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More Than a Marriage: Review by Susan Scott Ferrell

More Than a Marriage – The Struggle is Real

More Than a Marriage Want a quick, good read in the coming days? Then Amy Lillard’s latest novella, More Than a Marriage, is what you are looking for!

Lillard takes readers back to Wells Landing and tells us the story of Jacob and Tess Smiley. Jacob, who works hard away from home – and spends too much time on his cell phone…and Facebook. Tess, who has two goats she adores, that provide extra income – and give her an outlet for her frustration over Jacob. Although Jacob and Tess have been married three years, their future looks dismal – separation seems to be the only solution…or is it?

I was given More Than a Marriage in exchange for my honest review. Although other characters from previous novels in the Wells Landing series are mentioned, it can easily be read as a stand-alone. I found this novella to be a very interesting read, as Lillard came upon a storyline in the Amish genre that you do not see very frequently – marital strife to the point of separation.

More Than a Marriage reminds readers that the Amish are human too – even troubles with their marriages. We outsiders/Englischers tend to idolize and romanticize the Amish – even putting them on a pedestal at times. Amy Lillard reminds us that we’re all human, all have struggles, and all need the help of others and God.

PS. For Wells Landing fans…Jonah’s story is next!!!


Susan Ferrell and her husband make their home in the Atlanta Metro area. Although Susan struggles with chronic migraine headaches, she stays very busy as a stay-at-home mom to one very precocious little girl. While catching her breath, she feeds her Amishaholic tendencies by reading vast amounts of Amish literature!

Upon a Spring Breeze: Review by Susan Scott Ferrell

Upon a Spring Breeze – Curiosity Piqued!

Upon a Spring BreezeOver the last few years, Kelly Irvin has really made a name for herself in the Amish genre. Her Amish of Bee County series is phenomenal. I had no doubts that Irvin could deliver with her new series, Every Amish Season. The first in the series, Upon a Spring Breeze, looks to be a promising start.

This novel tells the story of Bess Weaver: young, expecting her first child, and suddenly widowed. When the baby arrives, he looks so much like his father, Caleb. Bess is drowning in despair, loneliness, and apathy. When a job opportunity presents itself at an Englischer’s B & B, she hopes to find a secret escape from her overwhelming life.

Aidan, Bess’s childhood friend, and Caleb’s best friend, also grieves deeply for Caleb. He too has a secret. He’s kept this secret from Bess since before Bess and Caleb ever married. As Aidan faces unbelievable hardship on his farm, he struggles with what God’s will is for his life.

I was given Upon a Spring Breeze in exchange for my honest review. When I read the synopsis about the novel, I was disappointed. Although I love Irvin’s writings, and I always love a good Amish novel, all I could think was: “Not another young Amish widow. Not another best friend in the mix!” This is, at least, the third Amish novel I’ve read in the last year with a similar storyline. I was hoping Upon a Spring Breeze would be dramatically different. The first part of the novel seemed to drag, but it was full steam ahead for the latter half. There are a few characters that diverged from the norm – Mattie’s subplot was heart-wrenching – and Bess’s post-natal depression is an important topic that definitely needs to be written about more often. But, I found myself wishing that the author had not spent so much time in certain areas of the book and further developed others. All of that being said, this novel was well worth the read. Irvin seems to enjoy building up a good story. I cannot wait for the next book in the series, as there are several characters that I want to know more about! Upon a Spring Breeze is a promising start and my curiosity is definitely piqued.


Susan Ferrell and her husband make their home in the Atlanta Metro area. Although Susan struggles with chronic migraine headaches, she stays very busy as a stay-at-home mom to one very precocious little girl. While catching her breath, she feeds her Amishaholic tendencies by reading vast amounts of Amish literature!

Annie’s Recipe: Review by Susan Scott Ferrell

Annie’s Recipe – Lots of Chaff

Annies RecipeWhen I was given the opportunity to read Lisa Jones Baker’s latest novel, Annie’s Recipe, I was hopeful. I had read one of her Amish novellas earlier, and although it was not my favorite, I had high hopes that perhaps her next Amish endeavor would be better. Although there are a plethora of writers in the Amish genre, it is easy to separate the wheat from the chaff. Unfortunately, Annie’s Recipe looks to be more chaff.

I do not write this lightly. I want to be constructive in my review of this book. At the heart of the problem is that it appears the author has not done enough research on the Amish, and her writing, in general, could use some fine-tuning and editing.

Examples of Amish errors: A bridal party is overly concerned about having enough dishes and utensils (the weddings are well-planned and run like clockwork.) The characters were WAY too familiar with one another (especially since they had not seen each other in 10 years – Levi refers to Annie as “my Annie” almost right out of the gate.) Both Annie and Levi are anything but humble (a trademark in the Amish culture.) Levi boasts and Annie has no problem with it…what happened to gelassenheit? In the story, it was a surprise that Levi would be a volunteer firefighter (when the Amish, in real life, volunteer for the local fire departments all the time.) This is just a small sampling.

Examples of a need for more editing: Levi had ‘green flecks in his pupils (not his irises.) There was repeated internal and external dialogue – and by that I mean: A character would think something and then say the exact same thing. Much too repetitive. Word choice was also a problem. The characters were constantly putting their hands in the air, or drawing their hand to their chests, and pressing their lips together. I’m sure the thought was to create more “action” with these words, but it just did not happen. Most frustrating was that Annie giggled throughout – not just a couple of times, but at least 10 within the first third of the novel. It was frustrating because the character wasn’t a very comical character, and yet, with all of this giggling, it made the character seem like she was 12 instead of marrying age.

I was given Annie’s Recipe in exchange for my honest review. I had such high hopes, but was disappointed. Hopefully, Lisa Jones Baker will do more research on the Amish, and hone her craft a bit more, before writing another novel in the Amish genre.


Susan Ferrell and her husband make their home in the Atlanta Metro area. Although Susan struggles with chronic migraine headaches, she stays very busy as a stay-at-home mom to one very precocious little girl. While catching her breath, she feeds her Amishaholic tendencies by reading vast amounts of Amish literature!