Sunday, December 22, 2019
An Amish Christmas Bakery:
Four Stories by Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman,
Kathleen Fuller & Kelly Irvin
Published by Zondervan, October 2019
Hand on heart, I absolutely loved this collection of novellas all based on Amish bakeries and have read them all several times....
Alyssa works part-time, but her artistic talents and design flair make her employer's bakery such a roaring success that Alyssa's newly found boyfriend Kyle and her own family are taking second place. Alyssa's own health is suffering and her family warn her that she is focussing on the wrong priorities at Christmas. Can she fulfill everyone's needs and wishes, including her own, whilst remaining true to her Amish beliefs? Amy Clipston pulls no punches in this story about what really matters.
A particular favourite was Beth Wiseman's story about a very much stricter Swartzentruber Amish family whose daughter Katie has a more lenient-background Amish boyfriend. Can she keep her family bakery operating during her mother's recovery from serious illness or will she end up accepting more modern baking appliances from her boyfriend? And what about Henry, a childhood friend who is desperate to become something more serious in Katie's life?
Kathleen Fuller tells us all about Mattie, who has moved to help her aunt and uncle at their bakery during the run-up to Christmas, and finds to her horror that her best friend's ex-boyfriend has also been hired to help her uncle and they will have to live and work in close proximity for an extended period, when they are not even on speaking terms. It seems a recipe for disaster until Peter realises that Mattie's anger is based on misunderstandings and her own insecurities, and that life has not been kind to her.
Kelly Irvin gives us a tender story about Martha who is falling in love with an old schoolmate who is being treated unkindly by others in the community due to his own special needs. Ambrose is one of God's Special Children, a loving and gentle man, lacking 'book smarts' but filled with love, compassion and honesty. Can he and Martha fulfil each other's hearts' desires when neither of them is confident or sure about making the first steps to begin courting?
A lovely Christmas selection to warm the heart of the reader, and joining the list of titles I make a point of re-reading each Christmas-tide.
Wednesday, December 04, 2019
By Suzanne Woods Fisher
Published by Revell, 2019
In this story (book 2 in 'The Deacon's family' series) the now reformed ne'er-do-well Luke Schrock is newly married. Imagine his absolute horror when he is selected by lot to be his community's new Deacon!
Trying to come to terms with being a responsible adult, newly married, renovating his and Izzy's home, running a business and then having to take on a huge amount of extra work involved as a Deacon means that he has much less time to spend with his beloved Izzy.
Izzy is breaking her heart as month after month, she does not become pregnant, and Luke is spending less and less time at home with her as he deals with problems amongst the families. She struggles to convey her sadness and Luke fails to understand her silences or her concerns as they slowly learn the complexities and sacrifices involved in married life.
Luke is also determined to fulfill his promise to his late friend and mentor Amos to help empty the County's Foster Homes; when the chance comes up to temporarily re-home girls from their area's Home, he somehow manages to rustle up people willing to help. Chief among them is their new schoolteacher, Mollie Graber, whose enthusiasm and can-do spirit is nearly broken by the two wild sisters entrusted to her care. Izzy, however, holds back from engaging or interacting with any of the Englisch girls added to their community and it takes a long time for her to warm to quiet Cassidy who loves Izzy's sheep and her yarn shop...Can they help each other?
I absolutely loved this story and read it twice in quick succession; I am so looking forward to the third story due next year! The characters are truly engaging and believable.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a digital copy via NetGalley to read in exchange for my honest opinions and review.