Title: Balm of Gilead by Adina Senft
Healing Grace Series Book Three
Genre: Contemporary, Amish, Fiction
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
The third installment in the Healing Grace series finds young Amish widow Sarah Yoder facing her greatest challenge–herself.
Sarah Yoder hasn’t seen Henry Byler since he became engaged to an Englisch woman, which is best for her peace of mind. Since Henry never joined the Amish church, any relationship but a neighborly one is impossible. So she stays busy with her family, welcoming her son back from the ranch he’s been working on in Colorado, doing a little matchmaking for her sister-in-law, and making the teas and tinctures that heal the members of her church.
Then Henry seeks her out, desperate for a balm for his sensitive hands before his success as a potter is jeopardized, and Sarah must call on every ounce of strength to deny the cry of her heart. Yet there is Someone who just might have a special cure in mind-a healing balm with the power to change everything. But with Henry’s wedding only weeks away, is it already too late?
Balm of Gilead is the highly anticipated third installment in Adina Senft’s incredible Healing Grace series featuring Amish widow and herbalist in training Sarah Yoder. This latest addition concludes many of the story arcs from the previous novels but the story mainly focuses on Sarah’s Englisch neighbor Henry Byler and his upcoming wedding to B&B owner Ginny Hoschsteler.
In the three months since Henry proposed to Ginny, Sarah has kept her distance from her neighbor. She has concentrated her attention on continuing her training as an herbalist and she has become quite adept at treating the members of her community. Sarah is also eagerly awaiting her oldest son Simon’s homecoming since his job on a Colorado dude ranch is coming to an end. She has mended the relationships she inadvertently harmed and Sarah keeps the lessons she learned about overstepping her boundaries fresh in her mind when Henry unexpectedly asks for her advice about a PR request.
Henry and Ginny are eagerly planning their wedding when a worsening health issue sends Henry to Sarah for treatment. Once the lines of communication reopen between them, he finds it easy to continue to seek advice from her. A publicity request from a reality show would expose his pottery to a wider customer base, but Henry is very uneasy that this appearance would harm his relationships with his family and his Amish neighbors. He greatly values Sarah opinion but he is further conflicted when Ginny makes an unexpected revelation about her B&B. The proposed script leads Henry to a surprising conclusion when he reflects back on his long ago decision to leave the Amish community.
Sarah is much more comfortable in her role as a healer and although she is still very forthright when expressing her opinions, she is careful to think before she speaks. She is also quite vigilant in her effort to ensure that her advice will not override or interfere with God’s will in matters that are dear to her heart. Sarah, too, must reflect on what she hopes to accomplish when discussing life altering decisions with Henry and she unselfishly sets aside her own wishes and desires as she counsels him during a very difficult situation.
Balm of Gilead is a truly captivating and heartwarming journey of faith and love that is sure to be a hit with fans of the Healing Grace series. The novel is beautifully written and the storylines are realistic. The characters continue to grow and evolve as they struggle to overcome challenges that test their long held beliefs and ultimately strengthen their relationship with God. The fate of the characters is uncertain for much of the story and Adina Senft brings the story to an emotional conclusion that is heartfelt and emotionally satisfying.