Fresh Fiction Review by Viki Ferrell
Megan Weaver is the 'green bean' in the Three Bean Salad and is still single. Katy and Lil have both married, now Megan wonders if she will ever find the right man. Long ago at summer camp the girls were dubbed with this moniker and made a pact to be each other's bridesmaids. Megan stated then that she would marry either a missionary or a preacher. So far, neither has come along, but when their pastor dies unexpectedly of a heart attack, the search for a new one may bring a prospect.
Megan's work brings another change into her life. Her boss is taking a couple months off to try to repair his marriage that is coming apart. His brother, Chance Campbell, is filling in during his absence. Chance is a missionary pilot who flies supplies and sick and injured people in and out of the jungles of Ecuador. His personality is very different from his brother's. Chance determined to make Megan fall for him, only makes her uncomfortable. He never misses an opportunity to make a remark about the prayer covering on her head, her style of dress or her faith, referring to the Mennonites as 'her people.'
With the death of Pastor Troyer, the Mennonite church in Plain City is in search of a new pastor. Ben Zimmerman is coming for a trial weekend and will stay with Megan's family. She expects him to be older and is greatly surprised when she discovers he is someone she knew in college. He was a senior when she began school, but they do have a history, and it is not a pleasant one. She knew him as Micah, not Ben.
Megan went from having no man in her life to having two who are vying for her affections. She's really pulled toward Chance, but his not being Mennonite is a problem for her. Her history with Micah reminds her how obnoxious and determined he was in college. Could she possibly see herself with him? God has given her what she thought she wanted, both a missionary and a preacher, and she doesn't know what to do.
SOMETHING BLUE is the third book in Dianne Christner's Bridesmaids of Plain City series. This installment is just as delightful as the first two. It's nice to visit old friends, catch up on their lives and see where they are headed. You'll laugh and cry with Megan at the situations she gets herself into. Throughout SOMETHING BLUE, we are reminded to put faith and trust in God to set our paths straight and keep our eyes focused on Him. Which young man does she choose, or will she choose either one? Read this wonderful story to find out! The author includes Megan's journal entries for the following year at the end of the book and lets us know there are more entries on her website.
Lil and Fletch's struggles are so true to life and typical of what many young people face today. They learn to trust God and let Him lead them in life's journey. This is something everyone should read, young people and older.
Review by Nikole Hahn
Dianne Christner takes Amish fiction to a new level by introducing more complex layers to a typical Amish romance. In the first novel, Something Old, Christner explores a very judgmental Katy. In Something New, there’s a lot of gray and Fletch is easily persuaded to bend his ethics a little in order to not offend anyone. Lillian has dreams, but in a place where men make the decisions and women get married and have children, she fights family tradition in order to be with the man she loves and hold on to the dream of being a chef.
Something New is another wonderful work of fiction that explores everyday struggles in a strict society without the naive innocence so common in Amish romance.
Review by Abbie's Reading Corner
Lil had to move back home after living on her own for a while to help take care of her mom who is struggling with depression. Lil really wants to be a head chief some day but feels torn between her family and her dream. Meeting Fletch only adds to her confusion.
Fletch is in Plain City to work for a vet so he can graduate. He meets Lil by chance and soon finds himself falling for her but he makes a choice that could end any chance between them. Will these two over come their differences to be together?
This is the 2nd book in the series and I really enjoyed it.
What I liked: This book was much more balanced in its story telling then the first book. I liked how we got to know both Lil and Fletch family’s and the author also laid the ground work for the third book as well. This book dealt with depression and handled it very well. This book also deals with the struggle between the more conservative Mennonite church and the more liberal. I was happy with the outcome of the story and how it worked to explain that its about the relationship with Christ yet the author did not undermine the beliefs of the more conservative church well done.
What I did not like: There was not much to not like about this book. Maybe how the situation with Lil’s mom ended up(don’t want to give anything away) was a little fairy tailish(every one ends up happy). Thought it was written very well so this is minor to me.
When it comes to series the 2nd book is not always one I really like because it’s the middle book, either you wish for more from the first or are already looking forward to the third. This book though was a solid middle series book. I really enjoyed it and loved the characters. Really looking forward to the 3rd book due out later this year!
Fresh Fiction Review by Viki Ferrell
Lillian Landis is back at home and miserable. She moved out of the doddy house she was sharing with Katy Yoder when her mother fell prey to depression and her father needed someone to cook and clean house. Katy has married Jake now and is living in the doddy house with him. But Lillian's chores, along with her job at the restaurant as a line cook, is more than she can handle right now. Her dream of becoming a head chef is falling by the wayside. It's the reason she went to culinary school.
Late for work and not paying attention to how she pulled into the parking place, she backs out hurriedly and hits the car Fletcher Stauffer is driving. It's his bosses' wife's brand new car. There is an immediate attraction for both Lillian and Fletch. They trade information and Lil hurries into work. She doesn't hear from Fletch until he shows up at her house one day with her brother, Matt. He and Fletch met at a seminar on farming and Matt invited Fletch to see their farm, look at some sick animals and discuss possible changes. Fletch is in veterinarian school and interning with a local vet.
Part of Fletch's attraction to Lil is that she is a Mennonite like him. He grew up as a missionary kid. However, she is of the Conservative branch and he is more liberal. This is only the first obstacle in their path toward dating and beginning a relationship. Fletch compromises his integrity when he videos some of the Landis' sick animals for a friend who has financed Fletch's education. Lil catches him in the act and refuses to see him anymore. But she can't get Fletch out of her mind, and he's determined to win her back. Their relationship goes through a series of ups and downs. Can they find any common ground to make it work?
SOMETHING NEW is the second book in Dianne Christner's Plain City Bridesmaids series. It's a story about trust and finding your way in life, about fulfilling your dreams or finding them change as time moves forward. Old characters return to this story about living a conservative Mennonite life in a world that is fast-paced and filled with technology that the Mennonites reject. This is a poignant story about faith, conviction and betrayal, well written and inspirational. You'll enjoy it.
Book Review: Something Old by Dianne Christner
Posted 7/2/2011 on Fresh Fiction by Viki Ferrell
Dianne Christner has written a lovely Mennonite romance, presenting some of the struggles that their young people go through in remaining close to their faith, families and community. The story gives some real introspect into how they view themselves and outsiders. The main character, Katy Yoder, has chosen to be a housekeeper as her profession. Throughout the story, she keeps a journal of cleaning tips and recipes, hand cream remedies and their recipes, and spiritual insights. Her journal is shared at the end of the book. If you're a fan of Amish or Mennonite inspirational romances, you'll really enjoy this one.
Posted by Michelle Barker on Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Something Old is a contemporary romance which is sure to please anyone that loves Amish fiction. While this story is not about the Amish, the Mennonite faith is closely related.
I'm sorry that my review is so short, but I really did love this book, and the synopsis provided by the publisher provides all the information needed - to share anything more would be a spoiler and take away from the reader's enjoyment of the book.
Readers, Michelle's book review blog - Muse by Michelle - can be found on my links page.
A Year of Jubilee Reviews, June 21, 2012
There has been a large writing trend toward more and more Amish fiction. I see new authors in this genre quite frequently and enjoy reading about the Amish people.
With our recent move to Ky, we moved in the midst of a Mennonite community. I was thrilled to find Dianne Christner's series on Plain City Bridesmaids, a look at Mennonites! As I interact with my new friends in my neighborhood I am blessed to learn more of their ways and their hearts.
This first book in the series sees Katy Yoder, a conservative Mennonite who works as a housekeeper for an 'outsider' who request her nanny services when the previous nanny quits. She is exposed to television, dancing and drinking.. all things forbidden in her conservative religion. Her faith is tested as she stands for what she believes. But in that standing is she being too judgmental?
Old flame Jake moves back to town and asks forgiveness from the community to return. Katy has a hard time trusting and forgiving Jake to give him a second chance. Has he really changed? Can Katy find true forgiveness and follow her heart?
I love how Dianne has several characters in the book on different levels of the Mennonite church, from Katy who is very conservative to friends and relatives that go to a more contemporary denomination. Prior to my meeting my contemporary Mennonite neighbors I hadn't realized that there was a variety of traditions that have been altered.
The characters are well developed and I love watching them change and grow through their relationship in God. Can't wait to start book 2 in the series and for 3 to be released early August!
Review by Nikole Hahn
At first, the prologue held my attention with some difficulty. Then, the story grabbed hold of me and I finished the book in about two days. The characters fascinated me, especially Katy Yoder.
I could relate to Katy. She holds very tightly to tradition and to her prayer kapp. Her worldview is indeed black-and-white with very little grace. In typical story formula, the woman is always right in women’s fiction and the men are wrong. In Amish fiction, I normally see the men and women portrayed very chaste-like. However, Dianne Christner spins the story that seems a cross between women’s romance and Christian romance. I might even tip-toe over to edgy (though I really hate that word). It’s edgy in a good way.
Katy notices Jake’s tight jeans and how the tool belt hangs over his waist. There’s a physical tension between Katy and Jake complicated only by her own prejudices against him for mistreating her years before. Her father disapproves of Jake. He thinks Jake is wild still and wants Katy to date David as a condition to her moving out on her own with her two best friends. The book becomes quite complicated. The reader can relate to the characters; at least, I can.
Right away, Katy’s black-and-white way of seeing things, her quickness to judge and her lack of grace eventually come out in the book making for an interesting plot as quickly Jake becomes the good guy and Katy the self-righteous and overly pious wrong one. Christner manages to keep the reader totally connected to the characters in spite of the role switching. In the end, I see how the prologue was very necessary. It’s not just a romance story, but a story about friendship, family and traditions. It digs into the controversial issue of the prayer kapp.
All in all, I give it five stars! A friend is borrowing the book, but I am keeping it in my permanent library.