When I went to Barnes & Noble and met Jasmine Haynes, who wrote Past Midnight, I also met Adina Senft. I think she was pretty darn brave to share a rostrum (okay, it was a cafeteria-like table). I mean, after all, one book is about a married couple having a lot of graphic sex, and the other is about a young widowed Amish woman with two pre-teen boys. Come on - a mismatch, no? Actually, no. Adina has written a very good book with characters that I cared for very much. It's the first in a trilogy, and I fully intend to read the next two. I believe the second one comes out next Spring and the third sometime in 2013. If that's wrong, I'll get it corrected and let everybody know (my wife claims that my memory is shot - I like to say that I have selective memory - only, I'm not making the selections!).
The story is about Amelia. Her husband, whom she loved very much, and who sounds like he was a great guy, has died in a buggy accident less than a year before. He was hit by a drunken driver (car, not buggy). She's coping with running his business, which is set up in town among the non-Amish, building pallets. She also has to take care of her two young sons, who are 8 and 6. Her only real pleasure is meeting every Tuesday afternoon and knitting a quilt with her two best friends. Living in an Amish community, she certainly has the support of her large family. But it's still a real tough go.
On top of all this, she begins to experience symptoms of what could be a very serious, debilitating illness. This underlies the other story lines. There's a lot going on in this book: Business, Parenting, Friendship, Illness, and maybe, just maybe, some romance. There are also some interesting interactions in the Amish community with the clergy. I not only enjoyed the book, but I also learned a lot (I believe that I am about as far away from being Amish as a person can be). How cool is that?
Adina has also done a great job setting up the next two books. They will feature Amelia's two closest friends. One of them has no husband and at the ripe old age of 30ish is considered an old maid. The other is married but can't conceive. Neither of these situations goes over well in the Amish community. I am looking forward to reading how these two friends cope with their lots in life and hope that things turn out okay for them both.
Adina, great job. Keep it up.