Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Book Description:  Edythe Amsel is delighted with her first teaching assignment: a one-room schoolhouse in Walnut Hill, Nebraska. Independent, headstrong, and a strong 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? Joel Townsend is thrilled to learn the town council hired a female teacher to replace the ruthless man who terrorized his nephews for the past two years. Having raised the boys on his own since their parents' untimely deaths, Joel believes they will benefit from 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, which include collecting leaves, catching bugs, making snow angels, and stringing ropes in strange patterns all over the schoolyard. Joel can't help but notice that she's also mighty pretty with her rosy lips, fashionable clothes, and fancy way of speaking. 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 know how to teach the boys, how can he trust her with his heart?

My Review:  Edythe Amsel comes to Walnut Hill, Nebraska searching for a new life for herself. Years of taking care of her family-raising her siblings after her mother's death and trying to deal with a non-existent father-leaves Edythe delighted to take this teaching position.
Miss Amsel brings a fresh, new direction to the one room schoolhouse in Walnut Hill.  First, she takes out the old switch that has been used to punish children.  Secondly, she believes that the children will learn by making mistakes.  However, the Town Council isn't happy with her creativity.  They want the basics of Arithmetic, Writing and Reading!  And they make their concerns know to Miss Amsel!
Joel Townsend has spent time raising his nephews, Robert and Johnny.  He sees a change in them for the better.  They want to attend to school and Joel finds he is very interested in Miss Amsel also!
Mrs. Kinsley, Edythe's landlady, feels that there is more to Edythe's story than she is telling.  What is Edythe running away from?  Mrs. Kinsley intends to find out! She prays for her Edythe and becomes a true friend.
One of the unruly pupils is determined to get rid of Edythe.  Mrs. Kinsley's friendship becomes more important than ever as she encourages and rallies with Edythe.
Edythe is a strong and independent woman but remains soft and caring when teaching the children.  
This is a delightful read.  I truly enjoyed reading about a caring school teacher who longs to offer respect in learning rather than fear.   Of course, romance mixed with some mystery always makes for a great read. And that is what makes Courting Miss Amsel a great-tastic read!
*This book was provided for review by Bethany House*

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