Amish widow Sarah Yoder has been struggling to raise her two teenaged sons and provide a home where family and members of her Old Order Amish church can find fellowship and friendship. Though she is close to her in-laws, lately it feels like her relationship with her boys is splintering. Her stepson Simon wants to move out west with his cousins to find work. And her youngest, Caleb, is spending far too much time over at the tumbledown home of a man who left the church long ago. Henry Byler only returned recently to Willow Creek when he inherited the family farm–under protest–and now seems caught in a struggle between the faith of his childhood and the world he’s come to know.Ruth Lehman, the local Dokterfraa, believes Sarah should use her gift for growing plants to become an herbal healer, too. Sarah is reluctant, however, uncertain if caring for others will take her away from her family–the place where she believes God wants her. But when she feels called to help members of her community, she soon discovers that the heart can be scarred as deeply as the body. As she compiles her herbs, she waits for God to do his healing work in a man who rues a harsh decision, in a lonely prodigal who has lost everything, and maybe even in a herbalist-in-training who firmly believes she will never love again.
My Comments: I found this book different yet engaging. I have a real interest in herbs as healing agents and found this part of the story line interesting. Sarah Yoder, the main character, is a single mom raising two boys – one, Simon, is her stepson and the other, Caleb, her biological son. Her husband, Caleb’s dad, died of cancer, and Sarah is struggling to make ends meet. This is felt by her two boys who want to be involved.
Caleb in particular takes an interest in Henry, a prodigal. Henry recently returned to the Amish community after at least 20 years away because he inherited a house from his aunt. Henry’s Aunt Sadie left Henry her home in the hopes that he would return both to the community and to his Amish roots. Caleb is relentless in his pursuit of employment of any kind from Henry which also results in an interesting relationship between the two.
I like the cover of this book because instead of a photograph, it is a painting. The colors are very earthy and herb-like. If you like stories with depth, you will enjoy this book. It is not necessarily the “typical” Amish fiction book. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
Thank you to FaithWords publishing for a free review copy of Herb of Grace in exchange for my honest opinion, which I have given.