A Mother's Secretby Amy Clipston
An unwed Amish woman yearns for real love and a family. The only thing in her way is the shame she’s been carrying for half of her life.
Thirty-one-year-old Carolyn Lapp has never been married—but she’s been a mother for fifteen years. In a community with strict standards and a long memory, Carolyn knows she might never/p>/strong>
An unwed Amish woman yearns for real love and a family. The only thing in her way is the shame she’s been carrying for half of her life.
Thirty-one-year-old Carolyn Lapp has never been married—but she’s been a mother for fifteen years. In a community with strict standards and a long memory, Carolyn knows she might never find a man who will have her and her son, Benjamin.
Carolyn’s family tries to marry her off to a widower with a daughter who needs a mother. A marriage of convenience doesn’t sound so bad, yet despite her loneliness, Carolyn knows what she really wants: a traditional Amish family and a marriage for love.
When Benjamin gets into trouble at an auction, he finds himself beholden to a handsome horse breeder named Joshua Glick. Joshua and Carolyn feel an instant attraction, and soon a romance is budding between them. The trouble is Joshua believes Benjamin is Carolyn’s nephew, not her son.
After years of shame and loneliness, Carolyn suddenly has two men vying for her attention. Can either man give her the family—and the unconditional love—she longs for? Or will her past once again sabotage the future she wants?
“. . . will leave readers craving more.” —RT Book Reviews, TOP PICK!, 4 1/2-star review
Read an Excerpt
A Mother's Secret
By Amy Clipston
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2014 Amy Clipston
All rights reserved.
Joshua Glick held the reins and guided his horse through the crowd at the auction. Both Amish and English spectators lined the path he followed while riding behind other horseback riders. If Joshua were prideful, he would be tempted to brag that Buck, the massive draft horse he rode, was the cream of the crop—not just from his horse farm, Glick's Belgian and Dutch Harness Horses back home in Paradise, Pennsylvania, but at the auction as well.
Joshua hoped to sell at least five horses today, which would bring a nice profit.
Business had been booming ever since he bought out the other half of the farm from his former sister-in-law, Hannah, when she left the community last year. He was even beginning to suspect he needed to hire more helpers. The volume of business was becoming too much for him and his assistant, Daniel King, to handle alone.
He suppressed a smile as he thought of his farm. Joshua had promised himself he'd keep the business going as a way to provide a living for his brother's widow and their three children. Then when Hannah remarried and she and two of her children left, Joshua became the sole owner and it was no longer a source of income for Gideon's family. But now, seven years after Gideon's death, the business was becoming everything Gideon dreamed of when the brothers established it nearly a decade ago, and it was a way to keep Gideon's dreams alive. It was Joshua's connection to his only sibling, and he was going to do his best to make it the best farm it could be for Gideon. If only his brother were alive to see it now ...
Above the noise of all the people, Joshua heard someone heckling the parade of horses. He scanned the crowd and spotted a group of three Amish boys standing with the crowd. They looked to be in their mid-teens.
"Look at that fat old mare," one of the boys said in Pennsylvania Dutch while pointing to a horse in front of Joshua's. "She couldn't pull a buggy if her life depended on it!"
One of the other two boys laughed.
Joshua turned toward the horse in front of him and returned his thoughts to his business and hopes for sales that would make the trip to the auction cost-effective.
He was deep in thought when Buck suddenly reared, kicking his massive legs and sending Joshua's stomach up to his throat as he swayed and nearly slipped off the horse. The surrounding crowd of spectators broke into a chorus of gasps and shouts. Joshua held on to the reins and climbed off the horse. He found Buck's eyes wide with fear.
"It's okay," Joshua cooed, calming the horse by rubbing his neck. "It's fine, bu. Calm down. Calm down, bu."
Daniel ran over, appearing from behind Buck. "Is he all right?" At nineteen, Daniel was muscular from working on the farm and stood close to Joshua's height of five-foot-eleven. "Oh no! He's bleeding! Look at that cut on his rump." Daniel pulled a rag out of his pocket and placed it on the large gash. "I'll try to stop the bleeding."
Joshua examined the wound. "He's going to need stitches. We'll have to call the vet when we get home." Joshua moved to Buck's head and rubbed his neck again while studying the horse's eyes. "He's calming down." He turned toward Daniel. "Did you see what happened?"
Daniel nodded toward the crowd. "I think one of those kinner threw a rock. He had gut aim because he hit Buck right in the rear."
Irritation rose within Joshua as he looked toward where Daniel indicated he'd seen the children, probably the same boys Joshua had noticed. "Those buwe need to learn to respect the animals. Someone could've been hurt, and now I'm going to have a huge veterinarian bill to pay." He gestured toward the horse. "I'm going to go talk to the buwe. You take care of Buck. Make sure you clean and cover the wound well. Like I said, we'll have Cameron Wood treat him when we get home."
"I'll take care of it." Daniel took the reins. "I'll take him back to the barn and find the first aid kit."
Joshua headed toward the boys, who were standing by a fenced-in area surrounding a herd of ponies. The boys looked over at Joshua, and their eyes widened before they took off running.
Joshua quickened his steps. As the boys rounded the corner of the pen, the shortest one stumbled and fell, landing on his knees and grimacing.
Joshua caught up with the boy and gritted his teeth while he stood over him. "Did you throw that rock, bu?"
The boy shook his head and pointed in the direction the other two boys had gone. "I didn't do it. One of them did."
Joshua studied the boy while wondering if he was lying. Was he guilty and only blaming it on one of the others to escape punishment? Glancing around, Joshua found that a crowd had gathered and eyed Joshua and the boy with curiosity.
"Stand up. We're going to go have a talk." After the boy stood, Joshua took his arm and pulled him along.
"But I didn't do it!" the boy protested as Joshua steered him toward a large barn. "It was Robert! He and David ran off. Go find them!"
The smell of hay and animals permeated Joshua's senses as they entered the structure. He moved to the middle of the barn and stopped, facing the boy. Annoyance nipped at him. "So then why did you try to run away? That makes you look guilty."
"I didn't ... I don't ..." The boy looked around as if searching for something or someone. Was he searching for an excuse?
"What's your name?" Joshua crossed his arms over his chest.
"Benjamin Lapp." The boy's voice was small and unsure, matching his slight frame.
"Where's your family?"
Benjamin looked behind him, where a group of inquisitive Amish folks were gathering and watching them from the open barn door. "I don't know. They were somewhere around here."
"Do you realize how dangerous it was to throw that rock at my horse?" Joshua gestured with emphasis as agitation surged through him. "Your rock cut him when it hit him. Now he needs stitches. Do you have any idea how much that's going to cost me? Not only that, but he could have been injured much worse, especially since he reared up like that. Or he could have landed on someone. Someone could've been seriously hurt, and it would've been your fault. Do you understand?"
"I told you, I didn't—"
"Ya ya, you say you weren't the one who threw the rock, but you certainly took off running when you saw me." He studied the boy's young face. "How old are you?"
"Fifteen?" Joshua shook his head. "You look about twelve. If you're truly fifteen, then you should know better, bu. Do you live on a farm?"
Benjamin nodded. "A dairy farm." His voice seemed to lack strength, similar to his physical appearance.
"Then you definitely should know better than to scare a horse. You know how powerful those animals are. They could easily break a person's foot if they stepped on it. I knew a man whose cousin was killed when he was kicked in the head by a horse. He was knocked down, he hit his head again, and he died the next day. They can be gentle animals, but when they're startled, they can also become lethal."
Benjamin hung his head. "Yes."
"You really could've hurt someone." Joshua was on a roll and couldn't stop himself from lecturing the young man. "If I hadn't calmed down my horse, it could've been much worse. I could've been dragged if I'd fallen off and he'd started running. That wouldn't have been good for the crowd to see. I'm here to sell my horses, not entertain the crowd. This isn't the circus, you know. And now I have a vet bill to pay."
A woman made her way through the crowd at the door and came into the barn, glancing back and forth between Joshua and Benjamin. She looked to be in her early thirties and stood several inches shorter than Joshua. She had the same blonde hair and deep brown eyes as Benjamin.
"Was iss letz?" Her voice was all business.
Joshua pointed toward Benjamin. "This boy threw a rock at my horse and hit it on the rump and cut him badly. The horse is going to need stitches, and I'm stuck with a vet bill that I didn't need right now. He reared and kicked, but thankfully no one was hurt."
The young woman looked surprised as she turned to the boy. "Did you do that, Benjamin?"
"No." The boy threw his hands up in exasperation. "Robert did it, but he doesn't believe me. It's just like always. Robert and David make trouble, and I take the blame for it. No one ever believes me."
"I believe you." She studied him. "Ben doesn't normally lie," she said without looking at Joshua.
"I'm not lying." Benjamin's eyes seemed to plead with the woman.
"He says he's not lying, but he and the other buwe ran away when they saw me walking toward them. They all looked awfully guilty too." Joshua pointed toward the boy as she turned her attention back to Joshua. "He needs to learn respect for horses. I could've been hurt or killed when my horse kicked. Or worse, Buck could've hurt someone in the crowd. We parade the horses through the crowd to show the people how gentle the horses are. Throwing a rock at a horse doesn't exactly convey that message. Instead of showing what a gentle horse Buck is, I scared the crowd."
The blonde looked unconvinced as a frown pinched at the corners of her lips. "Well, if Ben says he didn't throw the rock, then he didn't throw it. I believe him. I think you should give him the benefit of the doubt. You didn't see it happen, did you?"
Joshua grimaced, surprised by how outspoken the young Amish woman was. He'd never known an Amish woman to be quite so confident, especially in front of a stranger. "No, I didn't actually see him throw the rock, but I know what I saw after the incident. He looked guilty. Besides, the bu was standing there before the rock was thrown."
"What's all the commotion over here?" An older man with thinning gray hair, a long, gray beard, and a potbelly came in.
"This man says Benjamin threw a rock at his horse. Now the horse needs stitches." The blonde gestured between the boy and Joshua. "Ben says Robert did it, and then Robert and David left him to take the blame."
"Joshua," Joshua said.
"What?" The woman looked at him.
"Joshua," he repeated. "My name is Joshua Glick."
"Joshua." The older man held out his hand. "I'm Titus Lapp." He gestured toward the blonde. "This is mei dochder, Carolyn."
Carolyn nodded at him.
"Where are you from?" Titus asked Joshua.
"Paradise." He crossed his arms over his chest again.
"We're from Gordonville." Titus fingered his beard. "Are you related to Eli and Barbie Glick?"
"Ya. They're my parents."
"Ach, ya," Titus said. "I went to school with Eli."
"Oh." Joshua nodded. "You grew up in Paradise?"
"I did." Titus hooked his thumbs on his suspenders. "I moved out to Gordonville after I met my lovely fraa."
"Dat, this isn't a social visit. This man dragged Ben in here and started yelling at him." Carolyn looked annoyed as if her father prattled off topic all the time. "We were talking about Benjamin."
" Oh, ya. That's right." Titus fingered his suspenders. "We were talking about Benjamin. So Ben threw a rock at Joshua's horse?"
Benjamin shook his head. "No, Robert did it. As usual, I was the one left to take the blame while they ran off. They do this to me all the time."
"Let's ask my other grandsons about this." Titus turned toward a group of boys standing at the other end of the large barn and realized his two grandsons were among them.
"Robert! David! Kumm!"
Two young men, who shared similar hair and eye color to Benjamin's and looked to be about seventeen, trotted over. Their expressions were tentative.
"Joshua Glick tells me that one of you three young men threw a rock and hit his horse. Which of you did it?" Titus asked the boys.
The two older boys looked at each other and then faced Titus.
"Ben did it, Daadi," the slightly taller boy said.
"Ya." The other boy nodded. "Ben did it."
Joshua looked at Benjamin and found his mouth forming a thin line. He glanced at Carolyn, who gritted her teeth as her cheeks flushed.
"Danki, buwe." Titus looked at Benjamin as the other two boys hurried off. "Did you lie, Benjamin?"
The boy, who by now Josh gathered was a brother to the other two boys, looked at the toes of his shoes.
Carolyn opened her mouth to speak, and Titus held up his hand. "Carolyn, we've been through this before. You need to drop it now, and we'll discuss it in private later. There's no need to make a scene. People don't need to hear our family issues." He turned to Joshua. "I'm sorry he threw a rock at your horse. We'll discuss this with him further when we get home tonight."
Carolyn heaved a deep sigh, and Joshua wondered why she was so disgruntled.
"The bu needs to learn to respect animals," Titus continued. "Benjamin needs to pay for the vet bill, and he must apologize."
Benjamin muttered an apology while kicking a stone with his shoe.
Joshua rubbed his chin while an idea brewed in his mind. "I could use some help at my horse farm. He could work it off cleaning the stables."
Titus raised his bushy white eyebrows. "Ya? We might be able to work something out." He glanced at the boy. "You should go work on Joshua's horse farm for a while to repay your debt."
The boy continued to study his shoe.
"Dat, I don't think—" Carolyn began.
"Carolyn, I will handle this." Titus's words were kind but direct. He turned toward Joshua. "I think it would be a gut idea for Benjamin to work on your farm. He needs to learn responsibility for his actions, and I think your farm would be a gut place to start. As you said, it can be a repayment for your vet bill."
"Wunderbaar!" Joshua shook the older man's hand. "How about Monday?"
"Ya," Titus agreed. "Since Ben is nearly sixteen, he can drive a horse and buggy now. He can get over to your place, no problem. I'll draw him a map."
While Titus and Joshua worked out the details, Carolyn put her hand on Benjamin's shoulder and directed him toward the barn exit. By now, the crowd had dispersed. Joshua watched her slender frame move outside, and he wondered why she was so against the idea of Benjamin working for him and so protective of the boy. He needed to learn a lesson in responsibility. But there seemed to be a family dynamic he was missing. Maybe she was a big sister just looking out for her youngest brother, or maybe she was his aunt. There seemed to be something else going on, but he couldn't put his finger on what it was.
He knew it wasn't any of his business, but he was intrigued.CHAPTER 2
Carolyn climbed into the van behind Benjamin. "Go all the way to the back," she whispered to him.
They moved past David and Robert, who shot Benjamin identical smug smiles, confirming her thoughts from earlier—they both lied to get Benjamin in trouble yet again. She knew her seventeen-year-old fraternal twin nephews were menaces, but she couldn't get her father to listen to her. He was too influenced by her older brother, Amos, who was the boys' father. And since they all lived on Amos's dairy farm, Amos ruled the roost like a territorial rooster. He was very proud of his sons and refused to see their bullying ways.
Carolyn settled into a seat at the back of the van next to Benjamin. She hugged her cloak to her body and shivered. Her mother and father climbed into the van and sat up front near her nephews.
Benjamin removed his hat and pushed his blond hair back from his face. "Do I really have to work at that horse farm?" His voice was quiet, and she assumed it was to keep their conversation private. "I don't even know that man. He doesn't seem very nice. He's just going to make me do all the dirty jobs, just like Onkel Amos does."
Carolyn nodded. "I'm sorry, but ya, you do have to work for Joshua Glick. Your daadi said you have to, and you know you have to obey him."
Benjamin sighed and glanced toward the window.
She leaned over and touched his arm. "I know you told the truth. I was trying to get your daadi to listen to you. You know that, right? You know I always support you, no matter what Onkel Amos and your cousins say about you."
"Ya, I do." He looked back at her. "You always believe me, but Daadi always takes their side." He nodded toward Robert and David, who were speaking in low voices and laughing a few rows ahead of them.
"I know." Carolyn glanced toward the front of the van where her brother, Amos, and his wife, Sarah Ann, were settling into seats. "I think your daadi means well, but he's in a different position since Amos runs the farm where we live."
"They always get me in trouble," Benjamin grumbled, slumping in the seat. "Last week I was blamed for tracking mud in Aenti Sarah Ann's kitchen, and I didn't even do it. I had taken my boots off before I went into the haus, and they didn't. Yet I got blamed for it. It's not fair."
"I know, mei liewe." She touched his cheek. She wished she could protect her son from all the heartache in the world, but she knew that wasn't possible for any mother.
"I don't think Joshua Glick even likes me." Benjamin fingered his pants leg while he spoke. "He was very angry when he dragged me into that barn."
Excerpted from A Mother's Secret by Amy Clipston. Copyright © 2014 Amy Clipston. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple bestseller 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 three spoiled rotten cats. Visit her online at amyclipston.com Facebook: AmyClipstonBooks Twitter: @AmyClipston
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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While the plot was fairly predictable, the details of the story made it a pleasure to read. Even though Carolyn lives under the thumb of her older brother, her vibrant personality peeks through in her loyalty to her son and her compassion for others. Even with a rocky meeting, Joshua soon sees past the walls she has erected and values her friendship. I liked that their relationship progressed slowly but steadily, and both perspectives were shared. One of my favorite characters was Carolyn's son Benjamin, who was victimized by his two bullying cousins, but rises above his situation to embrace new opportunities. The other family and community members served to move the story along, but came across two-dimensional. I appreciated the messages of forgiveness and acceptance and I would read this book again. (ARC provided via Netgalley for unbiased review)
A wonderful story -- Amy had me screaming, silently so my husband wouldn't think I was crazy, at Carolyn, "tell him" many times in this book. Have you ever had something that you needed to tell someone but kept putting it off because the time wasn't right, you didn't have the right words, etc.? Was it too late once you did tell or did the intended recipient of the news hear it from someone else making things worse? We need to learn to put our faith in God and to listen to our hearts. Amy showed this in Carolyn's story. This was a great book and anyone that likes Amish stories would love it. So far I have really enjoyed this series.
I have read hundreds of Amish books and this will be one of my favorites!!
Amy Clipston is the type of author that will touch your heart with her writing. She brings the characters to life, she can bring joy or tears. I was hooked by her writing style the first time I read one of her books. Carolyn Lapp has never married but has been a mother for years. She still isn't fully accepted by the people in her community, even though she was young when she had her baby and not a member of the church. When her son is blamed for something at an auction he accepts his punishment like a man. He becomes friends with Joshua as he works to pay for the damage done to Joshua's horse. Carolyn's family is trying to get her to marry someone in the district who needs a wife to care for his daughter. Carolyn still would like to marry for love and a traditional Amish marriage. She knows her family is embarrassed by her being an unwed mother and that it makes it hard on her son. If you enjoy Amish romance then you will love this. Not your normal Amish story but very good, it will touch your heart. Amy Clipston is one of my favorite authors.
Another great book by this author! I highly recommend!
There are so many words I could use to describe this book. Amazing, fantastic, terrific, must-read, and a keeper are just a few. Amy Clipston has written a wonderful story about letting go of the past and forgiving yourself for past mistakes. Carolyn Lapp made a mistake in her youth that she now believes will prevent her from finding true happiness. That mistake resulted in her son Ben. She believes she will not be able to marry for love as her parents did but will have to marry to give Ben a father. She meets Joshua Glick at an auction when her son is accused of hurting his horse. That injury results in Ben working at Josh's horse farm to pay off the vet bill. Joshua and Carolyn soon find themselves attracted to each other but in the way to finding true happiness stands Carolyn's secret and Joshua's mother Barbie. Can the two overcome Carolyn's past and Barbie's desire to run Josh's life? This book was so easy to get into and stay interested in. The characters are so genuine it is easy to get into their story and hope for the best for them. The pace of the book is just right. I couldn't put this book down as I just had to know what would happen to Carolyn and Josh. I like that Amy writes stories about Amish people who have problems just like anyone else. These people aren't perfect and they have struggles just like non Amish. I think it's important for those of us who are intrigued by their lives to understand they are not perfect but flawed just like us. The difference is in how they deal with their flaws compared to us. Amy does a fantastic job of highlighting this. Another aspect of the book I enjoyed was the characters are in their thirties and still trying to discover who they are. I teared up reading a section of this book when Ben defends his mother to Josh. I don't often tear up when reading, but I just couldn't stop myself. Amy has such a connection to her characters that it comes across on the page and draws you in. I give this book two thumbs up. It is definitely one of the best Amish fiction books I've read and one of the best books I've read this year. Bravo, Amy. Well done!!
Bought this nook book and when I opened it it was the story A Hopeful Heart. Wasted my money! Not happy!
Carolyn had a baby when she was 16 years old. The father ran off before the baby was born. Her family has supported her but her brother has never let her forget her mistake. When her nephews get her son in trouble yet again it ends up being a blessing as he ends up working off his trouble at Joshua’s horse farm. The problem is no one tells Joshua that Ben is Carolyn’s son he things he is her brother. As Carolyn and Joshua develop a relationship the secret could ruin their chance of love. This is book two of the series. I liked this book and look forward to the rest of the books to come. What I liked: Carolyn was a teen mother.Her family supported her but her older brother never forgave her. He wants to marry her off to an older widower but Carolyn only wants to marry for love. She stood up for herself and her son and I liked that about her. I loved the bond between her and her son and how that bond played out at the end of the book. What I did not like: We also continue to follow Hannah who has married a man outside the Amish faith. She is still having trouble with her daughter Lily who stayed in the faith. She can’t seem to understand why Lily is so upset with her and I find her confusion silly. Of course she is upset and angry. This part of the story still bothers me. Overall this was a good book. I liked Carolyn and Joshua. They both had to overcome some personal fears as well as community gossip to find happiness. I look forward to the next book and to continue to follow these characters.
I thought this was something. She wants to marry for love. Her brother thinks she should get married for her son sake. Benjamin get blamed for something he did not do. Though Joshua Glick and others. She fears about her secret coming out and destroying any love in her life. Carolyn need to learned to trust god. Her brother Amos has to learn so lesson as well. Find out what happens durning love triangle with Carolyn Lapp.
This is a fabulous book! I really enjoyed the first book of this series, but this one really “wowed” me. The way Carolyn is treated, and all the judgment she endures, just made my heart break! The author did a great job of making these characters seem so real. I hurt for Carolyn and Benjamin when they were treated badly. I wanted to shake Joshua’s mamm, Barbie, because she was so very controlling and judgmental. I really liked Joshua in this book and was happy to see him falling in love. There was a point I wanted to shake him too, but I actually like that because I want an author to really make me care about the characters. I look forward to reading the third book in this series. I really like this book’s setting, which includes time with the Amish characters at their homes, where they are living their daily lives. But the heroines of this book series all also have jobs at the Lancaster Grand Hotel. I enjoyed the interactions they had with other Englisch and Amish people. Some good conversations were held there. I so enjoyed this story and am very happy to know that I will be able to return to these characters in the upcoming books and see how they are getting by. I highly recommend this book. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through Litfuse Publicity Group, in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
Amy Clipston in her new book, “A Mother’s Secret” Book Two in the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel published by Zondervan brings us into the life of Carolyn Lapp. From the Back Cover: An unwed Amish woman yearns for real love and a family. The only thing in her way is the shame she’s been carrying for half of her life. Thirty-one-year-old Carolyn Lapp has never been married—but she’s been a mother for fifteen years. In a community with strict standards and a long memory, Carolyn knows she might never find a man who will have her and her son, Benjamin. Carolyn’s family tries to marry her off to a widower with a daughter who needs a mother. A marriage of convenience doesn’t sound so bad, yet despite her loneliness, Carolyn knows what she really wants: a traditional Amish family and a marriage for love. When Benjamin gets into trouble at an auction, he finds himself beholden to a handsome horse breeder named Joshua Glick. Joshua and Carolyn feel an instant attraction, and soon a romance is budding between them. The trouble is Joshua believes Benjamin is Carolyn’s nephew, not her son. After years of shame and loneliness, Carolyn suddenly has two men vying for her attention. Can either man give her the family—and the unconditional love—she longs for? Or will her past once again sabotage the future she wants? You make a mistake you pay for it forever. At least that is the way it feels sometimes. The bigger the mistake the harder it is and Carolyn feels she has made a whopper, so big that even her own brother will not forgive her. Now she has a chance to have what she has always dreamed of, a marriage where he loves her and she loves him in return. However Joshua doesn’t understand that Benjamin is her son and she is afraid she will lose him when he finds out. Ms. Clipston has written a story that is so engrossing that once you start you will not want to put this book down. Joshua, Carolyn, Benjamin and all the other characters seem like real people who you care about and want to hang out with and when the book ends it is a sad parting. This is a nice romance that you root for. Amy Clipston has written a well done novel that I liked a lot. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Even in the Amish world, things aren't easy when it comes to decisions that we regret but can't change. Such is the case for Carolyn Lapp, who at 16 got pregnant and had a son, Benjamin. Now thirty one years later, there are those in her family that refuse to let her forget that the decision she made back then was one that was not only shameful but that she continue to allow her family to suffer for. But her mother and sister-in-law both understand the meaning of God's forgiveness and the fact that she hadn't been baptized in the faith yet, so no kneeling confession is required. Yet her brother Amos insists that Carolyn needs help to find a husband and father so they can stop depending on their family for support, even though Carolyn earns a living working part time at the Grand Hotel as a maid. But the man Amos has in mind lost his wife six years ago and he desperately needs a wife and mother for his daughter Emma. But Carolyn always dreamed she would fall in love much like her own parents and have a marriage much like theirs. She never dreamed that love would be possible for someone like her especially if they knew her secret and that Benjamin is her son and not her nephew as most people think. Joshua Glick never considered finding a wife. Not since he tried to do the honorable thing when his brother Gideon died leaving behind a wife and three children, and offered to marry her. Instead she left one of her daughters, Lillian behind and moved away to join the Englisch along with the twins Andrew and Amanda. She did find an Englisch husband and is now living not to far away from his family. Unfortunately since that day, Joshua's mother, Barbie has taken it upon herself to find Joshua a suitable and controllable Amish woman to marry and have children with. But Joshua isn't the slightest bit interested in dating or marriage. Running his horse farm takes all the time he has to spare. What he didn't expect to find was love where he wasn't looking. An unfortunate accident with his horse, left Joshua blaming Benjamin for the stitches his horse would require after believing he was the boy who throw a rock. He believes teaching Benjamin a lesson by working off his debt at his horse farm, but Carolyn knows that Benjamin is innocent, if only someone would believe he really is a good boy at heart! I received A Mother's Secret by Amy Clipston compliments of Zondervan Publishing and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. I love the premise behind the story of finding forgiveness not so much from others but for yourself. There is freedom in doing that and letting go of the guilt we can carry without realizing the heavy load we bear. I can understand the frustration that Carolyn faces with trying to please everyone for a mistake she made when she was a teenager and in trying to find a suitable father for Benjamin. It would provide a sense of freedom for both of them to not have to face the condemnation from her brother Amos anymore and to give her a sense of self worth in the eyes of those in the Amish community. Well worth every single one of the 5 out of 5 stars. I can't wait to see what happens next in the third book due out in the fall of this year, A Dream of Home.
A Mother’s Secret By: Amy Clipston I loved this story by Amy Clipston. Carolyn Lapp lives with her Amish family. She had a child out of wedlock when she was a teenager. She has been apologizing and defending her son ever since. Her son is now 15 years old and Carolyn is ready to find love. But is there a man who will look past her mistake and see her for who she is? Joshua Glick was in love with his brother’s wife. When he died and his wife moved away, Joshua didn’t think he’d fall in love again. Then he meets Carolyn. He thinks her son is her nephew. Joshua’s mother wants him to date another girl Lena. Will he find true love or will he settle for the girl his mother wants him to marry? Carolyn has a hard time forgiving herself for what she did. God and the church have forgiven her, but people who don’t know her past judge her when they find out. You can’t let a past mistake ruin your whole life. Joshua trusts Carolyn with his past, but Carolyn can’t trust him with her future. Once he finds out the truth about Benjamin her son, she is afraid he won’t like her anymore. She thinks maybe she should settle for a marriage of convenience with Saul instead of a marriage filled with love. Forgiveness is a powerful thing. God forgives us, but we have a hard time forgiving ourselves, especially when we have others reminding us of how we’ve fallen short. Will Joshua take a chance on love? Will Carolyn decide to marry someone who knows about her son instead of taking a chance on love? You’ll have to read the story to find out! I look forward to reading more books by this author. The Amish came to life in this story and I loved the characters. It was a well-rounded story, getting to know Carolyn’s family and Joshua’s. I felt like I was living in this Amish community while reading this story.
I received a copy of A MOTHER’S SECRET by Amy Clipston from Zondervan via BookSneeze. It is the second novel in the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series. I chose this book because it involves an Amish community, and my mother enjoys reading about the Amish lifestyle. I enjoy discussing the books with her once we’ve both read them. I have mixed feelings on this novel. For the good, it was a fast read. I had to see what happened next. I started it in the evening, which I shouldn’t have done, for it kept me up late, and then I tried to read more during lunch. It was honestly hard to put down and I had to finish it when I got home. The characters feel real and they aren’t all sweet and innocent like the people in most Amish fiction. With that said, there was some bad too. The grandfather seemed too blinded to how his grandsons treated Ben and I never had a strong sense of the setting, nor of what people looked like, other than Carolyn who was described as attractive. The book mentioned Bird-in-Hand market, which I’ve been to many times with my mother, so I was able to imagine that, but only because I have the memories and pictures. I also felt like the characters repeated themselves often. While they felt real, the situations felt contrived, as if the author had laid out a plan for the book and stuck to it steadfast. Overall, I give the book three stars, and I will be getting the others in the series to discover what else will happen.
The second novel in The Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series, A Mother’s Secret, by Amy Clipston (Zondervan) is an engaging, page turning, and stunning success. A Mother’s Secret stands alone perfectly without reading the first book in the series, A Hopeful Heart. The third novel in the series, A Dream of Home, will be available in the fall of 2014. Fair warning however, A Mother’s Secret is so enjoyable that readers will want to purchase the entire series. The protagonist, Carolyn, has been judged harshly by some of the people in her Amish community for a mistake she made when she was 16 years old. She became an unwed mother and now at age 31, she still feels the sting of the mistake that she made. She and her son, Benjamin, age 15, live with her parents in the daadi haus on land owned by her brother Amos. Amos is constantly belittling Carolyn for her past, and in addition, his sons bully Benjamin. At the Horse Auction, Benjamin is accused of throwing a rock at Joshua Glick’s horse, causing injury and a veterinary bill. In reality, Amos’s boys threw the rock but blamed Benjamin. Benjamin is made to work at Joshua’s horse farm to pay the vet bill where he finds he loves working for Joshua and with the horses. Amos begins pressuring Carolyn to find a husband and marry so she will be more legitimate and give her son a father. Carolyn doesn’t want a marriage of convenience; she wants to marry for love. Still, Amos introduces Carolyn to widower Saul and she agrees to get to know him. Saul has a 10 year old daughter, a successful cabinetry shop, and a kind heart, but he has difficulty expressing his feelings. Joshua Glick, on the other hand, has no trouble expressing his feelings and he is beginning to fall for Carolyn. She needs to figure out which man is right for her. A Mother’s Secret incorporates several important messages within its pages. Carolyn works through shame and isolation to find true happiness. Amy Clipston writes brilliantly on the subject of forgiveness, not just God’s forgiveness of sins but each person forgiving themselves and each other. In addition, the book includes the theme of trusting in the plan God has for each individual. Amy Clipston gives readers a wonderful romance in the pages of A Mother’s Secret. The romance is sweet, exciting, and refreshingly realistic. She perfectly captures that butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling between a couple as they first start to fall in love. There is also some very interesting conflict between the characters. The book is totally entertaining with creative three dimensional personalities having relatable problems, both good and bad characteristics, fears and successes, happiness and loneliness. It’s simply a pleasure to read Amy Clipston’s novels. A Mother’s Secret will be available on June 3, 2014.
Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel. Carolyn Lapp,s dream of marrying for love is hard to imagine since she gave birth out of wedlock to her son Benjamin fifteen years ago. She has lived and raised her son while living in the dawdy house with her parents on her brother's farm. Her son is blamed and reprimanded by her brother for things she knows her son had nothing to do with. She is now being pressured by her brother to marry a local Amish man that has a young daughter needing a woman's guidance. Her dream to marry for love does not fit into this union. The church has forgiven her sin but it is very apparent her brother as not forgiven her which also shows in the way he treats her son. Benjamin is blamed for spooking a horse owned by Joshua Glick a local horse breeder. Even though he had nothing to do with the incident he is ordered by his uncle under the suggestion of Joshua Click to work off his punishment working for Joshua. Carolyn was hesitant about the arrangement but after seeing the change in her son while working for Joshua not only brought peace to her and her son but her heart began feeling as if there was hope of love in her future. The big problem is Johua is under the impression that Benjamin's is her brother's son not hers. This was a heart wrenching story of love lost, trials and tribulation that lead to forgiveness and reconciliation. I found that once Carolyn was able to trust God with her future she was able to find peace for her and her son. What a gift from God Joshua was for Carolyn's whole family. Her whole family had suffered from her mistakes as a teen. This blessed author must have a tender heart to dig so deep to find the tender, fragile emotions of so many characters. I highly recommend this book. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Group/Netgalley/Zondervan for an honest review.
I enjoy this book a lot and could not put it down for to long.
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