Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Sarah Price, best-selling and popular author of over 30 novels, has just released her latest novel in The Amish Classics Series – a series that comprises of Amish retellings of Jane Austen’s novels (and possibly others). The previous books in this series include:
- First Impressions: An Amish Retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (2014)
- Matchmaker: An Amish Retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma (2015)
- Second Chances: An Amish Retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion (2015)
In her fourth book of The Amish Classics Series, Sarah Price retells the story of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility in a present-day Amish community. With sons inheriting farms, strict courtships practices, and an emphasis on a rural and simple lifestyle, it is easy to see how much is in common between the Amish culture and Jane Austen’s time. In this retelling, readers meetthe Detweiler sisters who must leave their home farm after their father’s death and adjust to life in a smaller cottage in a new community. While making some new acquaintances, both Eleanor and Mary Anne fall in love, but one does so quietly and privately while the other does it openly and unreservedly…
This is my first book by Sarah Price and my first Amish romance period. That’s right, I’m totally new to Amish fiction and I couldn’t be happier that my first experience in this sub-genre is a Jane Austen retelling of Sense and Sensibility by Sarah Price! 🙂 I was greatly impressed with how faithful the story was to Jane Austen’s classic. The parallels were clearly drawn and the characters and events of the story seemed true, not only to Jane Austen, but to the Amish way of life. These representations of Jane Austen’s characters and stories felt very authentic in such a setting. I think Sarah Price is very skilled at illustrating how well Jane Austen’s world can translate to Amish culture in her stories.
One thing I appreciated most about this retelling was the emotional development depicted for both Eleanor and Mary Anne. Reading of Eleanor’s heartache and torture made me feel her pain anew right alongside her. But I mostly enjoyed witnessing how Mary Anne came to fall in love (SPOILER ALERT!!) after having her heart broken. I have often seen readers express discontent about Jane Austen’s Marianne and Colonel Brandon – that their closure and HEA felt rushed, unlikely, and just plain unsatisfying. This most definitely wasn’t the case with this story! I loved seeing Mary Anne become aware of what the reader and all her family already knew – that there was this compassionate and honorable man watching her and loving her in silence all along. And I greatly enjoyed seeing how that awareness changes her before our very eyes. Well done, Ms. Price!
As someone who is brand-new to Amish fiction I was fascinated by all I learned about the lifestyle and practices of the Amish community. And I am definitely interested in learning more as some aspects of Amish life are still a little unclear for me, such as kneeling vows, rumschpringe, and shunning. However, I think readers who have some prior understanding of Amish customs will pick up on these practices much quicker than I did. I look forward to reading more novels in this series – and I’m glad to see that Sarah Price will be adding another novel to it real soon! It looks like Mount Hope: An Amish Retelling of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park is scheduled to release in August of this year!