AUTHOR: Beverly Lewis
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
It's the summer of 1951, and Maggie Esh is in need of some hope. Sweet-spirited and uncommonly pretty despite struggling with chronic illness, she is used to being treated kindly by the young men of her Old Order Amish church district. Yet Maggie wishes she were more like other courting-age girls so she could live a normal, healthy life.
To make matters more complicated, Dat has recently remarried, less than a year after her mother died. And while her stepmother is kind, Rachel is much younger than Mamm, and she simply doesn't understand Maggie or her illness the way Mamm did.
When tent revival meetings come to the area, Maggie is curious, and the words of the Mennonite preacher challenge her to reconsider what she knows about faith. Can she learn to trust God even when hope seems a distant dream?
The First Love is a sweet story, gently told, of Maggie, a young Amish woman crippled by rheumatoid arthritis. I appreciated this unusual choice for a heroine and related to her in many ways. While Maggie suffers pain and sometimes discouragement, her faith remains strong. Her pluckiness in doing whatever she can, day by day, inspired me to persevere.
Her new stepmother, Rachel, fights an uphill battle, too, as she tries to win the hearts of her husband’s children, still mourning their mother. Hers is a sympathetic character, and while the Amish way of quick remarrying puzzled me, it held my interest.
The author used quite a bit of telling in this novel, but it didn’t detract too much from my enjoyment. Faith is a crucial part of the story, woven in like a well-planned tapestry. The First Love earns four stars. This book was provided courtesy of Graf Martin Communications and Baker Publishing.