Jacob’s Return by Annette Blair

Amish melodrama set in 1880s Pennsylvania and $3.20 I’ll never see again.

Convinced by his beard twirling brother that Rachel, the love of his life, was going to marry him instead, Jacob abandoned his Amish family on the day of his mother’s funeral. He returns with twin children  to rebuild his life and re-enter the insular farming community. His evil brother, Simon, succeeded in his nefarious plan and is married to Jacob’s childhood love and doing his best to break her spirit. Rachel is a barren and heartbroken bundle of perfection. Simon is petty, sanctimonious, and prideful. It’s not very Amish of him, really. I suspect it’s not very Amish for people to have looked away from Rachel’s suffering either. No doubt, many aspects of Jacob’s Return are not very Amish in the way that Regency romances are often not very historical.

There isn’t really a romance in Jacob’s Return. With a love defying distance and time, but not a nasty brother’s illogical machinations, Jacob and Rachel go straight back to being wild for each other while sharing a house and attempting to maintain an honourable distance. In a moment of mutual comfort, about page 40, they consummate their relationship. Using standard romance novel bait-and-switch infertility, Rachel becomes pregnant. With twins. Other things happen as well. A lot of other things. More pregnancies. Christmas. Micro-diaspora. Childbirths. Barn raising. Dynamite. Unappealing facial hair. Printing press purchases. Late pregnancy coitus. German words in italics. Printing press destructions. Death. Life. Boredom. Although, that last one was just me.

After Jacob’s Return, I will not be buying any more Annette Blair books, nor will I buy a book just because I enjoyed the scandalized reviews of offended “Christians” on Amazon, no matter how much I delighted in their shock and discomfort.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

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