Long live NetGalley and their abundant selection of books! Yeah… I’m hooked. Treasuring Emma is the second book I’ve received from Netgalley which featured Kathleen Fuller. The first, was a novella in a short story anthology called An Amish Love (see review here). Let’s see how Treasuring Emma panned out. But first, the review from Ms. Fuller’s website:
Emma always put the needs of others ahead of her own. When will it be her turn to be treasured?
Adam was her first love and best friend. But then he went away. Determined to experience the freedom of living in the Englisch world, he left Emma heart-broken. How could he have chosen the world over her? Now Adam is back in Middlefield and Emma can’t seem to keep him away from her family’s farm. But this time she’s determiend to guard her heart. It might be love that keeps him there . . . or perhaps just guilt. When a newcomer arrives in town and shows an interest in Emma, she dismisses Adam’s insistence that she be cautious. All this attention is new to her and she doesn’t know quite how to accept it. Emma knows her Heavenly Father treasures her. But will her new beau?
I know the book was supposed to be about Emma, but my first major thoughts about the book were, what in the world is going on with Emma’s sister, Clara? She lived in an Amish community where I thought materialism was frowned upon. Yet here was a woman who seemed obsessed with finances. I loved how human she was. 🙂
I completely sympathized with Clara and her husband, Peter. I’ve been were Clara was, fretting over the lack of money, wondering what I could do to relieve the financial stress, feeling trapped in a situation with no respite. It was nice to see members of the Amish community portrayed as less than pure. This does not mean at all I want to see them fail. It’s just comforting to know they face similar demons as the Englisch, yet still find the Godly strength to overcome the trials.
Then there was Clara’s wandering eyes. Truly she seemed like a fair weather friend: with her husband during good times, but seeking elsewhere for companionship during rough times. She wasn’t at all endearing, yet I felt sorry for her and her inability to find joy.
Lucky for Clara, Mark (Peter’s cousin) was more than willing to fill her need for companionship… maybe. Mark was an anomaly in the story. I didn’t get him. Was he a sociopath? I remember thinking at one time, the only thing which could keep this from being a 5 star read is if Mark didn’t pan out. He did well and had sufficient motivation for his villainous ways.
So I’ve talked about everyone but Emma… almost. Granny was awesome too. 🙂
So Emma. The poor girl was tugged in every direction. She knew what she wanted (most of the time) and had no problem expressing herself. Yet she was constantly bombarded with the desires of others, and put under pressure to make a choice between what she thought was best for her peace of mind and what would please others. She faced a tough struggle. She knew others imposed on her unfairly, but her Amish upbringing valued putting others before self.
I just loved the realistic, worldly problems in the Amish setting.
The introduction of a final character toward the end, Laura, was a bit shaky in the presentation, but overall, I quite enjoyed myself. I’m definitely curious about this Laura gal. Hopefully she’ll be the star in the sequel. 4.5-5 out of 5 stars.