I am not Amish, so why did I choose to read Herb of Grace? For various reasons. I’ve always admired the craftsmanship of Amish-made items, especially my treasured pair of scissors purchased in Lancaster County thirty years ago. I oil the pivot point from time to time, but I’m still waiting for them to need sharpening. I’m in agreement with many aspects of the Amish lifestyle, especially when it comes to cooking, gardening, living simply, crafting, and herbal medicine.
Most importantly though, I have read this author’s non-Amish books and am a fan of her writing style, which is laden with positivity and creativity. I trusted Adina Senft to tell me a good story, and perhaps give me more insight into the lives of the Amish, especially Sarah Yoder, a “Dokterfraa”, that is, an herbal healer. After reading the synopsis, I couldn’t resist learning more about her. I was not disappointed.
Adina Senft does not gloss over the everyday details of life in Whinburg Township. While Sarah is the main protagonist of this story, no character is glossed over, either. Her sons, Simon and Caleb, both struggle with trying to help their mother with the finances, while experiencing the fun and woes of what felt to me like typical, realistic teenager lives. Her neighbor Henry Byler is an “Englisch” man who has returned to the community, but has no plans to return to the Amish ways he was brought up in. A large supporting cast includes misbehaving teenagers, Sarah’s herbal mentor Ruth, an older couple with mysterious medical complaints, the owner of a local inn, and a good handful of relatives.
The Amish lifestyle includes an abiding faith in God, which is a part of every aspect of daily life. For those who enjoy this aspect of a story, there’s plenty of spiritual questioning and comfort. For those not of that mind, the character’s expressions of faith are included gently in a story-pertinent manner.
While Herb of Grace can be enjoyed on its own, readers need to know that not every loose end is tied up by the final page. This is book four of a nine book (plus a Christmas story) continuous series.
A glossary of all the Amish words and phrases used throughout the book is included in the back. This is worth mentioning, as you might want to look up a phrase now and then as you read.
PS: I keep a separate category for the foodie cozy mystery books I love so much, but now I’m thinking I should have a cozy foodie fiction category for other ‘delicious’ books like Herb of Grace. This book review will be the first entry with the new “Foodie Focused Fiction” tag.