Portrait of a Sister
By Laura Bradford
Author website: www(.)laurabradford(.)com
Katie Beiler was always the follower to her twin sister Hannah’s lead. That is until Hannah left their Amish upbringing for an English life–leaving Katie to find her own footing in a world that no longer looks as it once did . . .
Katie has always imagined her life being just like Mamm’s. It’s why she chose baptism and why she’ll soon marry Abram Zook. But ever since Hannah left, the only thing that truly makes Katie smile is the sketchpad in which she indulges her talent for drawing faces–a sin that, if discovered, could get her shunned by her family, her friends, and even Abram. Yet Katie sees her secret pastime as the only way to quiet a growing restlessness she’d just as soon ignore. That is until their Mamm’s untimely death brings Hannah back home to Pennsylvania, with a new outlook on life, a man she adores, and, soon, an invitation for Katie to visit her in New York City.
Suddenly, Katie is experiencing a freedom she’s never had, in a world she never imagined. She’s also spending time in the company of a fellow dreamer, someone who sees her as strong and brave and makes her laugh. But it’s when Hannah shows Katie’s drawings to a gallery owner that she truly finds herself at a crossroads between the only life she’s ever known and the powerful lure of an unfamiliar future.
“A charming, well-told story of love and devotion between sisters.”
–New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hauck
“Kudos to Bradford for a complex and compelling story about faith, family, and love.”
–Sally Kilpatrick, author of Bless Her Heart
Laura Bradford is one of my favorite cozy mystery authors. Her books are always amazing. I rarely read outside of the cozy genre, but there was no way I was going to pass up her Portrait of a Sister. Boy am I glad I read this heartfelt book. Her ability to tell a story, to get the reader to feel the emotions, to describe things in a way that you can easily visualize everything, all of her talents are displayed and magnified in this book that is out of her comfort zone. Well if this is her in not comfortable territory, then I want more!! I wish I could give more than 5 stars, more than 10 stars. You get the point I think, lol. Laura Bradford is one of the very best at bringing the Amish life to all of us Englishers out there. Just brilliant!
This book starts at a time that is just devasting for most. Amish Katie Beiler’s mother is dying. Katie will now be the lady of the family, everything her mother did will fall on her shoulders. She has a twin sister, Hannah, but she did not get baptized and moved to New York to live her life as English. The reader gets to meet Hannah when she comes home for her mother’s funeral bringing her boyfriend along. This author’s ability to bring characters to life is more evident in Portrait of a Sister than any of her other books. That, by the way is saying a lot since she is one of the best at this. Showing the reader the in depth differences between these twin sisters (and similarities too, although very subtle) and how they deal with the life they are given and choose makes these characters pop off the page and become so real.
Katie is an artist, a wonderful artist, however her artwork goes against everything her religion teaches. She draws the faces of her subjects. When Hannah is home for their mother’s funeral she finds Katie’s hidden sketch pad. As anyone who would have seen these sketches would attest, Hannah is amazed at her quiet sister’s talent. So much so that she does somethings that are on the one hand a betrayal and on the other a gift to her sister. It all depends on your perspective. Along Katie’s journey to visit her sister in NY, her wide eyed awe of the city, its contents and people, her return home and the events that occur as a consequence of her visit, the reader is able to truly feel the emotions that Katie is struggling with.
Although I have not been through the things Katie has, nor am I Amish, I felt a kinship with her. I rooted for her and rode her emotional roller coaster with her as well. Author Laura Bradford is able to take the reader on this extraordinary journey, bring us through the emotions, going from pure sadness, pure joy and awe, through fear and anxiety and then to contentment. What a talent, what a joy.
If you are a fan of Laura Bradford’s cozy mysteries, you will love this. If you are a fan of well written Amish fiction, you will love Portrait of a Sister. If you enjoy great women’s fiction, this is the book for you. In other words, if you want a wonderful read, read this book.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*