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Reviewed by Brenda Casto for Readers' Favorite
New beginnings are often hard to predict, but after the death of her parents in a house fire, change is all that twenty-year-old Rachel King can think about. It's hard to leave her younger sister Beth and grandparents behind in PA, but she decides to head to Kentucky to live with her aunt Sarah in the hopes of fulfilling her dream of working with horses. When she lands a job giving tours at Twelve Elms Stables she couldn't be happier, and soon finds herself in a friendship with Jake Brady, the owner's son. Soon though, that friendship turns into something more.
There are so many things taking place in A Little Bit of Charm by Mary Ellis that made it an interesting read. I found the story of Rachel compelling. The fact that she is Amish and decides to go live with her aunt Sarah, who is an Old Order Mennonite, made this story a bit different. It was interesting to see the differences in the beliefs, but also the similarities. Another unique aspect of this story was that it takes place in Kentucky, not the typical "Amish" setting. I found the story line around race horses and the stables, along with the general workings of the farm, provided an added layer to the overall story and really brought Twelve Elms Stables to life! Jake Brady wasn't the typical male lead for an Amish romance either, because he was English. I was a bit surprised at the relationship that developed between him and Rachel, and that kept me reading to find out what would happen.
While A Little Bit of Charm is the third book in The New Beginnings Series, it can be read as a stand-alone work. Fans of "Amish" fiction may be a bit disappointed because this book focuses on a Mennonite community, although the main character, Rachel, is Amish. Ms. Ellis writes a compelling story that allows us to feel the characters' struggles as they wrestle with choices to be made. An added bonus with this story are the recipes that the author includes.