Monday, April 30, 2018

Review: An Amish Heirloom

An Amish Heirloom
By Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman,
Kathleen Fuller, and Kelly Irvin
Zondervan, 2018

An Amish Heirloom is a wonderfully entertaining read, one of my favorites among Amish novella collections. I think there’s something not only nostalgic, but meaningful when it comes to treasured family heirlooms, which is what makes this collection special. With these four outstanding authors, it’s no wonder that each story is well written, uplifting, and moving in its own way.

A Legacy of Love by Amy Clipston – Local volunteer fire fighter Leon King agrees to repair his ex-girlfriend Susie Bontrager’s grandparents’ antique rocking chairs for her future home with her fiancĂ© and is forced to acknowledge that his feelings for her have not quite gone away. As Susie spends time with Leon, she begins to recognize she is marrying the wrong man for all the wrong reasons.

My thoughts …

Every pot has a lid. Now we just need to find your lid.”

Written straight from the heart, Amy Clipston’s touching story features a sincere young man trying to correct a mistake from the past. There’s great chemistry between Leon and Susie, as well as tension. Susie’s rocking chairs, “a legacy of love from Susie’s grandparents, became what Leon needed to ask for her forgiveness and prove just how much he cared for her.” I loved his words to her … “These chairs are like me. They’re flawed and imperfect, but they’re sturdy and reliable, like my love for you. I will make mistakes, but I’ll always be here if you’ll have me.” Such an inspirational love story!

The Cedar Chest by Beth Wiseman - Decades after inheriting her great grandmother’s cedar chest, Emma Fisher decides to pry it open only to discover a beautiful love story in the form of letters between her great grandparents. But as Emma immerses herself in their story, family secrets are revealed, and she must decide whether to share them to preserve family history or honor her great grandparents’ decision to leave them hidden.

My thoughts …

Catherine didn’t like herself any better than she liked
Abram lately. The bitterness that had subtly crept into
their lives was now festering like an infection.

     One wouldn’t think the novella format offers enough time or depth for a dual timeline, but it works extremely well here. While reading through newly-discovered letters written between Emma’s great grandparents, which reveal a family secret in themselves, Catherine is able to open up to her mom about her own troubled marriage. 
     There’s some great nuggets of wisdom and inspiration to dwell upon in this fascinating story, such as Pastor Ronald’s words … “When a kindness is done to a person, that person needs to carry it with him until he sees fit to double the kindness for someone in need.” And can everyone say Amen! to the truth in this thought: “Marriage is an ongoing education of another person’s feelings.”

The Treasured Book by Kathleen Fuller - For the past two years, Shane Broyles has felt God leading him to join the Amish. He’s staying with his friends Noah and Ivy Schlabach in Birch Creek, OH, where he is reunited with Lucy Fisher, an old friend of Noah’s family. Shane and Lucy have never revealed their feelings for each other, but when they stumble upon an antique Bible at a flea market, they feel drawn to each other and to the mystery of the contents found within.

My thoughts …

Birch Creek didn’t just have the appearance of humility and
simple living – its people walked and breathed it.

Shane and Lucy come across so realistically that I know them and am sure readers can easily relate to their characters. Shane had always tried to make himself fit the expectations and goals of others, while Lucy selflessly put the needs of her parents ahead of her own. I love that the heirloom here is an antique Bible and that Shane is seeking a closer walk with God through the simplicity of the Amish faith. I really enjoyed this story.

The Midwife’s Dream by Kelly Irvin - Iris Beachy serves as a midwife in her district where she longs for a family of her own. When her friend’s brother Mahon Kurtz seeks her help in delivering the baby of two young teenagers who have sought refuge in their town, they begin to see each other in a different light. Unprepared for parenthood, the young couple leave their baby girl behind in an antique crib quilt resembling the one destined for Iris when she becomes a mother. Mahon and Iris come together to take care of the baby as they try to find her parents, and they begin to see new possibilities for their future.

My thoughts …

It’s more than a quilt that warms a baby on a winter
night. It reminds us that behind our faith and community,
family is most important to us.”

This might be the most emotionally captivating story of all, because of its themes – the need to patiently wait on God’s timing, something we all probably struggle with, but even more impactful is the wisdom and courage to release a person because they belong to someone else. Mahon and Iris are great leading characters with tangible chemistry, and I have to say that Mahon stole my heart. I rarely use the word swoonworthy, but that’s the only way to describe one kissing scene. Iris and Mahon’s story is beautifully reflective of God’s will in God’s time, a touching conclusion to this wonderful collection.

Highly recommended.

I received an electronic copy of this book from Amy Clipston and Zondervan Publishing. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


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.

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Beth Wiseman is the best-selling author of the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series. Having sold almost two million books, her novels have held spots on the Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller List, the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) Bestseller List and the CBA (Christian Book Association) Bestseller List. She was the recipient of the prestigious Carol Award in 2011 and 2013. She is a three-time winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and an INSPY Award winner. In 2013 she took home the coveted Holt Medallion. Her first book in the Land of Canaan series—Seek Me With All Your Heart—was selected as the 2011 Women of Faith Book of the Year. 

Beth and her husband are empty nesters enjoying country life in Texas.

-- I started writing January 1, 2000. New year, new millennium, new career.
-- I’m a former special education teacher, specializing in teaching the blind and visually impaired.
-- I was born in New Orleans, LA, raised in Little Rock, AR, was an Ohio transplant for twenty-two years, and am now back in Arkansas empty nesting it with my husband, James.
-- James and I have three awesome kids. Yes, they really are awesome.
-- I love chocolate. ‘Nuff said.

Kelly Irvin is the author of more than a dozen Amish books. Her latest release is Upon a Spring Breeze, the first novel in the Every Amish Season series from Zondervan/HarperCollins Christian Publishing.

The Kansas native is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism. She has been writing nonfiction professionally for more than thirty years, including ten years as a newspaper reporter. She retired in 2016 after working 22 years in public relations for the City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department. She is a member of ACFW and Alamo City Christian Fiction Writers. In her spare time, she blogs, reads fiction, and loves her family.

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