Barbara J. Shelton’s Review of Courting Cate by Leslie Gould
(Book 1 in the Courtships of Lancaster County Series)
In Paradise Pennsylvania, Cate Miller is known more for her sharp tongue and fiery temper than her striking appearance. Her sweet and flirty sister Betsy on the other hand seems to have attracted most of the bachelors in Lancaster County.
But the sister’s wealthy father has made one hard and fast rule; older Cate must marry first before younger Betsy can even start courting. Unfortunately untamable Cate has driven away every suitor – until Pete Tregor comes to town that is. Prodded by the men of the area Pete turns his attention on winning Cate’s hand. But is his interest true or is there a scheme at play?
Leslie Gould’s brilliant idea of an Amish twist on Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” shows her unique creativity and talent to the highest degree. My interest was quickly drawn into the story with eager anticipation as to what would happen next.
My first impressions toward Cate’s personality were a bit negative as I found her irritating and stubborn, causing her own problems for the most part. That is…until I learned that her problems were very real to her, trapping her into an existence brought on by her mother’s death giving birth to her younger sister, Betsy. Cate was turning shrewish through the responsibilities thrown on her to raise her sister and help with her father’s business, let alone the duties and chores of being of the Amish faith in the household where she lived with her father and sister.Leslie’s story became more enthralling as I could easily relate to Cate’s ever changing moods caused by frustrations, dashed hopes, self doubts and ongoing problems with those around her causing her feistiness. Her defensive side could quickly change to a soft heart, compassion, understanding, empathy and sympathy to another’s predictaments and situations; and as quickly again to a hot temper and harsh judgments toward other characters she disliked.Cate was hurt deeply by the betrayal of her betrothed when he dumped her and married another. She was left without the hope of a marriage and children at an age when young Amish women were already married and having families. She had decided to accept her lot in life and make the best of her situation when things began changing faster than she was able to adjust to them.Reading was the joy in Cate’s personal life, and dreaming of becoming a writer. Of course, she day dreamed of marrying, romance, and all the things she had missed, but found it best to avoid these thoughts as they were much too depressing.
Betsy, Cate’s younger sister, was young, beautiful, spoiled, sweet, manipulative and very interested in a fellow……..and then – the crux of the story changed dramatically. Their dat set a hard and fast rule that Cate must marry first before allowing Betsy to be courted.
Then, a young handsome Amish man arrived in Paradise, Pennsylvania from New York state that caused Cates heart to flutter, however unsure as to his motives when he began to show signs of wanting to court her – she suspected he might be a “gold digger” and wanted her dat’s wealth for himself.
The plot thickens and gives the reader much to laugh and cry about. The metamorphosis in all the characters one way or another was incredible and only enabled through faith in God and wanting to do His will. Leslie developed each character thoughtfully and I loved her approach to bring them alive in one’s mind.
Overall, I give Leslie’s Courting Cate a 5+.
Readers, get this book, you’ll love yourself for it!
is the co-author with MINDY STARNS CLARK of the #1 bestselling The Amish Midwife and The Amish Nanny. She is also the author of numerous novels, including Garden of Dreams, Beyond the Blue (winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice for best inspirational novel of 2006) and Scrap Everything. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction writing at Multnomah University as an adjunct professor. She resides with her husband and four children in Portland, Oregon. Learn more at www.lesliegould.com