Living in Harmony

Title:  Living in Harmony
Author:  Mary Ellis
Pages:  352
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Harvest House
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988
                Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, is the opening scene of the story where a young Amish couple is returning from a gathering around a bonfire.  Amy and John are engaged and planning on getting married in the fall when disaster strikes.  Amy has younger sisters that look to her for guidance and protection.  While waiting for the marriage day, John has been building an addition to her parent’s house for them to live in, while sleeping in the barn.  Now, only the barn and various other buildings remain. 
                John decides that it may be best for Amy to start fresh in Maine, living in the Amish community where his older brother and family live.  Nora, the next oldest decides that she too wants to leave the area and look for opportunity elsewhere.  However, what they find in Maine is more than any of them bargained for.
                Prudence was Amy’s aunt who had left the Pennsylvania area many years ago, but now Amy longs to have some connection with her.  Amy begins to look for and locate this aunt to let her know of her sisters’ death and to hear why Prudence was shunned from the community in Maine as well.  John has an older brother named Thomas who is a minister to the small community, with a younger brother who displays more of a worldly lifestyle.  Elam meets Nora one day and that begins to bring stress within the family and tension between sisters.  How will Nora begin to understand herself as well as the pull of freedom from a community of very strict rules?  What will be the price she and Elam pay for being so free-spirited and unwilling to live the life required by others?
                Family and a husband are all Amy wants, but what does John do to put the future of two people into jeopardy?  Will Amy’s need to control and care for her sister, Nora, keep Amy from trusting God and John?  Mary Ellis wrote a wonderful story about the lives of her characters in a way that keeps the reader wanting to know more.  Living in Harmony is a relaxing and thought-provoking novel, as well as a peek into what might be a different lifestyle for others.  Grab a drink, settle in, and enjoy a masterpiece woven by a good storyteller.
My rating is 3 ½ stars.

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