Sunday, March 23, 2014

"minding molly" by leslie gould

About the book (from the publisher): Molly Zook Has Everything Planned Just Right.
Or So She Thinks!

Molly Zook's always liked being in control, so she's struggling with her mother's wish that, to save the family farm, she marry Mervin Mosier. Especially after Molly meets Leon Fisher. He's from Montana but is now training horses at a nearby ranch. He's tall and muscular and confident--Molly has never met anyone like him and she's sure he feels the same about her.

Determined to let nothing get between them, Molly tries to coax Mervin into falling back in love with Molly's best friend, Hannah. A weekend camping trip in the Poconos could be just the place...but things quickly go awry, and it seems Leon and Hannah might be falling for each other instead! Will Molly keep struggling to control everyone and everything around her? Or will she learn to let God handle the twists and turns of her life?

My take: Minding Molly, the third book in Leslie Gould's "Courtships of Lancaster County" series, is loosely based on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Also, I read Courting Cate, book one in this series, a few years ago, and I really enjoyed it. Those two factors prompted me to read this book, as I'm generally tired of the Amish genre.

Unfortunately, Minding Molly did nothing to renew my enjoyment of this genre. As an Amish book, it's just as enjoyable as any other popular novel in the genre, and fans of Amish fiction will probably love it. I actually think what doesn't work so well is the translation of A Midsummer Night's Dream into an Amish setting. The play relies heavily on fairies and magic potions, none of which could be used in this book. Without the assistance of magic, the romantic conflict just seems contrived; either Mervin, Molly, Leon, and Hannah are extremely immature, or they have no concept of real love (or maybe both).

And I think that's the reason I didn't enjoy this novel nearly as much as I'd hoped: the romance seems incredibly juvenile. Junior highish, even. To be fair, these characters are fairly young (I can't recall ever reading Molly's age, but she hasn't yet joined the Amish church when the book begins), but as the "love" leads to marriage, I wish it had been based on something more than looks and infatuation. Perhaps I'm just getting too old and cynical to accept the "love at first sight" notion; I'd like the romance I read about to be substantive and the characters to be mature, no matter their age.

As I said before, I greatly enjoyed Courting Cate (which was based on The Taming of the Shrew), and I do look forward to the release of Becoming Bea this fall, which is based on my favorite of Shakespeare's plays, Much Ado About Nothing. But Minding Molly, though written well, did nothing for me.

My rating: 3 stars

Buy the book.
Read an excerpt.
Read my review of Courting Cate.

About the author: Leslie Gould is the coauthor, with Mindy Starns Clark, of the #1 CBA bestseller The Amish Midwife, a 2012 Christy Award winner; ECPA bestseller Courting Cate, first in the Courtships of Lancaster County series; and Beyond the Blue, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice for Best Inspirational Novel, 2006. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction writing at Multnomah University as an adjunct professor. She and her husband and four children live in Portland, Oregon. Learn more about Leslie at

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from Bethany House Publishers through their book reviewer program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  Also, some of the links are "affilliate links." This means if you click the link and buy the product, I will receive a commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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