I am a big fan of books by Beverly Lewis and have read and reviewed several of her books in the past. Her latest book in the Home to Hickory Hollow series is The Last Bride. The Last Bride is the story of Tessie Miller. She is the only unmarried daughter in a family of five girls, but she is being courted by and plans to marry Marcus King. Her father refuses to allow the pair to marry, and won't explain his reasoning to Tessie and Marcus. Tessie and Marcus make the decision to elope at the local courthouse, then live as though they are single until the time is right to share what they've done with their families. They are sure their marriage will eventually be accepted by Tessie's father. Things don't go as they plan and when tragedy strikes, Tessie must face the consequences of her decision.
The setting of this series of books is a key component of each one. There are recurring characters, such as the Wise Woman Ella Mae, and brief references to previous characters, but the book truly is stand alone. It's not necessary to have read any of the other books in the series to enjoy this one - but I do recommend the others in the series as well. Throughout the course of the book, the reader sees the struggle that Tessie goes through as a result of the decision she made to go against her father's wishes by marrying Marcus. I think all of us can relate to taking situations into our own hands to do what we want, even when it might not be in our best interest. I did feel that some aspects of the plot were not as believeable and caused the storyline to take longer to resolve than it should have. Some of Tessie's decisions seemed strange to me, but I think that might be due her character being Amish and me being "English". That being said, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to people that like reading Amish fiction.
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for this review; all opinions are my own.