Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hannah’s Joy-Marta Perry

Hannah’s Joy

Marta Perry

Berkley, May 1 2012, $14.00

ISBN: 9780425246948

Following the death of her husband Travis while on a military tour in Afghanistan Hannah Conroy and her twenty-month old son Jamie move to Pleasant Valley, Pennsylvania to live with her Aunt Paula Schatz. Hannah lived in Pleasant Valley as a child until her parents left their Mennonite faith. She works in her aunt’s bakery while wondering if staying here is good for her and her son.

When Hannah and woodworker William Brand meet, they share a sense of camaraderie as both feels like outsiders; she because of her years spent in the Englisher world and he due to a stutter. Hannah wants to help him with his speech impediment though she never completed her speech therapy program. William’s family opposes any relationship, even as a speech teacher, between them; while Travis’ father retired officer Robert threatens a custody suit if she fails to leave a community that does not support the military.

The latest Pleasant Valley (see Katie’s Way and Anna’s Return) is an enjoyable Mennonite romance starring two fascinating individuals. Each feels they do not belong in the community as Marta Perry provides a strong case that one can feel alone even within a welcoming loving family. Both are poster children of Maslow’s Hierarchy’s third step (each recognizes their physiological and safety needs are covered); as Hannah and William feel a lack of belonging. Though setting the key cast members takes a bit longer than usual, fans will enjoy this warm tale of love and belonging.

Harriet Klausner

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