Bess Weaver, twenty and expecting her first child, is in the kitchen making stew for her beloved mann, Caleb, one minute, and the next she’s burying him after a tragic accident. Facing life as a young widow, Bess finds comfort only in tending the garden at an Englisch-owned bed and breakfast—even as she doubts that new growth could ever come after such a long winter.
Aidan tries to repress his guilt over his best friend Caleb’s death and his long-standing feelings for Bess by working harder than ever. But as he spends time with the young son his friend left behind, he seems to be growing closer to the boy’s beautiful mother as well.
When a close-knit group of widows in her Amish community step in to help Bess find her way back to hope, she begins to wonder if Gott has a future for her after all. Will she ever believe that life can still hold joy—and the possibility of love?
Irvin takes a sad beginning and spins a sweet story of hope and love in the midst of tragedy, reminding readers that God has a plan we often don’t understand. Aidan’s guilt and Bess’ depression, which keep them both from moving on in their lives, are realistically portrayed as the roadblocks to happiness that they are, and the danger that Caleb’s mother Mattie’s dementia-driven actions creates will speak to readers dealing with this problem within their own families.
Bess is thrilled to be carrying her husband Caleb’s child, but her joy turns to sorrow when he is killed in a car accident on a snowy road. Caleb’s best friend Aidan is overwhelmed by guilt when he is unsuccessful in his efforts to save Caleb at the scene of the collision, and he promises to watch over Bess and the unborn baby. But his promise is complicated by a secret Bess and Caleb never suspected: he has been in love with Bess since they were teenagers. Aidan wants a future with Bess and her son Joshua, but how can he admit to his feelings without betraying the memory of his friend?
Bess is readying for the birth of her first child when her husband suffers a tragic accident and dies. Bess is heartbroken and struggling to go on. Aidan, her husband’s best friend, is also suffering from the death of his friend, and feels responsible to help Bess. But the longer he is around her, his feelings begin to change. Does she have a possibility of a future with him? Will a group of widows help her overcome her suffering?
A warm story of second-chances and growth, this is a tale that will make you smile.
Irvin, Kelly. Upon a Spring Breeze. Zondervan. (Every Amish Season, Bk. 1). Apr. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9780310348054. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780310348092. CF
Happily married, Bess and Caleb Weaver are expecting their first child when Caleb is killed in an accident. Bess gives birth to a son but has trouble recovering after the delivery. Meanwhile, Caleb’s best friend Aidan has loved Bess for as long as he can remember and tries to suppress his guilt over Caleb’s death and his own romantic feelings for his friend’s widow. Bess takes comfort in tending the garden at a B&B but faces criticism from her in-laws, who question her faith and her ability to care for Caleb’s son. In this journey of grief and faith, Irvin (“The Amish of Bee County” series) thoughtfully handles the charged issues of mourning, postpartum depression, and survivor guilt. VERDICT A moving and compelling tale about the power of grace and forgiveness that reminds us how we become strongest in our most broken moments.
Bess Weaver wants her life back. After one year of marriage she was widowed while pregnant. A month later she’s a new mom with a baby who resembles her late husband. To escape this memory filled existence, she takes a job to get her mind off her sorrow. Instead, she gets two men from different worlds interested in her – an Englischer and Caleb’s best friend, Aidan.
Aidan Graber let his good friend marry the woman he love. His feelings for Bess keep him single. Feeling guilty over Caleb’s death, he looks out for standoffish Bess but flounders about, not sure what his future holds. God’s plan for him may include his best friend’s widow – if she can overcome her fear of loving and losing again.
Irvin’s novel is an engaging story about despair, postnatal depression, God’s grace and second chances. Includes discussion questions. Recommend to Amish Christina romance fiction fans.
– Nancy Kanafani