Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
When the Soul Mends
Sisters of the Quilt Book 3
Publisher’s Summary: After receiving a desperate and confusing call from her sister, Hannah Lapp reluctantly returns to the Old Order Amish community of her Pennsylvania childhood.
Having left Owl’s Perch more than two years earlier, she finally has settled into a satisfying role in the Englischer world. Hannah has found love and a new family with the wealthy Martin Palmer and the children she is helping him raise; and her life-long dream of being part of the medical community is being realized. But almost immediately after her arrival, the disapproval of those who ostracized her, including her headstrong father, reopens old wounds.
As Hannah is thrown together with former fiance Paul Waddell to work for her sister Sarah’s mental health, hidden truths surface about the events during Hannah’s absence, and she faces an agonizing decision. Will she choose the Englischer world and the man who restored her hope, or will she heed the call to return to the Plain life–and perhaps to her first love?
When the Soul Mends is the final book in this series (called “Sisters of the Quilt,” which is something of a misnomer, since quilts play only a very small role in the story), and the one I liked best. The basis of the book is that Sarah, who has only a precarious hold on sanity, gets a hold of Hannah and begs her to come home. As Hannah reconnects with those who turned their backs on her, many secrets come to the surface. SPOILER ALERT: By far the most important secret revealed is that Paul had tried to contact Hannah, as she had tried to contact him, and their attempts had been purposely sabotaged by a jealous girl. This places Hannah in the dilemma of having to chose between Martin and Paul. END SPOILER.
I was pleased by the ending. Yes, parts of it seemed to come out of nowhere (at least it did on the first reading–on the second I was looking for the clues, and they were there), but it fit the characters far better than some of the previous scenarios. And while the epilogue seems a bit “Quick! Make sure everybody ends up happy!”, so what? I like happy endings. I far prefer them over “realistic” endings. If I want realism, I’ll go read a newspaper and get myself royally depressed.
SPOILER ALERT: I was especially glad that Hannah goes back to her Plain ways. One of the big hangups of When the Morning Comes (Book 2) was how quickly Hannah seemed to throw off her Amish upbringing and embraced the Englischer world. Turns out she hadn’t really left those ways behind, that she wanted to return to a simpler life, and that the Englisher world, and more importantly, Martin’s world, made her very uncomfortable. END SPOILER.
Over all, When the Soul Mends is a pretty good read, a nice break from the madness of my quilting business and the holidays. I probably won’t keep it (my bookshelf space is so limited I have to be brutal with what I keep), but I did reread parts of it (especially the last seven or eight chapters) for enjoyment, because I’m a sucker for a good romantic ending.