I have very mixed feelings about “Gladden the Heart”. It has an intriguing and unique plot that is filled with quite a few very interesting events. Unfortunately I did find it to move along at a snail’s pace and I had difficulty connecting with its many characters. I will also admit that my difficulty reading it may have just been a matter of timing and could have an entirely different opinion if I picked it up again at another time. The author’s skill is excellent and I found no real complaints with the book itself. As I said, it was probably just not the right time for me to read it.
I enjoyed reading this historical novel about an Amish community that lived in close proximity to evangelical Methodists who often held tent meetings. Knowing how strictly the Amish adhere to their own beliefs, it was a surprising twist when one of the Amish men suddenly began to have frequent “episodes” where he began preaching in his sleep in the style of the Methodists. As can be imagined, this caused no lack of controversy and curiosity within the Amish community. Was it really the Holy Spirit or was Noah trying to pull something over on them all?
This is one book that devoted Amish fiction lovers should enjoy. I personally learned a good bit about how many of the Amish were taught to dwell on their trials and suffering as what God expected from them and resisted the good news of His love of His people.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
“When you have experienced the Holy Ghost as I have, you would see that it is difficult to turn back.”
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.
When Noah goes missing at a time of day when he often preaches while asleep, circumstances thrust community members with divergent opinions into a crisis that demands they recognize the humanity they share regardless of beliefs. But can strong-held opinions be softened by the truths that shape their lives?
Click here to purchase your copy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to discover where faith and passions meet. She chases joy in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is. Her books include the Avenue of Dreams series set in 1890s Chicago; the Valley of Choice series, which intertwines contemporary and historical Amish stories; the historical Amish Turns of Time series; and Hidden Falls, a warm, contemporary, small-town novel.
GUEST POST FROM OLIVIA NEWPORT:
Now don’t laugh, but my guess is that if you looked around your church on any given Sunday morning, you’d see somebody sleeping. It might be an infant or toddler whose nap time collides with the worship time resting in a parent’s arms, or it might be a senior citizen who has perfected the art of dozing in an upright position.
What you don’t expect is that the person sleeping will be the preacher.
I’ve always been interested in church history. I even read a magazine called Christian History on a regular basis and consider it pleasure reading. In my ambling through church history, I came across a notation about “sleeping preachers” in the nineteenth century in various denominations, including the Amish. The accounts suggested that individuals who were not ministers would fall unconscious, wake up to preach for lengthy periods, sleep again, and have no recollection of their actions.
Could this possibly be true? Or a giant hoax? What’s a genuine spiritual experience, and what do we do when don’t agree on how to answer that question? Let’s face it, even now, 150 years later, we still don’t quite know what to do with our varying traditions when we don’t agree on how to answer that question.
I knew I had the makings of a story. Gladden the Heart travels back to 1847 and wrestles with these questions. When a divided community faces a life-or-death situation, they must respond to a crisis that challenges them to look past their differences. But can strong-held opinions be softened by the truths that shape their lives?
Gladden the Heart is the fifth story in Olivia Newport’s Amish Turns of Time series of historical Amish novels. Olivia chases joy in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.
|July 4: Cafinated Reads
July 5: Book by Book
July 6: Genesis 5020
July 6: A Baker’s Perspective
July 7: Reading Is My SuperPower
July 7: Connie’s History Classroom
July 8: Daysong Reflections
July 9: God’s Little Bookworm
July 9: Inklings and Notions
July 10: A Reader’s Brain
July 10: Zerina Blossom’s Books
July 11: Bibliophile Reviews
|July 11: Artistic Nobody
July 12: Karen Sue Hadley
July 12: Blogging With Carol
July 13: The Fizzy Pop Collection
July 14: Have A Wonderful Day
July 14: cherylbbookblog
July 15: Bigreadersite
July 15: Carpe Diem
July 16: Splashes of Joy
July 16: The Power of Words
July 17: His Grace is Sufficient
July 17: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away a Grand Prize that consists of:
All five books in the Amish Turns of Time series
Bonus: All three books in the Valley of Choice series
$25 Amazon Gift Card!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!