Miriam’s Secret by Jerry Eicher

What would happen if you unexpectedly won two million dollars? Haven’t we all dreamed about how our lives would change and thought about the things we’d buy with our new found money? Now imagine that you are Amish from a proud, poor family that doesn’t even believe in selling their wares to the “Englisha” to improve their daily life. Just think how it is to be so poor that you eat potato soup for dinner with a full meal a once a week treat. Or imagine that your oldest daughter must go to work to help support a large family with ten children and one on the way. As sister Shirley exclaims, “The Yoder family is poor, really, really poor and Daett seems to like it that way.” That is the premise for the novel Miriam’s Secret by Jerry Eicher.

Miriam Yoder, a sweet, kind-hearted girl rooted in the Amish way, has a good paying job helping care for the elderly Mr Bland. The two form a loving father-daughter-like bond so that when the old man dies unexpectedly, Miriam stands to inherit his entire farm which is free and clear from debt. This makes her a wealthy heiress, so that suddenly her plain looks don’t matter to potential suitors. Nobody knows, not even her parents, about the additional two million dollars from her inheritance which her lawyer is managing.

Welcome to the mindset of the Amish. What we Englisha would think of as a joy, is only a hurtle to overcome for these god-fearing people who believe in a simple, hardworking lifestyle. Miriam worries over her new found fortune and decides to move from Possum Valley in Holmes County (the busiest Amish tourism center in America), to the quieter Coalgate Community in Oklahoma where her Aunt Fannie is expecting her first child. The Amish in this new homestead welcome Miriam with open arms and her Uncle William’s nephew, Wayne Yutsy, seems to appreciate her finer qualities. If only she could be certain that he isn’t more interested in her farm than in her personality.

This novel is a quick read and the author is knowledgable about the Amish way of life since he was also raised in an Amish Community. Although the beginning of the book caught my interest, as the plot progressed there was too much repetition of the main character’s thoughts surrounding their angsts. While details of life in an Amish community were fascinating, at times the plot dragged. Also, there was no resolution to the major problem addressed, so the story was never completed. Since this is Part One in the Land of Promise series, the reader must wait for the second book to discover what happens next. I’m not a fan of series where each novel can’t be read as a stand-alone, so the ending was a disappointment. In essence – Miriam’s Secret started with a bang, but petered out to a whimper. However, I am curious enough to want to read the second book to see what the author has in store for Miriam and her family. Three stars due to the above mentioned disappointments.

I would like to thank Netgalley and Harvest House for allowing me to download a free preview of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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