When Amish farmer Pete Treger moves to Paradise Township, Pennsylvania, seeking a better life, he meets sisters Cate and Betsy Miller. Both are beautiful, but older sister Cate is known more for her sharp tongue and fiery temper than her striking appearance. Betsy, on the other hand, is sweet and flirty–and seems to have attracted most of the bachelors in Lancaster County! However, the sisters’ wealthy father has made one hard and fast rule: elder sister must marry first, before the younger can even start courting. Unfortunately for poor Betsy, and for the men who want to court her, her older sister, Cate, doesn’t have any suitors–until Pete comes to town, that is. Though he finds both sisters attractive, something about Cate’s feisty demeanor appeals to him. Soon the other bachelors in the district convince Pete to court Cate. She hardly seems receptive to his overtures, though. Instead, she’s immediately suspicious of his interest.
Remember me? The girl who avoids books with bonnets on them? Well, Leslie Gould has shown me the error of my ways with the delightfully written Courting Cate, the first in her Courtships of Lancaster County series, each story loosely based on a Shakespearean novel. With The Taming of the Shrew as the premise I looked past the bonnet and I’m so glad I did. Leslie’s engaging prose, snappy dialogue, and appealing characters captivated me from the very first page. Cate is an intelligent and articulate young woman, a woeful cook with a head for business – not your usual Amish girl, but still seeking to do what is right by her father and her sister. Burned by childhood teasing and a failed attempt at courtship, Cate’s defenses are high and her waspish tongue sometimes gets the better of her, landing her in difficulty more than once. Pete is equally intriguing, his past somewhat of a mystery until circumstances lead to a difficult unveiling and opportunities for Pete and Cate’s faith to be challenged and grown. With a deft hand, Leslie weaves Shakespeare’s tale into the story without diminishing its Amish roots, provides layered characters, and generates genuine emotion as characters overcome hurts, misunderstandings, and prejudices. I adored this story and I know next time if the bonnet comes with Leslie Gould’s name attached I’ll be reading it. Leslie’s take on Romeo and Juliet in Adoring Addie can’t come soon enough!
With thanks to Bethany House for my review copy