Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Review: Courting Miss Amsel

Courting Miss Amsel
Book Details:
Title: Courting Miss Amsel
Author Kim Vogel Sawyer
2011, Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0784-6
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction

Book Summary (from the back cover):
Edythe Amsel is delighted with her first teaching assignment: a one-room schoolhouse in Walnut Hill, Nebraska. Independent, headstrong, and a firm believer in a well-rounded education, Edythe is ready to open the world to the students in this tiny community. But is Walnut Hill ready for her?

Having raised his nephews since their parents' untimely deaths, Joel Townsend is thrilled to learn the town council has hired a female teacher. His sons could use a woman's influence. But he sure didn't bargain on a woman like Miss Amsel. Within the first week, she has the entire town up in arms over her outlandish teaching methods. Of course, Joel can't help but notice that she's also mighty pretty - and just might make a good mother for his boys.

When Edythe decides to take her pupils to hear Miss Susan Anthony speak on the women's suffrage amendment, the town's outcry reaches new heights. Even Joel isn't sure he can support her newfangled ideas any longer. And if he can't trust her to teach the boys, how can he trust her with his heart?

My Review:
This was a very sweet book. Set in Nebraska in 1882, the characters were endearing and likable. At first I thought it was going to be extremely predictable, but it threw a few twists into the mix that kept it going for me as the book went on. It also had some good Biblical principles, which not all "Christian fiction" includes.

Miss Amsel has a few things from her past keeping her from courting the eligible bachelors in town. She's not interested and they are very persistent. Although she keeps turning them down, she is having a hard time resisting Mr. Joel Townsend. Miss Amsel is very opinionated, but also very proper. I appreciated that aspect of her personality. She still acted like I thought a lady from the time period would act, although she had some "newfangled" ideas.

Joel Townsend is a very kind person - kind of shy. I really liked him. He knows he needs to marry someone to be a ma to his two nephews - but he doesn't want to marry someone just for that reason alone. He places his trust in God to meet his needs - he's just surprised where God leads him!

There are lots of secondary characters in this book that add a lot of personality: the children in the schoolhouse, Mrs. Kinsley - Miss Amsel's landlady, Missy - her sister, and a variety of town folk.

Overall, I thought this was a very enjoyable read and I think anyone who likes Christian historical fiction would find a good read in this book.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me free of charge by Bethany House Publishers
 for my honest review. Any and all opinions expressed about this book are purely my own.

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