Archive for the 'Amish Fiction' Category


Sarah’s Orphans by Vanetta Chapman

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

 

sarahs-orphans
Sarah Yoder belongs to a Plain community in Oklahoma, but her days are far from simple. Life suddenly gets complicated when a series of tragic events unfold, leaving her in charge of the household.

Alone with her younger siblings, Sarah is exhausted but finally at peace. Then she nearly runs over a small Hispanic boy with her buggy…and somehow finds herself sheltering two more orphans.

Paul Byler moved to Cody’s Creek to help his brother in a time of need. But now that Joseph has recovered from his heart attack, Paul’s ready for a quiet place of his own. The only problem? His new property lands him next door to the orphaned Yoder family—and a calling from God he can’t seem to ignore.

My Comments: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is full of hope during difficult times. Sarah Yoder wormed her way into my heart. This book shows that everybody has a choice and they don’t have to fall into victimization. I love the mix of Plain and Hispanic cultures. I love the hospitality. Several issues are brought to light in this story and handled well: mental illness, physical illness, depression, adoption, and abandonment. Chapman does a great job giving hope through all of these circumstances, and again the Amish way of life is amazing to me! This is quite a different read than most. I could hardly put it down.

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

Return to Paradise by Barbara Cameron

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Return to Paradise

When David Stoltzfus’ father became overly stern and even abusive, he and his siblings did the only thing they knew to do to keep one another safe: they escaped from the Amish community of Paradise, Pennsylvania to a new life in the Englisch world. Leaving the only life they had ever known was hard, especially for David, because leaving Paradise meant leaving Lavina Zook, the woman he planned to wed. A year later, Lavina hasn’t forgiven David for abandoning her, but when his father is diagnosed with cancer she knows she has to get David to come back and make peace with his father before it’s too late. Even if she can get David to return, she’s not sure he will find forgiveness in his heart. She’s not sure she will, either.

My Comments: Reading about real-life issues from the Amish perspective is always interesting to me. I loved this book. It is a book of survival, heart-break, and redemption. I love reading Amish books because they can cut to the issues without all of the garbage – no language or sexual content. The story kept me reading to find out how it was going to end. It’s been a while since I’ve done that – I’ve gotten more hung up on streaming TV series. This was  refreshing change!

The Bishop’s Son by Kelly Irvin

Friday, February 26th, 2016

the bishop's son

Two men offer Leila two very different futures. Will she choose with her heart or with her faith?

Leila Lantz has been in love with Jesse Glick from the day she first saw him at his father’s store, but she can’t make sense of his intentions. One day he wants to come courting, the next he seems to be putting distance between them.

Jesse may be the bishop’s son, but his faith has been wavering of late. If he is so unsure, is it fair to give Leila false hope for a future he doubts he can provide?

Then there’s Will, Jesse’s cousin. He has been trying to keep his feelings for Leila a secret, but he also knows Jesse is wrestling with his faith. Would declaring his feelings for Leila be in her best interest or simply serving his own selfish desires?

Leila knows she can choose Will and be secure in her own future. But when her heart speaks, it’s Jesse’s name she hears. When will God make His will known to her? Could leaving everything she knows—even her own faith—be a part of God’s plan?

My Comments: It took me a little bit to get into this book, but I really liked it. The thought that the Amish would ban or shun a member who got involved in a different church group is unbelievable to me. Also the thought that they feel that they cannot share their faith bothers me. It makes it sound like a cult, which I don’t think technically they are, but to have such great news as our faith in Jesus and not share it, especially with people who may need to hear, bothers me. Personally I am drawn to Jesse, so I am rooting for him throughout the book. I feel that Leila and he are like-minded. Well in order to not spoil the book that is all I will share. This is an interesting book taking things to a different level. I recommend it, especially if you enjoy Amish fiction.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

A Heart Once Broken by Jerry Eicher

Friday, February 5th, 2016

broken

About the book: Cousins Lydia and Sandra Troyer and their friend, Rosemary Beiler have always been close. The two cousins, however, both have eyes for handsome Ezra Wagler, leaving Rosemary to watch from the sidelines. But when the cousins’ fathers face financial ruin, Lydia and Sandra make a deal as to who should have Ezra’s affections…at which point Rosemary decides to make a play for Ezra herself.

My Comments: Lots of drama runs throughout the pages of this book. We definitely see an imperfect Amish community and imperfect Amish families. In and out of the Amish lifestyle we jump with the characters. As I’ve said before, even though the pureness and cleanness of the Amish lifestyle appeals to me, the legalism drives me nutty. I see no earthly explanation from Scripture on why they do certain things. The men have too much power and seem to make all of the important decisions. I could not live that way. Forgiveness is available for certain things but not others.

This is a great book. I love Jerry’s books because he actually lived the Amish lifestyle, so I think they are probably more true to life. He is also a male writer, so things are not quite so romanticized. I look forward to reading each of his books!

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

 

The Restoration by Wanda Brunstetter (Prairie State Friends)

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

restoration

About the Book:

Dive into an Amish country love triangle in this third book of the Prairie State Friends series. Priscilla Herschberger finds herself pursued by Elam, a childhood friend from her community, and David, an outsider raised in the modern world. Elam would do almost anything to convince Priscilla that David would never fit into the Amish way. Will flames of jealousy rage out of control and ruin lives? Can forgiveness allow love and trust to grow?

My Comments: This book was a continuation of the Prairie State Friends series, so many of the characters were familiar. A little drama entered the story as it looked like for most of the book that an Englisher was going to become Amish. The Amish main character did not seem very likable, at least to my way of thinking – very macho (more so than usual for Amish men). I like when a character evokes emotions in me. The story kept me engaged. It was not super predictable. Brunstetter is definitely one of my favorite Amish fiction authors. I recommend it.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion, which I have given.

Amish Christmas North Star – Four Amish Holiday Stories

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

northstar

About the book: One night four lives entered the world by the hands of an Amish midwife, just outside North Star, Pennsylvania.

Rebekah’s Babies, as they are called, are now grown adults and in four heartwarming novellas each young person experiences a journey of discovery, a possibility of love, and the wonder of Christmas.

Guiding Star by Katie Ganshert
Curiosity gets the best of Englischer Chase Wellington when he investigates the twenty-five-year-old disappearance of an Amish baby. When he finds adventurous Elle McAllister in Iowa will his discoveries upend her world?

Mourning Star by Amanda Flower
Eden Hochstetler slips from her parents’ fudge shop to investigate the death of her friend Isaac. Who is guilty? Isaac’s handsome great nephew Jesse, an angry Englischer, or someone else?

In the Stars by Cindy Woodsmall
Heartbroken Kore Detweiler avoids North Star after Savilla Beiler rejects his love. But when he is unexpectedly called to return home, he and Savilla must join forces to keep a family together.

Star of Grace by Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark
Andy Danner left North Star to join a new Amish settlement in Mississippi. His little brother devises a scheme to bring Andy home for Christmas and unwittingly unleashes the power of forgiveness in a reclusive widower’s life.

My Comments: This is a great book by four great authors. I love the way each story intertwines with the other three. The setting of each story is in North Star, Pennsylvania.  Within these four stories we have the themes of  love, romance, mystery, murder, adventure, and loyalty. I have read books by all of the authors and enjoyed them immensely, as I did this anthology. The characters are the same although different ones are emphasized in each story. I love this type of anthology rather than having four completely different stories with four different sets of characters.

If you enjoy Amish fiction and if you enjoy Holiday books, this is one you would enjoy!

I received a copy of this book free of charge for my honest opinion, which I have given.

The Christmas Cradle by Charlotte Hubbard

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

christmas cradle

About the book: For the peaceful town of Willow Ridge, November presents an early holiday surprise. Stranded in the snow, 18-year-old Lena Esh and her boyfriend Josiah Witmer need more than a place to stay for the night. Lena defied her strict family and their judgmental beliefs to run away with Josiah and have his baby. But she’s starting to wonder if he can prove as responsible as he is passionate. And she isn’t sure how—or if—they can ever find a place to truly call home.

Expecting their own miracle baby, Miriam and Ben Hooley rally the town to help the young couple, and Lena draws strength from their unexpected support. Though trouble may come calling, in this season of joyous rebirth, a little child will lead them. And two couples will see their dreams of forever family come true . . .

My Comments: I really enjoyed this book. The main themes were changed lives and forgiveness. The group of Amish highlighted in this book seemed so different than most. They loved, protected, and took care of those the Lord sent their way. By acting this way, they were really able to show the love of Christ when needed the most. The story presents times of suspense, times of joy, times of sadness, and all the other elements that a good story possesses. This is the first Amish novel I’ve read for a while, and it was a winner!

Cindy Woodsmall’s latest – Ties that Bind

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

ties that bind

Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together—or simply tear them apart?

Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.

Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish.
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Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café—because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever.

Ties That Bind is the first novel in the new series, “The Amish of Summer Grove.”

My Comments:  Love this book – what drama! This type of story is so intriguing, I know that if you love Amish fiction + Lifetime movies this is the book for YOU! It has been a long time since I could really stick with a book until the finish, but this book kept me engaged. Of course, Cindy Woodsmall is one of my fav authors of Amish fiction. Included within the covers is plenty of drama and mystery. Quill is a very likable character as is Ariana. I am anxious to hear more of Quill’s story. I feel like much has been left unsaid. The end of this book was less than satisfying and I can’t wait for the next installment to be published. There is so much story to be told…I wonder if this will be a trilogy or more even. I better end before I give away too much of the story.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

***The good news is I have one or two books to giveaway! Please just leave a comment about why you love Amish fiction and I’ll use random.org to choose a winner. I will choose a winner October 1.

 

Kim Vogel Sawyer’s When Grace Sings

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

when grace sings

When trouble roars into quiet Arborville, Alexa and Anna-Grace find themselves the target for discord and exposed secrets. Can they continue to seek the God of all grace amidst the fog of confusion?

Alexa Zimmerman wonders if the Old Order Mennonite community in Arborville, Kansas will ever fully accept her. Her family roots here aren’t what anyone thought when she first arrived, but she is hopeful that her culinary and hospitality skills will win the skeptics over. The bed-and-breakfast she’s operating needs to succeed so Alexa agrees to allow Briley Forrester, the hotshot reporter from Chicago, to stay as a long-term boarder not knowing his real motives for being amongst the Plain folk.

But when Alexa agrees to host her cousin Anna-Grace Braun, the presence of extended family brings out Alexa’s insecurities and sets Briley on the trail to uncovering a web of hidden truths.

Plans for a secure future and the sweetness of young romance hang in the balance when Alexa and Anna-Grace have to face that their secrets are interconnected, binding the two in ways they could not have imagined. They must trust in a loving, heavenly Father and His plan for their futures.

My comments: This was an interesting, engaging read – a mix of English, Amish, and Mennonite groups. It was written by multiple points of view but clearly labeled so it wasn’t confusing. The characters were extremely likable and open to change which served the story well. I love the idea of a Bed and Breakfast story line and setting and this one did not disappoint. The Englishers whose car broke down and subsequently visited for a few days added modern times to a story that was basically steeped in the past (Amish and Mennonite faiths seem to be like a step back in time). Briley, looking for dirt on these groups, was charming most of the time, but he was surprised at all he found out during his visit. The story moved along well with many surprised embedded along the way. I recommend this book to Amish fiction and romance book lovers!

I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

Amy Clipston’s – A Simple Prayer

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

prayer

About the book:

Linda is no stranger to hardship. Now she dares to hope for a chance at love and a new beginning.

As the sole survivor of a buggy accident that left her orphaned at age four, Linda Zook was reluctantly raised by her Uncle Reuben. She longs to be worthy of someone, but the lasting trauma of her injuries and embittered upbringing have destroyed her self-worth. When Hannah Peterson asks her to work at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast, she’s finally able to realize some confidence.

Aaron Ebersol left the Amish community seventeen years ago when he could no longer bear the restrictions or the constant tension with his father. Despite years of unanswered letters to his parents and the roots he’s put down in Missouri, Aaron rushes back to the Amish community of Paradise, Pennsylvania, after receiving word of his mother’s stroke. Hesitant to get too close to the family he was once a part of, he decides to stay at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast. Talking with Linda allows him to explore his feelings about his family and his position in the Amish community.

As Linda and Aaron open up to each other, their feelings for one another turn into more than friendship, and Aaron must make a decision about his future as an Amish man.

Can Linda and Aaron forgive the family members who have deceived and forsaken them? And will Aaron be able to convince Linda that she is worthy of his love?

My Comments: I took a break from reading Amish fiction and came back to read this great one! To be Amish, or not to be Amish – that is the question! I could hardly put this book down. The ending (which wrapped up the whole series – Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel), kept me in tears. Needless to say, it was a cathartic read. Bitterness pays a high price as was played out in the characters of this story. Linda is an amazing character – someone I’d like to be like when I grow up 🙂 I wish real life could be like these books – sometimes it is, that is our hope.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review which I have given – great read – especially for fans of Amish fiction. Thank you Amy Clipston for another engaging story!