Saturday, March 19, 2011

2011 Amish Reading Challenge - Secrets of Harmony Grove

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Original edition (October 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736926259
ISBN-13: 978-0736926256Editorial Reviews

Product Description
From the bestselling author of Shadows of Lancaster County comes an exciting new romantic mystery set in Amish country. Sienna Collins, owner of the Harmony Grove Bed & Breakfast in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, learns that she is under investigation by the federal government for crimes she knows nothing about. A few hours later she finds her ex-boyfriend, Troy, dead, and her life and livelihood begin to spin wildly out of control. She begins to doubt everyone around her, even the handsome detective assigned to the case. As Sienna tries to clear her name, she is forced to depend on her faith, the wisdom of the Amish, and the insight of the man she has recently begun dating. She’ll need all the help she can get, because the secrets she uncovers in Harmony Grove end up threatening not just her bed-and-breakfast, but also her credibility, her believes, and ultimately her life.

My thoughts on Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark

1st Sentence: A large yellow Post-It-Note clung to my office door, its message scrawled out in letters big enough to read from several feet away Sienna, Ric and Jon need to see you in Ric’s office the minute you get in.

This was just the beginning of trouble for Sienna, a successful marketing executive, who thought she was on top of the world until she finds out that she is being investigated by the Attorney General. Her life is totaling spinning out of control at this point.

I have always had a fascination with the Amish and their culture. I have read other Amish novels such as Plain Truth by Jody Picoult and Amish Grace by Donald B Kraybill and Steven M Nolt. I have never been interested in Nancy Drew mysteries, which Secrets of Harmony Grove is everything but. When prompted to read Secrets of Harmony Grove for an on-line reading group, my interest was piqued again. This is the 1st novel by Mindy Starns Clark that I have read, and will definitely read more.

I really enjoy a novel where the characters come to life for me. I felt that the author did a good job of developing Sienna throughout the book. First when Sienna was sitting in a prestigious office in Philly being told she was under investigation by the Attorney General, her recount of the violent attack put upon her 10 years prior, to her better understanding of what was important to her at the end of the novel. The other characters such as Floyd (whom I did not like very much at all, Liesal, Jonah, Mike Weissbaum (town detective)Emory(Abe's 1st born, and mentally challenged son)Burl Newton (whom I disliked more than Floyd, and Heath were all believable characters to me.

In my opinion, the title of the book was very fitting to the plot of the story. There are many secrets that Sienna discovers. Mindy Starns Clark gave us a murder, money laundering, cock-fighting, and gambling, and the search for diamonds hidden in this Bed and Breakfast in Lancaster County. Sienna is faced with not only discovering the illegal activities going on behind her back at the B & B, but secrets surrounding her grandfather Amos (an Amish man turned soldier and the original owner of the B & B), his 1st wife’s (German Jewish women) telling of what happened during the Holocaust, through her journals left behind. This passage in the book was a somber remembrance of our family visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, which left an indelible insight as what Daphne must have endured.

There was only one part in the book that was a little far fetched and unbelievable for me and that was the "Cassowary". If you get the chance to read this book, you can decide.

Because of the action packed plot to this novel and the life lessons from the Amish we all need to consider at times, I am giving this novel an A-. I would recommend this book to anyone who really enjoys a GREAT mystery.

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