The Amish Marriage Bargain by Marie E. Bast – Book Review, Preview

Posted January 6, 2020 by Phyllis Helton in Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Giveaways, Guest Post /

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The Amish Marriage Bargain by Marie E. Bast - Book Review, Preview

The Amish Marriage Bargain by Marie E. Bast – Book Review, Preview

The Amish Marriage Bargain

by Marie E. Bast

Published by Love Inspired
Publication Date January 1, 2020
Genres: Amish Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Iowa Contemporary
Written for: Adults
Pages: 224


Will a baby girl bring them together at last?

She’ll do anything for her niece…Even marry the man who broke her heart.

Nothing can keep May Bender in her Amish hometown—except caring for her baby niece. But the bishop insists that May also marry her widowed brother-in-law, Thad Hochstedler—the beau who jilted her to wed her sister. Can May risk her heart long enough to learn the real reason for Thad’s first marriage…and possibly rediscover their love?

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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I liked the premise of the story and the mystery behind Thad’s sudden jilting of May when he married her sister.

Poor May had always felt inferior to her sister. It didn’t help that Thad’s mother treated her as if she was lazy and incompetent! Yet May had a kind heart and a deep love for her niece, Leah. May’s solution to the financial problems they were experiencing was quite clever and it was fun to read about her industry.

Thad was a little dense concerning women and made some big mistakes and yet I liked him anyway. He was a hard worker, did his best to provide for his family and tried to show May kindness and to win her heart back.

As a dairy farmer, Thad was involved with a local association. It was quite interesting to read about the problems they faced and the discussions they had related to organic labeling and supply and demand.

Despite the things I liked, I didn’t really understand why May wouldn’t forgive Thad or why Thad felt that she would be more devastated to know the reason he married April. Some of their interactions with one another seemed immature.

Some of the dialog was stilted or awkward. I would have liked the narrative to be more developed. It felt like there were a bunch of vignettes shared with just a little bit of detail and then it would move on. It is possible this was due to the formatting of the advance reader copy I had. Often, these are not formatted well and this one had no indicators between sections within the chapters.

There were several places in the story where something would happen or be said and then the author would include “as was the custom with the Amish” or something similar. That was unnecessary and awkward – of course it was an Amish thing – this is an Amish story.

There was also a part where Thad was realizing he needed to be patient and then thought about how “the gut book said” “patience is a virtue”. And this bugged me, because that isn’t in the Bible! (I looked it up and the origin of this adage is probably from the 1300s.)

There were a number of plot elements here that highlighted customs of the Amish and items in the Ordnung that really had me disliking the Amish rules and things they allow. This isn’t the first Amish story I’ve read – it is just the way things were presented here really bothered me. One of which was the insinuation that it is expected of the women to gossip. And another thing that I won’t mention because it would be a spoiler. I’ll just say that the lack of showing grace in certain circumstances had me fuming a little, especially because of the result.

I realize that some of the things I didn’t care for are merely personal preference. Keeping those in mind, many who enjoy Amish fiction may enjoy this story.

More from Marie

Did you know that until as late as the twentieth century, marriage was never based on love?

In fact, the institution of marriage predates recorded history. But in ancient biblical times, the reasons for marriage are numerous. The kings, nobility, wealthy, and aristocratic families used arranged marriages to ensure loyalty between kingdoms, which forced a united bound and ensured the integrity of their inheritance and the family wealth.

Arranged marriages, marriages of convenience, and marriage bargains were practical to keep property and kingdoms intact and in the family line. But these marriage contracts also spilled over into the commoners’ lives. In times of poverty, a daughter was only another mouth to feed and therefore a burden on the family. That fueled the arranged marriages where the groom gave the family money, animals, or some other commodity in exchange for the marriage.

Also, arranged marriages were instrumental for women over the age of 30 who were unwed. Even in the nineteenth century, many women would find that a marriage of convenience was the way to go. Often, a widower needed a mother and housekeeper for his family, and sometimes a woman without means to support herself would readily accept a marriage of convenience. Even today, some cultures still use arranged marriages.

But one of the most unique marriage of convenience is the marriage bargain, and that is the central theme to my newest book, The Amish Marriage Bargain, which releases in book form December 17, 2019, and eBook January 1, 2020. The marriage bargain is the specific negotiation of the terms of the agreement regarding a particular situation and often included land.

After her sister dies, May Bender will do anything for her niece…Even marry the man who broke her heart. But like the days of old, the bargain goes deeper than that.

Marie's Cheese Making & Homemade Cheese Pinterest Board

(click here to go directly to the board on Pinterest) [gs_pinterest user="MarieBastAuthor" board="cheese-making-homemade-cheese"]

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To celebrate her tour, Marie is giving away to four winners each a $25 Amazon card will also receive a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

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About Marie E. Bast

Marie E. Bast is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author. Her stories whisper words of hope and healing through complex characters and twisting plots. She enjoys writing Amish, contemporary and historical stories. Married for twenty-eight years, Marie and her husband have two grown sons and one daughter. When she’s not writing, she’s walking, golfing, gardening or spending time with her family. Visit her website at or follower her on social media.

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