By: Dianne Christner
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Publication Date: March 2016
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: March 2016
A light-hearted story, set in a Mennonite community in Oregon, brings together two long-time friends who may, or may not, eventually find love in the newest novel by Dianne Christner.
Carly Blosser, a 27-year-old conservative Mennonite doesn't quite fit the mold of an Amish woman. She's always buzzing around on her bicycle, with her rabbit in the front basket, and while she'd love to be married and have a family, she suspects that God's plan for her requires she be single. That way, she can use all her energy to care for those living at the Sweet Life Assisted Living Facility where she works as a caregiver. Along with the elderly inhabitants of Sweet Life, who all have very distinct personalities, Carly must deal with her boss Simon Lapp. Simon seems more often annoyed with Carly and her brazen ideas on how to improve life at the facility, than he does supportive of her ideas. It doesn't help that Carly was once engaged to Simon's son, Dale, and that he paritally blames Carly for Dale up and leaving Oregon.
Dale's cousin, Adam Lapp, helps out at Sweet Life (mostly fixing Carly's bike after her many accidents) and Carly does enjoy his company. When Simon asks Adam to keep Carly out of his hair by taking her out for a picnic or somesuch outing, Adam scoffs at the idea. But it isn't long before he and Carly start spending more and more time together. When Carly enlists his help to try and find the long-lost love of Martha, a resident at Sweet Life, the time together begins to look more and more like Carly and Adam are falling in love. It starts to look like there may be a marriage on the horizon, but then another young man, Jason, comes on the scene and things get, well, things get a little messy. Adam gets jealous, there's a fight, Carly doesn't want to see Adam, maybe Jason is a better man...you get the idea.
Covered Bridge Charm was an enjoyable, one-night read. There were quite a few characters to get to know in this book, and I particularly enjoyed the residents of the assisted living center - it's not a setting that has been used for many romance novels. A few things kept me from absolutely loving this book, including the fact that Carly was always getting into accidents with her bike (you'd think she'd find a better mode of transportation) and that her frequent remark after falling or running into things was simply 'ouch.' Such comments made the dialogue feel a bit unnatural at times and made it a little hard to get lost within the pages of this book. That said, overall it was a nice, easy-reading story.
Quill says: While not a 'can't put it down for a second' novel, fans of Amish & Mennonite fiction will enjoy this light-hearted romance.