Having read a few thrillers lately, I found an ideal way to relax; with another great fun romance by Jennifer Beckstrand. The good folks of Honeybee Farm return to entertain us in the first of a new series about the ‘Petersheim Brothers’. We begin with the focus on the oldest of five strong lads, ANDREW. The brothers all live at home on the family farm, including eight year old twins Alfie and Benjy. While the family get along, the twins are obliged to sleep in the cellar since their grandparents moved in after Grandfather had a dangerous stroke. Naturally the mischievous youngsters start to plan marrying off their brothers to make space.
If you previously read the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill or Honeybee Sisters series, you’ll know to expect strong and individual women who live outside accordance with the traditions of the Amish community. In the current story, Andrew Petersheim keeps having unexpected meetings with Mary Coblenz as his naughty little brothers lure him here and there across the Wisconsin countryside. Mary lives now with a family friend Bitsy at the Honeybee Farm, because she came home from nursing training, single and pregnant, and her family scorned her. Bitsy is married so she is respectable despite her blue hair and cats named for pop idols. Andrew can’t overlook the evidence of Mary’s experiences, but he does start to wonder if others are too judgemental and cold. What would the Lord do? he asks himself, before seeing his young brothers pitch in to help Mary with a heavy load.
Hypocrisy and pride can scar any gathering and even the kind, practical people of the tale can be hasty and judgemental. We also need to consider the double standard – a man could repent and return easily, but a woman is the one who is obliged to try because she’s having the baby which her family rejects. Jennifer Beckstrand packs in a whole world of philosophy by the example of Mary, who tells Andrew the world had opened up for her when she studied beyond the Amish-typical eighth grade. Now she’s back to the womanly crafts of honeymaking and quilting, expecting a baby at an early age, just like any Amish girl. Only she’s not like them anymore. Another nice touch is involving the Petersheim seniors and showing how challenging this can be for the farmwife obliged to share her kitchen with another woman. ANDREW is something of a blank slate to start with, a crafter just going along with his parents. Can he learn and change? Read this enchanting and thoughtful romance to see.
Andrew, Abraham, and Austin Petersheim's family business has earned them the nickname The Peanut Butter Brothers. But if their matchmaking younger siblings have their way, all three may soon bear another title: husband . . .
Handsome, hardworking, and godly, Andrew Petersheim has always been sure of his place in his Wisconsin Amish community. He'll be a welcome catch for the local girl who finally captures his heart. Mary Coblenz certainly isn't that girl. Two years after "jumping the fence" for the Englischer world, she's returned, unmarried and pregnant. Yet instead of hiding in shame as others in the community expect, she's working at the Honeybee Farm, ignoring the gossips—and winning over Andrew's eight-year-old twin brothers . . .
For all Andrew's certainty about right and wrong, it seems he has a lot to learn from Mary's courage, grace, and resilience. She's changing his notions about forgiveness and love, but will she in turn accept the challenge of starting over and choose to stay—with him?