When Amish-set romance fiction is mentioned, people will usually expect the book to sit neatly within the Christian or inspirational romance genre. Not so with Karen Harper’s Amish-set stories. I discovered Karen Harper while I was searching for something on Book Depository, and promptly bought Fall from Pride. There was something so different about them – suspenseful, enthralling and darkly romantic. The stories of the Home Valley straddle the Amish and Englische worlds really well, and are so respectful of both. When I saw that there were more stories from the Home Valley on the way, I was thrilled. Karen Harper, I wasn’t disappointed!
What is Upon a Winter’s Night about?
Though she is deeply loved by her parents, the fact that Lydia Brand is adopted has always made her different from her close-knit Amish community. But as Christmas approaches and she begins to search for answers about her biological parents, more questions surface.
Soon it seems that the deaths of two women in her small town may not be coincidences, after all. And her pursuit of the truth has left her only with hints of a dark secretand threats from an unseen adversary.
While she does her best to stave off advances from her parents’ preferred suitor, Lydia discovers that her heart truly belongs to the man who’s been there all along: her friend Josh Yoder. It’s only with his help that Lydia can ensure that the stillness of a winter’s night means peace and not danger.
So, here’s what I thought of Upon a Winter’s Night!
As with the other stories, Upon a Winter’s Night kept me on the edge of my seat, trying to work out who was behind the bad things going on in the Home Valley. I thought I had it worked out quite a few times, but just when I thought this, BAM! I had to try and figure it out again. Karen Harper does such a great job of maintaining the suspense and mystery of the story without letting too much go.
You can tell when you are reading Upon a Winter’s Night that Karen Harper has a real knowledge of and respect for the Amish people and their culture. I love that she shows them as people with real thoughts and emotions and doubts, and not just as people who live in the past. Lydia is strong willed and curious about the world and Josh has lived a worldly life. They are beautifully matched.
If you are looking for an Inspirational or Christian Amish romance, this isn’t really going to be what you are looking for. It is by many standards quite a clean romance, however the chemistry and connection between Lydia and Josh lends the story a very Contemporary air. There isn’t a great deal of exploration into the Amish religion as a whole, but it does tell you a bit about how they view Christmas and how they celebrate this holiday.
It was lovely to see what others from previous books are doing now, and have been up to. Reading Upon a Winter’s Night has just made me want to go back and read the others again. I do hope that this isn’t the last we see of the people of Home Valley.
My Rating: 4 out of 5
Release Date: 29 October 2013
Note: I was provided with an advance reader copy by MIRA, an imprint of Harlequin via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.