Category Archives: Amish Fiction

Christian Chapters – An Amish Home: Four Novellas by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, & Kathleen Fuller

An Outstanding and Uplifting Collection of Amish Novellas!

An Amish Home: Four Novellas
by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, & Kathleen Fuller


Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Length: 406pp
ISBN-13: 978-0-5291-1869-1

Related Links:
Beth Wiseman’s Website
Amy Clipston’s Website
Ruth Reid’s Website
Kathleen Fuller’s Website
Publisher’s Website


Buy the Book

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Contents

A Cup Half Full by Beth Wiseman

Home Sweet Home by Amy Clipston

A Flicker of Hope by Ruth Reid

Building Faith by Kathleen Fuller


My Review

Early last month, when Amy Clipston surprised those of us in her Bakery Bunch with a beautiful purple welcome package, it was Christmas all over again! She had put together the contents with so much love that it was like receiving a care package from your mom, and amid all the lovely surprises inside was An Amish Home.

I couldn’t have been more excited or felt more welcomed — more at home! I have grown to love these seasonal Amish Novella releases by Thomas Nelson. Typically, I buy each new offering as soon as it hits the bookstore shelves, so to have one early and gifted to me by one of the authors — well, that’s a rare and happy treat!

Why do I like them so much? These little beauties are the perfect introduction to Amish Fiction, or for those like me who may have started with Beverly Lewis, they are a great way to sample the work of other authors in the stable, so to speak. The novella format is also the perfect length to read in one sitting, and there’s always something satisfying about starting on page one and reading a story to its conclusion.

As the title makes plain, the four novellas share the common theme of home and hearth. Wiseman and Clipston each look at home through the eyes of young newlyweds. Wiseman’s Sarah returns from the hospital following a serious accident to find her house remodeled and her imagined future altered. While Clipston also shows us a young married couple, Chace and Mia are Englishers whose circumstances bring them and their young child to Bird-in-Hand to live in the daadihaus of Chace’s boss. Each couple struggles against circumstances to create the home and family life they desire. Meanwhile, Reid’s novella, the book’s longest, stands alone in its portrayal of an older couple. Rather than just having established their home and marriage, Thomas and Noreen lose their house to a fire and appear on the brink of losing their marriage. Finally, Kathleen Fuller brings us a young woman named Faith who has an unusual hobby for an Amish female: carpentry. When she’s asked to make cabinets for her cousin’s new house, she finds herself having to work through some painful memories from her past.

Did An Amish Home live up to my expectations? You better believe it! I like how each author gives us a different look at home. In A Cup Half Full, the characters demonstrate a lot of bravery and love, and Beth Wiseman shows us that physical challenges leave no community untouched — even the Amish have members living productive lives despite adversity. Though neither of Amy Clipston’s characters come from an ideal home situation, they find that with God’s help they can create their own home life in each other. I especially enjoyed how Ruth Reid developed Thomas and Noreen’s story through alternating looks at their present and past. And lastly, Kathleen Fuller illustrates how a home and marriage must be built on trust.

An Amish Home reminds us that there is no perfect or ideal home — each has a unique set of circumstances to celebrate or even to endure. But take heart: Home is not the sum of our accumulated things or the safety of the walls that surround us. These can be swept away in a heartbeat. That’s why the true measure of a home is not found in its size or its material contents, but in the strength and depth of the love found in the conjoined hearts residing within.

— Dawn Teresa

Verdict

5 of 5 Hearts. An Outstanding and Uplifting Collection of Amish Novellas!

Once again, Thomas Nelson has published a quartet of novellas around a common theme, this time An Amish Home. In these four stories by top Amish Fiction writers, you’ll find many of the same things you have at home — good things like comfort, love, and faith, and difficult things like hardship, pain, and loss. Most importantly, though, you’ll finish your reading with a greater appreciation for what makes a house a home.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Amy Clipston and Thomas Nelson for providing me access to this title. 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.”

The Week in Reviews: ReadLove Recap For the Week Beginning March 7, 2016

 

Another week has come and gone at ReadLove ! Here’s what you may have missed:

Monday:

Music Video: “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin ft. Pat Barrett

“We all have a picture of who we think God is. When we get down to the foundation of what we believe, the truth is that God is exactly who He says He is – a good, good Father.”

[Read the full post]








Tuesday:

Christian Chapters: An Unbroken Heart by Kathleen Fuller

5 of 5 Hearts. Kathleen Fuller Affirms That God Can Heal the Most Broken of Hearts.

Thematically, alongside its message of courage in adversity, Kathleen Fuller’s An Unbroken Heart is a moving and instructive story of love and forgiveness, pain and healing, endings and new beginnings.

[Read the full review]

 

 

 

Thursday:

Fiction Shelves: The Newsmakers By Lis Wiehl with Sebastian Stuart

4.5 of 5 Hearts. Forget ‘Page-Turner’ – This Thriller is a Chapter-Turner!

Lis Wiehl’s latest novel is the first in a new series. She’s done an excellent job of establishing her heroine and filling her world with likable characters. More thriller than mystery, the real pleasure of The Newsmakers is in tagging along with smart, savvy, and strong Erica Sparks on her investigations, rooting for her to figure out what we already suspect and hoping that she can save the day!

[Read the full review]

 

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That’s everything that happened on ReadLove this week. See you next week!

Until then, I’d love it if you shared a bit about your week in the comments!

Christian Chapters: An Unbroken Heart by Kathleen Fuller

Kathleen Fuller Affirms That God Can Heal the Most Broken of Hearts

An Unbroken Heart
by Kathleen Fuller


Series: Amish of Birch Creek (Book 2)
Publication Date: March 15, 2016
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Length: 289pp
ISBN-13: 978-0718033279

Related Links:
Kathleen Fuller’s Website

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Buy the Book

  AmazonBN






Publisher Synopsis

An argument. A crash. In an instant, Joanna’s world is changed forever.

One minute, Joanna Schrock was arguing with her parents, and the next, her parents’ lives were claimed in a hit-and-run buggy accident. Her body is broken, but her heart is in even deeper pain— after all, how do you cope with your parents’ deaths when your last words were spoken in anger?

After an extended stint in a physical rehabilitation center, Joanna re-enters her Amish life. But nothing is the same—not even her feelings for Andrew Beiler.

Joanna has loved Andrew since the age of twelve, and her feelings have not changed throughout the years. She is thrilled when Andrew wants to get married, but she wonders whether it’s love he’s feeling, or pity. As the couple’s wedding date approaches, Joanna isn’t overcome with the deep joy she was hoping to feel; instead, she’s wracked with anxiety and guilt.

Joanna hears God whispering to her, Be strong and courageous, but she’s afraid that courage looks a lot like walking away from her dreams and into the plan of her Heavenly Father.

If Joanna takes the first step toward healing, will it cost her everything she’s ever wanted? Or could God be changing the desires of her heart?


Click here to read my review of A Reluctant Bride,

the first book in the Amish of Birch Creek series.


My Review

An Unbroken Heart/Joshua 1:9

Lately, God’s been teaching me lessons in trust, and He’s not been subtle. He is nearly hitting me over the head, coming at me from all sides. Messages in my daily devotional readings have been aligning with ideas in my recreational reading. “Make friends with the problems in your life…I can fit everything into a pattern for good, but only to the extent that you trust Me. Every problem can teach you something,” said Jesus Calling on March 5th, the very same day I finished reading An Unbroken Heart. 

Kathleen Fuller begins An Unbroken Heart by referencing Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous…for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” God never promised things would be easy, but He does promise to stay by our side. And He makes sure that our suffering does not go for naught. Kathleen Fuller communicates these sentiments with beauty and feeling in An Unbroken Heart.

Having survived the buggy accident that killed her parents, Joanna finally returns home from her stay at the rehab center in Middlefield. But the girl who comes home to Birch Creek clearly isn’t the same. We suspected something was wrong in book one, and our instincts were good. Joanna is broken – physically, emotionally, even spiritually. Lest she forget, she’s got a scar to remind her. Indeed, when God whispers the words, “Rejoice in suffering” into her thoughts, Joanna can’t fathom how she could possibly find reasons for rejoicing over over her parents’ deaths or her broken heart.

As in book one of the Amish of Birch Creek series, this second book follows several characters (Joanna, Andrew, Cameron, Asa) going through seasons of adversity. Again, folks are keeping secrets for varied reasons including shame and fear. Though this is principally Joanna’s story, she’s not alone in her attempts to live according to her wishes and dreams (or sometimes those of others). Though you’d think forging her own path would make her happy, it only increases Joanna’s hurt. To help demonstrate her lesson in trust, Fuller introduces an interesting character: Asa. In his own words, Asa recounts his story of receiving a call from God and what happened when he doubted and disobeyed. Hint: It’s NOT good.

Fuller succeeds in showing how obedience to God can make our paths straighter and ultimately lead to true satisfaction. God knows even better than we what we need. And if we remember to walk with Him in trust, giving our pain and fear over, we’ll find that, even in the darkness, He never left our side. He was taking the broken pieces of our lives – our hearts – and piecing them back together, stronger and better than they began.

— Dawn Teresa

Verdict

5 of 5 Hearts. Kathleen Fuller Affirms That God Can Heal the Most Broken of Hearts.

Thematically, alongside its message of courage in adversity, Kathleen Fuller’s An Unbroken Heart is a moving and instructive story of love and forgiveness, pain and healing, endings and new beginnings.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Thomas Nelson Booklook Bloggers for providing me with a copy of An Unbroken Heart in exchange for a fair and honest review. 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.”

photocredit:it:Utente:TheCadExpert via Wikimedia Commons (it:Immagine:Lancaster_County_Amish_02.jpg)

The Week in Reviews: ReadLove Recap For the Week Beginning February 29, 2016

 

Another week has come and gone at ReadLove ! Here’s what you may have missed:

Monday:

Christian Chapters: Hannah’s Choice by Jan Drexler

3.5 of 5 Hearts. An Engaging, Yet Somber View of Amish Life in Conestoga, Pennsylvania, 1842.

Jan Drexel gives the reader a carefully researched, historically rich look at the forces which may have led Amish settlers, including some of her own ancestors, to leave Lancaster County and travel westward to Indiana. Though somber, Hannah’s Choice never loses hope while carrying its message that nothing is more important than faith and family.

[Read the full review]






Tuesday:

Non-Fiction Shelves – You’re Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide by Holley Gerth

5 of 5 Hearts. An Encouraging, Empowering, Scripturally-Sound Guide To Becoming the You God Created You To Be.

If you’re feeling lost, broken, unloved, imperfect, insignificant, overwhelmed, or all of these things, don’t fret. Holley Gerth’s You’re Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide can help. You might say it’s like a road map, or, if you’re directionally challenged like I am, a GPS for your heart. What’s more, it’s as comforting as chocolate, hot cocoa, coffee, or ice cream! My advice? Set down your burden, dry your tears, pour a cup of tea or grab a cookie, and sit down for a “talk” with Holley!

[Read the full review]

 

 

 

Thursday:

Christian Chapters: A Reluctant Bride by Kathleen Fuller

5 of 5 Hearts. A Beautiful Testament to God’s Ability to Rebuild, Renew, and Restore.

A Reluctant Bride is not a fairy-tale romance or swoon fest, but it demonstrates clearly how God can take broken pieces of shattered hearts and create something not only beautiful but unbreakable. For that reason, it may just be the perfect love story.

[Read the full review]

 

——————–

That’s everything that happened on ReadLove this week. See you next week!

Until then, I’d love it if you shared a bit about your week in the comments!

Christian Chapters: A Reluctant Bride by Kathleen Fuller

A Beautiful Testament to God’s Ability to Rebuild, Renew, and Restore

A Reluctant Bride
by Kathleen Fuller


Series: Amish of Birch Creek (Book 1)
Publication Date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Length: 304pp
ISBN-13: 978-0718033156

Related Links:
Kathleen Fuller’s Website

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Buy the Book

  AmazonBN






Publisher Synopsis

She never wanted to marry. He hopes to make amends for past wrongs. Can love find a way to heal both of their hearts?

Sadie Schrock swore she would never marry. Her Amish friends could court and marry — she was content to manage the family business and eventually take it over when her parents were ready to retire. But all that changes when a reckless driver kills her parents and seriously injures her younger sister. With mounting hospital bills adding to the pile of debt her parents left behind, Sadie is left with no choice: she must marry. And not just any man — the man who saw her at her weakest and walked away.

Aden knows what his brother did to Sadie years ago was inexcusable. And every day since that incident, Aden has lived with the guilt for not intervening sooner. When he is faced with the chance to protect Sadie once again, he can’t let her down — even if it means living with the scorn of the woman he loves for the rest of his life.

Working alongside Aden at the store, Sadie realizes he isn’t the same boy who once betrayed her. Just when Sadie starts to let her guard down and perhaps develop feelings for her new husband, dangerous secrets are revealed. Now everything Sadie has worked so hard to protect is threatened, and she must find a way to save her family — and herself.


My Review

A book title could never be at once more true and yet more understated than A Reluctant Bride. To say Sadie is a reluctant bride makes it sound like she has a case of cold feet. Not Sadie. She wants to run for the hills! And she’d run like the wind if only her feet weren’t frozen with fear.

Honestly, I have cold feet – literally – because Kathleen Fuller has knocked my socks off! A Reluctant Bride is the first work of Amish fiction where I’ve feared not only for someone’s physical safety but for his/her life. It also boasts the distinct honor of recording the fastest time, in my memory, in which a book has made me care about both its principal characters, Sadie and Aden. Kathleen Fuller’s writing is active and vital. She grants such close access to her characters’ thoughts that it’s almost as if you can hear their hearts beating.

Amish communities, like any other, are not immune to problems. In Birch Creek, Fuller reveals a community burdened with secrets, shame, abuse, heartache, pain, and grief. Yet despite its heartbreaking circumstances, A Reluctant Bride never loses hope. Instead, the novel uses adversity to teach powerful lessons about our loving God.

Through her Birch Creek cast, Fuller shows that all emotions need to be expressed and validated. If you put up walls to stave off grief or other unwelcome feelings, or conversely, if you hold too tightly to negative emotions, you make it difficult, if not impossible, to feel positive emotions – like love.

Another lesson is delivered through a wonderful analogy. Aden’s a beekeeper, and for a long time, his bees are his only friends. There’s a key scene where Aden tells Sadie about bees: Honey bees, he explains, are complex, yet simple creatures. While it’s true that they can deliver a painful sting, they only strike when threatened. A hive, he points out, has “a complex hierarchy. All the bees have to work together for the colony to survive.” Indeed, the characters in A Reluctant Bride learn that it’s not just okay but necessary to ask for and accept help. We are stronger together than apart.

Aden feels he’ll never meet his father’s expectations or earn his approval. Sadie also feels burdened with responsibility – she needs to work hard to do right by her parents’ memory by caring for her sisters and managing both the home and the family store. Ultimately, both take strength from knowing that God’s love is unconditional, His help ever-present, and His favor the only one they need seek.

— Dawn Teresa

Verdict

5 of 5 Hearts. A Beautiful Testament to God’s Ability to Rebuild, Renew, and Restore.

A Reluctant Bride is not a fairy-tale romance or swoon fest, but it demonstrates clearly how God can take broken pieces of shattered hearts and create something not only beautiful but unbreakable. For that reason, it may just be the perfect love story.

Christian Chapters: Hannah’s Choice by Jan Drexler

An Engaging, Yet Somber View of Amish Life in Conestoga, Pennsylvania, 1842

Hannah’s Choice
by Jan Drexler


Series: Journey To Pleasant Prairie (Book 1)
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
Publisher: Revell
Length: 384pp
ISBN-13: 978-0800726560

Related Links:
Jan Drexler’s Website
Publisher’s Website (with Excerpt from Hannah’s Choice)
Interview with Jan Drexler at USA Today
Visit Jan Drexler on Facebook


Buy the Book

AmazonBN





 


Publisher Synopsis

When love and family conflict, will she listen to her head . . . or her heart?

Hannah Yoder loves her quiet life on the banks of Conestoga Creek. In 1842, this corner of Lancaster County is settled and peaceful — yet problems lurk beneath the placid façade. Hannah strives to be the one person who can bind the threads of her family together in spite of her father’s worries, her mother’s depression, and her sister’s rebellious ways. But her world threatens to unravel.

When two young men seek her hand in marriage — one offering the home she craves and the other promising the adventure of following God’s call west — Hannah must make a choice. Will she stay true to the faith of her family or defy her father and abandon her community?


My Review

Death is rarely a welcome visitor. When it enters a family’s home, it can leave destruction and despair in its wake. When diphtheria invades the Yoders’ home, some lives are taken, still others are broken, but no one is left unchanged.

Nine years later, Hannah still feels responsible for bringing death into their house. Her mother Annalise, remains inconsolable and consumed by grief, and seems fated for permanent imprisonment by spiritual darkness. Her father Christian, mindful that their traditional Amish community has fallen victim to outside influences from the progressive ideas of neighboring Mennonites and Quakers, decides that the only way to safeguard his family and preserve their values is to move West. Given Hannah’s closeness to Adam, the Mennonite boy next door, and her sister Liesbet’s capricious and rebellious ways, could it be that Christian’s decision has come too late to keep his family intact?

Jan Drexler has clearly done much research to show her readers what life in 1842 might have been like for an Amish family on the Conestoga. If you enjoy history, you’ll be pleased — Drexler has packed a lot of historical detail into Hannah’s Choice: Amish history, including reasons for their emigration to America, the inclusion of a redemptioner (something I learned!), as well as a look at the Underground Railroad and how views of this particular civil disobedience varied among different Anabaptist sects.

The well-drawn and ever present setting is a character unto itself. So much so that it nearly overshadows the rest of the cast. Along with her vivid setting, Drexler immediately establishes a deeply melancholic tone. Were it not for Hannah’s descriptions and recollections of happier days growing up, the novel might be too heavy.

Thematically, Hannah’s Choice explores loss, faith, and family, as well as the definition of home. Theological discussion touches on the importance of trusting in God’s will and living according to His plan. When faced with the potential risk inherent in journeying west (Indians, wilderness, dangerous travel, etc.), one character suggests fear or asking “What if…?” should not preclude you from stepping out in faith and taking a risk. After all, there are “what ifs” everywhere.

Though I enjoyed the author’s careful attention to setting, tone, and historical detail, I would have liked more character development. So much is stuffed into the novel that perhaps it needed to be longer in order to give adequate attention to its many characters, relationships, and plot lines. Still, while character development and, especially, romantic aspects, suffered somewhat, Hannah’s Choice maintained my interest from beginning to end.

— Dawn Teresa

Verdict

3.5 of 5 Hearts. An Engaging, Yet Somber View of Amish Life in Conestoga, Pennsylvania, 1842.

Jan Drexel gives the reader a carefully researched, historically rich look at the forces which may have led Amish settlers, including some of her own ancestors, to leave Lancaster County and travel westward to Indiana. Though somber, Hannah’s Choice never loses hope while carrying its message that nothing is more important than faith and family.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Jan Drexler for providing me with a copy of this title in exchange for a fair and honest review. 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.”

 

The Week in Reviews: ReadLove Recap For the Week Beginning February 22, 2016

 

Another week has come and gone at ReadLove ! Here’s what you may have missed:

Monday:

Christian Chapters: The Imposter by Suzanne Woods Fisher

5 of 5 Hearts. An Inspiring and Lyrical Look at an Amish Community Facing Modern Issues.

The Imposter is impossible to categorize. Calling it a romance ignores the mystery. Calling it a mystery doesn’t fit either. There are many elements to this tale — romance, mystery, drama, humor, and faith to name a few. Just as our lives can’t be summed up with one label, neither can this story, and that’s what makes it so appealing. The Imposter incorporates everything readers of Amish fiction love about the genre, while steeping its setting and characters in modern realism, to a richly satisfying result.

[Read the full review]


Tuesday:

Kids Corner: Nightborn by Lou Anders

5 of 5 Hearts. A Smash-Hit Fantasy Sequel Bursting With Action, Adventure, Worldbuilding, Humor, Gaming, and (Most of All) Heart.

The perfect fantasy series follow-up, Nightborn pushes all the right buttons while breaking the walls of its own world wide open! As the maps of the Thrones & Bones world expand, interest in the series is guaranteed to grow. If you’re hunting for a quality middle-grade adventure series, your search ends here!

[Read the full review]

 

 

 

Thursday:

Kids Corner – American Girl: Kit Story Collection by Valerie Tripp

4.5 of 5 Hearts. An Illuminating, Kid’s-Eye Look at the Great Depression.

Kit Kittredge is everything you want from a heroine — intelligent, spunky, indomitable. As her story progresses, it’s easy to root for her and share her happiness, as well as her anxieties when hard times threaten. And those truly depressing times are rendered vividly by author Tripp, who never forgets that she is teaching as well as entertaining.

[Read the full review]

 

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That’s everything that happened on ReadLove this week. See you next week!

Until then, I’d love it if you shared a bit about your week in the comments!

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