Dear to Me

by Wanda E. Brunsetter
Series: Brides of Webster County #3
288 pages, General Fiction
Reviewed by Bethany

A morally sound book, but with a monotonous storyline.


Set in the Amish community of Webster County, Melinda has been courting a close friend, Gabe, a God-fearing man, devoted to his work, and infatuated with Melinda.

Melinda is passionate about animal welfare, and when she isn't helping at her local vet, or sketching deer in the forest, she's tending to orphaned critters in the barn, often shirking household duties to care for her animal friends.

When Gabe proposes to Melinda, she is both elated and confounded - for not only does Gabe love to hunt, but, when Melinda confides in him as to her wanting to leave the Amish faith to pursue a full time career in veterinary services, he feels sure that he could never willingly leave all he has ever known, even if he does love her.

Melinda is torn between her love for Gabe and her passion to help as many creatures as she can. She fears being shunned by her family, but most of all she fears not being able to marry the one she loves. This book is a demonstration of decisions, and how to make them according to God's will.


Melinda often puts off her chores to do as she pleases, but this often involves an animal who needs immediate medical attention. She persistently takes in animals, even when her parents tell her that she is to bring in no more. However, wrongs are made right, for the most part, and idleness is not condoned.

Spiritual Content

It is a Christian book - all characters attend Church, and the faith of the characters is dominant throughout the story, and any good decisions that are made are made on the grounds of faith.


Gabe is shot in the shoulder, accidentally, by Melinda's brother, and the pain is described. There is no detailed description of the wound, however.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Medicines are given to the animals, and Melinda's grandfather, who is suffering from severe memory loss, is given pills to make him well.

Sexual Content

Gabe and Melinda kiss, when they are engaged, and, although it is not frequent, it is described in fairly copious words, to exemplify that it is, as well as a Christian book, a romance.

Crude or Profane Language or Content



The morals are all sound and good, but the story itself is inconsequential and slow. Nothing really seems to occur in the book that is particularly inspiring, and the ending is predictable. The characters are quite well thought out, but still fairly formulaic in the way that they act. It seems that it can be named "Christian fiction" because a few Bible verses are slipped in, which, as a reader, I do appreciate, but it would have been a deeper novel if the journey of each character with God had been described better.

Fun Score: 2.5
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: 13+

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