An Amish Garden
By Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller,
Tricia Goyer, and Vannetta Chapman
Thomas Nelson, 2014
An Amish Garden is a collection of stories from four talented and popular authors: Beth Wiseman, Vannetta Chapman, Kathleen Fuller, and Tricia Goyer. Uplifting and encouraging, these stories emphasize aspects of faith and simple living.
I started reading this book in the middle of an extremely busy time in my life, and found it so relaxing and enjoyable, peaceful and inspiring. Each story is well written, with characters and plot that left me wanting more. This is one of the best collections I've read in a long time.
Vannetta writes: "Gardens are a place of comfort for many of us. For Amish families, they are also a source of nourishment, a family gathering place, and sometimes a place where healing can be found." And she is exactly right, because when I reflect on the word garden, this is what comes to mind: beauty, sustenance, new life, God's provision, sanctuary.
Let me first confess that I am not a gardener in any sense of the word, yet I love to gaze on the beauty of a simple daffodil that my husband picked for me. And vegetable gardens remind me of the years when my Dad came home from a long day's work and delayed his supper until he had spent several hours tilling and planting our family garden. Or working beside my mother and grandmother in the canning/freezing process. So while An Amish Garden entertained and inspired, it also brought back treasured memories with loved ones I look forward to seeing in heaven someday.
“Rooted in Love” Beth Wiseman
Rosemary is doing her best to run her family’s household. She excels at all her tasks except one: gardening. Saul has been interested in her for years, but Rosemary has turned him down repeatedly. Saul begins helping with her family’s garden, but someone is sabotaging his efforts—and keeping a secret that could change their lives.
I was drawn to Saul and Rosemary, loved the chemistry between them. Many readers will identify with Rosemary's spiritual growth as she comes to realize that she can't have it all, but that's okay. Contentment only comes from a close relationship with God and finding that what He provides is more fulfilling than anything we could desire.
"Flowers for Rachael" Kathleen Fuller
Rachael’s garden is beautiful, but she is lonely. Gideon is in love with Rachael, but when Rachael finds her garden in shambles after a crisis, she rejects his help. Will she realize she doesn’t have to do everything on her own?
This sweet story has a delightful twist toward the end. I also loved the way Kathleen began each chapter with a quote. This one by Martin Luther was a favorite: "God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars."
Typical Amish garden
“Seeds of Love” Tricia Goyer
When a corporation shows interest in buying Sadie’s heirloom seeds, she panics. They are all she has left of her Dat and Mem. Eli believes he can help Sadie, but a misunderstanding leaves her heartbroken. Will she trust him again, and will the seeds of a new relationship take root?
An enchanting bachelor scribe who writes for The Budget, heirloom tomato seeds passed down through generations, Amish proverbs - there's so much to learn and enjoy in Tricia's story! How true this proverb is: "A garden is a way of showing that you believe in tomorrow." This story also has a surprising twist at the end, and a lesson that we often find difficult to accept expressed in Sadie's words: "What I tried to hold on to, I lost. What was given up - shared - is the only thing that was saved."
“Where Healing Blooms” Vannetta Chapman
Emma discovers a run-away teen in her barn, and the bishop asks her to provide a haven for a woman and her two children. Then her mother-in-law reveals a secret about her garden. Will Emma choose loneliness or learn to accept God’s gifts?
I can't put my finger on how she does it, but Vannetta has a unique way of writing that makes me care about the characters on the page and feel their emotions. And she injects a subtle humor that kept me smiling as I turned each page.
I love it when an author uses an older couple as leading characters, and I don't see how anyone can help but be drawn to Emma and Danny. The relationship between Emma and her mom, Mary Ann, is touching, almost hitting a little close to home for me at times - but in a good way.
Of all the things that spoke to me in this story, I think it's the idea that no matter our age, God isn't through with us. If we can just be completely open, we might be shocked at how God blesses and uses our surrendered lives!
An Amish Garden is a thoroughly enjoyable read, one that I highly recommend.
Connect with Kathleen at kathleenfuller.com
Thank you to Vannetta Chapman and Thomas Nelson Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.