Ruth Reid’s Brush of Angel’s Wings is a fresh and compelling Amish-set tale, blending romance, loss, and spiritual warfare in a well-crafted story.
Rachel Hartzler is past marrying age—but she isn’t exactly “marriage material” anyway. She’s a buggy-racing champion, her father’s right-hand-man on the farm, and—unlike the other Amish girls in the community—a lousy cook. But since her brother died and she took over his chores, one thing has become clear: Rachel is much happier outside than at a quilting bee.
When Rachel’s father hires newcomer Jordan Engles to help him on the farm, however, Rachel feels rejected, replaced, and resentful. She understands her daed wants her to work on her domestic skills so she can find a husband, but Jordan’s presence irritates her. No way will he replace her brother’s memory.
Not that Englischer Jordan plans to stay long. He’s only living with his Uncle Isaac in Hope Falls to honor his dying mother’s request that he try the Amish home and lifestyle she abandoned. For a while, he’ll play at being Amish, but the grueling work, strict way of life, and Rachel’s hostility show him this isn’t the life for him.
If only he and Rachel weren’t attracted to one another, their lives could go on as before.
Human heartbreak, duty, and will are not the only factors influencing Rachel and Jordan, however. They are involved in a spiritual battle. Nathaniel, God’s angel, works to bring the couple closer to the Lord and each other, but Tangus the demon has other plans.
And when tragedy befalls the community, Rachel faces a devastating choice, and God’s will isn’t simple to discern. Will they and accept God’s healing and peace?
I love Reid’s unique spin on Amish-set stories, and I find her characters and they path they take toward love and wholeness to be relatable, full of humor, growing pains, and believable emotion. Strong-willed and feisty, both Rachel and Jordan are imperfect characters. Neither is a standard role-model for their sex: Rachel’s lack of domesticity leaves her standing alone at the sings, and Jordan is not a natural farmer. Both chafe against their roles, yet learn—through time and prayer—how God would have them fulfill His purposes.
I appreciated the spiritual warfare angle, as well. It was a profound reminder that forces are at work in the spiritual realm as well as our own. Whether or not angels function like Nathaniel does, the idea of angels among us reminded me to be mindful of my choices and keep an eternal perspective.
Brush of Angel’s Wings is that rare combination of captivating story, well-executed plot, and spiritual encouragement in one novel. I give it my full recommendation.