Amish Sweethearts by Leslie Gould

51HO4+klLfL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_They’ve been best friends for years, but as high school ends, Zane Beck can’t help but look at his Amish neighbor, Lila Lehman, with different eyes. Her controlling father sees only one future for Lila, though, and arranges for her to be courted by an upstanding young Amish man. When Zane sees the two together, his plans for the future crumble, and he impulsively enlists in the Army, following in his father’s footsteps.

However, the passing of years and the distance between them isn’t enough to halt their now hidden feelings for each other. If being together used to be difficult, it’s now impossible, especially with the Amish opposed to war. Zane’s service takes a dramatic turn when he’s sent to Afghanistan. Being on the front line and the reality of taking a life has him questioning whether he can continue to serve or not. But all choices have consequences–both his and hers. With Lila preparing to marry another, will these one-time sweethearts ever find the life together that they both still long for?

About the Author

Leslie Gould is the bestselling author of The Courtships of Lancaster County series, and coauthor, with Mindy Starns Clark, of the #1 bestselling The Amish Midwife. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction writing at Multnomah University as an adjunct professor. She resides with her family in Portland, Oregon.

My Thoughts

Amish Sweethearts is a continuation of the first book in this series,  Amish Promises, as the characters mature and ready for courtship.  Although they have been neighbors, childhood playmates, and thought they might marry one day, they avoid each other throughout this book.  When Zane graduates and decides to go into the army, Lila’s step-father has already arranged a marriage to the bishop’s son, a man who Lila does feel would make a good husband.

Although a lot of insight was given into the life of a soldier. especially in Afghanistan, this novel is completely unrealistic.  Amish and Englishers would never be best friends, and definitely not romantically involved.  It is forbidden by the Amish doctrine (ordnung). As one who lived in the area of Lancaster, PA, even the most modern Amish sects, had business relationships with non Amish, but they would frown on romantic relationships with outsiders, even Mennonites, let alone a soldier.  In a true Amish home, Lila would have been forbidden to see Zane, and would have been threatened with shunning had she continued to disobeyAt one point of the story, Zane, the son of an Iraq war veteran, who had told Lila he was a pacifist, begins to question his views, yet once in Afghanistan, questions his views again.

There is nothing worse for a reviewer than to read a book that was not well researched.  I just hate to write a negative review, but this novel was a disappointment to read.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.