From Publishers Weekly
Sattler (Hearts in Harmony) offers her large fan base a story where unlike meets dislike. Although both Miranda Klassen and Ted Wiebe are part of the Mennonite church, these two young adults couldn’t be any different. Inside out and outside in, Miranda and Ted look different (she’s modern, he’s Old Order conservative) and think different (she’s into electronic gadgets, he’s into plain and simple). Thrown together when Miranda is hired to organize Ted’s Old Order Mennonite church’s anniversary celebration, each balks at the other’s mode of living. Once Ted gets past Miranda’s red earrings, insanely high heels, and cellphone, and sees her heart for God, things begin to thaw between the two. With a bevy of delightful characters, Sattler takes what could be just another toss ’em together and it will all work out in the end faith-based romance and makes it something more, much more. Winsome and warm, this story tickles the funny bone and teases the heart in equal measure. (May)
I found this book as an Amazon Freebie the other day and I would have bought this book. Yes, its that good. Don’t laugh at me. I don’t have to read sex in every book that I read. In fact, I really like Christian/Inspirational romances. The build up towards the HEA is always satisfying to get to and I truly like seeing the friendship develop between the hero/heroine. Also the romance builds slowly and steady. Of course, I’m sure most of all are completely shocked that I would read this genre considering what I talk about in the loops and my reviews for other blogs/sites. As I have said before, peel an onion…there are alot of layers. On with the review…
Let’s start with a brief description of what a Mennonite is. I took this from the dictionary. The Mennonites are a group of Christian Anabaptist denominations named after Menno Simons (1496–1561), though his teachings were a relatively minor influence on the group. As one of the historic peace churches, Mennonites are committed to nonviolence, nonviolent resistance/reconciliation, and pacifism.
There are about 1.5 million Mennonites worldwide as of 2006. Mennonite congregations worldwide embody the full scope of Mennonite practice from old fashioned ‘plain’ people to those who are indistinguishable in dress and appearance from the general population. The largest populations of Mennonites are in the United States and Democratic Republic of Congo, but Mennonites can also be found in tight-knit communities in at least 51 countries on six continents or scattered amongst the populace of those countries. There are also a significant amount of Mennonites scattered throughout China. There are German Mennonite colonies in Mexico, Paraguay, Bolivia, Belize, Brazil and Argentina. Mennonites have also been linked the the Amish. The one of the differences between the Amish and Mennonites is that the Mennonites embrace the modern world and its technologies; the Amish do not. In the small I live in we have a community of Mennonites and I see the women at the grocery store and at Walmart. They drive cars, have cell phones and the men are some of the best electricians in the area. They are nice people, just live a simplier life then we do.
Miranda was the modern woman in every sense of the word. Loved shoes, shopping, gadgets and Starbucks. She was also kind, smart and stubborn. She lives in Seattle with her dad. Her dad is the pastor at her local Mennonite church and they embrace the technology that can deliver the message to the masses that couldn’t come to church on Sunday morning. When she decided to come help an Old World church in Minnesota, she had no idea how plain and simple their ways were. Growing up she was not all the familiar with the old ways and the traditions steeped into the Mennonite culture. Like any fish out of water, she knew that she would clash at first, she just never dreamed that she would clash so badly with the one person that she would be working with side by side on the celebration.
Ted reminded me of a young man barely hanging on to the old ways and trying to avoid the temptation of the new ways. A man of faith but also somewhat worldly (he did go to college), his head was telling him one thing; his heart another. The conflict that Ted had within himself was timely and endearing at the same time. Yes, he did have a telephone but no television. He had a car; but no radio. He had a college degree and was the general manager at his uncle’s furniture factory. He built his own house but had no family to share it. Ted was appalled when he picked up Miranda at the airport. She was NOT dressed as Mennonite woman should be dressed. Red shoes, red earrings, an IPod, cellphone, computer bag and high heeled shoes. Totally inappropriate for the Minnesota winters. He silently prayed when he meets her. Miranda is just as taking back with Ted. Plainly dressed, complete with hat, Miranda thought to herself…what have I gotten myself into now. How am I going to fit in the community?
I adored this book from the beginning page to the last page. From Ted’s first impression to Miranda to Miranda’s slowly becoming a part of the community, this book grabbed me and didn’t let go. The Narrow Path is a book about tolerance to someone’s differences more than the religious overtones. Yes, religion is a layer of the book but watching the town and finally Ted fully embrace Miranda is ultimately the biggest layer and the most significant. While Miranda finds what the wolrd ways are and fully appreciates them, she knows that she can’t live like that forever. Ted, on the hand, was ultimately the last person to come around to Miranda. He liked her but he just couldn’t get beyond some of her ways with the church as a whole. The whole scene in a church service where Miranda whips out her cell phone and Ted whispers to her that she shouldn’t have her cell phone on in church is priceless. A major laugh out loud moment. Who knew that there is a Bible App? I didn’t, that’s for sure. There are moments like this throughout the book and makes Ted, not Miranda look like a fish out of water. The build to the end of the book was charming. While Ted and Miranda did share a kiss about half way through the book, there second kiss more than did me in. It was sweet and it sizzled with such passion that I thought a hose was needed between the two of them. *sigh*
I would recommend The Narrow Path for anyone looking for a sweet romance with a the tried and true troupe of fish out of water but with a twist. I look forward to reading the next book in the series that doesn’t come out until next year. *sobs*