The Healing Jar by Wanda E. Brunstetter is book three in her The Prayer Jars series. The novel is part of a series but the author has done a good job of making it a standalone, giving ample background on the characters and the story so far.
Lenore Lapp is an Amish schoolteacher. She’s single and lives with her grandparents. Jesse Smucker is an Amish widower with a six-month-old daughter, Cindy. He’s just moved to the area to get a fresh start, following the death of his wife, Esther, who died in childbirth. Jesse asks Lenore to care for his daughter while he works and she agrees. Lenore falls in love with both father and daughter, and Jesse knows it but doesn’t reciprocate her feelings.
Needing help with his home and daughter, Jesse proposes to Lenore and she happily accepts. Jesse breaks off the engagement when he realizes it’s unfair to trap Lenore in a marriage of convenience without her prior knowledge. Though Lenore loves Jesse and is devastated by the breakup, she’s grateful that he came clean before the wedding, because she knows she’d never be happy or fulfilled in a marriage in name only.
Lenore turns to the jars of scriptures and prayers initially found by Sara Murray and Michelle Taylor, from the previous novels in the series, along with the one she dug up in her grandmother’s garden. Lenore, Sara and Michelle are all intrigued and continue to seek solace and inspiration from the anonymously penned notes. Will Lenore find healing for herself and her family inscribed on these tiny scraps of paper?
The plot is complex and compelling. Brunstetter presents a great cast of relatable, fully-developed characters. The author is writing from personal knowledge of Amish practices, so the novel is purely authentic.
I give The Healing Jar 5 out of 5 stars. It’s a great read for fans of chaste romance and/or religious fiction, especially Amish fiction/romance. If you aren’t a fan of books with religious themes, this is not the book for you.
My thanks to Barbour Publishing, Inc. and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.
Publication Date: August 1, 2019