Arms of Love

Written by Kelly Long
Review by Susan Zabolotny

This story takes place in Central Pennsylvania in the late 18th century. The citizens are embroiled in the revolution for freedom and experiencing all the unrest that comes with war. The book opens with a death and a promise that impact the rest of the story. Lena Yoder and Adam Wyse have been in love since childhood, and the unspoken promise of a union has always been between them. As Lena’s mother, Mary, lies dying, she begs Adam to forego his idea of marriage to Lena because Mary feels there is darkness in his soul and that of his father, Joseph. She does not want Lena living in his home. Adam reluctantly promises, and the plot is set.

There are many characters, some more interesting than others, but the story was lacking for me. The characters seem so weak, and when that weakness shows through, they turn to God. Lena and Adam are thrown together in all sorts of situations as we witness fervent kisses and discord over his promise. The story constantly waffles between Adam and Lena and their broken promise; the author spends so much time building sexual tension between them that the rest of her story suffers. Every crisis seems to have an intervention from somewhere, and it was just too unrealistic for me. When Lena suffers snakebite on her wedding night, someone shows up out of the blue to heal her. The novel feels contrived on every level, and each problem seems to have a solution. That just doesn’t happen in real life – long ago or now – be you Amish or not. Sometimes there is failure.