The third installment of Wiseman’s Amish Inn novels is her best yet – a heartfelt study of the effects of tragedy, balm of letting go, and sprouting of new beginnings. Readers will enjoy the appearance of characters both familiar and new as they follow the story of Rose, a young and overly talkative maid at the Peony Inn run by elderly sisters and sometime-matchmakers Esther and Lizzie, and Benjamin, a young man overcome by shyness [pp. 13-21 ff]. Upon receiving the gentle advice from the sisters to listen more and cease her chatter, Rose does her best to obey [p. 21 ff]– only to discover that this isn’t what Benjamin needs at all [p. 34 ff] The two are drawn to each other despite their awkward beginning [p. 40], and readers will cheer as they discover that accepting grace and offering it in return is the way to freedom and foundation of real love [p. 286 ff]. Their story is paralleled by that of Esther, who receives a bouquet of flowers from a secret admirer [p. 24]. Her sister, Lizzie, embarks on a quest to solve the mystery, while Esther grapples with the possibility of a second chance at romance in her golden years and her feelings for their grumpy English tenant, Gus, who has always been at odds with her sister [pp. 25 ff]. Readers know, both from previous novels as well as hints early on, that Gus is the gift-giver and has a soft heart underneath his gruff exterior [p. 81 e.g.]. The love they have for each other despite all odds, is the pinnacle of this book as well as series. Fans will laugh and cry as they read along – would make for an excellent book club pick.
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