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The First Love by Beverly Lewis
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The First Love (original 2018; edition 2018)

by Beverly Lewis (Author)

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446376,451 (4.08)2
Member:OgdensburgPL
Title:The First Love
Authors:Beverly Lewis (Author)
Info:Bethany House Publishers (2018), 304 pages
Collections:Your library, Adult
Rating:
Tags:1809, new

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The First Love by Beverly Lewis (2018)

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Packed full of emotion and Biblical truth, this latest novel by Beverly Lewis explores young Maggie’s struggle with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis as she comes of age. The First Love also reveals Maggie’s family’s struggle to accept their father’s new wife, less than a year after their beloved Mamm dies.
The reason I enjoyed the book was that it helped me see life from the perspective of people who have had a very different experience than myself.
Lewis carefully brings out the details of a disease like Maggie’s. Life is never predictable, health-wise, from day-to-day. Others may or may not understand the inability of one with RA to do tasks one day that they could do the day before. Bad health can make a romantic future uncertain. I learned to love Maggie and was especially glad when she takes a risk that changes her life.
I also really enjoyed the wisdom of Aunt Nellie. I am fortunate to have a godly person in my life with that kind of wisdom.
The camp meetings are an integral part of the narrative, yet I was torn, wondering if there was a way to get this most important message across without being preachy. It felt like the book was only a vehicle for the message at that point.
On to more positive. Having survived my own kids’ teenage years, I can identify just a pinch with Rachel who feels she is desperately trying to find her place in her stepchildren's lives, let alone hearts. What a tough journey she undertakes, so courageously!
Quotables I loved:
Aunt Nellie’s goal: ”Her goal is to make one person smile every single day. "Definitely one of my goals.
"God won’t guide his footsteps unless he’s willin’ to move his feet.” God works best in those willing to obey.
And lastly, a prayer for my adult children: "I pray you never disdain prayer. It’s the simplest way you can serve our Lord, and suffering won’t hold you from it...”
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. All opinions are my own and no review was required. ( )
  Becky_L | Dec 1, 2018 |
The First Love by Beverly Lewis takes us to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It is the summer of 1998 when Maggie’s reminiscing takes her back in time to June of 1951. Maggie misses her mother every day and it is hard to see her father move on so quickly. Joseph, Maggie’s father, married Rachel just seven months after his wife’s death. Maggie has suffered from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since she was eleven and the debilitating pain keeps her confined to bed many days. Maggie longs to be like the other women in her community, but she does not believe any man would want to be burdened by her. Maggie could talk to her mother about her concerns and she misses her warm, understanding presence. A tent revival meeting is coming to the area for six weeks and Maggie asks permission to attend. The minister’s messages are meaningful and have Maggie thinking about God and his saving grace. The future is filled with possibilities and hope. Join Maggie on her journey in The First Love.

I have read all of Beverly Lewis’s books and was looking forward to reading The First Love. I found The First Love to a slow paced story, though, it does pick up slightly in the second half. There are numerous characters in The First Love and it is hard to keep them all straight. Maggie comes from a large family with aunts, cousins, siblings plus there are her friends, the tent revival preacher, and so many more. There are two intertwining storylines in the book. At times, though, the book was disjointed (lacked a good flow). There is Maggie’s storyline plus her family adjusting to a new stepmother. I could understand what Maggie was going through with her painful disease. The pain gets to a person and affects their mood as well as outlook on life. It can be difficult to get up and do things during the day. I thought the author dealt with the topic respectfully and realistically. The ending wrapped up too quickly and felt unrealistic. It seemed the author had reached her word limit and quickly wrapped up Maggie’s story. The Christian elements are predominant. Relevant scripture verses are sprinkled throughout the story that help Maggie on her faith journey. We are also reminded the importance of prayer (anywhere and anytime), God’s grace, leaving our worries with God, reading the Bible, and having faith. I liked to see Maggie grow in her faith and become closer to God. I am giving The First Love 3 out of 5 stars. While this is not my favorite book by Beverly Lewis, I am still a fan of her work who looks forward to her next story. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Nov 14, 2018 |
It's a little different than the typical Amish fiction. The main character, Maggie Esh, suffers from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I know there have been some studies done on hereditary diseases within the Amish community, but I don't know if this is one of them that is common.

Because the pain of her illness restricts her and because she feels most Amish men want robust wives who can care for a house and family, Maggie usually doesn't go to many events. She also can't help around the house as much as her stepmother, Rachel, would like. There are times Maggie would just like to be a normal teen-almost-adult.

Maggie is invited to a tent revival by her Mennonite cousins. The revival ignites a passion for God's word in Maggie and brings forth ideas she's not noticed before.

This leads into the title where our "first love" should be our love for God. There's also the fact that Maggie's first love is Jimmy Bieler, who is also featured in this novel.

Lewis does a good job of weaving the Amish vernacular into her novel. It's not intrusive (as it has been with some other authors of Amish fiction that I've read). I guess I've read enough Amish fiction that I know what most of the terms mean when I see them, but most seem self explanatory to me. ( )
  JenniferRobb | Oct 12, 2018 |
One of the reasons I selected this book is because it addressed some topics that I have not seen in Amish romances or stories. These topics include the remarriage of a parent who is widowed, and how the children react to this new family. Another topic was dealing with a disability. I thought the plot bogged down at times and I wished it would move forward, as it seemed a bit tedious. However, it is worth a read.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own. ( )
  LadyoftheLodge | Oct 9, 2018 |
Beautiful story of a girl with arthritis who wants romance, but doesn't want to burden any guy. I love that Maggie was able to get close to the Lord and pray out loud. ( )
  eliorajoy | Sep 15, 2018 |
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Epigraph
A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.-Eudora Welty
Dedication
To John and Cynthia Bachman, my delightfully encouraging cousins.
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Summer 1998. Sometime in the wee hours, I was awakened by laughter against a background of trotting horses and clattering carriages--certainly Amish courting couples.
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