Book Review | “Amish Sweethearts” by Leslie Gould – book 2 in the Neighbors of Lancaster County series

Be aware that this is book 2 in the series. I have not yet reviewed book 1, but I plan to go back and read it… and I recommend you do as well.

I still remember watching a movie made from one of the first Amish stories I read.

A lot of people I knew, thought it was ridiculous that the young man felt compelled to join the military…

They would probably say the same thing here.

Amish or not… when God calls you to do something, you have to make the choice between what you want and what you know God wants you to do.

That is a large part of this story.

And WELL DONE Leslie Gould!

She told the story well… blending the Amish aspects and the English aspects – as well as the military aspects – to form a well crafted story with wonderful characters.

Not a book you should miss… especially if you enjoy Amish fiction!

Of course… I always recommend you read a series in order, so you should definitely check out the first book in this series; Amish Promises.


Review ©JC Morrows 2016

4 Stars

More about the book:

Can These Two Friends from Opposite Worlds Find Love?

They’ve been best friends for years, but as high school ends, Zane Beck can’t help but look at his Amish neighbor, Lila Lehman, with different eyes. Her controlling father sees only one future for Lila, though, and arranges for her to be courted by an upstanding young Amish man. When Zane sees the two together, his plans for the future crumble, and he impulsively enlists in the Army, following in his father’s footsteps.

However, the passing of years and the distance between them isn’t enough to halt their now hidden feelings for each other. If being together used to be difficult, it’s now impossible, especially with the Amish opposed to war. Zane’s service takes a dramatic turn when he’s sent to Afghanistan. Being on the front line and the reality of taking a life has him questioning whether he can continue to serve or not. But all choices have consequences–both his and hers. With Lila preparing to marry another, will these one-time sweethearts ever find the life together that they both still long for?




 I was blessed to receive a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
All opinions are entirely my own.

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Leslie Gould – Flirting with Shakespeare (Review of Minding Molly | The Courtships of Lancaster County)

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I must say I never thought I would see an Amish story styled after a Shakespearean play but Leslie Gould has written three of them. I don’t know if she has any more planned but they seem to be fairly popular so I wouldn’t be surprised.

I am reviewing Minding Molly but the questions/answers/opinions really apply to all three books so it’s kind of one and the same.

Did Leslie Gould accomplish what she set out to do? Yes, I believe she did. They read very much like the plays of Shakespeare’s that they were styled after. The characters follow suit and the story went along the same lines… minus the extreme tragedy that typically befalls Shakespeare’s characters in the end. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of tragedy filling all three.

How was the writing? It was good. Leslie Gould is a skilled writer. You’d have to be to take a Shakespearean tragedy and style it into a modern day Amish story and she definitely succeeds there. It’s a bit difficult to get attached to some of her characters but we have to remember who they’re patterned after. And I have to say, I find it a little difficult to accept that boys and girls who are brought up Amish would behave in the ways some of them did but again, remember who the characters are written to behave as…

 Now the really tough question…

Did I enjoy the book(s)? No, I really didn’t. When I think back to it, in high school I didn’t really enjoy the work of Shakespeare so much as I enjoyed the positive attention I received from my classmates because I understood his work.

Will I give Leslie Gould’s work another chance? Yes. Especially if she writes a typical Amish novel – I definitely would.

I suppose the point is that I am not the person I was twenty years ago. I’m not even the same person I was five years ago so my taste in literature has changed dramatically and I tend to steer clear of a lot of what is “popular”. That would probably include these books and any others in the series that comes along.

However, I enjoyed her collaboration with Mindy Starns Clark on The Women of Lancaster County series so I’m not writing her off at all.

Is this the book/series for you? That’s a question you have to answer for yourself. Check out the synopsis below, read some other reviews, see if your local library has it to borrow. And, if you just LOVE Shakespeare, I’d say yes, it is the book/series for you so you should give it a try. And I always say you should start at the beginning so start with Courting Cate and go from there to Adoring Addie and then finish up with Minding Molly. 

3 Stars

A brief rundown on Minding Molly from Bethany House:

Molly Zook Has Everything Planned Just Right.
Or So She Thinks!

Molly Zook’s always liked being in control, so she’s struggling with her mother’s wish that, to save the family farm, she marry Mervin Mosier. Especially after Molly meets Leon Fisher. He’s from Montana but is now training horses at a nearby ranch. He’s tall and muscular and confident–Molly has never met anyone like him and she’s sure he feels the same about her.

Determined to let nothing get between them, Molly tries to coax Mervin into falling back in love with Molly’s best friend, Hannah. A weekend camping trip in the Poconos could be just the place…but things quickly go awry, and it seems Leon and Hannah might be falling for each other instead! Will Molly keep struggling to control everyone and everything around her? Or will she learn to let God handle the twists and turns of her life?

To find more info on this title and read an excerpt, click HERE And if you click where it says Courtships of Lancaster County – it will take you to a page where you can check out the rest of the series.

To find more reviews from, click HERE or from GoodReads, click HERE
And click HERE to visit Leslie Gould’s website.




Disclaimer: I received Minding Molly free in exchange for an honest review from the Bethany House reviewer program.

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I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

“The Amish Seamstress” by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould

17177607“The Amish Seamstress” is the fourth book in The Women of Lancaster County series by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould.

I started reading the first book in this series (The Amish Midwife) some time ago and I could not make myself finish it.

Just to clarify:
at the time, I was quite frustrated by a very angry book (another that I was reading at the same time) that I quickly decided to stop reading once I became aware of the problem.

Since then, a dear friend has convinced me that this series is worth reading. Since I received this book free from Harvest House Publishers in exchange for an honest review, I decided to give the series another try.

I also thought it might be interesting to read this one first and go back to the others… to see how that works. It doesn’t always work to read books out of order. With this one, it works. But I have a feeling that the story will mean a lot more if the series is read in order. Once I go back through and read from the beginning, I’ll have a better perspective on that.

From Harvest House

Izzy Mueller is an exceptional listener and gifted caregiver. She’s also a talented seamstress. As the young woman sits with her elderly patients, she quietly sews as they share their stories. She’s content with her life until circumstances reconnect her with someone she once loved. Zed Bayer, a Mennonite, is not what her family is hoping for in a spouse, and his creative interest in filmmaking is definitely at odds with her Amish upbringing.

As Izzy is swept up again in Zed and renews her friendship with his sister, Ella, she begins to ask questions about her own life—her creative longings and historical interests, her relationships and desire for romance, and most importantly, her faith. What is the path God has for her? Can she learn from the past of both her family’s and Zed’s—or must she forge a completely different future of her own?

I imagine writing a collaboration is not an easy thing, especially since we don’t see nearly as many of them as we see single-author books. Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould have found the way to do it right. I applaud them and I hope they collaborate on more stories in the future.

There is a lot of conflict in these novels and I can see now why it was so difficult for me to get into the first one. I am a person who has seen more than her fair share of conflict and drama so I tend to do everything I can to steer clear of it. If you are this way as well, don’t let that stop you from reading these books. The end result is worth any heartache or frustration.

…don’t let that stop you from reading these books. The end result is worth any heartache or frustration.

I plan to go back and read from the beginning of this series and then review each one in order (I may even re-review this one with that new perspective once I finish them all).

“The Amish Seamstress” is most definitely a continuation of the series but there is a good amount of information about what happened in previous books so you shouldn’t be lost.

The story draws you in and you find yourself wanting to go on…

The characters are very strong and, in some cases, formidable. The story draws you in and you find yourself wanting to go on, if only to find out what happens next. I can’t wait to start at the beginning again and see how it all develops into where we are now in this fourth book.

In other words, it’s a very well written book – which means most likely that the entire series is well-written. Although that is not always the case so you should make that judgment for yourself. Start from the beginning with “The Amish Midwife” (along with me) and see what you think. Now I just have to find time to go read all four books and review them.

Now I just have to find time to go read all four books and review them.

Ah, the frantic busy-ness of fall…

If you would like to read a chapter of “The Amish Seamstress”, get more information about upcoming releases from Harvest House or just get more info about this book, click HERE to go to Harvest House. Or click HERE to go to the page on GoodReads.

Mindy Starns Clark’s website can be found HERE.

Leslie Gould’s website can be found HERE.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Harvest House Publishers book review program in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Happy Reading



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Conceding a Point on Amish Fiction.


Just for the record, I am not backing off on my earlier post. I still feel it is extremely important that Amish fiction be AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE to true Amish ways.

However, I have had a different point of view brought to my attention.

Perhaps so many of these lovely authors wrote a good, decent, wholesome, clean novel and they hoped to get it published but they were unable to sell it as it was written.

So ask yourself… what would the next step be?

Well, if they’re anything like me, they look at the market. And when they see how popular Amish fiction is currently – they would think to themselves “How can I fit my story into that genre?” and began editing. They would learn everything they can about Amish ways, dress, beliefs and language. Then they incorporate it all into their story. (I am not saying this is what every author who wrote a “less-than-perfect Amish” novel has done but I feel very strongly that some of them have).

Think about it. How many of these stories have you read (if you’re a fan of Amish fiction) that sounded like a novel written about normal people who just dressed like the Amish and used a few of their words? They’re still good books written by terrific authors. They’re just not truly about the Amish.

I stated in a previous post that I thought writers were determined to make us believe the Amish were exactly like us but I know that they are not. They are very different from us. They are very cautious to be different – to keep themselves separate.

I no longer think writers are doing this on purpose.

The best part is that I can enjoy these novels so much more now. I can let go of any bitterness or irritation and simply enjoy a good, clean story. And it’s refreshing to find the market flooded now with so many wonderful, wholesome stories when it used to be such a trial to find even one book that was not full of nasty language and inappropriate behaviors.

And so I shall.

Thank You to Beverly Lewis, Tricia Goyer, Vanetta Chapman, Wanda Brunstetter, Shelley Shepard Gray, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Cindy Woodsmall, Beth Wiseman, Dale Cramer, Amy Clipston, Mindy Starns Clark, Leslie Gould, Jerry Eicher, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Karen Kingsbury and all of the others I either haven’t read yet or haven’t discovered yet!



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God Bless You!