The Amish Midwife’s Secret
Love and Promises #2
By Rachel J. Good
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jeanie
An Amish midwife and an Englisch doctor must embrace their differences to rescue a baby in need in this uplifting romance that will “capture your heart and leave you smiling” (Amy Lillard).
Kyle Miller never planned on becoming a country doctor. But when he’s offered a medical practice in his sleepy hometown, Kyle knows he must return… and face the painful past he left behind. Except the Amish community isn’t quite ready for Kyle. Especially the pretty midwife who refuses to compromise her traditions with his modern medicine…
The more Leah Stoltzfus works with the handsome Englisch doctor, the more she finds herself caught between the expectations of her family and her own hopes for the future. It will take one surprising revelation and one helpless baby in need of love to show Leah and Kyle that their bond may be greater than their differences… if Leah can find the courage to follow her heart.
What a fabulous, gripping novel this is! I have a great appreciation for Amish fiction, and I will definitely read more by this new-to-me author. The characters are well defined with realistic actions and dialog that reflect their faith, teaching me more about the Amish living in their district. Mennonites also have strong roles, and one person, vital to the novel, claims to not believe in God. Excellent, colorful descriptions of each person and the area make this novel sing.
Dr. Kyle Miller has finished his residency and is preparing to find a place to spend the immediate future. His desire is to get a fellowship to research, hoping to find a cure for a disease, partly to do something worthwhile with his years of study and partly to have his name known for a positive reason. Dr. Martin Hess from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, contacts Kyle to come visit for several days. He plans to retire and gradually turn over his practice, even his home, for free, and wants Kyle to return and see the practice as it is today. Originally from the Lancaster area, Kyle has no desire to even return for a visit, much less to live there, but he owes the older doctor and his wife for the help they gave Kyle after his mother died. He also feels he owes the Amish community a great deal.
Leah Stoltzfus is training to be a midwife while running the natural remedies shop that her parents own while her Daed takes a full-time job to help pay down Mamm’s growing medical bills. Leah cares for her mother, who has MS, when her father isn’t home. Her brother, Joel, had taken excellent care of the shop until he decided to not be baptized in the church, then was turned out by her father. Leah is being courted by Ben, who, if they marry, would not allow her to continue to be a midwife. She struggles with this, as she believes being a midwife is her calling. She studies under Sharon, a well-known local midwife. work closely with Dr. Hess if there are any high-risk pregnancies or health challenges they might need his help with. When Leah hears that Dr. Miller may be coming to join, then take responsibility for, Dr. Hess’s practice, she is worried and afraid. She was present the night when the lives of many people changed forever, including Kyle’s, the Amish teen he was dating at the time, and the teen’s family. Leah is afraid of Kyle’s reaction when looking into her eyes and realizing the part she played in the tragic events.
When Kyle meets Leah, he doesn’t seem to recognize her. He does, however, have a problem with her delivering babies in homes rather than with doctors in hospitals. He really has a problem with Leah treating some illnesses with herbs and poultices. It will take time for him to learn that the Amish do not use hospitals except as a last resort, but he doesn’t plan to take that time in Lancaster. Before he could send a “thanks but no thanks” letter to Dr. Hess, Mrs. Hess frantically called him for help. Martin had a heart attack, and they need Kyle to fill in at the clinic for however long it takes. Since he has a month before starting at the new position he accepted, he packs and is on an airplane before he can stop to think about it.
The author shares wonderful, three-dimensional characters with her readers! They are well defined, and many epitomize the Amish (or Mennonite) lifestyle. They are also very human, as noted when sparks were flying between Kyle and Leah. Since in her district, courting someone is a commitment that might continue with marriage, she was unavailable. Since she is Amish and Kyle isn’t, she could never date him. And if Kyle were to become Amish as his brother had, he would have to give up being a doctor. Folks in this novel are very intelligent, caring, and empathetic. I do, however, like Leah the best, for her commitment to others and the follow-through required of her. I also understand why Kyle has turned his back on God, despite the cost to him and those he loved but rooted for him to return to faith.
This drama pulled me in from the beginning and held my attention throughout. There are many closely-held secrets in this gripping novel. I do believe that Kyle has suffered the most, with Leah a close second. Even Dr. Hess and his wife have secrets affecting others’ lives. How the Amish respond to the events surrounding the secrets is nothing less than amazing. This is a delightful story in many ways, especially when seeing Leah’s joy of delivering babies and preparing for her friend’s wedding. There are plot twists and the suspense of knowing who has secrets but waiting for them to be revealed. These are people I would want to read about again – they have flaws, griefs, and secrets – but through it all, the faith and values of the Amish bring healing and ultimately joy to the main characters. I highly recommend this to those who appreciate reading about Amish daily life and medicine, seeing Amish faith in action, even a bit of romance.