By: Wanda E. Brunstetter
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Publication Date: August 2017
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: July 8, 2017
Wanda Brunstetter delivers heartfelt flair in her latest Amish Cooking Class novel, The Blessing.
Heidi Troyer gazes out her window at the September vista. She watches a leaf flutter to the ground and reflects on the notion of Fall. She thinks about Kendra; one of her former cooking students. Soon, her baby girl will be born. Heidi counts her blessings each day when she thinks about the eight long years she and her husband have longed for a child. Indeed, a blessing had happened the day Kendra decided to give her unborn child up for adoption to the Troyers. What Heidi and Troy couldn’t possibly know is the Lord had another plan for them.
Bill Mason loves the outdoors and lives for his hunting excursions with his best buddies. Given he is the resident chef on their weekend getaways, his culinary skills could use a leg up. When his friends goad him into taking some cooking classes, it just so happens Heidi’s classes were about to start. Nicole Smith used to be a bubbly high-schooler. She was popular, had lots of friends and was never at a loss for things to do after school and on weekends. All that changed when her mother, Tonya, bailed on their family. Ever since she left, Nicole became the surrogate mom to her younger siblings, Tony and Heather. She was tired of hearing her sister and brother complain about her cooking. When her Dad offers to do the research on cooking classes and suggests it might be fun, little did Nicole know she would soon be enrolled in Heidi Troyer’s next series of classes. Todd Collins loves his life. Who knew being a food critic could be so rewarding? When he found out about the Amish cooking classes, it was a no-brainer to enroll and hone his culinary critiquing abilities further. Allie Garrett loves her family; especially her precious children Nola and Derek. Her husband Steve is a great provider, but being a police officer meant long stretches of lonely nights and days when Steve was on duty. Allie needed to do something for herself. Heidi’s cooking class was the perfect answer. Lisa Brooks was just starting out in her catering business. She delivered great service and product, but her menus were limited. Learning about Heidi’s class was more than a sign. It was a destiny. With five new students in place, Heidi was ready to begin her next series of classes. The Lord truly does work in mysterious ways and many ‘blessings’ would occur over the weeks ahead.
I had the pleasure of reading Wanda Brunstetter’s previous novel, Amish Cooking Class: The Seekers. In this latest work, Ms. Brunstetter captures a beautiful flow of words and complements them with balanced tone and rhythm. Her voice is audible from the onset and there is a sublime tenderness in the narrative. Her characters are believable with every day challenges and grit. Ms. Brunstetter has divine ability to weave Amish lifestyle and faith throughout the storyline in confident fashion. The reader isn’t getting an ad nauseum dose of religious pontification and judgment toward those who are not of the Amish faith. To the contrary, Ms. Brunstetter treats her audience to great nuggets of information about their practices and commitment to their faith in a delicious delivery of non-preachy writing. I look forward to Ms. Brunstetter’s next novel in this entertaining series.
Quill says: The Blessing has the perfect blend of miracles and mishaps from beginning to end.