BOOK REVIEW To Love And To Cherish by Kelly Irvin

The story begins with Emma Shirack's mother and father's buggy being hit by the truck of a neighbor, Mr. Cramer. Her sister, Katherine, and brother, Luke, witnessed them being thrown from the buggy and dying right before their eyes. Life suddenly changed for the Shirack children. They didn't want to lose their farm and there were younger children that needed care. Emma's older brother, Luke, and his family sold their house and moved in with his seven siblings.

Emma's heart was already broken and not quite healed from a past hurt. Her boyfriend, Carl Freiling, left the Amish community of Bliss Creek four years earlier. She didn't know why he left. She refused to be hurt again. She hadn't dated anyone since. Thomas Brennaman was interested in dating her. His wife had died four years before from cancer. Thomas wanted to start dating Emma but he kept putting it off because he had trouble expressing himself. All Emma saw him was as a good friend.

Carl returned to Bliss Creek and complicated things for Emma. Thomas finally decided that he may lose Emma to Carl so he told her he wanted to court her. Carl also told her that he wanted to court her. The whole story is about Emma coming to grips with what Carl did to her and who she decides to court.

There are quite a few subplots woven into the story. Emma's brother,Josiah, returns home after being gone for a year, Luke and his wife,Leah, are expecting their third child, Emma struggles with her relationship with Leah and Catherine deals with severe depression from witnessing her parent's death.

This story is about forgiveness. It also shows us the different ways people deal with grief. I really liked Emma, she was real with her inability to truly forgive. I can't believe she didn't notice Thomas being attracted to her. I was glad when he finally asked her to court him. I was also annoyed that Carl came back into the picture. It was hard to guess who Emma would chose to court. A few events happened at the end of the story that were surprising and suspenseful. One of the things is that a person ends up leaving the Amish community that I never suspected. You'll have to read To Love And To Cherish to find out what happens.

To Love And Cherish, Bliss Creek Series #1
A Heart Made New, Bliss Creek Series #2 out September 2012

I received a free copy of this e-book from NetGalley for my honest review.

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