The New Book Review

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Thursday, February 16, 2023

Elise Cooper Reviews Women’s Fiction

A Wish For Home 

(Secrets of Bliss Valley Book 1)

Jo Ann Brown

March, 2021

Love Inspired Pub

Women’s Fiction

Reviewed by Elise Cooper


A Wish For Home by Jo Ann Brown is a wonderful read.  It delves into love, forgiveness, and second chances, something every reader can relate with.  The heroine, Lauren, must reconcile her anger and resentment toward the Amish community for shunning her parents but also must deal with the boy who bullied and tormented her as a young teenager.

Elise Cooper Reviews Women’s Fiction


“Two of my children are adopted.  About two years ago my son’s birth mother reconnected with him through his adoption agency.  She was looking for him for a long time.  It was wonderful to see the connection they made and to see how the family came back together.  I am fascinated with those who are adopted and how their birth family finds them.”  


The book opens with Lauren driving her 1966 VW Beetle through her old hometown of Bliss Valley Pennsylvania. Now part of the English world, she no longer goes by the Amish name Laurene, wanting nothing to do with the Amish community she belonged to.  She planned on just driving through it on her way to Lancaster to meet with developers who want to build a casino. Unexpectedly, Lauren gets caught in an ice storm and hits a pothole that damages her car. At the local garage she must deal with the mechanic, Adam Hershberger, the boy who bullied her all those years ago. Life’s circumstances have changed him considerably.  Now a widower and raising a four-year-old daughter, Mary Beth, he regrets how he treated Laurene. But she must also come to grips with her past and is helped by her Great Aunt Sylvia Nolt. To make matters worse, she is also dealing with the fact that she was adopted, a bombshell her parents just laid on her. 


“Amish romance is incredibly popular the last five to ten years.  Writers of this genre realize that the simpler and quieter life of the Amish is attractive. Of course, there is the illusion that the life is simpler. I live in a small town and have Amish neighbors, so I understand that feeling.  But when I lived in larger cities, I realized you do not know your neighbors.  Readers of Amish stories also like the sense of community and how the Amish want to keep the family and community together. I live in Lancaster County in Pennsylvania.  There are casinos here.  One is being built in the city of York.  Because they pay taxes the Amish can go to meetings and have a say.”


The other piece to the story is a gripping mystery.  Someone is starting fires at Amish homes, a serial arsonist.  Since Adam is a volunteer firefighter, he intends to find the person behind the fires.  Although he and Lauren are reconnecting and having some romantic feelings toward each other they must overcome the past and the present, where he resents her for encouraging a casino in the area.


From the very beginning readers will be drawn into Lauren’s story.  The plot, mystery, romance, and characters blend for a great novel.

More About #TheNewBookReview Blog 

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Authors, readers, publishers, and reviewers may republish their favorite reviews of books they want to share with others. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read and love. Please see submission guidelines in a tab at the top of this blog's home page or go directly to the submission guidelines at or to the guideline tab at the top of the home page of this blog. Authors and publishers who do not yet have reviews or want more may use Lois W. Stern's #AuthorsHelpingAuthors service for requesting reviews. Find her guidelines in a tab at the top of the home page, too. Carolyn Wilhelm is our IT expert, an award-winning author, a veteran educator and also contributes reviews and posts on other topics related to books. Reviews, interviews, and articles on this blog are indexed by genre, reviewers' names, and review sites so #TheNewBookReview may be used as a resource for most anyone in the publishing industry. As an example, writers will find this blog's search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor. #TheFrugalbookPromoter, #CarolynHowardJohnson, #TheNewBookReview, #TheFrugalEditor, #SharingwithWriters, #reading #BookReviews #GreatBkReviews #BookMarketing

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