An Amish Family Christmas: Heart of Christmas\A Plain Holiday (Love Inspired) by Marta Perry and Patricia Davids is a book with two novellas about Christmas.
Heart of Christmas, the first novella is, by Marta Perry.
Susannah Miller was the teacher at Pine Creek Amish School. The job was a great consolation after her fiancée, Toby Unger, left her just days before their wedding. Toby had fled to another Amish community, and while there married another woman and fathered two children. With the help of her best friend, Becky Shuler, Susannah had finally moved on from her heartbreak of ten years ago, or so she thought.
Susannah and Becky are decorating the school for the Christmas pageant when James Keim, a new resident and school board member, tells her he is doing everything he can to ensure this year’s Christmas pageant would be cancelled. According to him, it was too worldly. He then told her that her job was in jeopardy. Susannah suspects it was because he wanted to replace her with his daughter, Mary.
Imagine her surprise when a short time later, in walks Toby Unger. And at his side are his two children, Anna and William, ready to be enrolled in her class. Susannah had heard Toby’s wife had passed away recently, but she never expected to see him and his children back in Pine Creek, and especially not having his children enrolled in her school.
Things are quickly deteriorating for Susannah; her perfectly ordered world is beginning to crumble. Reeling from shock, she did the only thing she could, put on a brave face.
As Christmas gets closer, things begin to fall apart around Susannah. Toby’s son, William, is a thorn in her side as he causes constant turmoil in her class. Anna is too shy to look at her or befriend other students, and the Christmas play is still in danger of cancellation.
Heart of Christmas is a quick read and inspiring story of dealing with hardships and the forgiveness necessary to move on with one’s life.
A Plain Holiday, by Patricia Davids, is the second Christmas novella.
Sally Yoder is in her rumspringa or “running around” time. Rumspringa is the period of time when Amish youth have more freedom in order to decide if they want to be baptized into the Amish church. She’s enjoying the freedom of not having to keep her unruly red hair in a kapp (a prayer covering or cap worn by Amish women). She also enjoys being able to wear Englischer (non-Amish) clothes.
Sally always knew she would not stay Amish, so when a nanny position opened up in another city, she knew it fit her goals perfectly. She’s hired to be a nanny to Kimi Higgins and Ryder Higgins, the somewhat spoiled and materialistic children of a wealthy family.
She left her community in desperation trying to avoid Ben Lapp, a young man she shamelessly threw herself at during her younger years. She had used the ruse to keep Amish boys from becoming interested in her because she did not want to remain Amish.
The Higgins decided they are going to Paris for Christmas; however, they do not plan to take Kimi and Ryder with them. Instead they are going, along with Sally, to visit one of their grandmothers at her farm in Ohio.
Sally did not realize Ben was now working for the Higgins’ grandmother as a stable hand. In addition, she wants nothing to do with him now, but she has no way to avoid seeing him every day.
One day, she is coerced into going on a Christmas tree hunt with Ben, Kimi and Ryder. They had planned to visit the children’s other grandmother, who is Amish, for a little while before returning home. A freak snowstorm causes them all to be stranded at the home of the children’s Amish grandmother. Sally was not prepared, nor did she want to be, stranded for days with the trio along with the children’s Amish grandmother.
Ben Lapp avoids her at all costs, because he does not want to “encourage” her behavior. Even though Sally assures him there is nothing to fear from her, Ben still treats her warily as he is unable to forget her earlier behavior toward him.
A Plain Holiday is another quick read and lesson on how prior behavior can affect future circumstances, and make it difficult to move on.
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.