About The Book
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Overcome the past and any other obstacles that stand in the way of the future God has planned for you.
Three years after the accident that almost claimed her life, Emma Esh has recovered physically but has no memory of the year before the accident. When she moves to a new community to help her sister Lydia and brother-in-law, Caleb, prepare for the birth of twins, she falls for their neighbor Samuel.
But the twins’ premature birth, a visit from the Englischer Emma once dated, and the sudden return of her memory threaten Emma’s romance. After the secrets of her past are revealed, will love be able to overcome all obstacles?
About the Author
Inspirational author Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She is the author of several Amish series in print or forthcoming – Sisters & Friends series, Love & Promises series, and two books in the Hearts of Amish Country series – as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Books and the contemporary novella, Angels Unaware, part of the Hope Chapelseries. Rachel also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers. She loves reading (of course!), traveling, and spending time with her five children and three grandchildren. Visit her at her website, Facebook, author page, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. You also can sign up for her quarterly newsletter here.
Buried Secrets was a page-turner that kept you guessing as you read. From what I understood, this was the second book in the series, but I could read it as a stand-alone. I thought Emma and Sam were easy to relate to and the author dealt with amnesia in an interesting manner that seemed honest and true.
However, I was distracted by some formatting issues. There was head hopping with no scene breaks which gave me no clue that I was changing point of view until too late. Also, there were inconstancies with first and third person that could have been remedied by placing the first person in Italics to show that the person was talking to themselves as I have seen previously in fiction. These were both minor issues that took away from the readability of the book, but did not take away from the interesting plot development.
There was a sweet message of forgiveness and love in the story interwoven through secrets that could not remain buried in the past. It brought a different angle to the contemporary Amish lifestyle and dealt with some challenging cultural issues while remaining true to God’s Word.
I would give this book three stars. I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions are my own.
Guest Post from Rachel J. Good
Readers who have read Change of Heart, the first book in the Sisters & Friends series, will remember Emma as the wild teen who defied her family. Her older sister, Lydia, tried to prevent Emma from making mistakes during Rumschpringe, the Amish running-around time. Throughout most of the story, Lydia and Emma were at odds with each other, but in the end, the family needed to forgive Emma and show her God’s love.
In Book 2, Buried Secrets, Emma has no memory of her rebellion, so she’s devastated when she finally does remember. Then she must confront her past, learn to forgive herself, and also ask for and accept God’s forgiveness. Sometimes when we’ve done things we’re ashamed of, we struggle to believe that God can forgive what we’ve done. But God’s mercy has no limits. Emma needs to open her heart to that truth. As she does, she discovers an important lesson: Some mistakes in the past can never be undone, but God can forgive anything.
Authors often write about themes that are close to their hearts, and I’m no exception. Many times, after I write a novel, I look back and see how God directed me to tell a story containing lessons I needed to learn. In Change of Heart, Lydia discovers that judging other people or suggesting ways they can improve their lives can be a form of self-righteousness. God used my young daughter to point that out to me, but it’s a lesson that bears repeating. And as I finished the novel, I clearly saw it as a reminder not only to Lydia, but also to me.
Emma’s story also blessed me by reminding me how deep and wide God’s love is for each of us. No matter how we’ve failed, He never stops loving us, and His forgiveness is only a prayer away.
I also hope to remind readers that “all things work together for good for those that love God.” So often we expect hardship when we do God’s will, but He has promised to give us the desires of our hearts. Lydia learned in Change of Heart that God’s will was so much better than anything she could have planned, and Emma, too, comes to realize that, by trusting God to direct her life, she is blessed many times over.
Has God ever given you a desire of your heart? To enter the giveaway, share one of God’s blessings in your life. And let’s rejoice together at the many wonderful things He has done for each of us.
Emma concentrated on the plants beside her. Gardening soothed her, made her feel whole again. The spring sunshine warmed the ground and sent comforting rays through her cloak as she bent over the soft, moist earth. She lifted a seedling from its pot and inhaled the savory tomato-y aroma. Then she pinched off the lower leaves, set it in the hole, and gently bent the stem before covering it with soil.
Whoosh. A heavy weight slammed her backwards, smashing her head against the ground. Gasping, desperate to suck some air into her crushed lungs, Emma opened her eyes to find a furry face inches from her own. A huge mouth opened, revealing pointy white teeth. Then a wet pink tongue scraped across her cheek.
“Bolt,” a deep male voice commanded. “Off.”
A handsome stranger, black bangs hanging in front of his eyes, bent over her, his hand outstretched. “Ach, I’m so sorry. She slipped out the door again.” He clamped his other hand on the Irish setter’s collar and pulled the dog off Emma, leaving muddy paw prints across her skirt.
Still dazed, Emma lay where she’d fallen, gazing up at him, unsure whether the rapid pattering of her pulse was from her recent fright or from looking into the greenest eyes she’d ever seen.
“Are you all right?” Worry crinkled his brow.
“I–I’ll be fine.” Ignoring the hand he’d extended, she tried to sit.
The stranger dropped to one knee beside her. “Don’t get up if you’re hurt. Is there someone I can fetch?”
“I don’t need help.” Heat flooded Emma’s cheeks when her words came out sharply. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “Please forgive me.” Then pinching her lips together, she steeled herself to sit without assistance.
“There’s nothing to forgive. I’m the one who let my dog escape.” The words were barely out of his mouth when the Irish setter twisted free and bounded off, crushing the rows of seedlings Emma had just planted.
“Oh, no!” The stranger dashed off after the dog, swerving to avoid the tomato plants the setter had crushed. Gasping for air, he made a desperate tackle, landing a few feet beyond the garden, the dog wriggling under him. With a firm grip on the Irish setter’s collar, he stood, the front of his shirt, galluses, and black pants splattered with dog hair and dirt.
Emma suppressed the urge to giggle at his sheepish expression, the clod of mud clinging to his forehead, and the panting dog struggling to jerk free of his hold.
He pinched his lips together as he studied the mess. “I’m so sorry. Let me put Bolt in the house. Then I’ll help clean up.”
“Bolt?” Had he called the dog that earlier? Emma had been too distracted to pay attention. Now she couldn’t hold in her mirth.
Rather than taking offense, the stranger glanced down with a rueful expression, then joined in her laughter. “Jah,” he said between hearty chuckles. “Short for Lightning Bolt. She zigs and zags so fast I can’t catch her sometimes.” He waved a hand toward the disaster in the garden. “Like she did here. And now look at me.”
Emma did, and her laughter ended in a sharp intake of breath. And then his eyes met hers, and she stopped breathing altogether.
I hope you’ll enjoy reading Buried Secrets as much as I enjoyed writing it!