Thursday, March 19, 2015

Return to Grace by Karen Harper

Return to Grace
A Home Valley Amish Novel #2
Author: Karen Harper
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
ISBN: 9780778313236
Paperback: 368 pages
Genre: Amish fiction, mystery

About the Book:
In the shadows of a graveyard, a SHOT rings out…

Hannah Esh fled the Home Valley Amish community with a broken heart, throwing herself into her worldly dreams of a singing career instead. But as much as she tries to run from her past, something keeps pulling her back. On a whim, she brings four worldly friends to the Amish graveyard near her family’s home for a midnight party on Halloween. But when shots are fired and one of her friends is killed, Hannah is pulled back into the world of her past.

The investigation into the shooting uncovers deep-buried secrets that shock the peaceful Amish village to its core. Determined to prove her value to the community she left behind, Hannah attempts to bridge two cultures,working closely with both handsome, arrogant FBI agent Linc Armstrong and her former betrothed, Seth Lantz,now widowed with a young daughter.

Caught between Seth and Linc, between old and new, Amish and worldly, Hannah must choose her future. Unless a killer, bent on secrecy, chooses it for her.
About the Author:

New York Times bestselling author Karen Harper is a former high school and college English teacher. Winner of the 2005 Mary Higgins Clark Award for her outstanding novel Dark Angel, Karen is the author of seventeen romantic suspense novels and six historical novels, as well as a series of historical mysteries. Karen and her husband, who divide their time between Columbus, Ohio, and Naples, Florida, love to travel both in the U.S. and abroad. For additional information about Karen and her novels, please visit

My Thoughts:

The story line for "Return to Grace" was an exciting and page-turning experience, but I did have issues with it, and those issues detracted from the enjoyment of the story for me. First let me clarify why. I live in an area of Old Order Amish and have an Amish friend. This story's Amish customs are  far from the Amish customs and community that I know here. I'm not saying they are incorrect as each order has their own ways, but they don't match with what I know.

With that said, the story and the characters didn't ring true to me. The sheriff felt contrived and quite forced and I really couldn't "get into it" the way I would have liked. Yes - my problem and not fair to the story.

Another issue I had was coming into the series with this as my first book. I don't think that helped at all and I honestly think I should have started with book one. I strongly suggest that anyone interested in this series should start at the beginning.

Lastly - I don't like any type of sex in my Amish fiction. It has to be clean for me.

If you like Amish fiction and don't get hung up on the different ways of each order and don't mind your story being a little risque, you shouldn't have any issues with this. Really, the basic story is good. I just got hung up on the details.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

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