Harvest House Publishers
Gayle Roper’s latest romance novel, A Secret Identity, second in the Amish Farm trilogy, explores the need for family and the differences between blood and heart relationships. As the main character searches for the birth family of her adopted grandfather, she struggles with change, disappointment, and love.
Cara Bentley prefers to live alone in her family’s large house after her grandparents’ death. She writes romance novels and stays in the world inside her head, not seeing a need for a life outside. Then she finds a mysterious piece of paper in an old box of photos: her grandfather’s adoption record. Astonished, she tracks her extended family to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to a small town called Bird-In-Hand. Cara learns about the Amish lifestyle as she rents a room on an Amish farm and talks to possible relatives. She also hires a lawyer, the handsome and confident Todd Reasoner, to help her with Pennsylvania genealogy records.
As Cara gets to know Todd, she finds they have a lot in common. Both prefer dull clothes and familiar food, yet both vocalize their dislike of the other’s starched attitude. They soon realize their relationship is deeper than lawyer/client and strive to pull each other out of a comfortable, boring life.
Though the book starts slowly, Roper later introduces suspense with acts of vandalism against the house where Cara is staying. Roper includes some moving scenes, including the time Cara meets Todd’s father. Todd wishes his father would be more social and fears his father never approved of him. But when Cara steps into his house and sees his piles of books, she realizes he lives a full life in his imagination. Another highly emotional scene is when Cara unexpectedly meets members of her extended family.
All of the characters are well-rounded and have unique, developed back stories. Roper seems to put her own beliefs in Cara’s mouth when she says to Todd, “After all, isn’t love the strongest and most noble of human emotions? An emotion that God feels toward us and the attribute of God that led Him to send Christ for us?” When Todd questions Cara’s need to find more family members who may or may not accept her, I would have liked to have seen an example of how we belong in God’s family, such as, “In love, he predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1:5). Still, anyone who has discovered something long lost will appreciate Cara’s excitement when she finds her family.
I would definitely recommend A Secret Identity to anyone who even remotely likes romance novels. The characters, plot, and storytelling result in a delightful experience. – Alexandra Mellen, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Readers will be delighted as popular author Gayle Roper continues her contemporary Amish series (that began with A Stranger’s Wish) with book two in The Amish Farm series, A Secret Identity.
Cara Bentley is raised by her grandfather to appreciate family. When she discovers—quite by accident—that he was adopted, her whole perspective changes. If he wasn’t a Bentley, who was he? If she isn’t a Bentley, who is she? She determines to find her “real” family.
Ending up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, she takes a room at the Zook family farm. When she seeks the help of attorney Todd Reasoner, the search for the truth begins in earnest.
But as mysterious accidents begin to happen, Cara suspects her attempt to find out the truth is not welcome—and neither is she.
Readers will be turning pages to find the answers Cara seeks.