The Memory Jar by Tricia Goyer

Every year, 30--40 young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive 'resident' status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides! Sarah Shelter has lived in West Kootenai for the last ten years and wonders if she will ever fall in love. Since the tragic death of her best friend, she carries her memories in a jar along with the small items connected to them. For just as long, she's also been carrying around her emotions instead of allowing them to penetrate deep into her heart. Now she's met a kind and gentle man who may be able to break down the wall. But can Sarah risk her heart to finally achieve her dreams?

This may look like a regular amish romance, but trust me, it's not.
There is a depth to it, which is even more elegant, seen through the simple life of amish people.

This is a story about loss.
About fear and about shutting your feelings inside, and being scared of letting anyone get close.
Our heroine, Sarah, may be a little simple at times, but at last she does get it right. And personally I believe that, amish or not, simple or not, it took guts to behave as she did at the second half of the book.

The first half of the book, so to speak, is a gentle romance. Of the kind that refreshes you as you read it, and calms you, and warms your heart. Jathan is so big and strong and sensitive, and he is so protective of her, I just loved him. But then, in the second half of the book, the issues are kicked up a notch.
Sarah has to leave her comfort zone, and she has to strike out and make desicions for herself.
She has to be braver than ever before and she has to face the greatest fear of them all.
Trusting others.
And trusting God with her life.

I loved this book, and the lessons it contains. I will only deduct one point because I didn't like the way Jathan behaved at the end, I thought he was weak and a coward and it was out of character for him. In fact, I thought it was a bit foolish how Sarah immediately took him back, somewhat immature.
But other than that I completely recommend this book to those who have no problem reading about the amish way of life.

Rating: 3/5

I received this book from Zondervan in exchange for an honest review.

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