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Sunday, August 13, 2023
RETURN OF THE MONARCHS BY BETH WISEMAN
Janelle Herron isn’t interested in having a boyfriend. She wears black clothes, dark makeup, and sees herself metaphorically as a caterpillar who hopes to transform into a butterfly someday. She hopes that she will grow into a vision of herself that she can live with, and she has her reasons—reasons that only her parents are aware of—but that doesn’t include having a romantic relationship. But when she sees a handsome Amish man being harassed by bullies, she gets involved and becomes friends with Thomas Schrock. He’s safe. They can never be together romantically because he’s Amish.
Thomas Schrock is intrigued—and a little embarrassed—when a Goth-looking young English woman intervenes in a one-sided fight Thomas is about to be lured into by three bullies. Janelle is spunky, brave, and might even be pretty behind all the dark makeup she wears. She is easy to talk to, fun to be around, and as they spend more time together, he begins to understand some of the reasons she dresses the way she does. But as Janelle and Thomas’s feelings begin to lean toward romance, Janelle holds tightly to a secret she has no plans to share. Her plan is to stay on course and leave for college at the end of the summer.
But will a magical meadow filled with monarchs and a little divine intervention turn things around for Janelle? Will she finally share her secret with Thomas and become the butterfly she’s always wanted to be?
Oh how I love butterflies and how they remind me of a new beginning. I love how the author uses them in this story to show how we are all unique and loved by God. When most people meet Janelle for the first time, they are taken aback by her looks. She tends to dress on the dark side with makeup that hides her beauty. I remember a time when I wore dark clothes and makeup as well. I wanted to hide from the world and it seemed easier to fade into the background when I was all dressed up in black. Janelle is the sweetest person ever though and has much to offer. Her quiet nature and insecurity have taken over her life until one day….
Thomas is a young Amish man who seems to be picked on by a group of young teens who don’t like the way he dresses. I wish people were not so judgmental and just accepted each other as they were. What I thought was nice was how Janelle stood up for Thomas and from there a friendship blossomed. Maybe Thomas can help Janelle feel that she can trust others.
This is a beautiful story that shows that scars can be healed and “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” We all have scars whether they can be seen or not. If we allow those hurts to hold us back, we miss out on the beauty that God wants to surround us with. It is time to be free and fly like a butterfly and let the past be the past. I loved how the author talked about bullying and how it affects us. Thomas and Janelle allow their feelings to see past their different life styles and open their eyes to a new beginning.
I received a copy of this book from the author The review is my own opinion.