A Wedding at Orange Blossom Inn
Shelley Shephard Gray
Customs are made to be followed and in the Amish way of thinking when a woman becomes a widow she is supposed to remain faithful to her spouse forever. But, what happens when one beagle named Frankie decides to take matters into his own hands, ruins the pizza that another family has ordered and starts a chain of events that will either make you want to put him in the corner, give him tons of treats or just plain smile. What happens when the mother of three young girls meets the father of three boys? Could it be fate or pizza that brought them together? Emma Keim is brokenhearted after losing her husband Sanford. Jay Hilty decided to move to Pinecraft and start an organic farm business. What could they have in common and would they ever be more than friends?
As the disastrous lunch turns into chaos you meet Lena, Annie and Mandy her three adorable girls and William, Mark and Ben Jay’s sons. Amazing how no one got angry and everyone took what Frankie did in stride. Ben, the oldest seemed kind, good natured and when he meets Tricia the niece the woman who runs the local inn, things start to sizzle but will they remain within the limits and rules of the Amish way of thinking? As Ben and Tricia get to know each other both families become concerned and her aunt Beverly even voices her opinion about her behavior in public. Sometimes these viewpoints are accepted and other times even Tricia speaks out in her own defense. Knowing that she left home to feel safe, be her own person and getting away from the bullies in her old school, Tricia took on a job at the inn and seems to be thriving.
Beverly Overholt is Tricia’s aunt and although she is outspoken she means well. Added in her unusual love/hate relationship with the inn’s owner named Eric who is dealing with selling his home in another state but whom Beverly wishes would return. Can you smell her great cookies, baked pies and delicious desserts, as her main goal is to cook up and bake up storm-keeping guests happy?
When Emma and Jay become friends and she decides to bring over food for his family for supper you can feel the bond being formed, the kids or kinner as they say it getting along and it’s so gratifying that they manage to find a common ground right away. But, William is the youngest and Jay feels that he is neglecting his studies and somehow he manages to admit that to Emma who jumps right in with a great solution.
However, when her parents and Sanford’s learn about her friendship opinions are stated and Emma needs to reflect on their voices but isn’t she entitled to be happy?
Ben and Tricia formed a bond so close and after going on their dates with them, seeing how they feel about each other the author decides to unite them and allows them to become engaged. But, parents are strict and hers are no different and when Kathleen her mother shows up and her father, things take on a different turn. They can demand she return home. They can deny her the right to marry Ben. They can decide to become more open minded or they can not be apart of the wedding as she decided to marry in Pinecraft at the Inn and the decision was hers and Ben’s alone.
As they set the date and decide on their future Jay and Emma have their own choices to make. Emma is kind, always trying to help others and make the lives of so many easier but my favorite character is Annie and her interaction with Jay and the incident with the frog is great as I used to hunt for frogs with my nephew when he was just Annie’s age. Family dinners, lunches, outings and finally a real date for Emma and Jay but how will everyone react? Thinking about Sanford and Evelyn his wife they share their pasts, their love for their spouses and their hopes for their future but will it be together?
This is a heartwarming story that will make you smile, bring tears of sadness and joy to your heart and teach you much about the Amish ways. I really love that they enjoy my favorite food pizza and that when Frankie does something at Ben and Tricia’s wedding that Jay comes to his defense. Emma at times overreacts and wants everything to be perfect but life doesn’t run or fair that way. So, what will happen between Emma and Jay? Will 6 make an even number plus two and Frankie in one house? Will they decide to take it slow or not at all? Will their be another wedding at the inn or will they just be friends?
As Beverly and Eric find their way together at the wedding at least for a little while, Emma and Jay have to decide on their futures and of course what to do with Frankie! A story about new beginnings, new loves, family values, loyalties and feelings of betrayal that need to be overcome. As Tricia and Ben form a lasting love and bond will the rest of the kids feel the same? “ It takes both sunshine and rain to make a rainbow,” an Amish proverb and it definitely will bring sunshine and joy into your life if you read this book and join Emma, Jay, Ben and Tricia on their journey to happiness. The pictures at the end bring the town to life and of course Frankie who made it all happen.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine