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Jolina Petersheim has written a very involved story that moves backward and forward in time, and is alternately told through the voices of Rhoda, Beth and Amelia. In some books this can be difficult to sort out--but I found that to be no problem here--it was very clear who was speaking and at which time period.
Beth (in 1996) is a graduate student, studying bioethics, who decides for personal reasons to become a surrogate mother for her professor and his wife. Early pregnancy tests suggest that the child she is carrying might have serious abnormalities. Based only on this early possibility the parents ask Beth to terminate the pregnancy as they do not want to take this risk. Beth, however, cannot imagine doing that, and so flees to Hopen Haus, a Mennonite home for unwed mothers.
The remainder of the book concerns the subsequent unfolding of events--both tragic and redeeming (through the past and present points of view). Beth finds great comfort living with the Mennonites, and decides to become one of them--as well as becoming a midwife who now works in Hopen Haus. She changes her name to Rhoda (who tells her story in present day time). Because she has a great secret to hide, this provides a good protection for her. Amelia's arrival begins to focus the story in new directions--as Rhoda and others in the community must face a crisis that will effect many. The story moves faster and faster as the climax approaches, and there are a number of twists that makes it all interesting.
The ending seemed a little too forced, but it basically was a good read (listen). The narration was effective as well. The story had some religious overtones, but that was clear going into the book and worked with the story. I liked it--but think it might appeal to kind of a narrow audience.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful
This is the first audio book I've listened to about the Mennonite culture or midwifery. Jolina Petersheim wrote a beautiful story about a mother's love. But, with that came wild twists and turns in the book and I found myself actually taking a day off from work so I could finish this book. It is THAT GOOD!
Tavia Gilbert did an outstanding job as the narrator. Her characters were distinct and easy to listen to. She is one of my favorite narrators.
If you have a credit to use and you are torn between what to use it on, I really recommend this book. The ending is dazzling! I will be getting the other two books Jolina Petersheim wrote so far and I surely will keep my eyes open for more. This lady knows how to write a great novel!!!!
To God be the Glory! Thank you Jolina!