Title: Heart in Hand by Barbara Cameron
Stitches in Time Book Three
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Amish, Romance
Length: 290 pages
Book Rating: A
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher
After the wedding of her cousin Naomi, knitter Anna, a widow, finds herself missing love and the closeness of a husband. As a result, she feels a special connection with her grandmother as they both struggle to go on with life.
Yet Anna may be on the verge of finding a new happiness when she realizes Gideon Beiler is interested in her. Love begins to warm Anna’s heart, but will she be so afraid of losing someone that she gives up the second chance that God has provided?
Barbara Cameron’s Heart in Hand is a heartwarming romance about a widow and widower who find love when they least expect it. Gideon Beiler and Anna lost their spouses too soon. Anna’s husband, Samuel, died from leukemia not long after they married. Gideon’s wife, Mary, died of cancer leaving Gideon to raise their young daughter, Sarah Rose, on his own.
Watching her cousins Naomi and Mary Katherine fall in love and marry has been bittersweet for Anna. She is happy for them, but their joyful unions emphasize the sorrow she still feels over the loss of Samuel. Anna’s involvement with Gideon and Sarah Rose begins innocently when Anna recognizes Sarah Rose’s grief at her mother’s loss. Gideon and Anna have an easy friendship that slowly turns to love but Anna has a few issues she must resolve before fully committing to their relationship.
Anna and Gideon are marvelously developed protagonists and I adored both of them. Both married their childhood sweethearts at a young age and they lost their spouses around the same time. Anna is strong and independent and she is very cautious about getting involved with Gideon. As a young widow, Samuel’s death forced Anna to become self-reliant and she is not sure that Gideon is looking for an equal partner.
Gideon is patient, gentle and kind hearted and he is a wonderful father. He is further along in the grieving process than Anna and he is ready to marry again. While Gideon respects Anna’s wishes to move slowly, he becomes impatient to move their relationship to the next level.
It is positively delightful watching love blossom between Gideon and Anna. There is a wonderful innocence to their dates that is quite refreshing. Anna and Gideon take the time to get to know each other and they include Sarah Rose in many of their outings.
One of the things that I particularly enjoyed about Heart in Hand is the maturity that Gideon and Anna bring their relationship. Their communications skills are superb, and when misunderstandings arise between them, they face them head on. Anna and Gideon may not always agree with the other person’s point of view, but they always take each others’ concerns seriously. They listen to one another and work out their problems together.
If you enjoy faith-based fiction with a strong sense of community and a slower pace of life, then you are going to love Heart in Hand. It is a fabulously entertaining read that is fast paced and engrossing. The characters are three dimensional and quite charming. Barbara Cameron’s plot development is superb and her writing style is quite engaging.
Although it is the third installment of the Stitches in Time series, Heart in Hand can be read as a standalone novel.
It felt like dawn would never come.
When Anna first realized that it was going to be one of those nights . . . one of those awful nights that felt like it would never end, she reached for the book she’d been reading and read for a while with the help of the battery lamp on the bedside table.
Reading didn’t help. Knitting didn’t, either, and knitting always relaxed her. Reaching for her robe, Anna pushed her feet into her slippers and padded downstairs to the kitchen. There was no need for a light for she knew her way from all the dozens—no, hundreds—of nights she’d gone downstairs in the dark.
Even before the first time she stepped inside this house, she knew it like the back of her hand. She and Samuel had drawn the plans, spent hours talking about how he and his brothers were going to build it. As soon as the house was finished, he’d started crafting furniture for it. The final piece he’d made was a cradle for the baby he hoped they’d have soon.
His sudden illness stopped him in his tracks. Leukemia, said the doctor. One day it seemed he was an agile monkey climbing up the frame of a barn he and other men were raising—just a few days later he could barely get out of bed and she’d joked he’d turned into an old man. She’d insisted that he see a doctor and reluctantly he’d done so.
Six months later, he was gone and she’d shut the door to the room with the tiny crib. She buried her dreams the day she buried Samuel.
She filled the teakettle and set it on the stove to heat. How many cups of tea had she drunk in the middle of the night? She wondered as she reached for a cup and the box of chamomile tea bags.
Before Samuel had died, she’d heard about the seven stages of grief. She’d been naïve. You didn’t go through them one by one in order. Sometimes you walked—faltered—through them in no certain order. Sometimes they ganged up on you when you least expected them.
And sometimes—it felt like too many times—no one seemed to understand.
She couldn’t blame them. The only way she got through the first month, the first year, was to put on a brave face and pretend she was getting through it. There was no way she could get through it otherwise—she’d shatter into a thousand pieces that no one would be able to put back together again.
Humpty Dumpty, she thought wryly. Then she frowned, wishing that she hadn’t thought of the childhood story. A closed door didn’t keep out the memory of the tiny crib that lay behind it.
The teakettle’s piercing whistle broke into her musing, its sound so sharp and shrill that she put her hands over her ears to block it while she got up to take it off the flame. She poured the hot water over the tea bag, took the mug back to the kitchen table and sat there, dipping the bag in and out of the water.
Finally, she pulled the bag out and set it on the saucer. Sighing, she massaged her scalp and wondered if she should take an aspirin to stop the pain. Then she flicked her hair behind her shoulders and hunched over the cup. In a minute, she’d get up and get the aspirin. Her mind might be awake, but her body felt tired and full of lead.
As she trudged back up the stairs a few minutes later, she heard something—it sounded like a laugh, a high, excited one that went rushing past her up the stairs. She watched, tired, leaning against the wall as she saw herself—lifting the hem of her nightgown so she wouldn’t trip—Samuel reaching for her as she flew up the stairs to their room.
She blinked, not sure if she was dreaming or seeing a ghost of the two of them, so young and in love, so unaware that anything bad could touch them.
Barbara Cameron is the author of 35 fiction and non-fiction books, three nationally televised movies (HBO-Cinemax), as well as the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. When a relative took her to visit the Amish community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, she felt led to write about the spiritual values and simple joys she witnessed there.
Her latest book is the Amish fiction, Heart in Hand.
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