COURAGE IN THE STORM by Laurel Blount
SERIES: John’s Mill Amish Romance #3
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance / Amish
RELEASE DATE: April 25, 2023
In this powerful Amish romance, an isolated woman and a compassionate man learn that love can build a bridge between their two worlds.
Since witnessing the murder of her beloved parents, Miriam Hochstedler suffers from paralyzing anxiety and a deep-seated fear of the Englisch. Unwilling to venture beyond her family’s Tennessee farm, she forms a close bond with a badly injured gelding. Like Miriam herself, the traumatized animal seems unlikely to recover—until skilled horse whisperer Reuben Brenneman arrives.
A survivor of an abusive childhood, Reuben understands fear better than most. He’ll do whatever it takes to help a terrified animal, but his compassion doesn’t extend to the church that turned a blind eye to his family’s suffering. Once he finishes this job, he’ll return to the Englisch world, putting his Amish heritage behind him forever.
As Miriam works alongside Reuben, battling the horse’s fear—and her own—an unexpected friendship blooms and deepens into romance. But the Amish faith that sustains her inspires only distrust in Reuben, and the Englisch world he’s chosen has already broken her heart once.
Falling in love was easy. But staying together will take all the courage they have.
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“It was so hard to be afraid all the time.“
Oh y’all. This book. The depth of emotion, the beautiful character layers (including Breeze, the horse), and the engaging plot all left me completely immersed in Courage in the Storm until I finished the last word.
The line I quoted at the beginning of this review hit me in all the feels. Because I’ve been there. For years I lived with debilitating anxiety and fear. It didn’t matter that what I was panicking about made no sense even to me – I was incapable of turning it off. And it IS hard to be afraid all the time. Hard and isolating and so lonely. Thanks to some counseling and a great prescription medication, I have not lived in fear for several years. In fact, I actually enjoy many of the things now that used to send me into panic attacks before (except chickens… no medication is that powerful haha). Needless to say, I readily identified with Miriam and her debilitating fear – and with Breeze and his – and Blount’s honest & tender portrayal of both left me teary-eyed more than once. I was rooting for them to find freedom, because I know how marvelous it feels, and I could not have put down their journey if I’d wanted to.
This brings us to Reuben, the fear-whisperer. Oh, that’s not on his business card, but in many ways it’s the role he stepped into for both Breeze and Miriam. I loved the way that Breeze and Miriam connected so deeply with each other, as well as how Reuben was able to utilize that unexpected bond to help them both. But perhaps the most beautiful part of this story for me was how they all ended up healing each other, Reuben included. He has his own trauma that he’s still working through, and it’s the reason he is no longer Amish. While the attraction between Reuben and Miriam is immediately evident (well… ok… maybe not at their first meeting haha), I really could not see how the author was going to get past these obstacles for a romance between them and still stay true to their characters. You’ll have to read it for yourself to see what happens, but I will say that I need not have doubted.
One more quick point – I have read lots of Amish fiction, and a bishop is nearly always a prominent side character. I have seen godly bishops full of grace & wisdom, and I have seen legalistic bishops full of themselves. But until reading Courage in the Storm, I had not yet met a bishop like Abram lol. Bless his heart, it’s in the right place. And between the twinkle in his eye and his penchant for cookies, I couldn’t help but love him. But my stars, that man – however well-intentioned – is very good at making a mess of things, and I frequently wanted to shake him a little. I did really enjoy this aspect to the story, though, as well as how the author redeemed him in my eyes by the end. It’s yet another element that separates this from the ‘same old, same old’ Amish romance plots and sets it apart with excellence.
Bottom Line: While I have featured this author and her books several times on my blog, Courage in the Storm happens to be the first book by Laurel Blount that I’ve had time to read. It will absolutely not be my last. I fell in love with Breeze, with Miriam, with Reuben… and even Bishop Abram. And though I haven’t read the first two books in this series, I never felt lost or detached from the other characters. The author does such a great job of presenting the characters and their backstories for new readers without bogging down the story for fans of the series, but I definitely want to go back and catch up on this series – and all of her books. Courage in the Storm is a story that will linger me for a long time, and it’s definitely going to stay one of my fave reads of 2023!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 5 stars / in a class by itself
KissingBook Level: 3 / may forget to breathe on occasion
Award-winning author Laurel Blount writes captivating romances full of grit and grace—with characters who’ll walk right off the page and into your heart. She lives on a farm in Georgia with her husband, their four fabulous kids, and an assortment of ridiculously spoiled animals. Connect with her at www.laurelblountbooks.com
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What about you? What makes you want to read Courage in the Storm by Laurel Blount?
Awesome review Carrie. I’m so excited to get to this one!📚💜
it is SO GOOD!!!
I know because the first two were amazing!!💜
“Courage in the Storm” is a FABULOUS book and one I highly recommend. You will fall in love with the characters and Laurel Blount will keep you turning the pages.
What a wonderful review, Carrie! 💗📚 I’ve battled with anxiety and panic attacks for years so I can definitely relate to this book. I’m so glad you were able to get the right therapy and medication to help you. Please pray for me. I’ve gotten much better through the years, but I still struggle in certain areas.
i will for sure pray for you, Regina. It is so wearying to struggle with anxiety, isn’t it? 💗
I loved this book! I hope you get to read more by Laurel. All of her books have a special quality about them. 🙂
i will definitely be catching up on her books!
I really enjoy Laurel’s books.
I’m so looking forward to catching up on them!