PUBLICATION DATE: AUGUST 07, 2012
ollowing on from the conclusion of Treasuring Emma, Emma and Adam’s relationship is still going strong in Faithful to Laura. But while Emma is content to take things at a slow pace, Adam can’t wait for them to get married. When Adam’s father challenges him about a secret he has been keeping from Emma, Adam starts to regret rushing their relationship. Will Emma continue to love him when she learns about all that Adam experienced during his time in the Englisher world?
Adam’s father knows that he needs to take his own advice to heart, regarding a secret that he’s been keeping from his wife. But the longer he keeps the secret, the harder it becomes to reveal the truth to the woman he loves. Little does he know that his wife has been aware of his secret for a long time, and that it’s tearing her apart inside. Will the couple be able to confront each other about their mistakes and reconcile their relationship in time to help Emma and Adam plan their wedding?
The last thing that Laura wants to be thinking about is stepping into a new relationship. Robbed and disfigured by the man who promised he would marry her, Laura is cautious about ever trusting another man. Her current plan is to stay in Middlefield with Emma’s family until she has earned enough money to pay back that which Mark stole from her parents. But when she lands an administrative job with Sawyer Thompson’s family business, she strikes up an unexpected friendship with the young man. Just when she starts to wonder whether Sawyer is the sort of man that she can put her trust in, his English grandmother unexpectedly arrives and turns their relationship upside down.
Sawyer has been raised by his adoptive Amish family since he was a teenager, and although he’ll always love the family who cared for him in his time of need, he has yet to decide whether he wants to join the Amish church. His friendship with Laura comforts him, as they both feel unsure of where their futures are headed. Sawyer’s options for his future are expanded further when the English grandmother he never knew about arrives in Middlefield to invite him to New York to take over the family business. Is it possible for Sawyer to remain close to his Amish family and friends while getting to know his long-lost grandmother, or will he have to make a choice between his two families?
This book had so much going on in it that I almost don’t know where to start. Unlike some series in the Amish genre, the Middlefield Family novels follow on from each other and really can’t be read out of order. I found this to be a rather refreshing change, and was pleased to see that Emma and Adam still had some issues to work out that followed on from the previous book, and that the problems between Adam’s parents weren’t going to be concluded in one novel, or even two, for that matter. In fact, there were times while I was reading Faithful to Laura when I found these two storylines more interesting than the one surrounding the title character. This, unfortunately, is an issue that often crops up in novels that have multiple plot strands.
While I really did appreciate that Kathleen dared to address the topic of how hurtful infidelity and previous sexual relationships can be on a marriage, I finished Faithful to Laura wishing that each storyline had had its own individual book. For such serious topics, it seemed like some of them might have been better addressed in separate novels, where they wouldn’t get sidelined by Sawyer and Laura’s drama. While Sawyer’s decision on whether he should become Amish or explore the English world with his grandmother was fairly serious, it paled in comparison to the marital problems that Adam’s parents were experiencing. At times, Sawyer’s situation and personality felt a little underdeveloped, especially when compared to those of other characters in the novel.
I truly did like Laura, and other than Emma, she’s probably the character I was able to connect with most in this novel. Although she was sometimes bitter and resentful about events in her past, her emotions seemed very believable. It was sweet to see Sawyer helping Laura to come out of her shell and leave her past hurts behind. Sawyer was at his best when he was spending time with Laura, and there were several lines that he came out with in his attempts to comfort Laura that I just had to highlight on my Kindle. For a man unsure about his future, Sawyer had a lot of wisdom to dispense. That said, I wished Sawyer’s issues over joining the church had been developed further. His inability to decide whether to become Amish was mentioned several times throughout the novel, but Sawyer himself didn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on this, and from his treatment of his grandmother and her lifestyle, it seemed like his mind was already made up. Again, I think the flaws in Sawyer’s storyline are a result of there simply being too many characters and plots going on in this novel for each of them to be fully developed.
As with the ending of Treasuring Emma, it seems like some of the storylines from Faithful to Laura will be continued in the next book in the Middlefield Family series. I’m pleased about this, as the storyline between Sawyer and his grandmother, Cora, seemed to be wrapped up far too quickly. The turnaround of Cora’s personality and treatment of her grandson seemed quite sudden, but perhaps it will become more believable in the next book in the series. It also appears that the conflict between Adam’s parents will be continued in the third book, which I appreciate. It would have been unrealistic for their situation to have resolved so quickly in Faithful to Laura, and I’m sure many readers will appreciate that Kathleen isn’t treating the topic of marital infidelity lightly or suggesting that it’s an issue that can be healed in just a couple of short weeks.
I truly do appreciate the way that Kathleen Fuller dealt with the issues between Adam’s parents, and Adam and Emma. Emma’s situation was one that I could personally relate to, which made it all the more believable to me. The problem I had with Faithful to Laura wasn’t the issues it tried to address, but the number of issues it tried to fit into one single novel. I think I could have cared about each of the characters equally if they’d had their own books, but as it was, I ended up relating to Emma and Laura more so than Sawyer, Adam or Adam’s parents. It’s a pity that I wasn’t able to care about Sawyer as much as I did Emma and Laura, considering that he was one of the main protagonists, but he just didn’t seem as fleshed out and believable as some of the other characters in the novel. Ultimately, I did enjoy reading this book, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if there hadn’t been so much going on in it. If you’re the kind of person who likes multiple storylines and large casts of characters, you probably won’t have a problem with Faithful to Laura. I’ll probably continue to read the rest of this series so that I can see how all of the storylines are tied up, but so far I’m not finding it to be among Kathleen’s strongest works.