Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Review: Room on the Porch Swing by Amy Clipston

Room on the Porch Swing
By Amy Clipston
Amish Homestead #2
Zondervan, 2018


Ever since her best friend died six months ago, Laura Reihl has vowed to make each day count. And that means she should probably break off her relationship with Rudy. They’ve been together for so many years, and his friendship means the world to her. But she knows friendship doesn’t come close to the fireworks of true love, and she’s not really feeling the fireworks.

So when Savilla’s widower, Allen, asks her to help him take care of the baby Savilla left behind, Laura jumps at the chance. Maybe the change of scenery will help her gain perspective on her relationship with Rudy. And she’d do anything to help Allen out—he’s always been a good friend to her, and he’s Rudy’s best friend as well.

When she arrives at Allen’s house, though, she finds a man she barely recognizes. Allen is distraught over his wife’s death, blaming himself for not taking her to the doctor soon enough.

As Laura helps Allen work through his grief, she remembers just how easy he is to talk to. And she discovers an attraction she’s never felt with Rudy. She can’t be falling for Allen, can she? It would be a betrayal to the two people she’s care most about, Savilla and Rudy. But if she denies her feelings, is she betraying herself?

My thoughts

Room on the Porch Swing, book #2 in Amy Clipston’s Amish Homestead series, is a moving, heartwarming story of loss, hope, and renewal. Laura Riehl steps up to help care for a widower’s young child and develops unexpected feelings in the process. The narrative is simply about day-to-day life, a creatively gifted style of writing in which Clipston excels. She always pulls me into her stories, allowing me to know and care about the characters, as well as any author I’ve ever read. I also love the cozy “porch swing” imagery in the title, which evokes many treasured family memories for me.

In a story that begins with heartbreaking tragedy, hope is always before the reader’s eyes. I always find the Amish way of grieving, while accepting God’s will at the same time, to be inspiring. And the various ways in which the community ministered to Allen is something all Christians can relate to, especially those who have found it difficult to converse in the same way as before and find relationships strained or changed as a result.

Allen’s little girl, Mollie, completely stole my heart and it was no surprise to see a close bond developing between Laura and Mollie. Thrown into the mix is Rusty, Laura’s boyfriend for four years. I wasn’t sure whether her boyfriend was going to grow up and win her affections, or if Allen would capture her heart. And at times, I thought Laura was awfully na├»ve not to understand how her relationship with Allen and Mollie might look to the community and how it was hurting Rusty. But just as in life, it all evolves just as God intended.

I’m really enjoying the Riehl siblings in the Amish Homestead series, which started with Jamie in the previous book. I especially like Laura’s intuitive twin, Mark, and am eager for his story that comes next – A Seat at the Hearth. (Please click on the title to see my review of Jamie’s story in book #1, A Place at Our Table.)

Recommended to all who enjoy Amish fiction.

I received an electronic copy of this book through Amy Clipston and NetGalley. 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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