After the busyness of the last few weeks, I was more than ready to sit down and read something relaxing and fun! Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyers, which I recently received from Bethany House Publishers, seemed like a good choice.
Set in the small town of Walnut Hill, Nebraska in the 1880s, Courting Miss Amsel tells the story of Edythe Amsel, a young woman on her first teaching assignment, and Joel Townsend, a local farmer who is raising his two young nephews after their parents’ untimely death. Edythe has always been fiercely independent and outspoken. She creates quite a stir in Walnut Hill with her unique teaching methods, but her students adore her, and she adores them. Some of the townsfolk have it in for her, while a handful, including Joel and the woman she boards with, Luthenia Kinsely, stand behind her. Over the course of the school year, Edythe struggles with how to handle her interactions with others and her need to control her own circumstances. Finally, she begins to understand the wisdom of leaning on God rather than always taking matters into her own hands.
This was an enjoyable, sweet story. Edythe was an educator after my own heart with her hands-on approach and creative teaching methods as opposed to relying on textbooks and conventional ideas. She would fit right in to the homeschooling community! She frustrated me with her controlling tendencies in her personal relationships, but of course that was a major part of the plot! Joel’s nephews, Robert and Johnny Townsend, were sweet and lovable, and I really enjoyed Luthenia Kinsley, the widow who boarded Edythe. I think she was my favorite…she was quite a character! I thought there was very little interaction between Edythe and Joel throughout the book. Their feelings seemed to develop pretty independently, almost as two separate storylines that intersected every so often. Edythe and Joel had “thoughts” about each other quite often, but their paths didn’t cross all that frequently, so the title of the book almost seems misleading. Still, regardless of the title and minimal romance in the storyline, I found Courting Miss Amsel a pleasant, engaging story. It would make the perfect diversion for a lazy summer afternoon.