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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
In a story set in the 1930s, amid the struggles to survive life in the Depression, Amish housewife, Gloria, and her English neighbor, Minerva, grasp at faint straws of hope to make it through yet another winter. Their clashes and disagreements formed long ago as children continue until, in their need, they reach out to one another. But this isn't just Gloria's and Minerva's story. It's also Polly's story. Polly is Gloria's daughter, a very bright, industrious young Amish lady, whose one love, Thomas, seems to be flirting with her younger sister. Or is he? Then enters Henry, the government agent who is doing research for the government on farms in Amish country, how much they produce, how much they need, how they are surviving the Depression. And there's Rose, Minerva's daughter, who Polly thinks will make a perfect match for Henry.
Olivia Newport has written a simple story about a simple people in Hope in the Land. The Amish world is a simple one, full of hard work and dedicated faith and worship. Their life is a simple life, although it's not really so simple as, even in the Amish world, relationships and feelings often intertwine to create their own complications. Although it's confusing at the beginning when so many characters are introduced within the first couple of chapters, as the story develops the reader develops a compelling connection and indeed a fascination with each character and their respective stories, their struggles, their likes and dislikes. Hope in the Land is a relaxing story set in a troubling time, but speaks volumes about the dedication of a people to carry on and the hope that keeps them going. An interesting read.