An Uplifting, Varied Collection of Amish Love Stories
An Amish Market: Four Novellas
by Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin, Vannetta Chapman
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Amy Clipston’s Website
Kathleen Fuller’s Website
Kelly Irvin’s Website
Vannetta Chapman’s Website
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All the color and variety of a quaint Amish shop in a charming collection of novellas by four of your favorite authors. Feel free to come in and browse!
Love Birds by Amy Clipston
A Bid For Love by Kathleen Fuller
Sweeter Than Honey by Kelly Irvin
Love In Store by Vannetta Chapman
An Amish Market is the second collection of Amish novellas I’ve read offered by Thomas Nelson. And, already, I can tell you that I will eagerly anticipate each and every similar subsequent publication.
If you’re unfamiliar with Amish fiction, or have perhaps read only one author, Thomas Nelson’s Amish fiction collections are the perfect primer to introduce you to the genre and some of its talented crop of writers. Each collection generally contains four short works grouped together around a common theme — this time, the marketplace.
Though each of the stories can be read alone, if you are familiar with an author’s work, you’ll find that you may get to revisit a community or follow-up on a character. For instance, Love Birds by Amy Clipston ties in with her Amish Heirloom series and takes place during the same timeline as The Forgotten Recipe. We get a glimpse into the lives of Seth’s mother and his sister Ellie, and Lloyd, one of Seth’s childhood friends. This story of trust, both in God and in one another, has Amy Clipston’s usual calm, gentle feel.
Katherine Fuller’s A Bid For Love takes place in her community of Middlefield. The story begins at the Middlefield market where, over butter, we are introduced to Hannah Lynne and Ezra. Both are a bit older and each is reserved. Theirs is definitely not your usual tale of courtship, but that’s part of the fun. As I got to know them, I enjoyed Hannah Lynne for her quirky spirit and Ezra for his kindness.
With Sweeter Than Honey, Kelly Irvin takes us back to Bee County to catch up with Will Glick, two years after the events in The Bishop’s Son, her second book in The Amish of Bee County series. I was glad to look in on Will to find how his story turns out. Irvin squeezes so much into the short format that you’ll feel you’re getting a full novel. In Bee County, she’s created a tangible world that, by its landscape alone, is set apart from other Amish communities. She takes such time and care with her characters that they nearly leap from the page. In watching them make choices along their paths, you’ll learn something. This time, the lessons are about forgiveness and trust, as well as finding one’s place in the world, according to God’s perfect timing.
“If you hold on to bitterness with one hand and anger with the other, you have no hands available to extend…No arms for embracing a life lived in love with another.”
Wisdom like this, combined with the authenticity of Bee County and its community members, is making Kelly Irvin one of my favorite Amish writers.
The collection ends with Love In Store by Vannetta Chapman, set in Nappanee, Indiana. If you’ve never tried Amish mystery, you’re in for a treat. David Stoltzfus, a recent widower, is new to town. When strange things begin to happen at the mill where he works, he’s asked to investigate. David, who despite life’s turmoil is hopeful and positive, finds an unlikely partner in bitter, grumpy Stella. As they uncover the mystery, Chapman reveals the life experiences which have shaped Stella’s attitude. Inspired by John 4:18, Love In Store illustrates how “there is no fear in love.”
— Dawn Teresa
5 of 5 Hearts. An Uplifting, Varied Collection of Amish Love Stories.
Though these four Amish marketplace stories have commonalities, things are kept fresh by each author’s unique fingerprint — her own “flavor”. Sitting down with An Amish Market is like cozying up by the fire while sipping from different cups of tea or nibbling on four kinds of chocolate. All different, yet all delicious. In case the stories weren’t delightful enough for you, there are recipes at the back of the book to satisfy your sweet tooth.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”