A Beautiful Testament to God’s Ability to Rebuild, Renew, and Restore
A Reluctant Bride
by Kathleen Fuller
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She never wanted to marry. He hopes to make amends for past wrongs. Can love find a way to heal both of their hearts?
Sadie Schrock swore she would never marry. Her Amish friends could court and marry — she was content to manage the family business and eventually take it over when her parents were ready to retire. But all that changes when a reckless driver kills her parents and seriously injures her younger sister. With mounting hospital bills adding to the pile of debt her parents left behind, Sadie is left with no choice: she must marry. And not just any man — the man who saw her at her weakest and walked away.
Aden knows what his brother did to Sadie years ago was inexcusable. And every day since that incident, Aden has lived with the guilt for not intervening sooner. When he is faced with the chance to protect Sadie once again, he can’t let her down — even if it means living with the scorn of the woman he loves for the rest of his life.
Working alongside Aden at the store, Sadie realizes he isn’t the same boy who once betrayed her. Just when Sadie starts to let her guard down and perhaps develop feelings for her new husband, dangerous secrets are revealed. Now everything Sadie has worked so hard to protect is threatened, and she must find a way to save her family — and herself.
A book title could never be at once more true and yet more understated than A Reluctant Bride. To say Sadie is a reluctant bride makes it sound like she has a case of cold feet. Not Sadie. She wants to run for the hills! And she’d run like the wind if only her feet weren’t frozen with fear.
Honestly, I have cold feet – literally – because Kathleen Fuller has knocked my socks off! A Reluctant Bride is the first work of Amish fiction where I’ve feared not only for someone’s physical safety but for his/her life. It also boasts the distinct honor of recording the fastest time, in my memory, in which a book has made me care about both its principal characters, Sadie and Aden. Kathleen Fuller’s writing is active and vital. She grants such close access to her characters’ thoughts that it’s almost as if you can hear their hearts beating.
Amish communities, like any other, are not immune to problems. In Birch Creek, Fuller reveals a community burdened with secrets, shame, abuse, heartache, pain, and grief. Yet despite its heartbreaking circumstances, A Reluctant Bride never loses hope. Instead, the novel uses adversity to teach powerful lessons about our loving God.
Through her Birch Creek cast, Fuller shows that all emotions need to be expressed and validated. If you put up walls to stave off grief or other unwelcome feelings, or conversely, if you hold too tightly to negative emotions, you make it difficult, if not impossible, to feel positive emotions – like love.
Another lesson is delivered through a wonderful analogy. Aden’s a beekeeper, and for a long time, his bees are his only friends. There’s a key scene where Aden tells Sadie about bees: Honey bees, he explains, are complex, yet simple creatures. While it’s true that they can deliver a painful sting, they only strike when threatened. A hive, he points out, has “a complex hierarchy. All the bees have to work together for the colony to survive.” Indeed, the characters in A Reluctant Bride learn that it’s not just okay but necessary to ask for and accept help. We are stronger together than apart.
Aden feels he’ll never meet his father’s expectations or earn his approval. Sadie also feels burdened with responsibility – she needs to work hard to do right by her parents’ memory by caring for her sisters and managing both the home and the family store. Ultimately, both take strength from knowing that God’s love is unconditional, His help ever-present, and His favor the only one they need seek.
— Dawn Teresa
5 of 5 Hearts. A Beautiful Testament to God’s Ability to Rebuild, Renew, and Restore.
A Reluctant Bride is not a fairy-tale romance or swoon fest, but it demonstrates clearly how God can take broken pieces of shattered hearts and create something not only beautiful but unbreakable. For that reason, it may just be the perfect love story.