May Contain Spoilers
This was a quick, pleasant read that had a touch of mystery. My biggest gripe was that there was too much telling, instead of showing, especially when it came to the Amish way of life and Amish philosophy. The dry, matter of fact dialog during these infodumps did not hold my attention. Otherwise, the characters were likeable enough, and while the story won’t stick with me for long, it did keep me entertained for a few hours.
Lillian is a teacher at the small school in her Amish community. She and Timothy have been friends forever. After her family moved away for several years so her father could work with his uncle, they unexpectedly moved back after her father and her uncle had a falling out. Timothy worked hard to reestablish their friendship, and despite not feeling ready to settle down, he is extremely attracted to Lilian. The trick for him now is to get her to see that their friendship could be so much more.
Lillian is reluctant to give in to her feelings for Timothy. She wants to make teaching her career, and Amish women don’t work outside of the home after marriage. Besides, she knows how important a big family is to Timothy, but she can’t have children. Instead, she rebuffs his advances time and again, telling him he will eventually find the perfect woman to marry, even though she longs to be that woman. Alas, she won’t let him settle for someone who will make him unhappy, and so she hardens her heart and concentrates on her students.
Timothy and Lillian’s path to love is a rocky one. There is an arsonist taking advantage of the unusually hot and dry weather, setting farms and fields on fire. The fire scenes were very well done; they were exciting, fraught with danger, and the near death experience brings the couple closer together. When Lillian suspects that her brother might have something to do with the fires, she is alarmed and distraught. She is afraid to voice her suspicions, terrified that they might be true, or that her brother will be unjustly blamed for the destruction. The search for the arsonist was a steady undercurrent woven through the story. While the resolution seemed abrupt, it did keep a sense of suspense through the entire book.
The courtship had its starts and stops, mainly because Lillian is torn about what she should do. Confess to Timothy that she can’t make his dreams of a large family a reality? Confide her fears that her brother has something to do with the fires to him? I did have a sense that Timothy and Lillian had a strong and deep friendship, and I wondered how they would both get what they wanted. Lillian her teaching career, and Timothy his large family. I think the compromise worked well, and while the story didn’t knock my socks off, I found it a pleasant diversion.
Grade: 3.25 stars
Review copy borrowed from my local library
About the book
The Teacher’s Choice
For Lillian Keim, instructing children in her one-room schoolhouse is as close to being a mother as she’ll ever get. Lillian has a calling to be a teacher, and she won’t give it up to marry. But her plans–and her heart–are at risk when she begins to feel more than friendship for lifelong pal Timothy Bowman. When Tim rescues Lillian and her class from a fire, the volunteer firefighter suddenly sees what he’s been blind to all his life: he wants his friend as his wife. But something beyond her professional goals is holding Lillian back. He’s got to unlock her secret before he loses his friend–and his forever love.