Book Review: Portrait of a Sister by Laura Bradford

Posted July 2, 2018 by meezcarrie in Amish, contemporary, Laura Bradford / 8 Comments

about the book

GENRE: Inspirational Amish/Women’s Fiction
PUBLISHER: Kensington
RELEASE DATE: June 26, 2018
PAGES: 320

Katie Beiler was always the follower to her twin sister Hannah’s lead. That is until Hannah left their Amish upbringing for an English life—leaving Katie to find her own footing in a world that no longer looks as it once did . . .

Katie has always imagined her life being just like Mamm’s. It’s why she chose baptism and why she’ll soon marry Abram Zook. But ever since Hannah left, the only thing that truly makes Katie smile is the sketchpad in which she indulges her talent for drawing faces—a sin that, if discovered, could get her shunned by her family, her friends, and even Abram. Yet Katie sees her secret pastime as the only way to quiet a growing restlessness she’d just as soon ignore. That is until their Mamm’s untimely death brings Hannah back home to Pennsylvania, with a new outlook on life, a man she adores, and, soon, an invitation for Katie to visit her in New York City.

Suddenly, Katie is experiencing a freedom she’s never had, in a world she never imagined. She’s also spending time in the company of a fellow dreamer, someone who sees her as strong and brave and makes her laugh. But it’s when Hannah shows Katie’s drawings to a gallery owner that she truly finds herself at a crossroads between the only life she’s ever known and the powerful lure of an unfamiliar future.

“A charming, well-told story of love and devotion between sisters.”
—New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hauck
“Kudos to Bradford for a complex and compelling story about faith, family, and love.”
—Sally Kilpatrick, author of Bless Her Heart 

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“Bravery comes in all shape and sizes, Katie.”

There are some authors who can write in multiple genres and make it seem effortless. Laura Bradford is one such writer. I love her cozy mysteries, although I haven’t read her Amish cozy series yet, so Portrait of a Sister was a two genre hop for me (Amish & women’s fiction) from what I’m used to reading from Bradford. She more than succeeds in this new genre, too. Portrait of a Sister is emotional, it’s sweet, it’s romantic, and it’s GOOD. Best of all, it’s a clean read with faith elements from a general market publisher. More of this, please!!

Katie Beiler is a complex character, despite her simple Amish/Plain roots. Her heart feels pulled in different directions, even as she continues to grieve the loss of her mother and her new responsibility to take care of her father and siblings. She’s at a pivotal point in her life when we meet her – wrestling with her dreams and God’s will and where (if at all) the two meet. She’s also struggling with how she sees herself, and what bravery looks like on I loved this dynamic to the story as well. Sometimes the bravest thing we can do is move outside of our comfort zones, and sometimes the bravest thing we can do is stay put and be ourselves. And y’all – I honestly didn’t know where Bradford would take Katie in the end – or where I wanted her to end up. The author does a suberb job of crafting that tension – in the character and in the reader – so we are fully invested in Katie & her story.

The supporting characters were nearly as delightful as Katie, though she was my favorite. From the Pennsylvania cast to the New York players, all the characters were smartly drawn and layered. In fact, I would love to see another story (at least) set in New York with Hannah as the focus! Even though I was frustrated with Hannah for a large part of the book, Bradford wrote her with enough dimension that I want to see where her own story goes from here.

Bottom Line: I love how the title of Portrait of a Sister applies in so many different ways to the book’s plot and its characters. The story and its gentle message really spoke to my heart, and Katie especially felt like a friend. My emotions ran the gamut much like Katie’s did, and I didn’t want to stop reading once I started. Laura Bradford created great tension without it becoming too heavy and also wove in a sweet message of faith without the story feeling preachy. A perfect read for fans of Amy Clipston, Shelley Shepard Gray, and Kathleen Fuller!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / love it!

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about the author

As a child, Laura Bradford fell in love with writing over a stack of blank paper, a box of crayons, and a freshly sharpened number two pencil. From that moment forward, she never wanted to do or be anything else. Today, Laura is the national bestselling author of several mystery series, including the Amish Mysteries, the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, and the Tobi Tobias Mystery Series. Her first women’s fiction novel, Portrait of a Sister, released in June 2018.

Laura is a former Agatha Award nominee, and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. A graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, and being an advocate for those living with Multiple Sclerosis.

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Other Books by Laura Bradford

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8 responses to “Book Review: Portrait of a Sister by Laura Bradford

  1. Kay Garrett

    Thank you for your review on “Portrait of a Sister” by Laura Bradford. I very much have to read this book. It’s on my TBR list and has been since I first read about it. Love the cover with the pretty picture laid on a homemade beautiful quilt!

    Amish stories are one of my two favorite genre. I love that they are Christian books that prove that you can tell a story and not be foul language or sex every other page and that you can tell a story, have mystery, intrigue and romance without all that. I love that they show the good side of humanity through faith and love. They usually have a lesson that we can all learn from or be reminded of. I haven’t read an Amish story that I didn’t love or was happy to pass on to friend and family.

  2. Vivian Furbay

    Great book which I really enjoyed. Katie comes out from Hannah’s shadow and finds she is a person in her own right.

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