Review | Her Amish Wedding Quilt (Hope’s Haven 1), by Winnie Griggs

HerAmishWeddingQuiltWhen it comes to comfort reads, I find that Amish romances often hit the spot. They tend to be sweet and somewhat old-fashioned in courtship practices, which gives them the feel of a year-round, quieter take on Hallmark holiday romances. Her Amish Wedding Quilt is no exception — it has a bit more angst than other Amish romances I’ve read, and some moments that made me side-eye the hero for his actions. But ultimately, the novel provides the kind of sweet, feel-good love story I want in my Amish romances, and made for several heartwarming evenings.

Greta Eicher knows that her outspoken and impulsive personality will make it difficult for her to find a match. She dreams of someday marrying her childhood best friend Calvin Stoll, who has always loved her for who she was. When Calvin breaks the news that he’s in love with another woman, Greta channels her energy into helping his older brother, Noah, find a new wife and mother for his children.

Having had his heart broken in the past, Noah is determined his second marriage will be a business arrangement rather than a love match. His sole motivation to marry is to find someone to care for his children, not someone to care for him. Yet as Greta’s matchmaking attempts continue to fall short, Noah begins to realize he’s developing the very tender feelings he’s determined to avoid.

I absolutely loved Greta. She’s confident and independent, and she knows very clearly what she wants and needs out of life. She’s also a wonderfully realistic mix of romantic and pragmatic — she recognizes her own growing feelings for Noah, understands that he will not reciprocate, and makes some very level-headed decisions about how to deal with that. She’s also very capable with Noah’s children, a superstar in the face of medical emergencies (none involving the kids), and brings an adorable kitten named Lemon Drop into her family’s life.

Noah took me a bit longer to warm up to, only because he had a lot more emotional baggage to work through. He had to take on the paternal head-of-the-family role at a young age, which meant he had to make difficult decisions even when he was just a teenager. As an example from the Prologue, when Noah and his brother Calvin were kids, they’d nursed an injured fox back to health. Noah released the fox back into the wild when it was healed, which was the right, and practical, thing to do, but the decision broke Calvin’s heart. And Calvin’s accusation that Noah didn’t care about the fox or about Calvin’s feelings stuck in Noah’s heart all the way into adulthood.

It takes Greta a lot of love and nurturing to help break Noah out of his shell, and at times, it was downright frustrating to watch. It was hard at times for me to understand why Greta loved Noah no matter how many times he pushed her away, and there were moments when I thought she’d be much happier as a single woman working on her quilts. One major example is Noah’s jealousy of Greta’s crush on Calvin. For about the first half of the book, whenever Greta tried to do or say something nice, Noah would accuse her of only trying to get closer to his brother, which honestly I don’t believe she deserved.

I was also somewhat unhappy with how the novel treated Noah’s first wife. Their last few months together before her death were strained, because of a decision Noah made that his she didn’t agree with. She felt that Noah’s decision was unfeeling, which triggered all of Noah’s insecurities from his relationship with his brother, and I felt like Greta, the narrative itself, and some of the other characters all hinted that the first wife was wrong for her actions, and that she simply didn’t love Noah enough. The problem for me is that while I think Noah made the right decision, I can also understand why it would have hurt his first wife enough to pull away from him. And the book didn’t really tell us how Noah tried to rebuild his relationship with her.

All that being said, Noah is still very much a sweetheart for most of the book. He clearly cares for his children, and despite all his protestations, he also very clearly respects and cares deeply for Greta throughout the book. He has developed a hard shell around his heart, and as frustrating as it sometimes was, it was also really heartwarming to see Greta chip her way through it. I also love that despite her great love for him, Greta was never a pushover, and she often called Noah out on his behaviour whenever he did wrong.

Overall, Her Amish Wedding Quilt is a lovely, heartwarming story. Greta and Noah are wonderful together, and the author kept enough of Noah’s inner mushiness revealed throughout to keep us cheering for him and Greta to find their way to their happy future together.

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Thanks to Forever Romance for an egalley of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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