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A Gift of Grace: A Novel

A Gift of Grace: A Novel

4.2 133
by Amy Clipston

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When Amish Rebecca Kauffman gains custody of her English nieces, “blended family” takes on a whole new meaning.

Rebecca Kauffman’s tranquil Old Order Amish life is transformed when she suddenly becomes guardian to her two teenage nieces after her English sister and brother-in-law are killed in an automobile accident. Instant


When Amish Rebecca Kauffman gains custody of her English nieces, “blended family” takes on a whole new meaning.

Rebecca Kauffman’s tranquil Old Order Amish life is transformed when she suddenly becomes guardian to her two teenage nieces after her English sister and brother-in-law are killed in an automobile accident. Instant motherhood, after years of unsuccessful attempts to conceive a child of her own, is both a joy and a heartache. Rebecca struggles to give the teenage girls the guidance they need as well as fulfill her duties to Daniel as an Amish wife.

Rebellious Jessica is resistant to Amish ways and constantly in trouble with the community. Younger sister Lindsay is caught in the middle, and the strain between Rebecca and Daniel mounts as Jessica’s rebellion escalates. Instead of the beautiful family life she dreamed of creating for her nieces, Rebecca is frustrated by her new role and begins to question her place in the Amish community, her marriage, and her faith in God. Will she be able to reconcile differences in her home—or will the clash of cultures tear her world apart?

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Rebecca Kauffman's Old Order Amish life is thrown into upheaval when her sister, who had joined the outside world, is killed in a car crash and leaves two teenage daughters for Rebecca to raise.

—Tamara Butler

Product Details

Publication date:
Kauffman Amish Bakery Series Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

A Gift of Grace

By Amy Clipston


Copyright © 2009 Amy Clipston
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-34399-8


Rebecca Kauffman's pulse fluttered as the large SUV she was riding in rumbled down the narrow road past the rolling farmland and green pastures dotted by heifers. The cows chewed their cud and nodded their greeting as if welcoming her back. The serenity of the lush, open fields intersected only by clusters of white farmhouses filled her soul with a peace she hadn't felt since she'd left last month.

Pushing the cool metal button on the door, she cracked the passenger window open and breathed in the sweet, warm, moist air, free of exhaust from overcrowded city roads.

The SUV negotiated a sharp bend, and Rebecca's heart skipped a beat when the three-story farmhouse came into view. A smile crept across her lips.


The whitewashed, three-story, clapboard house stood humbly near the entrance to her family's forty acres. The newly painted white picket fence was a stark contrast to the house's green tin roof, speckled with brown rust that told of its age. The green window shades were halfway up, and the windows were cracked open to allow the springtime air to cool the house naturally.

A sweeping porch welcomed visitors entering the front, and a white barn, almost the size of the house, sat behind it. The large moving truck filled with the girls' belongings seemed out of place next to the plain farmhouse and barn.

"This is it," Rebecca said.

Running her fingers over the ties of her prayer Kapp, her mind swirled with thoughts on how her life had suddenly changed. She was finally a mother, or rather a guardian, of her two teenage nieces, her sister Grace's children. Children would again live in the large farmhouse for the first time since she and Grace had been young.

"It's beautiful," Trisha McCabe, her older niece's godmother, whispered from the seat behind Rebecca.

"Thank you." Rebecca sat up straight in the leather front seat and smoothed her apron. "I love it here. It's so quiet. If you listen close, you can actually hear the birds eating the seed in the feeder by my garden." She pointed to the area near the front door where a rainbow of flowers swayed in the gentle spring breeze. Four cylinder-shaped feeders dangled from iron poles above the flowers. "The birds love those feeders. I have to fill them at least twice a week."

Trisha's husband, Frank, nosed his large truck up to the side of the farmhouse and then killed the engine. Whispers erupted from the third seat of the truck, and Rebecca assumed her nieces were analyzing the home.

Wrenching open the door, Rebecca climbed from the truck. She inhaled a deep breath and hugged her arms to her chest. Birds chirped and a horse brayed in the distance. The familiar sounds were a welcome change from the roar of automobiles, blare of television sets, and electronic rings of cellular phones she had endured at her sister's home.

Trisha jumped out from the backseat, her eyes scanning the field. "You and Grace grew up here?"

A rush of grief flooded Rebecca at the sound of her sister's name. Unable to speak for a moment, she nodded. "This house has been in our family for generations. Grace and I were both born here and grew up here."

Trisha glanced toward the front door. "The land is just gorgeous. Can I go in and freshen up?"

"Of course," Rebecca said, folding her arms across her simple black apron covering her caped, Plain purple dress. "The washroom is to the right through the kitchen."

"I'll be right back," Trisha said before heading in the back door.

Rebecca glanced inside the truck through the open back door and spotted her nieces speaking to each other in hushed tones. Jessica Bedford was a portrait of Grace at fifteen, with her long, dark brown hair, deep brown eyes, high cheekbones, and clear, ivory skin. Lindsay Bedford, on the other hand, was fourteen, with auburn hair, striking emerald eyes, porcelain skin, and a smattering of freckles across her dainty nose.

Watching her precious nieces, Rebecca's heart swelled with love. She'd met the girls for the first time when she arrived in Virginia Beach after hearing the news of the accident that took the lives of Grace and her husband, Philip.

The girls gathered up their bags and climbed from the truck.

Lindsay gasped as her eyes roamed the scenery. "This looks like a painting." She turned to her sister. "Can you believe we're going to live here?"

"Whatever," Jessica deadpanned with a roll of her eyes. She chomped her bright pink bubble gum and adjusted her ear buds on the contraption she'd called an iPod. Her obsession with the electronic devices seemed to exemplify the Amish perspective that modern technology interfered with community and family relationships.

Lindsay pointed to the barn. "Do you have a lot of animals?"

"We have a few cats, chickens, goats, sheep, a cow, and a couple of horses," Rebecca said.

Lindsay's eyes lit up. "Cool!"

The gentle clip-clop of a horse pulled Rebecca's gaze toward the road. A smile turned up the corners of her mouth as Annie and Titus Esh's horse and buggy traveled past her home.

"It's so good to see horses and buggies again," Rebecca said, waving at her neighbors. "Such a nice change from the traffic jams."

"Yeah, but I bet it takes four hours to get to the grocery store," Jessica mumbled.

"It's a much more enjoyable ride, though," Rebecca quipped with a smile. "There's no loud radio to take away from the beautiful scenery around us." She turned her gaze to her garden. "That reminds me. I need to check my flowers."

Moving toward her garden, she found that more flowers had bloomed and vegetables had matured while she'd been gone. Daniel must have watered them for her as he'd promised. Stooping, she yanked a handful of weeds. The feeling of her hands on the green plants sent warmth to her soul. Nothing pleased her more than working in her garden.

It's so good to be home.

Jessica sidled up to Rebecca. Slipping her iPod into her bag, her hand brushed the front of her blue T-shirt revealing Grace's wedding ring hanging from a sparkling chain around Jessica's neck. "I've never seen so many different flowers."

"They're so colorful," Lindsay said, joining them.

Rebecca's smile deepened. Perhaps she'd found a common ground with her nieces—gardening. "My mother planted roses when I was about six," she said. "I helped trim and water them during the spring and summer."

"Your mother planted them?" Jessica turned toward her, her eyes wide with shock. "My grandmother?"

"Your mother helped in the garden too. It's sort of a tradition for children to help in the gardens, especially the girls." She touched her niece's arm. "Do you like to garden?"

"I guess." Jessica shrugged. "I did a little bit with my mom."

"I helped her weed," Lindsay chimed in.

"Maybe you both can help me sometime," Rebecca said.

"Yeah. Maybe," Jessica whispered. "My mother loved to take care of her roses. I had no idea it was something she did when she was Amish."

Rebecca chuckled. "Well, gardening isn't just an Amish thing, but it is part of our culture. We love the outdoors. It's a way to praise God and celebrate His glory."

Jessica nodded. "That makes sense."

"Becky, mei Fraa. Wie geht's?" a voice behind Rebecca asked.

Turning, she found her husband, Daniel, pushing back his straw hat to wipe the sweat from his blond brow. He flashed his dimpled smile and her heart skipped a beat. Oh, how she'd missed him during their month apart.

It was so good to be home!

"Daniel!" Standing on her tiptoes, she hugged him. "Daniel, I'm doing great now. Oh how I've missed you."

"I'm glad you're home," his voice vibrated against her throat, sending heat through her veins.

Stepping back, Rebecca motioned toward the girls. "Daniel, these are our nieces I've told you so much about on the phone.

This is Jessica, and this is Lindsay. Girls, meet your uncle Daniel."

"Welcome." He tipped his straw hat.

"Thanks," Jessica said, shifting her weight on her feet and glancing around the property.

"It's nice to meet you," Lindsay said.

"I hope you'll be comfortable here with us," he said. "The movers and I have almost gotten all of your boxes in."

"Great." Jessica's smile seemed to be forced.

Taking his hand, Rebecca smiled up at Daniel. Yes, it was so good to be home.

Shoo-Fly Pie

9-inch prepared pastry/pie crust dough

Crumb mixture:

1–1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup shortening
Pinch of cinnamon


1–1/2 cup hot water
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup corn syrup molasses

Combine the five ingredients of the crumb mixture, using hands to work into crumbs. Set aside 2-3 tablespoons of the crumb mixture for topping. Line a 9-inch pie pan with the 9-inch pie shell.

Combine the three ingredients of the liquid mixture, and fold the crumb mixture into the liquid. Pour into the pie shell and sprinkle the set aside crumbs over the top of the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.


Scowling, Jessica glanced around the property.

What a nightmare.

As if it weren't bad enough that she and her sister lost their parents, now they were banished from their home and their friends, forced to live on a place that looked like the set from those Little House on the Prairie reruns they used to watch when they were kids.

Daniel draped his arm around Rebecca's shoulders and steered her across the dirt driveway toward the barn. Jessica shook her head while examining their clothing, reminding her of the costumes she and her classmates would wear during their yearly elementary school Thanksgiving play. Rebecca wore a long, purple caped dress covered by a black apron and a small white prayer Kapp on her head. Jessica wondered how she managed to keep from passing out in the warm sun.

Daniel was clad in a straw hat, dark trousers, and a long-sleeved dark blue shirt with suspenders. She also wondered how he beat the heat with the dark-colored clothes. They seemed to be stuck in the 1800s.

"I guess they're speaking in Pennsylvania Dutch, huh?" Lindsay asked, her gaze following their aunt and uncle.

"Probably. I wonder if they're talking about us." Taking in a deep breath, Jessica clapped a hand to her mouth and gasped at the foul odor. "What is that stink?"

"Maybe the horses?" Lindsay asked. "I think I remember that smell from when Aunt Trisha took us riding at Hunt Club Farm that one time."

"It's awful." Jessica's eyes scanned the pasture behind the house, following the line of the split-rail fence. A cluster of farm buildings dotted the horizon in the distance. "We're in the middle of nowhere, Linds. No neighbors. I bet we're the only teenagers for miles."

"There have to be kids somewhere." Lindsay dropped her backpack onto the ground at her feet. "I saw a little convenience store up on that main highway. Maybe kids gather there and hang out like they did back home."

"Maybe. What else would kids do around here anyway—go cow tipping?" Jessica shook her head in disgust. "I bet there isn't a movie theater for miles. Besides, it would take a week to get anywhere by horse and buggy."

"It can't be too bad, Jess. Mom survived here somehow."

Mom. Jessica sighed. She missed her parents so badly that her heart ached. How would she and Lindsay make it without them?

"Do you think it's true that they don't have electricity or TV?" Lindsay's question broke through Jessica's thoughts.

Jessica fetched her iPod from her pocket and examined it. "That's what I hear. I don't know how I'm going to charge my phone or my iPod. I brought the cord for it, but I can't plug it in if they don't have electricity."

"What about basic things we need, like lights? I guess we'll have to use candles like they did in those Old West movies Dad liked." Lindsay sighed and brushed a lock of hair back from her face.

"Oh no." Jessica ran a hand through her own hair. "I can't live without my hair dryer. The humidity makes my hair frizzy. I'll never be able to leave the house." She groaned. "I wonder if they even have hot water. Will we have to take cold showers?"

Lindsay scrunched up her nose. "Why would someone want to live that way? It seems so ridiculous today."

"I agree." Jessica shook her head. "Maybe we'll wake up tomorrow and realize this is all a bad dream."

Lindsay frowned. "Then we're having the same dream. I don't think that's possible."

The back door slammed and Aunt Trisha ambled through the grass toward them. "Hey girls," she sang as she approached. "You've got to see the inside of the house."

"Why? Are there chickens and goats roaming around on the inside?" Jessica deadpanned.

Trisha wagged a finger at her. "Remember your manners, Jess."

Jessica rolled her eyes and folded her arms in response.

"The house is really quaint," Trisha continued. "The furniture is lovely, but there are no knickknacks. They don't even have carpet. It's like they only allow the bare essentials."

"No carpet?" Jessica's eyes widened with horror. "You've got to be kidding me. We'll freeze in the winter."

"Do they even heat their houses?" Lindsay asked, her eyes wide with worry.

Jessica turned her gaze to the large farmhouse. "The house looks old. Check out the rust on the roof. I wonder if it leaks."

"Rebecca said the house has been in her family for years," Trisha said. "It was probably built at the turn of the century."

"Sheesh." Jessica shook her head. "Our house back home was only five years old, and it was brick. I can't imagine living in a place as old as this."

Scanning the pasture, Jessica couldn't help comparing it to the house where she and her family had lived for the past five years. The wooden, split-rail fence that bordered the pasture looked as if it hadn't been painted in several years. A shiny, white plastic split-rail fence lined Jessica's backyard, as mandated by the homeowners' association.

Although Jessica's family's yard back home had been tiny, they had a deck where Dad barbecued burgers and steaks in the warm weather. Aunt Trisha and Uncle Frank would come over and sit on the deck for hours, eating and laughing until late at night. She'd give anything to sit on that deck now and be able to talk and laugh with her parents one more time.

But now life was completely different. She was stuck in a strange old farmhouse with two guardians whom she didn't know. She wondered if Aunt Rebecca and Uncle Daniel ever hosted barbecues. Did they have friends who liked to come over and laugh and eat? A chilling emptiness filled her gut.

"The house can't be too bad," Lindsay said, snapping Jessica back to the present. "Mom lived here." Her soft voice quavered.

Jessica glanced at her sister and found tears brewing in her sister's eyes. Swallowing her own tears, she looped her arm around her slight shoulders. "I miss her too," she whispered.

"I can't believe she's gone," Lindsay said. "It seems like just yesterday she was modeling her dress she got for their anniversary dinner. How could they go out to eat and not come back? It's just not fair!" Her voice choked on a sob, and Jessica pulled her into her arms.

Jessica rubbed her sister's back. She held her breath while trying to suppress her own tears.

"It'll be all right," Trisha said, circling the girls with her arms. "I miss your mom too, but we'll all be okay. Somehow."

Jessica gnawed her bottom lip. She wanted to believe Trisha's words, but somehow she couldn't believe she'd ever be okay again.

"Is everything okay?" a voice behind them asked.

Turning, Jessica found Rebecca watching them with concern shining in her eyes.

"We'll be okay," Trisha said while rubbing Jessica and Lindsay's backs. "The girls and I were just thinking about their parents and feeling a little sad, right girls?"

"Uh-huh," Lindsay mumbled, swiping her hand across her wet cheek.

Jessica nodded and cleared her throat, wishing the lump that was lodged in it would subside.

"I know this must be so difficult for you," Rebecca said in a soft yet reassuring voice. "It may seem impossible now, but the grief will get a little easier as time goes on. I remember when my mother died. I thought my heart would never heal. I still miss her, but the pain did get easier after a while. I held on to my faith in God, and my faith got me through it over time."


Excerpted from A Gift of Grace by Amy Clipston. Copyright © 2009 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

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Gift of Grace 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 167 reviews.
Butterfly530 More than 1 year ago
A Gift of Grace is a delightful book set in the Amish Community. The author has obviously done extensive research on the Amish Community of Pennsylvania. The places in the book are based on actual places in Lancaaster County. I enjoyed being transported into the Amish community. I was given insight to the traditional ways. Rebecca's sister, Grace, left the Amish community, married, and had 2 daughters, Jessica and Lindsay. After an accident that killed Grace and her husband, the daughters are sent to Bird in Hand to live with their Aunt Rebecca. This novel describes how 2 teenage girls felt being thrown into the Amish community. Rebecca and her husband had tried for years to have a child, however, she was unable to conceive. Now suddenly, they become the guardians to 2 teenagers raised in the "English World." The girls have just lost their parents and now they are expected to change their way of life to fit into the Amish ways of life. Could life get any more complicated??
BethWiseman More than 1 year ago
Amy Clipston has truly captured the voice of fifteen-year-old Jessica. Any parent who has raised a teenager knows that the teenage years are challenging under normal circumstances. But what happens when you take a child that age, whose parents have been killed, pull them from everything familiar - their home, school, and friends - and send them to live with relatives in an Old Order Amish community? No TV. No Internet. No place to charge an IPOD or cell phone. Add to that - Jessica will no longer be attending school since the Amish only believe in taking an education through the eighth grade. There go her dreams of graduating with her friends and going to college. But Jessica's younger sister, Lindsay, adapts quite well to the Old Order ways, much to Jessica's horror. All Rebecca wants is a happy family and to be a good guardian to her two nieces following the death of her sister and brother-in-law. It's the family she's always wanted, and despite the unhappy circumstances surrounding the situation, Rebecca is certain that it is God's will for the girls to live with her. Early on, Jessica's rebellious behavior causes upset in the community, and Rebecca's husband, Daniel, is held accountable for Jessica's actions. This leads to troubles within the marriage as Rebecca is pulled between her husband and the duty she feels to be a good mother-figure to her nieces. The Old Order Amish believe that everything that happens is God's will. But what happens when our own wants and needs block out the voice of God and what is truly His will? Clipston does a great job of posing this question to the reader through Rebecca's thoughts and actions. Rebecca is so determined to be a good mother to these children and to have the happy family she's always wanted, sometimes she doesn't see the bigger picture. My heart ached for both Rebecca and Jessica as they each struggled with the changes within their lives. The ending both surprised and pleased me. It was real and stayed true to the characters. This is Clipston's debut novel, and she did an excellent job of capturing the ways of the Old Order Amish. Fans of Amish fiction will enjoy this book, and even if you haven't read stories set within an Amish setting, give this one a try. I look forward to more of Amy Clipston's books.
LauranAZ More than 1 year ago
A Gift of Grace is a charming, well-written novel which focuses on the emotional and spiritual conflicts which arise between family members from two completely different backgrounds. Ms. Clipston's writing style is both lovely and riveting as she describes the everyday life of a childless Amish couple struggling to adapt to the presence of their Englisher nieces in their home. This is a fantastic story and I could not put A Gift of Grace down until I had finished the very last page! I have already recommended it to my friends, my family members, and my Ladies' Bible study group. This is definitely a MUST READ for anyone who enjoys a wholesome, well-written inspirational romance.
scf1031 More than 1 year ago
good reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like all the Amish books because they are good clean books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A sweet, lovely story. Does a heart good to read this.
olympicgram More than 1 year ago
I love to read about the Amish culture, It has always fascinated me and these 3 books did not disappoint me I read all three of this series and it was good how the characters smoothly entered the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the book but can sympathize with outsiders how difficult it would be to live that life.
nanajudyJW More than 1 year ago
This book is easy reading and you can identify with the characters. They are funny, serious and sad. Very good reading.
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Where amish kids get cell phones dress in jeans and go to movies there are a few very strict sects that dont but these do not sell to english like a bakery or employ a non amish
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very much enjoyed the whole series! If you enjoy reading about the Amish people and way of life, be sure to read Kauffman Amish Bakery Series!
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Anyone interested in the Amish lifestyle will love this book! This story follows the journey of an Amish woman who gains custody of her two English (not Amish) nieces after both her sister and her sister's husband die in a car crash. Rumors spread and a few sparks fly, and you'll quickly find yourself saying, "Just one more chapter!" There is just enough drama and romance. I recommend reading the next books in the series. Great for book clubs or just a nice pleasure read!
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Very well written. You need to get the 2nd book of the series too. Hope there will be a #3 bk.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shows family love and respect for others.