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Gladden the Heart ~ Review

Gladden the Heart
Amish Turns of Time #5
By Olivia Newport

Susanna Hooley's life in Kishacoquillas Valley, Pennsylvania, 1847, is about to get a whole lot more difficult. The Amish church is curious and yet wary of the Methodist tent revival meeting going on in their midst. And Susanna is just as curious as anyone, but there are some lines not meant to be crossed and stepping into the tent is one of those lines, even if the Reverand Baxton and his daughter Patsy have been friends with many of the community's Amish for years.

Susanna has a comfortable life and she anticipates the possibility of marriage to Adam Yotter in the near future. But when a strange malady strikes Noah Kauffman, her favorite cousin, Susanna's hopes and dreams for the future are threatened when Noah's "gift of the Spirit" begins to divide friends and family.

Noah's preaching tugs at Susanna's heart but Noah seemingly has no recollection of preaching once he stops. And once he starts he is unaware of all that surrounds him, even to the point his own safety is in question. Drawn to help Noah and his wife Phoebe, Susanna soon finds herself at odds with her mother and Adam over Noah and the suitability of his gift (or curse) to the Amish way of life. Soon their very community is taking sides and the rift that is dividing them may never be repaired...

Gladden the Heart takes a peek into the past which few are familiar with, one that revolves around "sleeping preachers: and have the very differences of worship and lifestyle were the very things drawing the seeking of the Amish community to this revivalist style of preaching. This book provided an interesting look at Amish history during the time in American history during which revivals were sweeping the nation. It is interesting to see this story unfolding from the perspectives of the various characters who come at the situation from varying and unique viewpoints.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:

When the lively fervor of nineteenth century revivalism endangers the staid customs of the Amish community in the lush but rugged Kishacoquillas Valley of central Pennsylvania in 1847, the Amish church must deal with a divisive question: What is a genuine spiritual experience?

The question turns personal when Susanna’s beloved cousin Noah begins preaching while under trances and even though he is not a minister he gives long sermons that attract increasing attention. Curious, she helps to keep Noah safe during his trances. At the same time Adam, Susanna's intended, feels pressure from the bishop to speak out against the ways of revivalism.

Susanna and Adam are pushed to opposite sides of a controversy that threatens their traditional Amish faith..  Now they must grapple with whether love is possible...even if they come to different conclusions.