Category Archives: Amish Fiction

With Winter’s First Frost | Kelly Irvin

 

 

Today I am reviewing With Winter’s First Frost, the fourth and final book in the Every Amish Season series by Kelly Irvin.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Will the long, cold winter prove to be Laura and Zechariah’s season of renewed purpose and love sweetened with age?

Laura Kauffman has been a widow for eight years–since her husband of forty-five years passed away in his sleep on Christmas Eve. She tries to keep herself busy with her nine children, fifty-two grandchildren, and twenty-eight great-grandchildren.

But she can’t stop wondering: What does God expect her to do with her days now? Has her usefulness been expended? Why leave her to carry on alone? Those are questions she can’t answer until a friend suffers complications during childbirth and needs someone to help care for her newborn twins and three older children.

The twins’ great-grandfather, Zechariah Stutzman, a widower himself, seems to need some upkeep as well. Suddenly, Laura has her hands full, and the long winter days don’t seem so long.

Zechariah suffers from Parkinson’s disease. When his wife died of breast cancer two years earlier, his children insisted he live with one of his grandsons and their growing family because of his disease’s progression. He’s not allowed to drive, chop wood, or build fires. He feels he has outlived his usefulness. Then Laura comes along and seems determined to change that.

Both Laura and Zechariah must seek God’s will to find the purpose for this season in their lives. They have to be willing to trust and to accept that second chances for romantic love are possible–even probable–when they give control of their lives to God.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

I enjoyed reading the story of Laura and Zechariah… and how they both worked hard to be needed — and wanted — by their families. Honestly, I got a bit aggravated when Zechariah’s sons treated him like he wasn’t capable… even to moving him from one house to another without his approval or acceptance. But they were just trying to be helpful. However, it would have been MORE helpful if they had shared with him how they felt about him moving in. I know I would want to know, if it were me.

Thankfully, Laura was able to be a blessing to those around her — even to Zechariah — and although I won’t spoil the ending for you, I thought Kelly did an admirable job tying up the lose ends in the story. And I was even a bit sad to say goodbye to these wonderful characters!

Happy Reading!!!
Blessings!

Review © 2019 DJ Mynatt

  1. Upon a Spring Breeze
  2. Beneath the Summer Sun
  3. Through the Autumn Air
  4. With Winter’s First Frost

 

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Seasons of an Amish Garden | Amy Clipston

 

 

Today I am reviewing Seasons of an Amish Garden by Amy Clipston.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Enjoy a year of beautiful seasons in this new story collection, as young Amish couples manage a community garden and harvest friendships and love along the way.

Spring Is in the Air

As the young people of Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, plant a garden in memory of their friend, Katie Ann begins to worry that her older brother, Ephraim, is dating her best friend. What if she somehow loses them both? But Christian, a new boy in the community, also works in the garden—and falling for him may be exactly the distraction, and lesson, that Katie Ann needs.

Home by Summer

Clara Hertzler is surprised when Jerry Petersheim, her old friend, comes to the garden to drop off his younger sister—especially because Jerry has been gone for years, and now seems to be living as an Englisher. As the friends get to know each other again, Clara pushes Jerry to examine why he abandoned his Amish beliefs. Will Clara help Jerry renew his faith in God, and will they find love beneath the summer sun?

The Fruits of Fall

Tena Speicher has come to live in Bird-in-Hand after her fiancé left her for an English woman. When a homeless veteran comes to the fruit stand one day and asks for food, Tena is not sure how to respond—but Wayne intervenes and offers to let him stay in the barn. Afraid to trust Englishers, Tena must learn, with Wayne’s help, that everyone is a child of God and deserving of kindness.

Winter Blessings

Ephraim and Mandy have dated for some time and now have plans to marry. But after a series of unexpected events and misunderstandings, they wonder if they should go their separate ways. What will happen when their friends at the Amish garden conspire to bring them back together?

 

MY THOUGHTS:

I loved these stories! They were especially fun because the stories have the same characters, with each story focusing on a specific couple… flowing through the four seasons of the year.

The stories are engaging, but easy and fun to read. I have found that short reads are especially helpful at times when I don’t want to be bogged down with a long, wordy novel or I just don’t have a lot of time to read. This story collection is perfect. Each story can be read in one sitting, making them a great choice for bedtime.

I tried to choose a favorite, but they’re all so good, I couldn’t. If you have a favorite, please leave a comment, sharing your favorite season with us.

Happy Reading!!!
Blessings!

Review © 2019 DJ Mynatt

 

A Simple Christmas | Charlotte Hubbard

 

 

Today I am reviewing A Simple Christmas, the third book in the Simple Gifts series by Charlotte Hubbard.

Here is a brief synopsis:

The rustic beauty of a country Christmas fills the Simple Gifts crafts shop, while the Amish residents of Willow Ridge pull together in uncertain times–and in the face of an unexpected homecoming.

Nora Hooley’s shop is abuzz with preparations for the holiday open house, and Rosalyn Riehl is handcrafting wreaths from evergreen boughs, pinecones, and other natural materials.

The work is a welcome diversion for the only unmarried daughter of Cornelius Riehl: her gruff dat has been receiving envelopes marked Past Due, leaving dutiful Rosalyn to manage the household’s inexplicably shrinking budget. Then another distraction swaggers into Simple Gifts–blue-jeaned and leather-jacketed, with a reputation that precedes him.

Marcus Hooley hightailed it to Willow Ridge on a wing and a prayer–not that he’s the praying type. He rejected his Amish roots long ago. But behind the bad-boy attitude is a gifted horse trainer who’s counting on some bent-but-not-broken family ties to throw him a lifeline.

He can’t erase his past, but a sparking attraction with strong, spirited Rosalyn holds the promise of a second chance . . . and of shedding light on shadowy secrets to build a bright tomorrow.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

Wow! This is such a great series!

Rosalyn Riehl is overjoyed that her sister Loretta and new brother-in-law Drew is continuing to live with her and her dat. Rosalyn knows how difficult it is for them, but her life would be so much worse without their help.

In the meantime, her dat seems to be getting worse, and no one knowing what to do — or what he’s doing. So a distraction, in the form of one Marcus Hooley, might be just the best thing for her.

Marcus is trying to clean up his act, but his attraction to Rosalyn just won’t go away. And trouble seems to have followed him to Willow Ridge. Who’s following him? And what do they want from him?

This sequel tied up the loose ends found in the series perfectly… I knew something weird was going on, but I had no idea just how bad it was! If you’ve been reading the series with me, don’t miss this one. It’s a page-turner, for sure and for certain!

Happy Reading!!!
Blessings!

Review © 2019 DJ Mynatt

  1. A Simple Vow
  2. A Simple Wish
  3. A Simple Christmas

 

 

A Simple Wish | Charlotte Hubbard

 

 

Today I am reviewing A Simple Wish, the second book in the Simple Gifts series by Charlotte Hubbard.

Here is a brief synopsis:

The Amish residents of Willow Ridge share their talents at the Simple Gifts crafts shop and share the blessings of faith, hard work, and love with their community even when family secrets bring unexpected challenges . . .

Making rugs for Simple Gifts has taught Loretta Riehl that an unassuming pattern can reveal surprising depth. People, too, have a way of defying first impressions.

Drew Detweiler came to Willow Ridge under a cloud, but the handsome craftsman has gained the community’s respect for his upholstery skills and commitment to making amends for his mistakes. As her new brother-in-law’s twin, he’s joining the family for dinners and Sunday visits at the Riehl house, and Loretta can’t deny enjoying his attentions. If only her dat were willing to let a little joy into his life.

Cornelius Riehl grows more stern with each passing day, and Drew suspects there’s more to his moods than missing Loretta’s late mamm. Hoping to fulfill Loretta’s wish to live in a peaceful, happy home again, Drew sets out to learn the truth.

It’s a journey that will bring to light painful realities but also the chance to forge a new, honest, and loving future together . . .

 

MY THOUGHTS:

I am loving this new series! Charlotte Hubbard writes such realistic stories that I find myself caught up in the drama from the first page — to the last.

Now that Edith is happily married, Loretta Riehl is being hounded by Will Gingrich to renew their relationship… and to convince her dat to allow them to marry. But Loretta no longer wants to marry Will. She’s put off by his whirlwind courtship — and marriage — to Molly Ropp. How could he have truly loved her if he could court and marry another so quickly?

Well, I agree with her… and I’d find it very difficult to believe, too. So when Drew Detweiler comes along, I think I would have done the very same thing — leave Will on the porch and take off with Drew! At least it gave her time to think about both young men.

One more thing… just what is going on with her dat? I wasn’t too impressed with him in A Simple Vow (book one) and in this sequel his actions continue to annoy me. But I can’t quite figure out what’s going on in his life — and his workshop…

Check back in a few days for my review of A Simple Christmas (book three).

Happy Reading!!!
Blessings!

Review © 2019 DJ Mynatt

  1. A Simple Vow
  2. A Simple Wish
  3. A Simple Christmas

 

A Simple Vow | Charlotte Hubbard

 

 

Today I am reviewing A Simple Vow, the first book in the Simple Gifts series by Charlotte Hubbard.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Housed in a rustic red barn, the Simple Gifts crafts shop celebrates the talents of the Amish of Willow Ridge — and the faith that inspires them. For the acceptance of simplicity opens the path to love.

As far as Edith Riehl is concerned, the baby twins thrust suddenly into her arms are a heaven-sent gift. Unable to conceive, she longs to be a mother with a home of her own.

She’s going to abide by her promise to handsome Asa Detweiler to take care of them while he looks for their real father.

And even if her domineering dat Cornelius refuses to countenance Asa’s suit, she can only pray the bachelor’s honesty and persistence will uncover the truth — even as he’s kindled an impossible hope for a love of her own . . .

Asa can’t understand why anyone would think he would be so dishonorable as to father babies and then abandon them. He’s determined to clear his name — but Edith’s caring ways also inspire him to help heal her wounded spirit and earn her trust.

In the face of heartbreaking deception, he and Edith must find the strength to understand, forgive . . . and claim their own hearts’ joy.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

Charlotte Hubbard has a gift for writing amazing Amish stories!

Edith Riehl and her sisters don’t have an easy life. Their dat makes life pretty rough at times, and Edith has a dark secret of her own that stands in the way of her happiness.

When she discovers two innocent babies caught in the midst of a troubling conversation between two men, she takes charge, letting the men know that the babies’ needs should come first. But when she is asked to keep them and care for them, what will her dat think?

Since I’m writing about Edith and her family, it should be pretty obvious that I’m loving this new series — and there’s so much to love! Many of our favorite characters from the Amish of Willow Grove are back in this new series, along with a few new ones.

Charlotte Hubbard excels at creating realistic Amish communities with plain people you can’t wait to meet! Well, at least most of them . . . a few of them are ones you wish you could punch in the nose!

I can tell this series will be just as exciting — and just as much fun, too.

Check back in a few days for a review of the next book in the series. . .

Happy Reading!!!
Blessings!

Review © 2019 DJ Mynatt

 

Top 25 Authors of 2018

 

 

 

 

This was a VERY difficult list to create… first, I began gathering the names of all my favorite authors. After re-checking my bookcases and bookshelf blog, I found that I have well over 100 names! Now, this might not sound like a lot to some of you, but I was astounded that I had that many favorite authors – those whom I refuse to part with their books!

I began paring down… whew, that was rough! What I really wanted to do was to name them all — but that seemed to defeat the purpose of listing the TOP chosen few.

I tried — I really did — and I still didn’t get everyone on the list that I hoped to!

So… without further adieu.

Here’s my personal list of the TOP TWENTY-FIVE AUTHORS for 2019:

   Jennifer Beckstrand    Vannetta Chapman    Valerie Comer    Rachel L. Miller

   Dana Mentink    JC Morrows    Macy Morrows    Tricia Goyer    Ruth Logan Herne

   Jean C. Gordon    Barbara Cameron    Suzanne Woods Fisher    Charlotte Hubbard 

   Ruth Reid    Shelley Shepard Gray    Molly Jebber    Kathy Fuller    Kelly Irvin

   Lilian Jackson Braun    Emma Miller   Amos Wyse    Laura J. Marshall    

   Grace Livingston Hill    Philip Gulley    Jan Karon

 

God bless you!

 

Blogpost © Donna J. Mynatt 2018

 

Oh Little Town of Sugarcreek | Amy Lillard

 

 

 

Today I am reviewing Oh Little Town of Sugarcreek, a Sugarcreek Amish Mystery by Amy Lillard.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Christmastime has come to Sugarcreek, but the sleepy Ohio town is anything but calm. Cheryl Cooper expected a quiet holiday season, filled with new friends and new traditions.

Instead, Lance Martin, her ex-fiance shows up and proposes again! Then, one of her aunt’s heirlooms turns up missing, followed by the disappearance of the engagement ring Lance intended for her.

When the Millers’ estranged daughter Sarah leaves her Englisch husband and returns home, Cheryl finds herself wondering what more could happen to spoil her Christmas cheer?

A lot, evidently. The town is turned upside down as it discovers there’s a thief in their midst.

But when fingers are pointed at Levi Miller, Cheryl doesn’t want to believe her friend might be guilty. Can she find the real criminal in time to bring back the joy of her first Christmas in Sugarcreek?

 

MY THOUGHTS:

Even when it’s not Christmas time, I’m always in the mood for a great Christmas read — and O Little Town of Sugarcreek is a GREAT Christmas story!

Cheryl Cooper has her hands full — literally — when her ex-fiance shows up and proposes! Cheryl’s crazy cat has just knocked over a jewelry box full of antique heirloom jewels, and her engagement ring goes missing — just when her shop is full of customers!

Oh my!

Will Cheryl be able to find the missing jewels? Will she be able to resist Lance’s proposal?

Read the book. Just read it. I’m not giving anything else away… but if you enjoy mysteries — and lots of excitement — don’t miss this Sugarcreek Amish Mystery!

Amy Lillard writes wonderful Amish stories — and this one is full of unforgettable characters and non-stop action, from beginning to end. And the best part, is that Cheryl will be back in other stories.

Merry Christmas!

 

God bless you!

Review © 2018 DJ Mynatt

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