A Seat by the Hearth, by Amy Clipston, introduces us to Priscilla Allgyer along with her six-year-old son, Ethan. Priscilla, having fled her Amish roots, feels she must return to the Amish and their way of life in order to protect herself and her child.
I loved Ethan. A precocious child who loves easily, Ethan is able to leap from an Englisher (non-Amish) lifestyle to Amish with no problems or qualms and is thrilled to be learning more about horses from a grandfather he never knew he had.
I enjoyed Mark Riehl’s character, too. He came across as a flighty, flirty “playboy” type. However, deep down inside he had a heart of gold and a huge protective streak.
Clipston deals with several tough subjects in sensitive, sympathetic and insightful ways. The issue of domestic abuse is never an easy one to address, whether in fiction or real life, yet with Clipston’s portrayal, we can more fully understand Priscilla’s dilemmas. The issues of shunning, fear, trust and faith all complicate Priscilla’s life.
As with all of her books, Clipston pulls you into the story and doesn’t let go. You are left thinking about the stories, long after you have finished the books.
I received this book from Zondervan through NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.
Priscilla Allgyer knows she cannot leave the past behind. But can love lead her toward the promise of healing?
Priscilla Allgyer left the community to escape the expectations of Amish life. Now, years later, she is forced to return—along with her six-year-old son—to the place she thought she’d left behind forever. Though once estranged from her family, Priscilla is welcomed by her mother, but her father is cold and strict. He allows Priscilla to stay with them provided she dresses plainly, confesses her sins, and agrees to marry within the community. Once again, she feels suffocated, trapped, and alone.
As Priscilla reluctantly completes her shunning, she catches the eye of Mark Riehl, a farmer with a playboy reputation. Wary of Mark, Priscilla barely gives him the time of day—while Mark, unused to being ignored by the women of Bird-in-Hand, won’t give up the pursuit of her friendship. Priscilla desperately needs a friend in Mark, even if she doesn’t realize it—and after Priscilla’s father and the bishop catch her and Mark in a compromising situation, their relationship becomes more complicated than ever.
As affection quietly grows between them, Priscilla struggles to open her heart and reveal the painful secrets of her past. As Mark works to earn her good faith, can they both learn the hard lessons of love and trust? And can two friends discover a happiness that only God himself could have designed? The third book in the Amish Homestead series, A Seat by the Hearth invites us back to the Lancaster community where friendships are forged, and love overcomes all.