Cover Image: The More the Merrier

The More the Merrier

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I enjoyed reading this book, Looking forward to reading more from this author. This one was very well written, I didn't want it to end.
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The More the Merrier by Linda Byler is a sweet story.  Annie Miller is left a widow with eight children to raise during the depression.  Her eldest child has been hired out and his wages to help.  But Annie needs to find a way to provide.  Then her barn burns down and she almost dies. Annie is rescued by Dan Beiler who is a widower with six children of his own.  Dan continues to think about Annie and decides to write her a letter to see if she would be interested in a friendship.  The More the Merrier is a story about second chances, forgiveness and love.  Linda takes us back to 1931 when everyone (except the 1%) is struggling to survive.  We see Annie struggle each day to put food on the table for the kids.  Annie must learn to make the decisions now that her husband, Eli is gone.  Her life hits an all time low when the barn catches fire.  Things always seem to get worse before they get better.  Annie prays for guidance to make the right choices for herself and her children.  Dan also worries about disrupting his kids’ lives and prays to God.  They both want to follow His lead.  I liked how they both had such a strong faith.  We see that God answers our prayers in His own way and in His timing.  I thought the story was realistic with engaging characters.  I enjoyed The More the Merrier and look forward to reading more stories by Linda Byler.  The More the Merrier is a heartwarming and inspiring story.
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Set during the Great Depression this is the heartbreaking story of Annie Miller and her 8 children who are trying to survive on their meager food supply which isn't an unusual storyline for that time in history but this story really made me sad.  Maybe it was reading it before Christmas that made me feel for the widow and her daily struggles to provide enough food for her family.

Then she meets widower Eli who is raising 6 children of his own and who thinks it would be a good idea to blend their families.  They have their work cut out for them after they marry and all live together. Of course there are some cute, sweet moments but there are bouts of jealousy, misunderstandings  but with love, patience and a lot of prayer, they can  be come the family they have needed.

What starts out to be heartbreaking ended up to be very heartwarming.  I enjoyed this quick read.
I received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.
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We get to visit yesteryear in this delightful Amish romance novella length book.
The Great Depression is a troubling time, everyone struggles to make ends meet by doing without many things. How is a recently widowed Amish mother of eight ever to get by?
When a near tragedy nearly puts her over the edge she knows she has to stay strong for their sake.
Eli is a widower and lost his wife recently and has his own six children to take care of so why can't he get the pretty widow out of his mind?
The toll of taking care of eight children on her own is taking it's toll on her mentally and physically.
She knows she should say no to a possible friendship he proposes but she is learning to make her own decisions now after the death of her husband and coming into her own.
Together they will prayerfully weather the storms that may come, trusting in him to pull them through the challenges of combining two families.
Excellent, I'd love to see this story continued in another book.
Published October 1st 2019 by Good Books
I was given a complimentary copy. Thank you.
All opinions expressed are my own.
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I enjoyed this Amish story that takes place during the Great Depression as I haven’t read many books set in this time period, Amish or otherwise. Annie is recently widowed and is a woman of strong faith but it’s her indefatigable spirit that impressed me the most. There isn’t anything she won’t do to keep her small farm going and put food in her childrens bellies but she’s at the end of her rope and I was so relieved when Amish widower Daniel Beilers’ persistence pays off when he and Annie are wed. Annie is thrilled that the bigger and successful farm produces the food her children so desperately need but Annie’s days won’t be stress free by any stretch of the imagination. The attitudes and antics of their newly combined brood of 14 children keep her hopping and reminded me of an old movie with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda, “Yours, Mine and Ours”, Amish style. This author is new to me and I’m looking forward to reading more of her delightful storytelling. I read an early copy of this book through NetGalley and all opinions expressed in my voluntary review are completely my own.
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My dad was born in the depression and the stories he tells of growing up with little to nothing is heartbreaking but the love his family had was beautiful. Annie’s story is one of heartache and despair but also one of resilience and love.

This is a beautiful Christmas read that is worthy to read no matter the season. An Amish love story from a real Amish author.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Skyhorse Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.
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This was a beautiful and heartwarming Christmas story.  The characters are true to life and readers will sympathize with their struggles.  
Many thanks to Skyhorse Publishing and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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The More the Merrier is an sweet Amish historical story about the blending of two large Amish families during the depression
I liked the story, but it feel flat in places.  Worth the read, but not my favorite Amish story.
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A Amish Christmas Romance During the Depression.
Linda Byler’s new book The More the Merrier  is an Amish historical romance that was set in 1931 during the Depression. The book was about Annie with 8 children struggling to live after her husband dies. Dan who is a widower with 6 children shows up when Annie’s barn catches on fire. From there, Dan tries to get them together and eventually into marriage. The book was a short read and enjoyable, but not a favorite to keep on my bookshelf.
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I received an ARC copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest opinion of it. This book was such a disappointment to me. It was just so boring that I found myself skimming through parts of it.
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The More the Merrier is a sweet historical romance.  I enjoyed the plot and can’t imagine such a large family during the depression era. My thanks to the publisher for my advance ebook.  This is my unbiased review.
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“The More the Merrier” tells the story of the joining of two families through marriage, and the trials and tribulations they face. The 1930’s setting adds interest and grounds the ideas of scarcity and survival. The main theme can be characterized as having hope in the face of dire adversity. I found the beginning of the book to be somewhat depressing, since the main character faced so much hardship. However, I understood the reason for this once I got into the rest of the novel. The plot moved along quickly and the characters were well-drawn.

The writing style is what really stood out for me. I was reminded of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, in terms of the descriptive words that were used. 

Although this story is about an Amish couple, the ideas and themes apply to anyone who experiences a combined family and dealing with hardship and scrabbling to survive in a sometimes harsh world. Readers will find this to be an engaging read, with lots to appreciate and a nice wrap up in the end.

I received this book from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
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Annie is a widow with 8 children and Dan is a widower with 6 children! They meet when Annie's barn catches fire. Dan notices the smoke and heads that way. He writes her a letter, suggesting they meet. It is set during the Great Depression. Annie's family had nothing. They were surviving on coffee soup and fried mush and praying that she had enough food in the cellar to last until spring. She had an extremely strict upbringing and of course, her mother disapproved when she found the letter from Dan. Fortunately, the story doesn't dwell too much on her mother. The description of Christmas morning is so heartwarming. I'm glad that Annie was able to develop more confidence and started making her own life regardless of what her mother thought. Dan was a true godsend. I enjoyed this story. I love the fact that the author is Amish. This is a quick read; I finished in a couple hours. Thank you to Netgalley and Good Books for the ARC. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Annie is a widow and the mother of eight children. Her husband died a few months earlier and things are difficult because funds are tight and Annie doesn’t want to ask the church for help. Dan is a widower and the father of six children. His children have never really known the comfort of a loving, stable mother and he longs to provide that for them.

When Annie’s barn burns down, Dan is right on hand to offer help. After he leaves that evening, he can’t get the widow out of his mind for some reason. He prays about it and eventually decides to write her a letter of introduction—he would like her to consider the possibility of starting a relationship. Eventually, she and Dan get married and begin the process of trying to blend the two families together.

This book had great potential. When I saw the description, I anticipated the challenges that would arise from trying to blend such a large family. I also imagined they would get a lot of pushback from their families and friends who’d dissuade each of them from taking on so many children. I guess that happened but I didn’t get to experience it as most of the book was written as if it was by someone on the outside looking in. I didn’t feel drawn into the scene and found it difficult to feel any emotion for the characters.

Know God—it’s important for us to have a relationship with God as this is what will get us through things like death and difficulties in life. Annie seemed to draw closer to God through her prayers though there was no real mention of her going to church. She mentioned the church but didn’t seem to have any connection to it. She also seemed remarkably isolated when the Amish are noted for their close-knit communities.

We are reminded that we are the church and should seek opportunities to draw closer to each other especially people who are in need. We also need to remember that when we’re in need, the church is there to lift us up—at least, they should be.

Know yourself—many times Annie experienced guilt because of her thoughts or treatment of the children. She had to realize that everyone makes mistakes. It is God who gives us victory over sin and the ability to learn from our mistakes.

Run your race—while Annie’s mom would have preferred for her not to marry a widower with so many children, she decided to go ahead because ultimately it was her happiness on the line. Each of us has to make decisions when they affect our lives. We should consider the advice given to us by people who care about us, but ultimately, everyone has to run their own race.

I did not enjoy this book as the author did more telling than showing. I did, however, love the first line as it immediately set the premise that life was hard and it was hard because of Eli’s death.
I received an advanced reader copy from NetGalley; a positive review was not required.
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A lovely story well told although I did find it a bit hard going in places. I loved the mixing of the two families and the happy Christmas Day. A story of love, faith and family life.
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This is a sweet heartwarming story. It is well written and holds your attention. If you are looking for a good clean christian romance, you will love this book. Thank you Skyhorse Publishing   Good Books via NetGalley for the ARC copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Sweet book.  Enjoyed it very much.  Loved the characters and the story.  Thank you Linda Byler.  Looking forward to reading more.
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The book opens in 1931 during the Great Depression. Anna’s husband Eli has recently passed leaving her to cater to their brood—eight children between the ages of 16 and three years old—on her own. With little money and no job at hand, this seems like a daunting task.

Despite the obstacles she faces, her faith in God is unwavering. While she sells some of her farm animals to pay bills, her children help out one way or another on the farm. They milk the cows every morning and every evening and hauled the heavy milk cans to the drive for the milkman.

She’s worried that they’d run out of potatoes 🥔 before the next yield season which isn’t for another five months So she prays to God to give her strength. Her pride won’t let her ask the church deacon for help.

One morning, while the family gathers for breakfast, she notices her barn raising has caught fire. Quickly, she dashes to the barn with her older children to put out the fire and rescue her animals. She wakes up minutes later after passing out from smoke inhalation.

In the meantime, Dan Beiler, a widower with six children—whose wife died from pneumonia—is on his way to the hardware store when he notices plumes of smoke from the barn and later, the sound of the fire alarms from a distance. He follows his horse to Anne’s farm and finds her barn burning. He sees lying on the grass surrounded by her children and offers to carry her inside.

For some reason, he can’t seem to get Anne out of her mind following their encounter.

Days later, as Anne recovers in the hospital, the community helps out—her church has helped rebuild her barn, her mother and sisters stay with the children, her father provided cows and her plants are thriving. She’s touched by their kind gesture.
She often wonders about the stranger who carried into her house. Or maybe it’s just her imagination.

As spring turns into summer, Anne is back to her daily grind: chopping wood, doing her laundry picking vegetables and canning them in mason jars and storing them in the cellar. She does her chores alongside her brood and pays little attention to her appearance or folks who pass judgement at her.

One day, she receives a letter ✉️ with no return address. The letter is from a Daniel Beiler. He writes to introduce himself and then gets down to business; he wants Anne to be friends and would like to know her better. He suggests a date and asks if this sits well with her.

She cries after reading the letter. All the memories of her loss come back in waves and she has no one to turn to. She’s even tried praying but doesn’t feel her prayers have been answered.

After waiting for months and no reply, in the autumn, Daniel Beiler writes her another letter. This time she agrees to meet with him.
After a few dates, he proposes and they agree to get married in March the following year. So far they’ve informed only their oldest children of the news.

After the wedding, they’d have to move to his farm since his house was larger and would accommodate all of them. Anna realizes how blessed she is to have such a wonderful man by her side, someone who can help take off some weight off her shoulders.

The More the Merrier is a touching story of love, resilience, and family. The sense of community is so strong and the characters are warm and relatable. Highly recommend if you’re looking for a light-hearted christian-themed Christmas romance novel.

A word of caution though—this book will leave you famished so have some snack at hand while reading.

Thank you to Linda Byler, NetGalley, and Good Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I found The More the Merrier a bit confusing and very different from other novels that I have read within the same genre. The story itself seemed very matter of fact, as though it was recounting events from a diary or journal that didn't give any real explanation or context. 

I found it confusing when Annie kept going back to the fact that Dan was considered progressive, and think it would have helped if the author had given a brief explanation as to why Annie thought that - not everyone is familiar with the Amish way of life, given the religion is unique to American culture.

I also found myself forgetting that the story was meant to be based within the post-war depression of the late 1920s and 1930s. It could very easily have been a contemporary story aside from the brief mentions of whatever year it was. 

And why was Annie's daughter so sullen? I know she had lost her father, but it irked me that Annie kept putting off talking to her daughter about whatever was happening with her. 

As an Australian reading Amish fiction, I think I will stick to authors such as Wanda Brunstetter or Beverly Lewis, whose stories are more descriptive and explain a little more of the Amish culture. 

This book might be suited to someone who is more familiar with the Amish.
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