Title: Letters to Katie
Author: Kathleen Fuller
Published by Thomas Nelson, 2013
Letters to Katie: A Review ***
Katie is the next in the Middlefield Family Series, set in Middlefield, Ohio. "Katie" is Katherine Yoder, a young Amish woman who is very discouraged with her life, her unrequited love for Johnny Mullet, and her continued unwedded state. After all, most of her peers are married, with children, and she has no valid prospects. She prays that God will either remove her love for Johnny from her heart, or grow a love for her in his, but neither seems to happen. She fears being alone, whether entirely on her own or living with her parents, forever. She sees her life, back through childhood, in a very negative light in terms of her social interactions.
Katherine works at Mary Yoder's, a restaurant in town. One day, a young Amish man she has never seen before sits at one of her tables and begins to flirt with her. Katherine does not know how to flirt and doesn't realize that is behind his friendliness, but she is confused by his attentions and by a co-worker's informing her that the fellow watches her every move. Then, one day, he asks her to go with him to the next "singing," an Amish gathering for young people. Before she can answer, Johnny comes into the restaurant, specifically to speak to her. The reason for his visit is more fodder for her winding up feeling misused by a friend with whom she wants so much more than friendship.
As our heroine stands with Isaac, as he waits for her answer to his invitation, Johnny waits to speak to her, alone--his own fears mounting that she won't be interested in courting him, by the time he is ready to court her. Isaac takes his leave without a clear reply from Katherine, and Johnny is able to make his request of her, obtaining her happy assent. Sadly, Johnny has not been clear about the role he wants her to play, so he ends up hurting her very badly. And, some time later, she learns that Isaac had presumed a positive answer from her, leading to an unpleasant scene.
All this time, Katherine is growing sicker by the day, not aware that she is actually ill, until a persistent headache refuses to go away and only becomes much worse. A hospitalization of a few days puts her back on the road to health, but she has lost her memories of the preceding three weeks. She does remember that Johnny has hurt her, and hurt her badly, one time too many.
Johnny has his own set of growing problems, largely brought on by his prideful determination to prove to himself, his family and Katherine that he can succeed in turning a seriously run-down farm into a
thriving horse farm. Almost immediately after buying this farm, he is given two weeks' notice at his job. Panic ensues. Other employers are not hiring. The banker who denies him a loan recommends that Johnny talk to a non-Amish investor the banker knows, who might be interested in Johnny's business plan. At first, Johnny thinks the couple are going to invest in his horse farm, in which case he will be financially set. Sadly, it doesn't turn out that way, and Johnny very nearly allows them to create something very different from his dream, in order to get the money they offer.
A sub-plot exists involving Sawyer and Laura and their families (see Faithful to Laura). In my opinion, Sawyer and Laura's story would have made the better plot, with Kathleen and Johnny's story serving as the subplot. Laura and Sawyer's story made this book more enjoyable for me than it might otherwise have been, as their part of the book showed more of the way God works in people's hearts and minds than did the main part. At least, that is the way it seemed to me.
Did I enjoy this book? Hmm . . . I have enjoyed what little else I have read by Kathleen Fuller, but
this one?--not as much. It is a "nice story," but except for details, it's very predictable. Even the process of drafting this review has been a ho-hum effort. Two and a half stars seem right, but I'll round up, because I did not hate the book; it just lacked any spark or any real depth. I give this book three stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.