memory-jarReviewed by Amanda Schafer

Sarah Shelter lives in an Amish community in West Kootenai where she works as a cook at the local store. Living in that part of the country many of the Amish, Sarah’s family included, have adjusted to frequently visiting and fellow-shipping with the Englishers in their community.

Sarah has felt a large disconnect from many people her age ever since her best friend Patty passed away in a freak lake accident when they were teens. Sarah and Patty had a tradition of keeping “memory jars” which were mason jars filled with little trinkets or items from their nature walks or adventures. Each item in the jars was attached to a special memory or special conversation the girls had together.

Every year, several Amish men come to West Kootenai in search of work, money, and hopefully marriage, but Sarah has been overlooked for years and is still single even though most girls her age are already married. This year, Sarah has her sights on a particularly handsome young Amish man, however, another man, Jathan Schrock, has his sights set on her. She comes to this realization after they get lost in the woods while hiking and she and Jathan have to spend the night on the mountain together. Sarah feels protected and safe during that cold night and she begins to see Jathan for the kind and caring man that he is. She almost feels comfortable enough to tell him about her dreams to be a baker with her own shop someday…

Jathan and Sarah are just starting to form a relationship when he is called back to his hometown in Ohio because of a sudden family illness. When he gets there, he sees that his family’s bakery is in financial trouble and he sends for Sarah to come and be a helper. But Sarah’s ideas don’t mesh very well with the Amish in this community like they did in her own and soon Sarah finds herself on the outside of the circle once again. While she sees her dream of owning a bakery slowly fading away, Sarah also realizes that in losing that dream she is losing Jathan as well.

The Memory Jar is the first book in the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series and based on this book, the series looks very promising! The book was a very easy read and the message throughout was very clear: move beyond the hurts of your past and don’t allow those hurts to hold you back from your dreams or from loving those around you. I’m not typically a fan of Amish fiction, but the way Tricia Goyer writes it was different from others I’ve read and it makes me want to read more of her upcoming books!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Amanda lives in Missouri with her engineering husband, two sons, and one daughter. In between homeschooling and keeping up with church activities she loves to read Christian Fiction, Women’s Fiction, and any Chick-Lit. She never goes anywhere without a book to read!

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Zondervan. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received