POCKETS OF PEACE by Laurie Stroup Smith
SERIES: The Pocket Quilt #3
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary/Amish Romance
RELEASE DATE: May 24, 2022
Five years after an unexpected pregnancy forces Lydia Byler to make difficult decisions, she is offered a job helping Birdie Miller manage her bed and breakfast in Pinecraft. Single, shunned, and desperate for a fresh start, Lydia agrees to relocate and reunites with the handsome Wesley Hochstetler.
Wesley has only ever had eyes for Lydia. Though their paths have crossed many times over the years, they never discussed the possibility of spending forever together. When she moves to town, he believes it’s God’s will for them to pursue a romantic relationship. But he doesn’t know about her pregnancy or the adoption that followed.
Inspired by a letter from the child’s adoptive parents, Lydia sews a pocket quilt for the boy. She learns he and his family will soon visit Pinecraft, and the burden of her secret becomes too much to bear. The truth comes to light, straining her bond with Wesley.
Other Books In This Series
I’ve been wanting to read Lydia Byler’s story ever since I knew that this third book of The Pocket Quilt series would feature her. We met her in Pockets of Promise as a bit of a wild child who didn’t always make good or wise decisions. In Pockets of Purpose we see an infatuation deepen between her and the handsome & sweet Wesley Hochstetler. But in the six years that have spanned fictional time from the end of that book to the beginning of this one, life has greatly changed Lydia Byler… and life has greatly changed for Lydia Byler.
When we meet up with Lydia again, she is at the very end of an unexpected pregnancy and continuing her relationship with Wesley by phone, something which allows her changed circumstances to remain a secret from him. (Note: Smith approaches the circumstances surrounding Lydia’s pregnancy with grace and sensitivity, giving us just enough pieces to put together the puzzle on our own, but just be aware of this plot point in case it is difficult for you to read about.) And then we all jump forward five years to find Lydia once more in Pinecraft, starting a new job at our beloved Birdie Miller’s B&B. Just knowing we were back at Birdie’s inn was enough to make me put this book on my TBR list, even if I hadn’t already wanted to read it. I love Birdie’s character and I’ve loved the contribution she’s made to the tone of this series. (It’s not necessary to have read the first two books before you read this one, but if you have it’s also fun to catch up with Mariah & Dixie and their significant others, plus a bonus romance for Luke!)
To see Lydia a bit lost as this story begins, still battling heartache and loneliness, from the traumas she has experienced in the last six years, made me want to wrap her up in a big hug. But it also made me root for her even more as we watch her healing progress in leaps and bounds, the new setting & new faces a balm of relief to Lydia’s soul and an easing of the shame she’d felt shadowed by back home. I so appreciated that the author has Lydia volunteer at a women’s shelter and a pregnancy center while at Pinecraft – and the reason of gratitude behind Lydia’s decision to do so. A women’s shelter setting is not something we see often enough in fiction and I hope it inspires other readers to find ways to help women who just need a break – and a friend – like it did me.
Bottom Line: In some ways, it feels as though this whole series, not just Pockets of Peace, has been Lydia’s story. Because even though she’s been in the background for Mariah and Dixie’s respective stories, we got to know her enough to become invested in her own journey. And, in Pockets of Peace, watching Smith craft something so beautiful for Lydia (and Wesley) out of something so tragic is the perfect way to close out this series.
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / Loved it!
KissingBook Level: 3 / may forget to breathe on occasion
While writing Amish fiction and contemporary romance, Laurie Stroup Smith strives to inspire readers to serve others. She was named a Finalist in the 2017 ACFW First Impressions Contest and a Semi-Finalist in the 2018 and 2019 ACFW Genesis Contests. She has been interviewed by Loveland Magazine and has been a guest on the Buggy Talk and Fierce Calling podcasts.
Before writing, Laurie earned a bachelor’s degree in both athletic training and exercise science and later obtained her master’s degree in health promotion and education. She lives with her husband and their two daughters in Cincinnati. Connect with Laurie on her website (lauriestroupsmith.com), Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.
What about you? What makes you want to read Pockets of Peace by Laurie Stroup Smith?