Christmas, Hope, and Romance Abounds

 Book Reviews, Book Sneeze  Comments Off on Christmas, Hope, and Romance Abounds
Nov 282010

Life is hardly ever tied up in neat little packages with a very pretty bow on it, no matter what your faith is. Sometimes, it is all we can do to move on from the past, forgive others, see the change in others and be open to what God is trying to tell us or lead us to.  Such is the lives of the four Amish ladies in An Amish Christmas, a collection of four novellas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Barbara Cameron and Kelly Long.

The first novella is A Miracle for Miriam by Kathleen Fuller. Can Miriam find it within to see herself the way others see her? Can she move on from the pain of a past rejection and open herself up to love? And has Seth really changed? Having struggled with self-worth in the past, and still do occasionally, this story rings true in how one who has a lower self-worth thinks and feels.

A Choice to Forgive by Beth Wiseman is the second novella in the book.  Can Lydia forgive her brother-in-law and her late husband for events in the past?  Decisions were made that affected her life and she had no idea about them until too late.  Can she forgive and move on?

Sarah lost her first child to miscarriage a year ago. Due to circumstances beyond her control, she finds herself playing midwife to Englischers in the middle of a blizzard on Christmas.  Can this baby change not only her life and help her find healing, but also the the Englisch couple whom Sarah and her husband are helping, will they be brought closer together or farther apart in how they wish to raise their child? These questions are answered in One Child by Barbara Cameron

Christmas Cradles is a fourth, bonus novella added to the book.  It is by Kelly Long. Anna is substituting for her Aunt Ruth overnight as the area’s midwife.  Of course, it is the worst blizzard to hit in ages, and of course, everyone who could possibly be in labor is. Two births are dramatic and scary from a medical perspective, can Anna help these mothers whom have no other option for medical care due to being stranded in the blizzard? Can Asa who is escorting Anna around the area be open to the plans God has for him and be able to let go of his past? Can Anna see the circumstances she is in as being brought about by the hand of God?

This collection of novellas was very easy to read. I received the book on Friday and had it finished Saturday night.  The stories are warm, light hearted and full of hope.  However, being novellas, they are all rather short in length and the events, conflicts and subsequent resolutions all happen very rapidly. I would have loved to have these four stories more drawn out and much longer, but for the purpose of this book, I understand why they weren’t.  Also, the ends of each of the stories, eludes to what would be coming next, and lets you finish it yourself. The conclusions are good, they just don’t leave you at the end of the stories.

Until I received An Amish Christmas, I had never read anything by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller and Barbara Cameron before. I thouroughly enjoyed their writing styles and story telling techniques and will be finding more of their work to read.

This book is a great book if you want or need a quick diversion during this time of year when life is going to quickly. It would also make a great gift for the person on your list who enjoys stories about the Amish and romances.

I was given a copy of An Amish Christmas series of 4 novellas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Barbara Cameron and Kelly Long by Thomas Nelson as a part of their Book Sneeze program.  All opinions are mine and mine alone, and no other compensation was received..

Sep 072010

I was so excited to open my mailbox a few weeks ago to find an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of Beverly Lewis’s new book The Thorn which is the first book in the new Rose Trilogy. My expectations for this book were met and exceeded.

Have you ever known what you wanted, and yet didn’t? Were so sure of the path your life was to take, and yet found yourself questioning if this way was the right way? Have you ever wanted to just forsake it all and start over? I’m sure most of us have at one point or another. It is no different for others, no matter what their culture and religious belief. Meet Rose and Hen. Two sisters with a lot of the same questions. A lot of the what ifs. What if that accident had never happened? What if Hen hadn’t met him? What if the Bishop and his family hadn’t taken in that foster son? Questions that really can’t get answered in this life.

Rose wonders how her life had turned out if her mom hadn’t of had that accident eleven years ago. Would she have been married by now? Would Hen have left home and their community? Rose finds herself caring for her frail mother after Hen leaves home prior to joining church to marry a man outside their faith. Her best friend is the Bishop’s foster son whom everyone says is up to no good. Then, Rose gains employment for the mysterious Englisch widower a few miles away. What is he hiding?

This story is riveting. I was drawn in and became a part of it. It was like I was a part of the Kauffman family, sharing their sorrows and joys. I love books that make me feel like I am a part of the story. I was so glad to finish it, yet I was also upset that I was done at the same time and I have to wait for the sequel.

This book is about so many things. The themes include faith, family, tradition, childrearing, duty and honor. These are all addressed within the context of the story unobtrusively. The plot isn’t contrived like other works of fiction I have read and the story flows beautifully.

I believe that a good work of fiction is more than just “brain candy.” While I do enjoy reading some “fluff” on occasion, I have never found Beverly Lewis’s writing to be such. The stories she tells are engaging, yet still impart important lessons for everyone.

I highly recommend this book. It is engaging, entertaining and insightful. Even if you have never read any of her work before, this is a great one to start with. And if you are like me, you will be anxiously awaiting the release date for the sequel.

I was given an Advanced Readers Copy of The Thorn written by Beverly Lewis from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my reading it and writing and publishing an honest review. All opinions are mine and mine alone. No other compensation was received..