From the publisher: Edythe Amsel is delighted with her first teaching assignment: a one-room schoolhouse in Walnut Hill, Nebraska. Independent, headstrong, and a firm believer in a well-rounded education, Edythe is ready to open the world to the students in this tiny community. But is Walnut Hill ready for her?
Having raised his nephews since their parents' untimely deaths, Joel Townsend is thrilled to learn the town council has hired a female teacher. His sons could use a woman's influence. But he sure didn't bargain on a woman like Miss Amsel. Within the first week, she has the entire town up in arms over her outlandish teaching methods. Of course, Joel can't help but notice that she's also mighty pretty—and just might make a good mother for his boys.
When Edythe decides to take her pupils to hear Miss Susan Anthony speak on the women's suffrage amendment, the town's outcry reaches new heights. Even Joel isn't sure he can support her newfangled ideas any longer. And if he can't trust her to teach the boys, how can he trust her withhis heart?
Edythe is following her dreams to become a teacher. Dreams that were put on hold to take care of her younger siblings, when they were left without a mother. Her father, while in the home, was overcome by his own depression and often belittled Edythe to keep her from leaving. But overcoming her doubts, she leaves the youngest sibling in the hands of other, now-adult siblings, to usher in her dream of teaching in Walnut Hill, Nebraska. And marriage isn't an option in her future.
Enter Joel Townsend, a gentleman who is raising his two orphaned nephews. He's a likeable fella, but I really didn't learn too much about him. But he is pleased that the old, cankerous teacher is being replaced. He is more confident in the decision on the new school teacher once his eyes fall upon Edythe.
Edythe is not fully accepted into her community because her ideas on teaching are a little eccentric for a school in a small farming community. It has some people, mostly men, in rather of a tizzy. Miss Amsel feels that an education, no matter where one is being educated, should be well-rounded and full of different subjects and ideas. This is something that is rather unusual in the midwest in 1882. (It kind of reminds me of the Little House on the Prairie episode where Mrs. Oleson takes over teaching after dismissing Laura Ingalls. Mrs. Oleson tried to implement all sort of different subjects, including French. But everyone was against it, stating that they should be taught subjects that were going to be useful to their future life as farmers and farmers wives.)
These men were really in for it when Edythe becomes aware of laws that indicate that when a woman is married, her property then becomes property of her husband. She becomes fascinated with the Suffragist movement and wants to take a few older students to hear Susan B. Anthony speak. Of course this is rejected by the school board, but Edythe decides that she must hear Miss Anthony speak in person.
Throughout this, Edythe and Joel somehow manage to fall in love with each other. Even though there was no development in their relationship in the book, I found it rather believable that they did. I don't know if it's because I knew it was going to happen, or if the author did well with forging a relationship with the little she put towards it. Either way, it made the title of the book a bit misleading.
Although this novel was published 2011, I'm starting to get a little ho-hum about the entire woman's rights being the main focus of novels. I get it. The Suffrage movement was a huge, important movement. Yet I don't believe every woman was involved or even agreed with it. So I don't expect that every mid- to late-19th century setting in women's fiction to include it. Is it my imagination, or does it seem to be everywhere right now?
I really, really enjoy Christian Historical Romance genre. For me, it's my chick flick. I enjoy sitting down and just read a clean, entertaining story where you know how it will eventually work out. It doesn't bother me that it's formalistic. I expect it, and it's rather comforting to go to when you just want to read, relax and forget about life for a little bit. Even so, I do expect decent writing. I believe I received it from the author. I just have one issue that stuck with me. There were a few parts where the author uses leading question to keep the reader hanging on. Yet, as a reader, I feel that the author should not have to use this. The storyline should be thorough, leading the reader to asking themselves these same questions, wanting to turn the page. I personally find it a bit insulting, actually, when I come across this.
Overall, I did enjoy this novel. I haven't been reading in awhile as morning sickness has taken over my life. I picked this off my shelf one night when I didn't feel so tired I only wanted to pass out. It felt good to read. It felt good to read this story, and eventually the end made me feel good, too. The author succeeded in her endeavor.
Title: Courting Miss Amsel
Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publication Year: 2011
Publisher: Bethany House
Source: Personal Copy
Recommend?: Yes, if you enjoy Christian historical romances.