An Amish Christmas

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Overview

Meg Hobart has everything: a happy marriage to a handsome, successful husband, a beautiful home in Charlotte, North Carolina, and three wonderful children. But it all comes crashing down around her the day she learns that her husband, James, has been living a lie?and has brought the family to financial ruin. Penniless and homeless, the Hobarts pack up what little they still possess and leave behind their golden life for good. But it?s not the material things Meg finds herself mourning. Instead, she misses the ...
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An Amish Christmas

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Overview

Meg Hobart has everything: a happy marriage to a handsome, successful husband, a beautiful home in Charlotte, North Carolina, and three wonderful children. But it all comes crashing down around her the day she learns that her husband, James, has been living a lie—and has brought the family to financial ruin. Penniless and homeless, the Hobarts pack up what little they still possess and leave behind their golden life for good. But it’s not the material things Meg finds herself mourning. Instead, she misses the certainty that she should remain married to James, who has betrayed her trust so thoughtlessly. Worse, she is suddenly very aware of just how spoiled her children have become. Meg wonders what her family has really sacrificed in their pursuit of the American dream.

A frightening twist of fate forces the Hobarts to take refuge with a kind Amish family in Pennsylvania, where they find themselves in a home with no computers, no cell phones, nothing the children consider fashionable or fun. Her uncooperative brood confined to the Amish world of hard work and tradition, their futures entirely uncertain, Meg fears she can never make her family whole again.

Celebrating life’s simplest but most essential values, packed with laughter and tears, this is a story of forgiveness and the power of love. You will never forget the special moment in time that is An Amish Christmas.

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  • An Amish Christmas
    An Amish Christmas  

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345523785
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/26/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 7.68 (w) x 11.80 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Cynthia Keller
Cynthia Keller is lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

“You’re looking a little pathetic there, Mom.”

As her daughter, Lizzie, entered the kitchen, the words startled Meg from her reverie. Leaning on both elbows at the kitchen’s butcher-block island, she’d been staring, unseeing, at the large tray of untouched cookies before her. She reached up to remove the tall witch’s hat she’d been wearing for the past two hours, and set it down beside the tray.

“They’re such cute cookies, aren’t they?” Meg asked her daughter in a wistful voice. “Not one trick-or-treater this year. I can’t believe it.”

Lizzie, her laptop computer tucked under one arm, paused to stare at her mother’s handiwork. “Dude, how long did it take you to make all these? They’re insane.”

“Don’t call me ‘dude,’” Meg responded automatically. “I thought it would be fun to try something different. It wasn’t a big deal.”

She had no intention of confessing to her fifteen-year-old how long the process had taken. After finally locating the correct chocolate cookies—the ones with the hollow centers—she had used icing to “glue” chocolate Kisses, points up, into the middles, then she’d painstakingly drawn hatbands and bows with a tiny tube of red icing. The result was rows and rows of miniature witch hats. Adorable. They would end up being tossed into the bottomless pits that were the stomachs of her thirteen-year-old son, Will, and his friends.

“Honestly, why do you bother?” Lizzie’s muffled voice came from inside their walk-in pantry closet. Meg knew her daughter was grabbing her favorite evening snack, two Pop-Tarts that she would eat right out of the foil package. “No one cares. It’s stupid.”

Meg quietly sighed. Maybe it was stupid to hang the tissue ghosts from the trees in their front yard. To carve the jack-o’-lantern that was the centerpiece of the arrangement on the front steps, with hay, gourds, stuffed scarecrow, and all. Okay, so Lizzie and Will were too old for the giant figures of witches and goblins that she’d taped on the windows. Lizzie was at some in-between stage, too cool to trick-or-treat but probably looking forward to next year, when some of the kids would have driver’s licenses. Meg anticipated there would be parties at different houses, no doubt with alcohol involved; She wasn’t looking forward to that phase. Will had also declined going from house to house this year, preferring to goof around with his buddies on someone’s driveway basketball court. But she’d thought Sam, her nine-year-old, might still have gotten a kick out of her decorations. Wrong. He never appeared to notice them, and he’d barely made it through a half hour of ringing doorbells before declaring he’d had enough of this holiday. What on earth had happened to Halloween being so much crazy fun, the way it was when she was a child? Didn’t kids know how to enjoy a holiday anymore? Besides, she was cutting back on the fuss; in the past, she would have spent hours baking cookies for trick-or-treaters. This year she had simply combined premade ingredients.

Lizzie, armed with her snack, left the room as the jarring noise of the garage door opening announced that Meg’s husband was home. She watched James enter and set down his briefcase in the mudroom before coming toward her. He looked exhausted. As the top in-house legal counsel to a large software corporation, he more than earned his salary. Somehow he managed to withstand endless pressure, maintain constant accessibility, and coolly handle one crisis after another. And those were only a few of his job requirements, it seemed to her.

Pulling off his suit jacket, he gave Meg a perfunctory kiss on the cheek.

“Happy Halloween,” Meg said brightly.

“Ummm.” His attention was already on the day’s mail, which he retrieved from its customary spot on one of the counters. He was frowning as he flipped through the envelopes.

“Something wrong?”

“Too many bills, Meg.” He sounded angry. “Too many bills. It’s got to stop.”

She didn’t reply. In eighteen years of marriage, James had rarely complained about their bills. Sure, he wasn’t thrilled with paying private school tuition for three children, but it was something he and Meg both wanted to do. Beyond that, it was understood between them and even among their friends that his wife was the saver and he was the spender.

Meg had always understood that things were important to her husband. It was he who purchased the designer suits, their fancy watches, her expensive jewelry. It was he who booked the first-class vacations. He was the one, in fact, who chose this enormous house. Even with three children, Meg had no idea why they needed five thousand square feet in one of the most expensive sections of Charlotte.

It was clear that growing up with very little had left a psychological scar on James that he tried to cover up with material trappings. She didn’t like it, but she understood. That was what he needed to feel comfortable. He didn’t brag or rub his success in anyone’s face. Still, it was as if he had to have more of everything just to feel he was level with everyone else.

Recently, though, he seemed to have undergone a change in thinking. He had started complaining regularly about everything she and the children spent.

“Are you hungry?” Meg moved to open the refrigerator door.

He slapped the mail back down on the counter. “I mean it! The spending has to stop. We need to batten down the hatches.”

She turned back to him. “You’re right,” she said soothingly. “We will—the hatches, I mean, and the battening. Now, can I get you something to eat?”

“I don’t want anything,” he snapped. “I’ll be in my study.”

Meg stared after him. Aside from his sudden financial prudence, he had been uncharacteristically irritable for a while now. And it had been getting worse, she realized, not better. She heard the door to his study slam shut. James was typically calm, even in a crisis. Especially in a crisis, she amended. That was one of the things she loved about him.

They met as sophomores at the University of Illinois in a nineteenth-century American history class. Meg happened to sit next to him one day early in the semester. When he began to juggle a pen, an assignment pad, and an empty soda can, it made her laugh. She grew more interested in him when he was the only one in class who was able to discuss all the major battles of the Civil War before the reading had even been assigned.

Their relationship had started out as more of a friendship. A little teasing back and forth led to some shared coffees, then pizza while studying for the final exam. Slowly, their connection grew and deepened. James proved to be a stabilizing influence on the flighty, directionless girl Meg had been. She had admired his strength, his solidness—not the physical kind but the kind that made her feel cared for and safe. Of course, she reflected with a smile, she hadn’t minded that he was tall and broad-chested, with thick sandy-colored hair and large dark eyes whose intent gaze made her feel she was the most important person in the room.

By the end of junior year, it was clear to both of them that marriage would follow on the heels of graduation. While he went to law school, she set up their first apartment and helped support them by working in a boring but well-paying job as an administrative assistant. The plan had always been for Meg to go to law school once James had a job, but then she got pregnant with Lizzie, and that was that. Which was perfectly fine with Meg. She wouldn’t trade one minute of time with her three children for anything in the world. Working would have been impractical for her, anyway, since they had moved to three different states over the years because of on the series of job offers that came James’s way. His drive and early success meant their lives were far more than comfortable. She and the children had everything they could ever need and more.

Maybe too much more.

She heard her older son coming downstairs—his feet, as usual, clomping rapidly rather than just walking. He was talking, his voice growing louder as he approached. “That is so sick, man!”

Meg rolled her eyes, understanding this to be high praise for whatever it was Will was discussing. She called out to him.

He stuck his head in the kitchen. He was slender and noticeably tall for an eighth-grader, with a face remarkably like his father’s. Will wore a dark-gray sweatshirt, his face nearly hidden in its hood. “Hang on,” he said to the room in general. “My mom, yeah.”

Meg understood that he was using a hands-free phone. No doubt it was the newest, tiniest, most advanced gadget available. She swore that half the time she didn’t know if her children were talking—or listening, for that matter—to her, to one another, or to someone else entirely on a cell phone or computer. Much to her chagrin, her husband aided and abetted the children’s desire to be up on the latest electronic everything. It seemed as if he came home every other week with an updated version of some gizmo or other. The stuff just kept changing, rendering the previous purchases obsolete, but no one besides her seemed to mind. Though lately, she reflected, she hadn’t seen the usual parade of new electronic toys, so perhaps James had heeded her protests.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 31 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    delightful story of adjusting to living with the Amish people

    A delightful and interesting story of a well-to-do family that suddenly, due to the husband's unwise decisions, became completely insolvent and lost everything they had except for one old automobile that had been paid off years earlier. What to do? How do you exist as a family and where do you turn? Meg and James Hobart, along with their three children, Lizzie, Will, and Sam had to face this reality shortly before Thanksgiving when a very irritated James turned on all of his family with a distinct attitude problem noticed by all. The family had always had a huge Thanksgiving dinner attended by many friends and Meg was busily preparing her plans for what, who, and exactly when the dinner would be served. For some time James had been bitterly complaining about any purchases the family made telling them the family could not afford all those unnecessary things they purchased. Just before the big dinner he broke down and told Meg that he had been "fired" in August and had not been able to tell her. He had invested all their money after his firing in some dismal investment company without telling Meg and they had lost everything. Everything was gone including the house, the savings, the investments, and their leased cars. The dinner went on but with a far different feeling by Meg and James. Corners were cut everywhere possible. The next few weeks they disposed of everything, cancelled all insurance policies, as well as anything due in the present or future. They packed and shipped all personal items to Meg's parents where they would travel to as soon as possible and live with them until they became able to go on their own once again. They squeezed into the old car and took off carrying only very personal items that they each wanted to still be in their lives. While traveling through Pennsylvania they had an accident with an Amish horse-drawn buggy forcing the car into a pole. As a result an Amish family involved in the accident came and helped all involved and made sure they were not hurt and took them to their home to get warmed up and relax from the accident. The car was towed to a garage in a nearby small city and the Amish family invited the Hobart's to stay with them until the car could be repaired and then get on their way once again. Needless to say, the Amish life was far different from the life that the Hobart's had been used to all their lives-until the loss of all their possessions and finances. You never heard such belly aching from the kids. Lizzie, Will, and Sam couldn't put up with these people or the way they lived. No computers, no television, no-anything they were used to. The stay was extended because it was taking the repair shop a long time to get the parts and get that old car ready. This story is a good old-fashioned story that fits in with Christmas time perfect and gives all of us that are spoiled having all the modern communication and living devices in our lives a lot of reflection. You will meet the Amish families and live with them and adjust to their style of living-or not! The Amish live a very simple family oriented life and are not afraid of manual labor. An excellent read for all ages.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    One of my top 10

    This is a wonderful story. Found myself emotionally drawn into the characters. Not your predictable Amish love story. This is on the list of my favorite 10 books of all time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2011

    This is a wonderful book!

    I bought this book as a gift for a relative. It arrived in perfect condition. I read this last winter as a library book, and enjoyed the story so much, I decided to buy it new for my relative. It helps you see the real meaning of Christmas, family & holidays, and to get a different perspective on life!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

    Great Story

    Short Read, Good story. Would recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012

    Great book

    Wonderful Christmas story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2012

    An Amish Christmas

    I am only on page nine. Just got back from band so i can't read much tonight. I will keep on reading and keep up on up dates. Later this was posted at 9:16 on 12-10-12

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2011

    Sweet

    This was a sweet Chrustmas







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  • Posted December 1, 2011

    Very good,

    Slow to start, but then couldn't put it down. Loved it.

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    A nice book to read every Christmas

    This little story reminds us of the things in life that are impotant. We often judge people by their "things". The Amish family clarifies the truely important aspects of life; family, friends, and kindness to others. I would definitely recommend this book for others.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful Story of Forgiveness

    Meg and James have lost everything they thought they valued. They along with their 3 children Lizzie, Will, and Sam, have left North Carolina and are headed to Homer NY to live with Meg's parents. At the beginning of the story it does not seem possible that this family is going to be able to stay together.
    Fate brings them to visit the Amish community in Pennsylvania, and a near fatal mishap ends up changing their lives. While traveling down a Country Road in their packed to the gills Mustang, James swerves and misses an Amish buggy. David Lutz is so thankful to be alive and no one is hurt. He opens his Amish home to the family.
    Lizzie and Will are aghast that there is no electricity! Where Sam seems to settle in nicely. What ends up being over 2 week stay changes all of the Hobart's lives.
    I really enjoyed the interaction between the English and the Amish. This is the story of forgiveness and acceptance. I loved the story!

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  • Posted January 16, 2011

    Good Story

    Enjoyed this book very much. Good story and the ending not predictable as some books. The Amish life takes the commercialism out of Christmas and focuses on the simple things in life such as families getting together, good food and enjoying each others company. I would like to see this story continue with the Hobart family and their new life.

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  • Posted December 23, 2010

    Limited character development

    Disappointing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2011

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews

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