The Narrow Path by Gail Sattler
About the book:
Miranda Klassen's Mennonite church is big and modern and she loves the mixture of faith, action, and activity. But in order to follow her dream she moves across the country to a small town to organize the 25th anniversary celebration of an Old Order Mennonite church. Ted Wiebe has been assigned to assist and guide Miranda, feeling good that his church has chosen another Mennonite. But except for sharing the same basic faith and denomination, their churches have nothing else in common. His church embraces old-style roots, so Ted expects to find someone similar at the airport: a woman who never wears pants, no body piercing (including pierced ears), no makeup, and wearing a head covering as a sign of modesty, someone else who lives in accordance with old-fashioned values. But the woman who acknowledges him is wearing unreasonably high and outlandishly expensive shoes, denim jeans, and makeup, including bright red lipstick. As she gets off the plane she's fiddling with an iPod and yapping on the cell phone. When Miranda enters Ted's church and community she feels like she's been transported back into Little House On The Prairie. Ted is supposed to help Miranda fit in, and Miranda is supposed to help his church reach out into the community. When it's time to start planning and organizing for the celebration, then the fun really begins.
My rating and review: 4 of 5 stars
The ending was what really made this story shine. It started out a bit slow and it wasn't until I was about halfway through the story that I started to really care one way or the other. I felt her frustrations at times and enjoyed the way Ted comforted her when she was hurting and how he tried to be a true friend. I enjoyed that the conflict was so black and white at times, but on occasion it also felt a bit like shoving a square peg into a round hole. Sometimes you could feel that it was a bit forced, like her reason for being at Piney Meadows in the first place.
At any rate, it was a sweet love story and I really enjoyed how everything came together at the end. The story was downright romantic. And those few kisses that were shared. Wow! They set the pages on fire because they were the result of restrained passion. That's my favorite kind...the type that builds and builds until it finally happens. :) And it's even better when it is surrounding an emotional situation, like when Miranda was so discouraged.
I loved how the author showed the strengths and weaknesses of both characters and how Ted didn't realize at first how much Miranda really did have strong faith in Christ. Why? Because he was determining her depth of faith based on her outward appearance. The scene where she tearfully responded as she sang the lyrics of the hymn was profound and emotionally moving. I loved how this situation started to really change Ted's perspective about real worship and how he realized everything he'd done recently had been more out of habit than from his heart. I loved how Miranda's faith stirred Ted's. She made him want to be a better man.
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