Monday, January 10, 2011

Courting Miss Amsel

Courting Miss Amsel. Kim Vogel Sawyer. 2011. Bethany House. 346 pages.

This certainly isn't the way I imagined it.

Set in Walnut Hill, Nebraska, in 1882, Courting Miss Amsel is about the story of a young woman's first teaching job. When the year begins, Miss Amsel--Miss Edythe Amsel--is so enthusiastic, so passionate, about her new job. She's thrilled to have this opportunity. But. The job isn't without its challenges--as you can imagine.

Chances are if you've read a "teacher" book in the past--in the historical fiction genre--you know what to expect. You probably expect a single man (either an uncle or a widower) raising children on his own (usually boys, though not always) to fall head over heels with the new school teacher. How wonderful that this beautiful woman has such a big heart, that she has already taken a liking to his children. How great it would be if she could mother them full-time. But. The path to love--even in these types of books--rarely comes easily. You probably expect there to be one student-an older boy--who just doesn't get it, who thinks his job is to bully the new teacher out of town. Add in a few uncooperative parents and there you have it.

Courting Miss Amsel does not disappoint. I, for one, don't mind predictability. Not when it means another chance for a satisfying read. If I love a formula--really love a formula--then I don't mind reading it again and again and again.

While I didn't love Miss Amsel--a bit too stubborn for me--I did enjoy her story--her romance. I liked the romantic hero, Joel Townsend. I liked his two nephews, Robert and Johnny. I liked Mrs. Kinley, Miss Amsel's landlady. I liked many of the people in town--though not all of them. Courting Miss Amsel may not be for every reader, but I certainly enjoyed it!

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

2 comments:

Samantha 12:33 PM  

Great review. Like you, I don't mind reading formulas if I really, really love them.

You mention you enjoyed the book, but didn't love it. Are there any books with this particular formula that you did love?

Tribute Books Mama 12:52 PM  

Thanks! for sharing, this great review

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

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I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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