Monday, November 24, 2014

Review for Emma Blooms at Last by Naomi King

Emma Blooms At Last
By Naomi King
One Big Happy Family, Book 2

Publisher:  NAL (Penguin Group)
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Genre: Inspirational Romance/Amish Romance
Length: 315 Pages
ISBN: 978-0451417886
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About the book: 

Romance is in the air during the fall wedding season in the Amish community of Cedar Creek. But while one loving couple prepares to tie the knot, Amanda and Wyman Brubaker’s large family faces a threat from outside their happy circle…and must learn to pull together.

Recently wed Amanda and Wyman Brubaker are thrilled that their children from previous marriages have blended together to form a strong family. But when the construction of Wyman’s new grain elevator is delayed, making the project more expensive than anticipated, Amanda’s determination to rally the kids into taking on work to improve the family’s finances comes into conflict with Wyman’s sense of responsibility as head of the household….

Meanwhile, as James Graber and Abby Lambright prepare for their long-awaited nuptials, folks gather from far and wide. Amanda’s nephew Jerome has long been smitten with James’s sister Emma and wants to seize this chance to woo her. But Emma’s been burned once and is twice shy of trusting the fun-loving, never-serious Jerome. As Emma and Jerome struggle to understand each other, and find the courage to make a leap of faith, the Brubakers face a bigger challenge than they first anticipated and begin to discover just what it means to fight…the Amish way.

A fan of Charlotte Hubbard’s Amish romance novels, I haven’t had a chance to catch up on the books she writes as Naomi King.  When I was given a chance to read and review Emma Blooms At Last, the newest installment in Ms. King’s One Big Family Series, I jumped at the chance.  While this is the second book in a series, which is also tied to another series, I was able to read and enjoy it on its own.  Filled with colorful and well developed characters, good dialogue and plenty of emotional angst, Ms. King reminds us that we all “bloom” at the right time.

Thinking she’s always “the bridesmaid and never the bride”, Emma Graber is helping prepare the reception hall and dinner for best friend Abby Lambright, who just happens to be marrying James, Emma’s older brother.  A shy and somewhat soft spoken woman, Emma had hoped to marry Matt Lambright, who married someone else.  While afraid of becoming a “maidel”, or spinster, she’s sure she doesn’t want to get involved with Jerome Lambright, a man her parents like but who seems to have a problem making up his mind when it comes to marriage.  He’s got two broken engagements and she doesn’t want to risk becoming a third.

A young man whose mule breeding business is becoming successful, Jerome Lambright is drawn to shy and quiet Emma Graber, even though she doesn’t encourage his attentions.  Determined to help to get her “out of her shell”, Jerome will do whatever it takes to get Emma to go out with him on a date – even including her parents and his family in his attempts.  A fun loving guy, there is more to Jerome than meets the eye and he’s determined to get Emma to give him a chance.

Ms. King does a great job developing both Emma and Jerome’s characters throughout their story.  While Emma is quiet and somewhat withdrawn, she’s also prickly like a cactus and a little too worried about what others might think.  While Jerome is fun loving, he’s also a bit of a show off and doesn’t realize that his “flashy” type nature is part of what pushes Emma away.  When tragedy strikes Emma’s family, right after James and Abby’s wedding, Jerome and his extended family help Emma realize she needs to let others in and become more of a participant in her own life.  The romance between Emma and Jerome is sweet, tender and well-paced.  I really enjoy how Ms. King’s characters get to know one another before they make any kind of real commitment – they realize love and marriage are forever in their community and they are careful about their choices.

The secondary characters, mostly members of the local Amish community, are all well developed and I especially enjoyed getting to know Amanda and Wyman Brubaker, the primary characters from Amanda Weds A Good Man, the previous book in this series.  We get to catch up with them as their newly joined family (both were previously widowed) continues to join and face a new problem.  It’s also nice to see the family relationships in the community, Amanda is Jerome’s aunt and Abby is now Emma’s best friend and sister-in-law.  We also get to see how the community rallies around each other doing what’s best for everyone and helping each other out when someone gets in a bind.

Will Emma give Jerome a chance to win her heart?  Will Amanda and Wyman be able to solve the new problem trying to damage their family?  And will everyone bloom where and when they are supposed to?  You’ll have to read Emma Blooms at Last to find out.  I loved it and can’t wait to read more about Cedar Creek and its inhabitants.

My Rating:  5 out of 5 Stars and a Recommended Read

FTC Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour for a fair and honest review.  I did not receive any additional compensation for my opinion of the reading material provided. 

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