Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Review: The Courtship Basket

The Courtship Basket
By Amy Clipston
Amish Heirloom, #2
Zondervan, 2016


Years ago, a picnic basket brought two hearts together. For Rachel and Mike, history may be about to repeat itself.

Rachel Fisher is devastated when the young man she’s loved for years leaves her to date her best friend. Her heart is broken, and she has all but given up on love. Determined to keep her mind off the pain, she starts teaching at an Amish school for children with learning disabilities.

Since his father became ill, Mike Lantz has been overwhelmed with the responsibility of providing for his family and caring for his six-year-old brother, John. When John joins Rachel’s class and she learns that his mother is deceased and his father sick, she desperately wants to help the family, even with something as simple as a meal.

With her parents’ old picnic basket, Rachel begins sending food to the Lantz family. As the weeks go by, John’s grades start to improve, and the attraction grows between Rachel and Mike. They can’t deny that their friendship is growing toward something more, but both of them are hesitant to risk a more serious relationship.

The last thing Rachel wants is another heartbreak, and Mike is worried about providing for his loved ones. Will the two be able to reconcile their past hurts with new hope for the future?

My thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed The Courtship Basket, just as I have all that I’ve read by Amy Clipston so far. Like Amy’s other stories, The Courtship Basket has a realness to it, rather than “candy coating” the Amish lifestyle. Characters not only aren’t perfect, but they struggle with the same life issues that we all face, and I always gain wisdom from watching how they deal with these situations.

I like how, without rehashing a lot from the previous book in the Amish Heirloom series, Amy gives just enough background that this second book can easily stand alone. The main characters, Rachel Fisher and Mike Lantz, are good, kind, and caring people – so easy to relate to and take into your heart. Both want to be in a loving relationship eventually, but are hesitant to enter into a relationship at the current time. The story opens at Veronica’s wedding, where Rachel discovers that she has been doubly betrayed by both her boyfriend of four years and a best friend. Due to his father’s serious illness, Mike finds himself providing for his younger brother while taking care of his father at the same time.

One thing I admire so much about the Amish is the way they pitch in to take care of each other without complaint, and I loved the “courtship basket” idea. On the surface, it was a way for Rachel to use her cooking skills to provide warm meals for Mike’s family, meeting a huge need. But deeper down, it became a mediator or go-between in their relationship. This was a message I could take to heart.

There’s also an extremely personal element to this story for Amy, because Mike’s father suffers from kidney disease, something that is very close to Amy’s heart. That emotion came across beautifully in her writing, and I hope you’ll take time to watch the video below as Amy shares from her heart. Also, Mike’s young brother, John, struggles with learning disabilities, something very close to my heart. It was so easy for me to identify with John and I enjoyed seeing how the Amish gave special attention to these children. Rachel’s desire to help John and their growing friendship was especially touching.

At one point in the story, as Mike wrestles with his feelings for Rachel, Sam offers this advice: “If it’s meant to be, then God will guide your path to her.” Words of wisdom for Mike and for us also, as we often find it hard to give God control in every situation.

The Courtship Basket is a sweet story with moments that make you reflect on life, and I enjoyed it very much. I also look forward to Emily’s story in The Cherished Quilt, due to be released in November 2016.


Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and three spoiled rotten cats.

Thank you to Amy Clipston and Zondervan for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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