Room on the Porch Swing (An Amish Homestead Novel Book 2) by Amy Clipston

My Review

Oh, my! Amy Clipston gets the waterworks going in the first chapter, and it continues into the second chapter, so be sure to have your Kleenex ready. However, DON’T let this stop you from reading Room on the Porch Swing!

Clipston writes a story of tragedy with keen insights and observations. She brings just the right notes of loss, despair and healing to the novel.

I felt for each of the characters and their struggles; my heart especially broke for little baby Mollie. I cheered for some people, who exhibited kindness and compassion, and booed at others while wondering how they could be so blind, indifferent and callous.

I also relished seeing more of the individuals from A Place at Our Table, and even though Room on the Porch Swing is the second in the series, it works well as a standalone.

I have always enjoyed the books Amy Clipston writes. She doesn’t shy away from difficult, stressful situations and weaves wondrous tales of love, redemption and Biblical values without being didactic.

Room on the Porch Swing is Amy Clipston’s second novel in the Amish Homestead series.

I received this book from NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

When tragedy strikes, can two young Amish people find the hope that lies on the other side?

Laura Riehl is no stranger to heartache. Less than a year after her mother’s death, Laura finds herself burying another loved one: her best friend, Savilla, who has died after a brief and sudden illness. Laura feels heartbroken and alone, but her pain is nothing compared to that of Allen, the husband Savilla has left behind. He now faces a life so different from the one he imagined—plus a baby to care for on his own.

When Laura offers to help Allen with baby Mollie, he jumps at the opportunity until a permanent solution can be found. She’d do anything to lend a hand to Allen and to honor her best friend’s memory. Rudy, Laura’s boyfriend, is initially supportive of her plan, but the more time Laura spends with Allen, the more jealous and frustrated Rudy seems to become.

As Laura and Allen face hardships together, their friendship takes a surprising yet comforting turn—and she discovers an attraction she’s never felt with Rudy. Would falling for Allen betray the people she cares about most, or would denying those feelings betray her heart? This latest installment in the Amish Homestead series returns us to Lancaster County, home of the beloved Riehls, where a family’s strength—and advice from a new friend—may help Laura find God’s direction.

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An Amish Heirloom: A Legacy of Love, The Cedar Chest, The Treasured Book, A Midwife’s Dream by Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller and Kelly Irvin

My Review

Amy Clipston’s story A Legacy of Love takes us back to Lancaster County ((A Place at Our Table) where we are treated to another story about a volunteer firefighter.

Leon King is not only a volunteer firefighter but also a master carpenter, which is why his ex-girlfriend brings her grandparent’s rocking chairs to him for repair, causing both of them to question why and where they are at in their lives.

I love stories that explore other people in a community and create continuity of characters! A Legacy of Love introduces us to new characters and touches on the stories of characters we met earlier.

I also really enjoy Amy Clipston’s stories. Clipston has a way of pulling your heartstrings and making you feel what her individuals and their different personalities think and struggle with in their lives. A story, to me, needs to be relatable in some way, and Amy Clipston’s novels and, in this case, novellas don’t disappoint!

The Cedar Chest by Beth Wiseman explores how to responsibly handle family secrets once they are discovered. Wiseman has written parallel timelines to bring the story more vividly to life.

The Cedar Chest causes you to continue reflecting long after you read the story. How would you handle a secret from your great-grandparent’s lives? Would you be able, like her parents, to leave the chest locked and unopened? How would your knowledge change your opinion of your family? I genuinely enjoy stories that leave me wondering how I would have handled the same situation.

The Treasured Book by Kathleen Fuller brings back one of my favorite characters Cevilla Schlabach from Birch Creek! (Words from the Heart) I love feisty, quirky, fun-loving, but oh so Godly, Cevilla!! The story was different from what I expected, in that the young man in the story was not Amish.

Kathleen Fuller does an excellent job of drawing you into the story, making you wonder what the outcome of not only Shane and Lucy’s story will be, but also of the antique Bible they find and the secrets it holds.

The Midwife’s Dream by Kelly Irvin deals with tough topics, runaway teens, teen pregnancy and the midwife’s unfulfilled desires for a husband and family. Kelly Irvin’s story will tug at your heartstrings while you ponder the choices each person makes.

I enjoyed the four novellas portrayed in An Amish Heirloom: A Legacy of Love, The Cedar Chest, The Treasured Book, A Midwife’s Dream. Each of the stories focuses on a family heirloom that becomes an integral part of the story. All four authors do a remarkable job of pulling you into the narrative with relatable, believable individuals. In addition, they include pertinent and relevant messages of faith.

I received this book from NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

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 fiancé 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.

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.

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.

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.

A Place at Our Table (An Amish Homestead Novel) by Amy Clipston

My Review

Amy Clipston’s novel, A Place at Our Table, deals with heartbreaking family situations. Throughout the book, however, the characters seem real and relatable. I could see myself reacting in much the same way under similar circumstances.

Kayla Dienner is working hard to overcome grief from the loss of her oldest brother, who was a volunteer firefighter and died while fighting a fire. In addition, her boyfriend, for no apparent reason, broke off their relationship.

Jamie Riehl is a volunteer firefighter and workaholic. He feels responsibility for his family, and even though he has a brother and father, he takes on more and more of the farm work-leaving him exhausted because he only gets a scant few hours’ sleep a night. When tragedy strikes his family too, he takes on more of the burden of farm work and bears guilt for his part in the tragedy.

A Place at Our Table is an interesting book. Amy Clipston shows us a different side of Amish life by giving Jamie a firefighter role. However, some aspects of Kayla’s personality and character are frustrating for me. I want to see her as a sympathetic protagonist, but she comes across as overly clingy and needy. I needed to remind myself that she lost her brother to a fire and inexplicably lost her boyfriend’s love. She is reeling in pain. Then, while fighting the attraction, she finds herself falling in love with Jamie, a firefighter. He embodies both losses. It’s no wonder she petulant at times.

I’m looking forward to reading more of the Amish Homestead series. I’m excited to see who is featured and to learn more about Jamie and Kayla.

I received this book from Fiction Guild. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Kayla Dienner has suffered her fair share of heartache, which is why she vows to protect her heart at all costs . . . until she meets Jamie Riehl.

Along with his volunteer work at the local fire department, running his Amish farm keeps Jamie Riehl busy. He barely has time to eat at the family table, never mind find someone to date. But when he meets Kayla Dienner, he is smitten.

Kayla tries hard to deny her attraction to Jamie. After all, she’s spent the last year discouraging her younger brother, Nathan, from becoming a firefighter. The death of their older brother in a fire a year ago is fresh in her mind—she can’t bear the idea of putting her heart on the line every time the sirens blare.

Then tragedy strikes, and Jamie wants to extinguish any flame between him and Kayla. Can Kayla set aside her own fears to save the love she was determined to deny?

The first book in the Amish Homestead series, A Place at Our Table invites us to a quiet community in Lancaster County where love burns brightly no matter the cost.

 

An Amish Home: Four Novellas by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid and Kathleen Fuller

An Amish Home

Publisher’s Summary

A Cup Half Full by Beth Wiseman—Sarah Lantz always dreamed of the perfect home, the perfect husband, the perfect family. When she married Abram, she knew she was on her way to securing her perfect life. All of that changes in one moment when an accident leaves her unable to walk and confined to a wheelchair, dashing all of her dreams. As Abram starts to transform their home, Sarah begins a transformation in her spirit, and she begins, once again, to see her cup as half full.

Home Sweet Home by Amy Clipston—Down on their luck and desperate after they are evicted from their small apartment, Chace and Mia O’Conner reluctantly take Chace’s Amish boss up on his offer to rent them the daadihaus located on his property. They are certain they will never feel at home in the rustic cabin without any modern conveniences, and they start to blame each other for their seemingly hopeless situation. But with the help of their new Amish friends, Chace and Mia begin to enjoy their cozy cabin and realize that home really is where the heart is.

Building Faith by Kathleen Fuller—Faith Miller knows that carpentry is an unlikely hobby for a young Amish woman, but she loves the work and it keeps the memory of her grandfather alive. So, when her cousin asks Faith to build the cabinets in her new home, Faith is only too happy to take on the job, even if it is the most ambitious project she has ever taken on. The only catch is that she has to work with her ex-fiancé, Silas. As they work to build Martha’s kitchen, can they put the past behind them and start to build faith in one another again?

A Flicker of Hope by Ruth Reid—Fifteen years ago, Thomas and Noreen King were blissful newlyweds. Young, naive, and in love, life was rosy . . . for a while. Then trials and tribulations rocked their foundation, shattering them emotionally, and soon, their marriage was in shards. All hope for restoring their previously unshakable union seems lost. When fire destroys their home, Thomas and Noreen are left to sift through the rubble. As uncovered items from the remains of the house shake loose memories of the past, Thomas and Noreen begin to draw closer and a flicker of hope—and love—is re-ignited.

My Review

Sarah Lantz is unable to walk due to an accident. Her husband, Abram, blames himself for her disability. They each struggle with their feelings, and as the reader, you get caught up in the feelings and reactions they both have.  Beth Wiseman addresses the situation in a convincing and true-to-life way in A Cup Half Full. 

Home Sweet Home by Amy Clipston is about Chace and Mia O’Conner, who are one step from being homeless when Chace’s boss offers to let them rent his daadihaus (grandparent’s house). My heart breaks for this young couple’s hopelessness as they struggle their way through a new marriage and baby, having to accept someone’s charity and adjusting to living in an Amish home even though they aren’t Amish.

In A Flicker of Hope by Ruth Reid, Thomas and Noreen King’s marriage is hanging on by a thread. Circumstances have overwhelmed them, seemingly beyond repair. Any married couple will be able to relate to how not addressing a situation can cause one day to slip into another until it devastates a relationship beyond repair.

Faith Miller is an unconventional young Amish woman, she loves carpentry work and is good at it, too. However, her skills create a problem for her when she’s forced to work with her ex-boyfriend. Even though Building Faith, by Kathleen Fuller, has some unexpected surprises, I think it is my favorite of the four because I can understand Faith’s love for and desire to be a carpenter.

An Amish Home is a compilation of four novellas written by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston and Kathleen Fuller.  Each of the authors did an excellent job of incorporating the importance of family, home and faith in God into their stories. I have read other books or novellas by these four authors and have never been disappointed. I wasn’t with this collection either.

I received this book free through the Fiction Guild program in exchange for an honest review.

Monday’s Mention

Authors 2

An Amish Christmas Gift: Three Amish Novellas by Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, and Kelly Irvin

About the Book

Naomi’s Gift by Amy Clipston

Naomi has begun to believe that she isn’t meant to find love, but she might receive more than she has ever hoped for this Christmas.

Twenty-four-year-old Naomi King has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches, Naomi is certain that her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family’s quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down.

An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid

Abigail has driven other suitors away, but can Micah find a way to show her he cares?

Being a caregiver for Micah Zook’s grandmother is the answer to Abigail’s prayers. In fact, the elderly lady keeps finding ways to set Abigail up with her grandson. Despite Abigail’s constant chatter, Micah realizes he’s beginning to care for her—until he makes a decision that leaves her feeling betrayed. With Christmas in their midst, can Micah find a way to reconcile with Abigail and to reveal the true feelings of his heart?

A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin

Frannie Mast returns to Bee County for Christmas, but her heart stays back in Missouri with an Englisch farm boy.

Frannie knows her parents have the best of intentions when they send her back to Bee County, Texas, to live with her aunt and her aunt’s new husband Mordecai. After all, Frannie knows nothing can come of a relationship with Rocky, the handsome Englisch farm boy back in Missouri. But all bets are off when Rocky follows Frannie to Texas to plead his case. Could he be the Christmas gift to end all gifts?

My Thoughts

Naomi’s Gift by Amy Clipston introduces Naomi King. Naomi, at age 24, believes she is to be single for the rest of her life. She has “run” after boys and each time the situation ended disastrously, what more evidence does she need?  Her mother feels she shamelessly chased the boys and needs to settle down and help run the family business.

Naomi is working one day when precocious 7-year-old Susie Schmucker strikes up a conversation with her. Unbeknownst to Naomi, Susie had wandered away from her father’s side. Susie’s father begins to frantically search for her.

Susie’s father, Caleb, finds her and swoops away with her before Naomi can even react. However, not before Susie has tugged Naomi’s heartstrings with the story about her deceased mother. Since Naomi has never seen Susie and Caleb before she figures they aren’t from the area and she’ll never see them again.

Amy Clipston has written a sweet, magical Christmas story. Naomi’s Gift is sure to tug your heartstrings and leave you with a smile.

An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid, the second story, focuses on Abigail “Abby” Kemp. Abby has never had more than one “date” with the young Amish men she knows. Her constant chatter scares them off, according to her family. In fact, her mother has started buzzing at her whenever she talks, hoping to draw her attentions and get her to stop talking. Poor Abby feels it is her gift from God and doesn’t want to change.

Micah Zook needs someone to care for his grandmother and Gabby Abby (his nickname for Abby) seems like a perfect fit. Abby’s constant chatter will help fill his grandmother’s lonely hours while he is away at work.

One day, close to Christmas, Micah hurts Abby’s feelings. Will Micah be able to explain to Abby? Will she accept his explanation?

An Unexpected Joy illustrates how snap decisions and a judgmental attitude can poison a friendship, but with forgiveness, not all is lost.

A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin, the final story in the trilogy, is about Frannie Mast. Frannie makes a trip to Bee County, Texas, to stay with her relatives. She left her home in Missouri because she had fallen in love with an Englisch boy, Richard “Rocky” Sanders.

Frannie settles into life with her relatives only to be shocked by a visit from Rocky. He followed her to Texas to profess his love. However, Frannie can’t be around him, regardless of how much he implores her because she’s Amish and he’s Englisch.

Kelly Irvin has written a heartwarming story of love and faithfulness. A Christmas Visitor is an uplifting and touching story.

If you enjoy Amish stories, especially one with a Christmas theme, be sure to read An Amish Christmas Gift. You’ll also appreciate the dictionary of Amish words at the beginning of the stories and the recipes at the end of the book.

I received this book from The Fiction Guild sponsored Thomas Nelson and Zondervan in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday’s Tale

A Simple Prayer

A Simple Prayer (Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel) by Amy Clipston is book four of the series.  (I must have a penchant for jumping in the middle of a series, as I seem to do this frequently!)

Linda Zook becomes an orphan at age four when a buggy accident caused by icy roads claims her mother and father leaving her only relatives, an aunt and uncle, to raise her.  As she grows and after her aunt passes away, Linda becomes aware that her uncle is bitter towards her and her late father.  Reeling from his acrimoniousness, she begins to realize she has accepted his damaging remarks about her as truth.

Trying to prove her worth as an individual, Linda not only runs her uncle’s household by herself, but she also works at the Lancaster Grand Hotel and the Heart of Paradise Bed and Breakfast.

Aaron Ebersol fled his Amish community at fifteen, and after seventeen years of no answers to his letters, he returns when he discovers his mother had a stroke. Fearing his family’s reception, he decides to stay near the family farm at the Heart of Paradise B & B.

As Linda tries to prove her worth to herself and her uncle, Aaron is trying to fit in with his family. Will they be able to help each other?

A Simple Prayer reads well, as a stand-alone, even without having read the other three in the series.

Amy Clipston does a great job of immersing you into the story! As a reader, I felt for and with the character’s lives and dilemmas.

I received this book from BookLook in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Amy ClipstonAmy Clipston is the award-winning and best-selling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series.  Her novels have hit multiple best-seller 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 four spoiled rotten cats.  Visit her online at Facebook: AmyClipstonBooks Twitter: @AmyClipston