Tuesday, July 19, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: "An Amish Gathering"

An Amish Gathering
By Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller and Barbara Cameron
Copyright 2009
Thomas Nelson, Inc. Publishing
Adult Fiction

Who would have thought the Amish had such good love stories? This collection of three Amish novellas was absolutely delightful!

In the first story, A Change of Heart by Beth Wiseman, the main character Leah knows she doesn't fit in with Amish society. She's no good at the things that are expected of a good Amish woman, prefers activities that are frowned upon (in particular, writing) and she has no illusions that that her abilities and preferences will be changing anytime soon. She tries to do as she is supposed to but never in her wildest dreams did she expect to find someone who appreciates her for who she is.

I think this was my favorite of the three novellas. I suppose that is because I could sympathize with Leah quite a bit, being raised in a culture where certain things were expected but never quite fitting in or being able to fulfill those expectations.

The second story, When Winter Comes by Barbara Cameron, was really sad. The main character Rebecca lost her twin sister in an accident years ago but hasn't quite completed the grieving process. She returns every winter to the spot where her sister died and mourns anew. But only a very special friend can help her get past the loss of her sister and move forward with her life.

This story was very heartrending. I could really feel Rebecca's grief as she looked across the ice where she had last seen her sister alive. I remember feeling that kind of grief after my mother died so whenever I read books with that kind of imagery it sort of brings those feelings back.

The third story, A Place of His Own by Kathleen Fuller, also had some dark themes in it. When Josiah left the Amish community with his father years ago, no one knew where they went or why. So when he returns unexpectedly and readies his family farm for sale, no one is more shocked than his neighbor and former best friend.

This was a sweet story, perhaps even a bit too sappy for me, but still enjoyable.

I don't know very much about the Amish community so reading about some of the things they are allowed to do (like play volleyball and bake monster cookies) was surprising. This is a lovely collection of stories that really was a pleasure to read.

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