Rating: 2.5 Stars
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Review: "Minding Molly" is the third novel in Leslie Gould's Amish series "The Courtships of Lancaster County." Each book is based on one of Shakespeare's classics, and Gould's latest release takes its inspiration from "A Midsummer Night's Dream." I have enjoyed the previous two books in this series and Gould's portrayal of the Amish. Unfortunately, I never made a connection to the characters or the plot of this novel. Molly Zook's bossiness and controlling attitude kept me at arm's length throughout most of the book. Although she begins to loosen up towards the end, and we begin to see her insecurities, the change did not come soon enough for me. Because the story is told from Molly's first person perspective, it is also difficult to relate to the other characters. Not knowing the thoughts and motives of Molly's two potential suitors does keep you guessing who she will ultimately marry, and at times, it seems she is destined to remain single.
Overall, the plot of "Minding Molly" is anti-climatic. Molly's family is struggling with serious issues, including the recent death of her father, her mother's health problems, and a struggling family farm, but much of the plot's focus is centered on a weekend camping trip. Some of the details become repetitive and mundane, but Gould's descriptions of Molly's farmers market and flower gardens paint a vibrant picture. The camping trip scenes are a bit lackluster and choppy, putting emphasis on meal preparations, trail rides, Molly's controlling nature, and misunderstandings between Molly and her friends. I felt like an outsider observing the scenes without a complete understanding of the participants' emotions. As a result, the camping trip did not seem to help the plot's progress, it just left growing relationships more muddled.
I enjoyed "Courting Cate" and "Adoring Addie" far more than "Minding Molly." All three novels are set in the same Amish community, so characters from the previous novels continue to make appearances. Leslie Gould gives us glimpses into modern Amish life and shows us that Amish men and women face struggles similar to "Englishers." Her Amish characters are more than house wives and farmers; they are resourceful business owners and entrepreneurs with dreams not unlike ours.
I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Summary 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?