I got A Mother for His Children as a stocking stuffer, and am just now getting around to reading it. After seeing the cover, I went into this book expecting it to be a light, gentle romance. However, it’s really more of a family story, with the greater plot emphasis being on how the household works and how this motherless family come to accept a newcomer.
Ruthy Mummert, a young Amish woman from Pennsylvania, has accepted a job to serve as a maidle, a kind of cook/housekeeper/nanny, for an Amish widower in Indiana. She took the position after her intended broke their betrothal as she simply could not handle the stress of remaining in her small community after he married another woman and seems bent on starting a family of his own.
While Ruthy knew that her job would entail caring for children, she had no idea Levi Zook had 10 children ranging in age from the nearly adult Elias to 5 year old Samuel. Her amazement at the beginning completely makes sense and as the story goes on, I suspect readers will enjoy seeing her get to know the children.
While I would have liked a little deeper characterization, I do recognize that as an author for a category line, Drexler is working with limited pagecount. Within those bounds, she does make the effort to give each of the Zooks a distinct personality.
Even though the book is marketed as a romance, the budding love between Ruthy and Levi never felt like the main focus of the story to me. It often felt inevitable that the two would end up together, but Drexler really gives readers a sweet story about the knitting together of a family. The Zook children still mourn their mother to various degrees, and the ways in which they each deal with that loss has much to do with the plot development.
Likewise, Ruthy has some growth in store before she and Levi get together. After all, she has much pent up hurt and anger over her broken betrothal, and she has to address that before she can truly rebuild her life. Even though I felt like some of the elements of the plot dealing with the former suitor were overly melodramatic, I did like how Drexler worked a message of forgiveness into the story.
If you like sweet, old-fashioned family stories, you might enjoy this tale of Amish country in the 1930s. It’s a very quick read and at its best, a charming one.