MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Amish Christmas Gift by Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, and Kelly Irvin

ISBN: 9780718039653
Publisher's Synopsis:
Naomi’s Gift by Amy Clipston
Naomi has begun to believe that she isn’t meant to find love,
 but she might receive more than she has ever hoped for this Christmas.
Twenty-four-year-old Naomi King has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches, Naomi is certain that her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family’s quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down.

An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid
Abigail has driven other suitors away, but can Micah find a way to show her he cares?
Being a caregiver for Micah Zook’s grandmother is the answer to Abigail’s prayers. In fact, the elderly lady keeps finding ways to set Abigail up with her grandson. Despite Abigail’s constant chatter, Micah realizes he’s beginning to care for her—until he makes a decision that leaves her feeling betrayed. With Christmas in their midst, can Micah find a way to reconcile with Abigail and to reveal the true feelings of his heart?

A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin
Frannie Mast returns to Bee County for Christmas, but her heart stays back in Missouri with an Englisch farm boy.
Frannie knows her parents have the best of intentions when they send her back to Bee County, Texas, to live with her aunt and her aunt’s new husband Mordecai. After all, Frannie knows nothing can come of a relationship with Rocky, the handsome Englisch farm boy back in Missouri. But all bets are off when Rocky follows Frannie to Texas to plead his case. Could he be the Christmas gift to end all gifts?

MrsK's Review:
Sometimes during the late evenings you want to unwind with stories that will touch your heart. That will give you sense of peace beyond the "hustle and bustle" of the season. Each of these stories will provide just the right blend of joy and strength for the days ahead.

Naomi's Gift is so precious. What begins with a father and daughter returning home for the holidays quickly turns into a beautifully quilted awakening to a life awaiting discovery. Penned with a Victorian quality, this Amish love story will be a story worth re-reading every season. As if the story was a designed quilt, Naomi and Caleb's discoveries are stitched together with delicately detailed word choice and exquisite patches of life.
"Being surrounded by family warmed his soul,
and he thanked God for the opportunity to spend
Christmas with them."

An Unexpected Joy is a perfected story about a young woman's discovery within her spirit. For Abigail, her own horse would provide freedom to live without the need of securing a man. For Micah, hiring Abigail to watch over his grandmother meant he could get his orders filled quickly without interruptions. For Edith, Abigail would be the renewing spirit of hope... friendship... and a soul worth mentoring.
"She lifted her face to the cloudless blue sky.
She was thankful for the simple way her people celebrated Christmas.
Sharing a large meal, exchanging practical, homemade gifts,
and reflecting on our Savior's birth."

A Christmas Visitor arrives in a small Amish community with the determination to know them, their customs, their way of living, and their God. For Frannie there are so many doubts about Rocky even though her heart cries for him to be the one God has chosen for her. For her family and her Amish community, Rocky seems honest, dedicated, and committed. Yet, becoming Amish rarely is achieved. For training and guidance, Rocky turns to the elders Mordecai and Caleb in order to walk in their ways: "Nothing is more important than your path with God. Our journey through this world is short. You'll need that to navigate." For Frannie, Susan and her Aunt Abigail's proven words of wisdom will resonate deeply within her mind, her heart, and her soul: "Be patient. Wait to see what He has in store for you. It'll be greater than anything you can imagine for yourself."
"God, if you're really there, help me.
I'm too stupid to figure this out.
I need a hint."     

During this season of giving, gifting, and sharing... be good to yourself and take some moments with these seasonal joys.
"God makes each snowflake different, yet it all blends into a beautiful landscape of snow... 
It's one reason I like winter."
An Unexpected Joy
Delightful Christmas reading.
A treasury worth keeping and passing on! 
Meet the Authors:
Get to Know Amy Clipston  Amy Clipston is a native of New Jersey, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I often joke that my fiction writing “career” began in elementary school as I wrote and shared silly stories with a close friend. However throughout school, I only considered writing a hobby, and I never dreamt of being an author. My dream came true when I sold my first book in 2007. Holding my first book, A Gift of Grace, in my hands was exhilarating and surreal.

I love writing about the Amish, and an Amish friend in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, reads my manuscripts for accuracy. I was always fascinated with the Amish when I was a child. I remember visiting Lancaster County, and my father, who was a German immigrant, told me that the Amish speak the same dialect of German as my relatives. I was drawn to their simplicity and faith. Due to my German heritage, I feel a loose connection to the Amish and their culture.
"My plots come straight from my heart and all involve family issues intertwined with faith."

  Ruth Reid: After finishing my first 100,000 word manuscript, I bought the book, The 38 Most Common Fiction Mistakes (and how to avoid them) by Jack Bickham. My book had 36 of the mistakes listed. At least, I knew enough not to pursue an agent with it—or—hold on to it so tight that I would spend years trying to fix it. A clean page was the answer. I tossed that book in the closet and started something different.

The next book came after several bawling sessions with God over computer problems. When I finally dried my eyes, I sat down and wrote a book in eight weeks. That one I liked, and it was clean of the 38 common fiction errors, so I started my search for an agent.
I found Mary Sue Seymour in a Writer's Digest article. She was one of the agents listed who accepted new authors. My husband told me I was wasting money on the magazine, assuming she wouldn't accept my unsolicited manuscript. He was wrong. That was the best $5.99 I had ever spent.

Not long after signing with the Seymour Agency, I sold my first book, A Promise of an Angel to Thomas Nelson. The simplicity of the Amish lifestyle has intrigued me for years. While attending college at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, I lived with retired dairy farmers and had the opportunity to meet many of the Amish in the area. I'll never forget skipping classes one day to watch a barn raising. I was amazed at the craftsmanship without use of power tools. I'm still intrigued today. I love learning about their firm devotion to God and to each other. I'm blessed for the friendships formed in the process of writing my books.

Kelly Irvin: Kelly Irvin  is the author of the critically acclaimed The Beekeeper’s Son, called “a beautifully woven masterpiece” by Publishers Weekly. The book is the first of three in The Amish of Bee County series from Zondervan/HarperCollins. Kelly also penned the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both from Harvest House Publishing. She has also authored two inspirational romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.

The Kansas native is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism. She wrote nonfiction professionally for more than thirty years, including ten years as a newspaper reporter, mostly in Texas-Mexico border towns. She has worked in public relations for the City of San Antonio for twenty-one years. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and serves as secretary of the local chapter, Alamo Christian Fiction Writers.

Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-seven years. They have two grown adult children, two grandchildren, two cats, and a tank full of fish. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors.

"I received this book for free from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

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