Review: Autumn Winds by Charlotte Hubbard

Title:Autumn Winds
Author:Charlotte Hubbard
Series:Seasons of the Heart series
Release Date: September 4th 2012
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Inspirational Romance
Rating: 5 Hoots
Reviewer: Lydia
Buy From: Amazon/ Barnes and Noble

Sum It Up! The Seasons of the Heart series holds promise for every reader interested in inspirational romance.

Winds of change are blowing through Willow Ridge, and they’re bringing a stranger to the Sweet Seasons Bakery. At first, widowed Miriam Lantz has misgivings about Ben Hooley, a handsome but rootless traveling blacksmith. But as she gets to know the kind-hearted newcomer, she wonders if his arrival was providential. Perhaps she could find love again – if only there weren’t so many obstacles in the way. With Bishop Knepp relentlessly pursuing her hand in marriage and the fate of her beloved café at stake, Miriam must listen to God and her heart to find the happiness she longs for and the love she deserves. (Back cover)




Miriam Lantz believes her mission in life is to feed people, and works every day to fully embrace, cherish and flourish in her purpose. A widow in an Amish community, she also defines herself as an independent, self-sufficient, and capable woman; having established her own profit-making business and providing for her twin daughters. Herein, and in other ways throughout the novel, Hubbard establishes Miriam as a true-believing Plains folk, whose God endows and sanctions those attributes that others may view as belonging to women not of the faith.


Although Hubbard uses the cliché setting of a “dark and stormy night”, the following action is far from typical. Miriam, unable to sleep, goes to the café to get an early start on her baking. She hears the loud crack as a tree limb is severed by lightning and breaks through the window of her café. Looking out of the window, she sees a majestic Percheron horse bolt, kicking his owner in the chest. It is naturally in Miriam’s nature to “ignore” certain strictures of her faith to assist a man in need. From this seemingly one small incident, Miriam’s life, and those of many she love, changes.


Autumn Wind is a wonderful read. Hubbard delivers a novel with distinctive characters, plot and conflict, in a geographic setting whose familiarity allows the particularities of the Amish community to be highlighted. The female characters in this novel do not follow the stereotypical concept some may have of women in Amish communities. Despite being pursued by the Bishop, Miriam is unwilling to be blackmailed into marriage. Her daughters, friends, her Mennonite business partner, and the men in her community support her independence. Even the changes in the children reflect strength of character and faith.


The major appeal of this novel is its focus on the idea of fulfilling one’s dreams. Hubbard’s characters all have dreams of their futures. Each character also understands the work the work required to realize these dreams. Despite the conflicts and obstacles of life, the characters continue to strive towards their goals; knowing life goals are not truly achieved as much as a constant process.

Hubbard is an accomplished stylist. The pacing of the novel is excellent and the handling of conflict is well-done. Hubbard is a master at character development, where even the antagonists are vividly portrayed, their negative and positive aspects expertly contrasted. However, repetitiveness and redundancy are the major detractions from the otherwise excellent writing and style of the novel. For example, it is doubtful people “murmur” as much in real life as in the novel. These issues do not distract from the beauty of Hubbard’s writing.


The Seasons of the Heart series holds promise for every reader interested in inspirational romance. Willow Ridge is a community that feels familiar, comfortable, yet its agrarian and spiritual distinctiveness whisks readers’ minds to other places and times. Hubbard has created characters of depth, intricacy; their interrelationships full of complexity. Readers will find themselves drawn into the various storylines, sometimes with breath-holding anticipation. Furthermore, the author provides recipes from the Sweet Season Bakery and Café at the end of the novel and also on her website.


Autumn Winds is “wonderful-gut, ain’t so?”


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