Title: Piece by Piece
Author: Laura Bradford
Major Themes: Grief, Amish, Christian Fiction, Books for Women, Inspirational Fiction
Synopsis: When her family is suddenly all killed at the same time, is there any possibility that Dani will ever be able to live again?
I don’t normally read Amish fiction, and reading Piece by Piece reminded me why. At the same time, I really liked this book. In fact, if the “Amish” element had been left out, this would have been a great story! Why do I say this? Because I grew up with Amish friends and know what they are really like.
Dani was the perfect mother—the one who did everything with her children. She took them to every event, threw the most wonderful parties for them, and was always there for them. Until the one day that her mother insisted she take some time for herself, and her whole family was killed in an accident. Soon afterward, she found herself in Amish country in Pennsylvania, where a friend had invited her to spend some time away from home to sort things out. Could she ever come to terms with her devastating loss?
The way the author showed Dani’s grief and struggle to move on after the sudden death of her family was very well done. I was so drawn into the story that I felt what she felt—I read most of this book in the evenings at bedtime, and several times my pillow got rather wet. Her struggles were heart-breaking, and I was so glad when she was able to work through her grief and begin to move on and live again. Almost all of the book was great.
At the same time, as I said, the “Amish” part of the book was, in my opinion, rather a drawback. Yes, someone needed to be in the story to model motherhood as it should be, and to give Dani the encouragement she needed. However, one thing that happened over and over was that a 3-year-old Amish girl talked fluently in English. This needed to happen to make the story go the way it needed to, but in real life, Amish children don’t know English until they are school-age. Another thing that I noticed that was not accurate didn’t have to do with Amish, but with farming. Calves are not bottle-fed multiple times a day, as the one in this story was. I have been around cattle all my life, and at most we gave a calf two bottles a day—many farmers give only one.
Those were the two biggest things that jerked me out of the story and made me say, “What?!” So much of the story, though, as I said, was great, and I highly recommend Piece by Piece for anyone who needs help working through grief or knowing how to help someone else through grief. As one who has experienced sudden loss myself, I can say that this book can be quite helpful. I appreciated the author’s exploration of grief and coming to terms with tragedy. Be aware, however, that there are hard subjects touched on in this book—not just sudden death of a family, but also SIDS.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley, and these are my honest thoughts about it.