Senta had to put her life aside to care for her. Also, some of the aspects of the storyline seemed to come together too unrealistically. However, that is sometimes common in feel-good, romantic stories. The storyline definitely kept my attention, though. I did come across several grammatical errors, too, but nothing that made the story hard to understand. Many of the errors were small.
Overall, I lean more toward the positive side of the story. I am rating it 3 out of 4 stars. I am mainly subtracting a star because of the handful of grammatical errors. The storyline itself was very heartwarming and interesting with some definite unexpected twists that made this book different from other books about the Amish world. I would recommend this book for those looking for a heartwarming, feel-good story. It kept my interest all the way through!
The Blue Gate
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