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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review: Treasuring Emma by Kathleen Fuller

I have never read any book about the Amish way of life, so when I got a chance to read and review the book Treasuring Emma by Kathleen Fuller, I was really excited. Book Sneeze had the book up for review, and I had heard a little about the Amish community, so this seemed like the perfect way to acquaint myself with this ‘new’ and interesting lifestyle.

What first got me interested was the cover of the book, at once cosy and inviting. I could immediately sense this to be one of those books that would make for a perfect cosy read on a lazy afternoon, and I must admit I was not disappointed when I actually started reading the book.

Young Emma is an unmarried woman of 24, and hence a cause for concern in her community, as being unmarried at the grand big age of 24 means you’re a spinster, that something is wrong with you and you have failed miserably in your search of a husband. The story begins with the death of Emma and Clara’s mother. The sisters have already lost their father earlier, as we are made aware of later in the story, and Emma lives with her old grandmother, while her sister Clara lives with her husband Peter and two children nearby. As the story progresses, we see her sadness for a love that is lost, in the form of her childhood sweetheart Adam, who has decided to leave the Amish community and go out in the ‘real’ world. Emma still cannot make herself believe that Adam is now no longer there by her side, that the love she thought was so real is now hers no more. And she is still angry, hurt, sad and confused about what it is that drove Adam out of the perfect Amish community, a life she simply loves and upholds.
Clara, though married and a mother of two, is in the middle of a crisis. Her husband, Peter, is out of work, and this creates a rift between the couple, as Clara struggles to manage her family on the bare little money that is left. She knows this won’t last forever, and tries to come up with ideas that can help her family, more specifically, her two little children, survive.
Emma, on the other hand, is faced with equal financial crisis. Earlier, after the death of her father, her grandmother and mother were managing the expenses by creating jams and jellies and selling them to passing tourists. Now, with the death of her mother, she is left alone to take care of her old grandmother, with hardly any possible means of an income.
This financial crisis drives Clara to devise a plan to use the family home as a business place, and further creates a rift between the sisters.
Things get more complicated when Emma’s old love, Adam, returns; not to mention the arrival of a mysterious stranger whose devious plans create further drifts and confusion.

As the story progresses, the reader gets more and more attached with the characters and their daily lives. The story is easy to follow, even for someone like me who is not at all aware of the Amish way of life (though now I can say I know some of it for sure). The book has a few Amish words put in, but not in a way that will make you wonder about the meaning or going back to the reference section. I loved the way the countryside was brought alive as I turned the pages, and a sense of calm and cozy life as you read about the many mornings and evenings spent in this quiet countryside. The language is easy and the story fast, I finished the book in one sitting – in a matter of a couple of hours.

I would definitely recommend this book for a quick, easy and feel-good read.

Please note that this was a complimentary review copy and NOT A PURCHASED ONE.

- Debolina Raja Gupta