Genre City Review: Simple Choices
Title: Simple Choices (The Harmony Series Book 3)
Author: Nancy Mehl
Date: June 2011
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Reviewed by: Kim Peterson
Mehl brings poignancy to the characters’ longing for resolution and restoration in what may be the best novel in The Harmony Series.
Gracie Temple persuaded Hannah Mueller’s parents to let the Mennonite teen spend six weeks in Wichita to pursue summer art training, with Gracie as her chaperone. But when she prepares to drive Hannah home to Harmony, Kansas, Gracie learns she has been experimenting with make-up and wearing jeans and T-shirts—and is not thrilled to leave behind modern living to return to simple clothing and plain ways.
Then shortly after their arrival in Harmony, Hannah goes missing. While Pastor Mueller and his wife try not to blame Gracie, she knows they wish they had never yielded to her urging. Gracie and her fiancé, Sam, should be finalizing wedding plans. Instead, Gracie blames herself for the situation.
Recent disappearances of girls from nearby cities who look similar to Hannah intensify the townspeople’s concerns. Gracie finds clues about Hannah and insists the authorities follow up by pestering her future father-in-law, Sheriff Pat Taylor. Pat maintains the girl ran away, but Gracie remains unconvinced.
Between sleuthing and making wedding decisions, Gracie entertains family. Her parents fled the town and a harsh bishop years ago, and they never returned until days before her wedding. Their bittersweet visit to their childhood home stirs unexpected emotions. Her grandfather’s struggle with Alzheimer’s saddens Gracie as Papa Joe’s mind wanders from the present to his past in his first visit back to Harmony in many years. While her family and Sam encourage her to carry on, Gracie wonders if she should postpone the wedding until calmer times.
In the final installment of the Harmony series, Nancy Mehl reassembles a lovable cast. As they deal with the results of past and current choices and outcomes they didn’t anticipate, they learn more about supporting those they love. They explore the need to forgive themselves and move on. Mehl’s characters struggle with the same emotions readers feel—everything from “If only I…” to “I made the right choice and don’t want to deal with any residual emotions.” Yet, Mehl teaches without preaching. She brings poignancy to the characters’ longing for resolution and restoration in what may be the best novel in The Harmony Series.