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But others aren’t as thrilled with Annie’s lure to the Big Apple. Aaron has long been attracted to Annie and is sure he’s in love. As he watches her engage in big city life, he grows concerned that she won’t want to return to their quieter life. Will Annie follow Aaron back home? Or stay and pursue her dreams? Competing for her attention, Aaron sets out to show Annie that Christmas isn’t about the glitz and glamour, but about family, love, and the birth of Jesus.
Annie lay on the quilt-covered bed tucked up in her cozy, tiny attic bedroom. She held up the snow globe and shook it, watching the little snowflakes inside swirl and swirl and then float gently down to cover the skyscrapers of New York City.
It was her favorite Christmas present ever, brought back from the big city by her mamm when she went to see her editor years ago. After she'd received the globe with its tiny glimpse of the city, Annie had borrowed books from the library and studied the photos and read everything she could. New York City seemed like such an exciting place, filled with such towering, fancy buildings, its streets lined with so many types of people from so many places. Stories were everywhere, stories of hope and joy and death and loss and—well, her imagination was soaring just thinking about them.
She might be twenty-one now, a woman and not a child, but she was no less interested—some might say obsessed—than she'd been with the city than when she first received the globe. Her one big wish had become to visit New York City, and now it was finally coming true.
Life here in her Plain community of Paradise, Pennsylvania, wasn't boring. Not exactly. She loved everything about it. But she'd always been a seeker, endlessly curious about even the tiniest detail of life. She'd been like that even before her mamm had moved here and married her daed. Before she became Jenny Bontrager, her mother had been Jenny King, a television news reporter who specialized in traveling around the world and showing people what war did to innocent children.
Annie thought the work sounded amazing. All the travel—it sounded so exciting. Meeting all kinds of people. Telling the stories of people who needed attention to their story to help them. Annie had never lacked for a meal. She'd always had a comfortable bed.
And even though she had lost her mother at a young age, she'd always had so many people around her to love her and make her feel safe and happy. The children her mother had seen overseas in war-torn countries had often lost parents, their homes—even been injured or killed themselves. And sometimes there was little food.
She looked up when there was a knock on the door frame.
"Hi. May I come in?"
"Of course." Annie moved so her mother could sit on the bed with her.
When she saw her mother's gaze go to the snow globe she held, she handed it to her. Jenny shook it and watched the snowflakes settle on the skyscrapers inside just as Annie had done.
"I remember when I gave this to you."
"You came back from a trip there and told us you were going to have a baby."
"Seems like just yesterday."
"Seems like he's been around forever to drive me crazy." She grinned. "Don't worry, I don't mean it. He's a good little brother."
"You mean when he's not being a little terror?"
Annie laughed and nodded. "Right. He's not afraid of anything. Must have some of the adventurer spirit you have inside him."
Her mother glanced down at her traditional Amish dress and laughed self-deprecatingly. "I'm not much of an adventurer now."
"You have a spirit of adventure in your heart," Annie told her.
She studied her mother, who looked so slim and pretty in a dress of deep green; her dark brown hair tucked neatly under her snowy white kapp still showed no gray. Jenny never missed the fancy clothes of the Englisch—never missed anything from that world from what she said. Annie wondered how she would feel visiting the city she'd made her home base for so many years.
"It's going to be so amazing!" She looked at her mother. "I'm still surprised Daed said he wanted to go."
She sat up and hugged her mother. "But I'm glad he did. He's so, so proud of you. We all are."
"I appreciate it," Jenny told her. "But we're not going to the event for them to make a fuss over me. You know that's not our way."
"I know." Annie pretended to roll her eyes. "It's because the organization is helping children. And because your friend, David, is being honored too. "
"Exactly." Jenny paused and grinned. "Of course, it doesn't mean we can't have some fun while we're there."
Annie reached under her pillow and pulled out a handful of brochures. "I sent off for these. Look, the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Times Square ..."
"And the New York Times?" Jenny looked over the information packet for the newspaper. "Hardly a tourist attraction."
"Please?" Annie bounced on the bed like a kid. "I want to go so bad. Badly," she corrected herself.
Jenny chuckled. "I guess it would be attractive to someone who wants to be a writer."
She glanced over at Annie's small desk. "I remember when you started keeping a word journal. How you loved finding new words to tell us about."
"So this is where you went." Annie's father appeared in the doorway.
He filled the doorway, this tall and handsome father of hers. She and her brothers and sister had gotten their blond hair and blue eyes from him.
"Matthew, look! Annie's gotten all sorts of brochures of places to visit for us to look at before we go to New York City."
"The New York Times?" he asked, sounding doubtful. "I'm not sure your brothers and sister are going to be thrilled with going on a tour of a newspaper."
Annie looked imploringly toward her mother.
"Maybe we can think of someplace you and the rest of the family would like to go while Annie and I go on the newspaper tour, maybe the television studio where I used to work," Jenny suggested.
"It's no surprise the two of you would want to go there." He picked up the brochure of the Niagara Falls. "This looks amazing. Amos and Esther went there last year and said the boat ride was exciting. Bet Joshua would love this."
They heard a crash downstairs.
"The Bontrager children are never quiet," Jenny said, sighing. But she wore a smile. "I'd better go see what they're up to."
She patted Matthew's cheek as she passed him. "Supper in ten."
Laughing, she shook her head. "I'm making baked pork chops."
"One of my favorites."
She glanced back. "And something easy I can't mess up. Well, at least when I set the timer."
Matthew waited until she left the room and then he looked at Annie. They laughed.
"I heard you!" Jenny called back.
He struggled to suppress his grin. "It's still fun to tease her about her cooking."
"You have to stop," she told him sternly.
"You do it too. It's just so easy to tease her when she makes comments first. But she's become a good cook. Not that I'd have been any less happy to be married to her if she hadn't."
Tilting his head, he studied her. "So I guess you're going to miss Aaron while you're gone."
She frowned at him. "Don't tease."
"He's a nice young man."
With a shrug, Annie gathered up the brochures and tucked them under her pillow.
"Annie? Is there a problem?"
"No, of course not."
"We used to be able to talk about everything."
She looked up and felt a stab of guilt. He looked genuinely disappointed.
"He's afraid I'm going to stay there," she blurted out. Matthew pulled over the chair from the desk and sat down. "You're not, are you?"
She frowned. "Of course not."
But oh, to stay longer than the four or five days they planned to visit. There was so much to see, so much to write about ...
"Gut," he said, looking relieved.
She stood. "I should go down and help Mamm with supper."
He nodded. "I'm right behind you. She might need me to get the apple pie I smell baking out of the oven."
"Men!" she said, laughing as she walked from the room. "All you think of is your stomachs."
"Hey, a man works hard, he needs to eat."
When she got downstairs she saw her mother didn't need her help—Mary was visiting and staying for supper. She stood at the counter slicing bread while Johnny set the table. Joshua was no doubt out in the barn finishing his chores. There was nothing he liked better than to feed and water the horses.
She'd known her siblings would be doing their evening chores. But it had been a good excuse for getting out of a discussion of Aaron with her father. She hadn't liked what Aaron said about her going to New York City. And there was no need to be getting into it with her father in any case. Such things weren't discussed with parents until you actually knew you were getting engaged, and right now, she and Aaron were just friends.
It was fun going to singings and church activities and things with him, but she wasn't ready to get married yet. Fortunately, her parents wouldn't dream of pressuring her to do so. Many of her friends were waiting a little longer than their parents had before they married. After all, marriage was forever in her community.
At least, until death did you part.
Annie had been so young when her mother died that Jenny had been the only mother she'd ever known. Although Jenny moved with only a trace of a limp from the car bombing she'd suffered overseas, she'd experienced problems recovering from it that had affected her speech. Annie had bonded with her when her father had offered to drive Jenny to speech therapy on the days Annie went for help with her own childhood speech problem.
But maybe Annie was closer to Jenny, too, because Jenny had lost her mother when she was young and knew how it felt.
Their shared interest in writing came as her mother helped her with schoolwork and found Annie loved to put her active imagination on paper. Now her tiny room was full of boxes of journals and bound collections of poems and short stories.
Annie watched the way her family worked together in the kitchen getting the family meal on the table—especially loving the way her parents got along. Her father had come down the stairs and insisted on checking on the pie. Her mother shooed him away from the oven, insisting it needed five more minutes. She smiled at the way they pretended to argue, all the while teasing each other and loved seeing them occasionally sharing a kiss when they thought their kinner weren't watching.
They were different than the parents of most of her friends. Jenny's father had been born Amish but had decided not to join the church, so she was familiar with the Amish ways and had visited her grandmother here for years. Although Jenny and Annie's father had fallen in love as teenagers, Jenny had left one summer to go to college and her father had married Annie's mother some time later.
But then the terrible bombing overseas years later had an amazing result: Jenny's grandmother had invited her to recuperate at her house and Jenny had been reunited with Annie's father. After she joined the church, the two of them had gotten married. So they were different from the parents of her friends in that respect. Annie always wondered if they seemed more in love than other married couples because of all they'd been through. Then again, Amish couples didn't usually indulge in public displays of affection.
"Go tell Phoebe supper's ready," Jenny told her.
It was a simple thing to do—just a few steps across the room and a knock on the door of the dawdi haus.
Phoebe opened the door with a smile. "No need to knock, child. Mmm, something smells so good."
"Matthew thinks the pie should come out," Jenny said as Phoebe stepped into the kitchen. "I think it needs five more minutes. You decide."
Phoebe opened the oven door and nodded. "Jenny's right, Matthew. You know you're just impatient to be eating it."
He sighed and pulled out her chair. "You're right."
She patted his cheek before she sat. "Be patient. Even after it's done you'll need to let it cool a little."
Joshua came in from the barn, letting in a cold blast of wind. He took off his jacket, hung it on a peg, and went to wash his hands.
The wind picked up and rattled the kitchen window. "Hope it doesn't snow early this year," Phoebe said. "It'd make travel to the big city hard."
"It wouldn't dare snow and interrupt Annie's trip," Jenny said as the family took their seats at the big wooden kitchen table.
"Annie's trip? I thought it was Jenny's trip," Matthew remarked.
"I think she's even more excited than I am."
She grinned. "You're right."
They were just about to thank God for the meal when they heard a knock on the door.
"We know who it is," Joshua said, rolling his eyes.
"Be nice," Jenny told him with a stern look. But Annie saw the smile playing around her mother's lips.
"I'll get it," Annie said, but there was no need. No one else was getting to their feet.
She opened the door and found Aaron standing there, wearing a big smile and holding his hat in his hands.
"Good evening," he said smiling as he stepped inside and took off his hat. "Sorry I'm late."
* * *
Aaron bent his head in prayer with the family and when it was over, he looked up and glanced around the table at Annie's family.
His family, he corrected himself. Each person here—Jenny, Matthew, Joshua, Mary, Johnny—had become so dear to him in these past months he felt they truly were already his family.
He didn't dare say so to Annie just yet. He wasn't a stupid man. He knew she didn't return his feelings yet.
Yet, he told himself. He was a determined man and she was the perfect woman for him, so he'd bide his time and see what happened. When you considered marriage was forever, having to wait months to date and become engaged wasn't so long.
"Aaron? Pork chop?" she asked as she handed him the platter.
He took the platter from her and as he did their eyes met. She smiled at him and he bobbled the fork. It clattered to the floor.
"I'll get a clean one for you," she said and started to rise.
"I can use this one," he told her, bending to lift it.
"Don't you dare!" Jenny cried.
"Your floors are clean," he insisted, but Annie snatched the fork from him and handed him a clean one.
"Mamm has better things to do than keep the floors clean enough to eat off of," she told him, frowning.
"I'm sorry," he said quickly. "I didn't mean to offend."
Jenny shook her head and smiled at him. "You didn't. I'm afraid I've been busy with a deadline and just don't have as much time to clean these days."
Aaron found himself glancing at Matthew to see his reaction, but the man was calmly eating his dinner. If he had any feeling his home wasn't up to par he certainly wasn't showing it—or appearing to hide it. Wives in the community often had jobs they performed inside or outside the home, but Aaron didn't know anyone who wrote other than Jenny.
And Annie seemed to want to follow in her mother's footsteps. She wasn't aware of it, but he had watched her daydream when she was supposed to be doing her lessons and had seen her delight in writing exercises. Just how she was going to be doing the writing she spoke of here in their Plain community of Paradise he wasn't sure. He knew Jenny wrote books, but he didn't know if it was something you had to go to college for like Jenny had. And Annie had never said she wanted to go to college, something that wasn't done by the Amish.
He knew Jenny's father had left the Amish community and Jenny had been raised Englisch and gone to college. She'd even traveled overseas in countries he hadn't heard of to cover stories for the television. She'd been hurt there, and then she'd come back to heal here. She and Matthew had been attracted to each other as teenagers, but she'd gone off to college and then to her work. When she came to Phoebe's house after her injury in the car bombing, Jenny had been a broken shell of a woman. But she'd recovered, learned to walk again, and ended up walking down the aisle at her wedding.
Aaron glanced over at Annie. He knew not to look at Annie the same way her parents did with each other.
"Mamm has an appointment with her editor while we're in New York City," Annie informed him as she passed him a bowl of mashed potatoes. "After, I've been invited to take a tour of the publishing offices."
The mashed potatoes he'd been spooning onto his plate landed with a wet plop on his plate.
"I can't wait," she said, her voice animated. "I'm hoping to talk Mamm into going to the New York Times building."
He'd never heard of anyone he knew going to visit the New York Times or a publishing company. Niagara Falls, some national parks—those were the kinds of places Plain people visited when they took a vacation away from home. He wondered how a building where books or newspapers were published could be interesting.
His own mother had asked him if it was wise to be seeing someone so different from the "usual girl" as she put it. When Aaron had asked her if she didn't like Annie, she'd blustered a bit and then said, of course she liked Annie.
"Jenny keeps to herself a lot," his mother explained. "To do her writing thing. Have you thought about if Annie goes after the same thing how it will affect you?"
Excerpted from Annie's Christmas Wish by Barbara Cameron. Copyright © 2013 Barbara Cameron. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
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.
Posted October 11, 2013
Grab a cup of peppermint tea, snuggle under a comfy blanket, and prepare to be transported to Amish country for Christmastime in Annie’s Christmas Wish. This story is the fourth in the Quilts of Lancaster County series, but reads well by itself, with enough background knowledge that you will feel as though you know the Bontrager family pretty quickly. If you are looking for a novel that cuts through the production that has become Christmas, and gets to the heart of the season, this is the book for you.
Miss Cameron’s writing comes alive with the warmth and love of an Amish family that steps out of their everyday life, and travels to New York for a vacation before Christmas. Readers are taken around the city, experiencing everything through the eyes of a family that, for most members, have never seen anything like a big city Christmas. Annie, the title character, is easy to identify with as she struggles with juggling her dreams with the love she has for her family, and a possible future with a childhood friend, who might just be something more.
This novel left me feeling hopeful, warm, and thankful. It is a good, clean story about people who understand what is truly important, and it sets a good example that I wish to strive for.
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Posted January 6, 2014
Great Story Year Round!
Annie Bontrager's formerly Englisch stepmother was a well-known writer from New York City. On a return trip after becoming Amish and marrying Annie's father, she brought Annie a snow globe of the New York City skyline. Since her mother was chosen to receive an award for her writing the family planned a trip to New York City as a family vacation. Annie's brother was unable to join them, so Annie's long-time friend, Aaron was invited to take his place. Annie had been writing since could put pencil to paper, and this trip meant the world to her. She was finally going to see firsthand what a writer's world was all about. Throughout the trip Aaron became more attracted to Annie, more than just the friendly relationship they had always shared. As events over the course of the vacation concerned Aaron that Annie might decide to stay in New York City, tensions escalated. A learning experience for the entire family, this vacation was a crossroads for Annie. How would she react if she was offered a job there? Would she follow her dream to become a big city writer, or would her Amish roots beckon her home?
I thoroughly enjoyed Annie's Christmas Wish. I admire Barbara Cameron for taking a different approach in this Amish story. The Amish take vacations to various resorts and landmarks comparable to other families, and the Bontrager'sNew York City adventures were refreshing. Seeing city life through the eyes of the Amish was captivating. The simple way of life yet strong beliefs of the Amish were brought to life numerous times throughout this story of radical differences in culture. The author is well educated in the Amish way of life, and her descriptive talent is commendable. Her characters were very well defined and engaging, and the descriptive qualities of the landmarks of both theBontrager's farm and the bright lights of big city were illustrative and expressive. This book is far from just a Christmas story. I recommend reading it any time of year.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Abingdon Press and the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
Posted December 8, 2013
MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK
I love that Barbara Cameron wrote a 4th book in the Quilts of Lancaster County, and it’s a Christmas book too! I really did enjoy the trip back to the little Amish community with the Bontrager family. And this time it is Annie, and her dream of writing and visiting New York, a dream she has had since her mom, Jenny brought her a snow globe back from New York when Annie was a little girl. But Annie’s beau Aaron does’t care of the idea because he is afraid of losing Annie to the Big city!
Following the Bontrager family to NYC was rather fun, and especially since they were an Amish family. But I like the fact that they are Amish, but since Jenny was a big name reporter in the Englisch world, the family is exposed to a lot of the Englisch ways. And it was so heartwarming that Matthew and Jenny has such a strong relationship that even the lights and sounds, and everything NYC has to offer, it doesn’t faze their relationship. All in all, this is a great story that I really enjoyed reading. If you enjoy Amish fiction, you will love this one. And don’t forget to check out the first three books in The Quilts of Lancaster County Series.
I received this book from the publisher Abingdon Press to read and review. 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 55.
Posted December 2, 2013
This was an interesting story, mainly because it was interesting to see how an Amish family viewed New York City. I was surprised at some of the things they did, including watching some movies, since the Amish . don't usually do that. I liked catching up with characters I met when I read Barbara's previous series. I wished the romance would have had a little more to it; I got frustrated sometimes with how Aaron would jump to conclusions or didn't seem to listen. This definitely makes me want to visit New York again, especially at Christmas! If you like Amish or Christmas stories, you should check it out!
I received an ARC free from Abingdon Press in exchange for an honest review.
Posted November 19, 2013
Annie's Christmas Wish, by Barbara Cameron, is the story of Annie, who lives in the Old Order Amish community of Paradise Pennsylvania. Annie's mother died when she was young, and she and her siblings have been raised by their father and step-mother. Jenny, Annie's stepmother, used to lead an 'Englisch' life as a writer in New York City. Annie also loves to write, and has dreamed of visiting this exciting city.
Annie is thrilled when the family is invited to New York so her step-mother can receive an award. Her friend Aaron goes along with the family, concerned that Annie will want to stay in New York. Annie isn't sure herself if she will fall in love with the Big City and want to live a life like her step-mother did.
Annie's Christmas Wish is part of the Quilts of Lancaster County series by Barbara Cameron. I read this book without reading any of the others, and I think it did well as a stand-alone story. I did enjoy this sweet romance, and would like to read more of the books in this series.
Posted November 19, 2013
Having previously read and enjoyed the first three books in Barbara Cameron's series Quilts of Lancaster County, I was excited to have the opportunity to read the most recent addition to this series Annie's Christmas Wish. This book picks up with Annie the daughter of Matthew and Jenny the main characters in the previous novels. We are also introduced to Aaron a young man from their community.
The title of this book originates from Annie's wish to see New York City at Christmas time. This dream has been field by a snow globe of the city given to her by Jenny as a child. Her wish comes true as her family has the opportunity to visit New York City. The book focuses on situations that put the anticipated trip in jeopardy and the adventures they have while in the city. As one would suspect, a definite culture clash occurs between Annie's Amish family and the experiences they have in New York City. These clashes open their eyes to benefits from living in their community and also provide unexpected opportunities for Annie.
While definitely Amish "bonnet fiction" the issues with which Annie struggles in this book are similar to those faced by many you adult Christian women but amplified due to her Amish heritage. Specifically, Annie desires to write and to have a "career" like her Mamm Jenny. Yet, she also wants to follow the traditions of her community by being married and having a family. This struggle causes relational difficulties with several other main characters. In particular, Annie's opportunity and the assumptions Aaron makes about what those opportunities will require creates quite a sore spot. Fortunately by the end of the book, the situation has been resolved quite satisfactorily.
I have greatly enjoyed Barbara Cameron's Amish fiction as her characters interact with Englischers frequently and struggle with the same issues as modern readers. The interaction between these different worlds sets these books apart and makes them less predictable than other Amish fiction. Although part of a series, Cameron includes sufficient background on the characters that reading the previous books is not necessary to enjoy Annie's Christmas Wish. Find a copy, a cup of your favorite hot beverage, and a cozy chair by the Christmas tree and enjoy!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Abingdon Press. 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.”
Posted November 18, 2013
ANNE'S CHRISTMAS WISH
As you grab a buggy ride and travel through Amish Country-- the simple, common and great life. The Amish people are peaceful and loving--unlike the big city. Join Annie and her family and friend to New York and see what they are up to.
Annie's Mom Jenny was a reporter before moving to the Amish country and now she, Matthew, Annie and Aaron are headed to New York because Annie is getting an award. Will this help Annie decided that New York is where she wants to be to do her writing? Aaron wants to marry Annie but will New York and the job that Annie loves and wants, come between them? Will Annie and Aaron work things out?
It's Christmas time in New York and it is always decorated so beautiful there at Christmas, a big tree, all the beautiful lights, and the glistening snow adds such a mystical touch that gives writers creative things to write about, will these helps sway Annie to stay in New York and leave her family, the Amish community and Aaron behind?
The Amish have a reputation for excellent carpentry and Aaron wanted his work to reflect that reputation with a lot of love and pride show in it. If you haven't seen the Amish carpentry wood work, I suggest you check their wood work out it is beautifully done with love. They truly are great carpenters.
This is a beautiful story of Amish life, the love the families have for each other, the way they help each other and the loyalty is beyond words.
I love Christmas stories -- Christmas is my favorite time of year, with the trees, houses and yards with the sparkling snow glistening like diamonds.
HAPPY READING and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!
I received this book free from Abingdon Press for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review just an honest one. The opinions I have expressed are entirely my own.
Posted November 5, 2013
I had thought that A Time for Peace was going to be the last book in this series but I was wrong. In this book we see Annie as a young woman who wants to follow in Jenny’s footsteps and be a writer. She has wanted to go to New York City ever since her stepmom bought her a snow globe from there. Now with Jenny getting an award her dream is about to come true. But could her love for the big apple pull her away from her community?
I have really liked this series so far and was excited to see another book had been written.
What I liked: It was neat to see Matt and Jenny as older parents now. I also liked Annie. She does not quite fit the Amish mold with her love for writing and adventure yet she loves her family and community enough to stay rooted which made for a fun story. Aaron was an okay love interest. He was worried that Annie was going to want to stay in New York and not return home. Annie was not sure what she felt for Aaron so it was interesting to see how that part of the story played out.
What I did not like: As interesting as the love story was it was not that great. Aaron and Annie just did not seem to have a good spark between them and it just felt kind of lukewarm. I also found it a little unbelievable that they watched Christmas movies at the hotel. Vacation or not I would think that would have been heavily frowned upon no matter that Jenny had not always been Amish.
Over all this was an enjoyable book and more about Annie fulfilling a dream then it was about her finding love which is fine just a little disappointing. I strongly recommend this series. To better understand this book you really need to read the three books before it. Add them to your reading list today!
Posted October 14, 2013
Amish fiction is one of my favorite reads, and I get especially excited when I see one like this that has a different story line. This is the perfect book for a comfy Christmas read (or anytime!).
Annie has always dreamed of being a writer, just like her stepmother. She lost her mother at a young age, and when her father remarried. Jenny, his new wife was a famous news correspondent in New York City before she married Annie’s dad and became Amish. The mother, daughter bond is as strong as if not stronger than any biological one.
Not only is Annie passionate about being Amish and being a writer, her other dream is to visit New York where her mother worked. Having been raised Amish she is very curious to know about Jenny’s life before coming to be a part of their family.
It looks like that dream is going to come true when Jenny receives an invitation to be honored for her past media work for children in worn torn countries. The whole family makes plans to attend, including Annie’s older and younger brother. Jenny shared many plans to show her family her old home before she joined the family: tourist sites, the television studio where she worked, the New York Times and more!
Annie was so focused on her writing career she never gave much thought to marriage and was shocked to realize Aaron Beiler was interested in her in that way. Her oldest brother is injured in an accident and the trip is almost canceled, but her grandmother saves the day by offering to stay with him. Aaron is invited to take his place. Annie sees it as an opportunity for them to get to know each other better. His fear that she might want to stay in New York ultimately causes tension between the two of them, possibly ending the romance.
The trip was everything Annie dreamed of and a few shocking surprises more. Opportunities arrive she could only dream of, but her heart is torn as to the right decision to make.
This story gave me those warm fuzzy feelings. The love and closeness being Annie’s parents and her family was so refreshing. The intimacy and understanding in Annie’s and Jenny’s interactions showed a bond every girl dreams of having with her mother. It was intriguing to see such a worldly place as New York through the eyes of the Amish, and also the experience of Jenny revisiting her old life after becoming Amish. I admired Jenny with how she was able to go back to her old life yet not be intimidated or feel out of place as an Amish woman. Being a part of their visits to tourist attractions was fun! It was especially meaningful to me the way Ms. Cameron brought so many biblical truths and applications into the character’s experiences. A must read! This is the first book of Ms. Cameron’s I have read but am definitely read the rest in this series!
I received this book free from Abingdon Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Posted October 13, 2013
Barbara Cameron in her new book, “Annie’s Christmas Wish” Book Four in the Quilts Of Lancaster County series published by Abingdon Press takes us into the life of Annie Bontrager.
From the back cover: Will New York City lure Annie away from her home…and the possibility of love?
Ever since her stepmother brought her a snow globe of the New York City skyline, Annie has wanted to visit and see the city. Annie dreams of being a writer like Jenny, she wants to see the New York Times building and see what it’s like to live in this exciting city.
When Jenny is set to receive an award in the city, the family decides a visit is a good idea. Along with Annie’s friend, Aaron, they watch the Macy’s Christmas parade, admire the decorated store windows and skate at the Rockefeller Center rink. Aaron watches Annie’s excitement, concerned that the woman he loves won’t return to their quieter life, especially after an unexpected offer threatens to change all of their lives forever.
As an ex-New Yorker I can say from experience that there is nothing like Christmas in New York. There is so much to see and do normally but it is highly escalated at Christmastime. Annie and her whole family are going to visit New York for the first time because her step mother is going to receive an award. Aaron, Annie’s long time friend who is in love with her, is afraid that she might not come back and is also there for the visit. As Annie gets caught up in the excitement of the trip Aaron works to refocus her attention on what is the true meaning of Christmas. It is into this environment that Ms. Cameron manages to weave a romance that just captivates you. She makes you care for all the characters and their journey. This is also just plain fun and exciting as well. If you want to read a genuine story about Christmas then this is the book for you.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Abingdon Press. 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.”
Posted October 10, 2013
It's not often you find a great Christmas novel with a compelling and lasting message regarding extended family, but I think Barbara Cameron has managed to do just that with Annie's Christmas Wish, book 4 in her Quilts of Lancaster County Series. This is perfect for those that enjoy Amish fiction or even a great contemporary romance because that is exactly the blend that Barbara has managed to create.
Annie Bontrager knows that she desires to become a writer at some point in her life. She carries around a notebook so that she can capture whatever thoughts or ideas come to her wherever she might be like all great writers do. She carries that inspiration from being around her step mother Jenny who was a famous newspaper reporter when she used to live in New York City. Jenny was raised English and thus was never really subject to the terms one usually finds in an Amish community. However when a bomb exploded while covering a story on children who were living in a war zone, she found comfort and love recovering in the Amish community of Paradise, Pennsylvania under her grandmother's care. It was there she discovered healing and love in the being reunited with David, Annie's father who was born Amish but decided not to join the church and in a way incorporated the love of both English and Amish upbringing in the children. Annie's mother died when she was just a child and had known no other mother but Jenny. To her, she was as real as a mother could be.
The family is on the brink of making a trip to New York City for vacation and Jenny hopes to show Annie not only the major tourist sites but also take her on a tour to her old office as well as to the New York Times, something Annie has only dreamed about doing for as long as she can remember. All she knows is that the desire to write is just as strong in her blood as it was for her mother and even though she knows at some point she might find love, she isn't the least bit interested right now.
Yet Aaron Beiler who has grown up with Annie as a close childhood friend has been making plans for what he believes will be his future with Annie working as a carpenter and furniture maker in town. Now if only he can convince Annie that his feelings go beyond that of just her friend and into something more. With the trip to New York coming up however, Aaron fears that Annie's love for writing might take her someplace she may never want to return. He just want's a wife that will take care of the home and any future children they might have and leave making a living up to him. What if Annie goes to New York and decides to never return? Is there anything he can do to change her mind?
I received Annie's Christmas Wish by Barbara Cameron compliments of Abingdon Press for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are mind alone. This is such an incredible book and one of the few that really reach to the heart of what really makes a family even though in this case it is a blended one. Annie sees the relationship with Jenny as that of what a mother/daughter relationship is as well as one with Jenny as her friend as well. Jenny never tries to replace Annie's birth mother but gives her the room and the time to accept her as she is in her role as a mother and wife in their family. It also shows how difficult our choices can be when it comes to the true desires of our hearts, in this case with Annie's love of writing and how she will have to make a choice that will forever change the relationship in her family and possibly her community as well. I rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars and think this makes the perfect Christmas addition to The Quilts of Lancaster County series!
Posted October 10, 2013
This is a slightly unusual Amish story. It is published just in time to welcome the upcoming Holiday Season.
Unlike most Amish girls, Annie's main goal was not to be a wife and mother - although she would not discount that entirely - but her heart was set on becoming a writer. Now at age twenty-one, her goals were still the same. Would anything change them? She felt sure nothing would quell her desires - obsession- for writing. Luckily, her parents weren't a traditional Amish couple, so allowed, and even encouraged, her to develop this talent.
Her mother had been raised "Englisch" but had come to stay awhile with her Amish grandmother, years ago, and had grasped the Amish life whole-heartedly. Annie and her mother fit together so completely. This was a strange thing, due to circumstances.
Just before Christmas, her mother was to be honored for a very noble deed she initiated before she left New York City to live with her grandmother. To Annie, the thought of going wasn't to see the things most would want to see, but to visit the New York Times building and the television studio where her mother once worked. After giving it much thought, the mother and father decided to go, taking the whole family and turning it into a vacation - something that was extremely rare.
There were several unexpected and disappointing turn of events before their vacation could begin. There were even greater surprising events after the time their vacation was to begin!
Annie, along with other family members and a dear friend, experiences many new insights and increased awareness. This was a true season of celebration and change. Would Annie go to New York City and want to stay? If so, would she ever want to return to "plain" life? How else could Annie fulfill her dreams?,
The cover design is pleasant an immediately puts into one the feeling of the Holiday Season. I do like the effect of Annie's eyes above the title. It offers the added effect of joy and wonder. The colors are soft and pleasant. The cover has a very eye-catching effect.
There were a few typos and grammatical errors. The sentence structure was faulty in a few places throughout the story. The story, however, although slightly drawn out, was unique and brought out some very good points for thought and discussion. The characters involved were very solid and fun. It brought out the "human" side of some of the Amish yet still centered on their unique cultural ways.
Highlights: Romance, solid family relationships, acceptance, love, self-sacrifice, compromise, choices, adventure. It is written very chaste.
With my review of this book, I extend a Four Stars rating.
I was sent this book by a publisher for an honest review, of which I have given.
Posted October 9, 2013
How wonderful to read the continuing story of the Bontrager family! In this, the fourth book in the Quilts of Lancaster County series, we follow Annie and her family as they take a trip to New York City. Annie's Christmas Wish could be read as a stand alone book, however, I believe the reader would benefit greatly from reading the entire series. I have a real fondness for this series...A Time to Love, the first book in the series, was the very first Amish book I ever read! It introduced me to the Amish in a story that will forever be one of my favorites.
In Annie's Christmas Wish, Annie has grown into a delightful young woman. She loves her family and her Amish life, however, she would like to continue to grow her writing skills and perhaps find a way to put them to good use, as her stepmother does.
Aaron is in love with Annie and wishes to make her his wife. At first, Annie is totally taken by surprise by this shift in their relationship. She has only ever viewed Aaron as a friend. It is sweet to watch her feelings grow for him.
When the family and Aaron head for New York City to visit and support Annie's stepmother as she receives an award related to the work she has done (she wasn't always Amish), will the lure of the big city and opportunities that arise bring Annie and Aaron closer or put a rift in their developing relationship? Their relationship is still so new and miscommunications about Annie's hopes and desires threaten to bring the love that has begun to build between them crashing to the ground.
I recommend this book to fans of romance and of the Amish genre. I recommend the entire series, as well. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
Posted October 7, 2013
Annie was dreaming of New York since the time her step mother brought her a NY snow globe. She was thrilled to find out Jenny her step mother was being honored for her work helping children. That meant the family would travel to New York. Jenny came into Annie’s life when Annie’s mother passed away. Jenny was like a true mother to her. They also both enjoy writing and have many things in common. Aaron was always a friend to Annie, but as they got older feelings started to arise and they both felt like there could be more to their friendship.
I was looking for a nice Christmas story to read, and I found one. The book was based in the Amish community. It had words used by the Amish, but they are very close to English and not hard to understand. It was also helpful that the author added a glossary at the end of the book. I enjoyed learning about the Amish community. The author tells us that the Amish young adults court (date) and then when they are about to be married then they notify the parents. Very different from how it is done in our society. A nice read about friendship and understanding, and ultimately love. I started with book 4 with no trouble. I would love to go back now and read the whole series.
Reviewed By: Rae
Courtesy Of My Book Addiction And More
Posted October 6, 2013
I enjoyed this nontraditional Christmas book very much. Christmas in New York City appeals to me a great deal. Adding to that, the Amish element and the very non-traditional Amish mom makes this book a great combination for a holiday woman's read. Barbara Cameron's writing always entertains me. This story line "Quilts of Lancaster County" is interesting, entertaining, and most of all warm and cozy. The characters are real, likable, and fun. I wonder if they are traditional Amish, but then what is traditional Amish? Ms. Cameron you keep writing, and I will keep reading.
Thank you Abingdon Press for providing this book free of charge to me in exchange for my honest review, which this was.
Posted October 3, 2013
A Delightful Read!
It was so good to reunite with Jenny and Matthew Bontrager again. I don’t think I will ever tire of reading about their
life together. They both are important to this story but Annie, their daughter, takes center stage.
Annie wants to visit New York City. The desire began when one year for Christmas her Mom, Jenny, gave her a
snow globe of the skyscrapers. Watching the snow gently float down over the city fascinated her. How wonderful it
would be to see where her Mom use to work and live before she converted to Amish.
Even though Jenny isn’t Annie’s biological mother, they share a close bond and a love of writing stories.
Aaron, a friend of Annie’s, has deep feelings for her but he knows she doesn’t share the same feelings he has.
He knows that Annie is going on a visit to New York City and he jumps at the chance when he is asked to go along.
He fears he will lose Annie to the big city.
This storyline captured me right from the beginning. I am a huge fan of author Barbara Cameron and I haven’t read
a book of hers that I haven’t loved. She keeps us guessing right to the very end on some important issues in this
I had so much fun in New York City but wait, I didn’t leave my living room. Each scene described was alive and
colorful. I love it when a book does this for me.
The lesson that I received from this book is, we can’t control every situation in life. We must trust God to know what
I gave this book 5 stars, that’s how much I loved it. You could definitely read this book as a stand alone but I highly
recommend reading the previous books in this series first, A Time to Love, A Time to Heal, and A Time for Peace.
I wish to thank Barbara Cameron and Abingdon Press for giving me a copy to read and review. The opinions
expressed are mine alone.