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Posted October 4, 2011
Sol and Mattie Riehl are hoping to hear the good news of a new arrival to the family, while Jaime and C.J. Fitzpatrick were leaving town to meet her long-absent father for a Christmas cruise, and who had a surprise for Jaime.
Jaime and Mattie, with her precocious six-and-a-half-year-old son, Danny, became acquainted at the doctor's office. As Jaime is leaving the doctor's office, the doctor asks if she could return Danny's whistle before Christmas. Before leaving to her father's for a Christmas cruise, Jaime, C.J., and Tucker, their dog, make the trip out to the Amish farm.
Shortly after their arrival at the Amish farm, Suzanne Woods Fisher, in her book, A Lancaster County Christmas, takes us on a humorous, dangerous, life-changing, and heart-warming trip. Not one, but two back-to-back major winter blizzards hustle the Fitzpatricks into the Riehl's home on Christmas eve for an unknown time frame. For those who haven't lived through a blizzard, Suzanne is very accurate in her appraisal of the weather!
Suzanne, in her typical, heart-warming writing style, spins a story that will resonate in your own life, as each of the characters must come to terms with their own personal disappointments and failures that will change the lives of all involved at the Riehl's home. The camaraderie between Danny and Jaime brings out a side of Jaime that even she didn't know she had.
I truly enjoyed the story on many levels-the humorous, dangerous, life-changing, and heartwarming-which you will experience as you read the story. I do believe it's a Christmas story that could change your life, also! Definitely a Divine encounter.
This book was provided by Amy Lathrop of Litfuse publicity Group in exchange for my review and presentation of the giveaway. No monetary compensation was exchanged.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 18, 2013
Since I love to give holiday books to family members, I chose this book as I loved the book covering and I knew that the story would also bring a special feeling of love to my gift recipients. This book was totally enjoyed by everyone who read this book, including myself.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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Posted December 16, 2011
Are you as curious about the Amish as I am? It seems I've had a sense of awe about them and what seems their secretive ways. A couple of my children went to small, private colleges near Lancaster County (Dickinson and Gettysburg), affording me an opportunity to visit the Amish villages, and see their farms once in a while. Since I stopped to shop in their small town, I was a heartbeat away from these gentle people whose nearly downcast eyes and shy smiles felt like gifts to me as they passed by. My spirit was lifted just be being around them. Although, I'll never forget nearly crashing into a buggy with my too- fast-moving sports car one afternoon...an English lady not paying attention to what I was doing!
The Quilt Museum in Lancaster County is a display of the most astonishing quilts I've ever seen. With simple, unpatterned cotton in every hue, Amish women have created quilts that flash and vibrate. It's truly other-worldly. I've never experienced anything like it. The juxtaposition of colors makes your eyes "play tricks" on you so that the quilts actually sparkle! Such is the plain life of these people~they quietly sparkle in their simplicity. And lest one think their clothing is too plain, it's amazing how inventive women can be with plain, beautifully colored cotton and cotton blends...no zippers or buttons included.
In "A Lancaster County Christmas" Susanne Woods Fisher brings us a story of such an outwardly simple, plain Amish couple with one cherished son, who meets and takes in a young "Englisher" couple in trouble. The couple is in trouble both physically, as their car is disabled in a raging snowstorm, and in that their marriage is on the brink of divorce. Through this story during the weekend of Christmas, we learn about loss and love, the meaning of friendship and faith, family and following the light we've been given. We also learn that whether Amish or not, people are the same in their life-struggles and in their feelings of insecurity and pain.
The theme of the book, "Emmanuel (God) with us" reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas. That He came down to be with us. It's the reminder that we would not always find life to be perfect and without struggles, but that we would have the promise that He would always be by our sides~with us~and He would never fail us through it all. It's a story that's simple and, yet, so complex to grasp.
"A Lancaster County Christmas" is a book that leads us along the path to understanding the importance of real communication. I loved the story of the two couples, of how they saw the similarities in the troubles they had to deal with, how they gave each other hope and strength.
It's a book that's gentle to read, and a book that leaves you stronger for the reading. It's a book that leaves us understanding that we aren't so different from the Amish, after all.
A sit down between cookie baking novel with lasting wisdom...
May you know that Emmanuel is with you this Christmas.
Recommended for now through January--and beyond.
4 winter stars
Posted September 25, 2011
Mattie and Sol have settled in to family life with their son Danny but have not reconciled themselves to having only the one biological child. They have taken in Mattie's teenage cousin Zach when his father is ready to give up but they both are very overprotective of Danny in their own way wanting to hang on to the only family they may ever be given the chance to raise. By hanging on too tightly though might they find that they will lose him through their own grasping and his own growing desire for independence. When an Englisch couple finds their way to Mattie and Sol's farm just before Christmas on an errand to return a toy that Danny left behind in town and is stranded by the storms that blow through, they all learn more about the character of God and about themselves as they come face to face with their true selves and with the God they have denied because He wouldn't give them what they thought they wanted at the time (like a whiny child). Can we all slow down enough to see past the wants of our own whiny inner child to the true us and recognize the things God is trying to reveal to us that we have been missing in our rush for that dangling carrot we will never reach anyways? By the way we don't have to wait for Christmas to do it either. Thanks to Revell for a review copy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 24, 2011
"A Lancaster County Christmas" is a tenderly moving story in the renewal of faith and love.
This story centers on two women coming together from two totally different worlds, but gaining from each other the wisdom to put their faith in the Lord to help them through their personal struggles. Mattie, A Plain Amish wife and mother, dreams of having a large family with her loving husband Sol, but after miscarrying their second child fears that will never be.
Jaime, a photographer and young wife, after losing her mother in a senseless accident, is trying to live up to her father's high aspirations even though it is damaging her marriage in the process. A fateful weekend snowstorm, over the Christmas holiday, brings these two families together and makes them realize what really is important and how they should continue on in their daily lives.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable and touching story that Ms. Fisher has shared with us. The story is so simple but powerful in message because we really should just have faith and let the Lord's love take care of all our struggles and she puts that on paper so well.
I enjoyed getting to know these couples and especially the character, Danny. Ms. Fisher nailed his 6-year old character full of inquisitiveness right on the head. Also, when a story can bring a small tear to my eyes, you know it involves something special and tender and this book definitely has that touch to it.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a sweet Christmas Amish fiction story.
This book was kindly provided to me by the Baker Publishing Group for my involvement with Lit Fuse Book Tours and my honest review.
Posted September 23, 2011
Jamie Fitzpatrick struggles with the death of her mother 6 months prior as the Christmas holiday approaches. Unable to pull out of her slump she has been relying on sleeping pills to help her rest more easily at night. She is refilling her prescription unknown to her husband CJ and meets a young Amish family at the Dr. Office. Danny the couple's 6 year old son is blowing on a hand carved bird whistle and begins a conversation with Jamie. Later he leaves the whistle behind and the Dr. asks Jamie to return it to him at his home. CJ and Jamie are supposed to be leaving on a cruise with her estranged father and really needs to be moving on toward their destination but feels she should return the whistle to the Amish farmhouse.
Danny's parents Sol and Mattie are struggling themselves with several miscarriages since Danny's birth 6 years ago. Mattie so desires more children and feels in some way she is less because she has only had one.
While returning the whistle to Danny, Jamie and CJ encounter a problem with their car when it rolls backward into a pond. The blizzard conditions are going to prevent help from coming to get the car out and getting them back on the road. They must find refuge with the Amish family as God has a weekend in store for all of them.
A story of friendship based on the love of Christ. The couples have the weekend to get to know one another, share their stories and grow. A time of healing inside of themselves while the storm outside rages.
A weekend of renewal, with twists and turns to keep your finger turning the pages!. I just loved the character development and honesty of each of the characters. By the end of the book the reader really has a sense of who the characters are and where God is leading them.
Posted September 22, 2011
"God's perfect love is all around us, Jaime. But if you shut your eyes to all the light he has given to you, you can't see the evidence of his love." Matte, pg. 155
God uses many things to get our attention, and in "A Lancaster County Christmas," He uses a snowstorm. Jaime and C.J. are having problems, but Jaime is hoping a trip with her father will help. Little does she know that in returning a whistle she will come face to face with her real thoughts and fears. Mattie, Sol, and Danny are an Amish family, happy for the most part. But, Mattie has a longing that she can't let go of. It's power seems to obscure a full relationship with God. Zach is a young man trying to figure out where he fits in the world. These six people will find some misery and heartache, some miracles and happiness, when they come together in the snow. Will C.J. and Jaime work things out? Will they make the ship? Will Mattie find what she is looking for? When Danny goes missing, what happens to Zach? So much is answered within the pages of this book.
This book was a real page turner for me. The stories were similar, yet so very different. Heartache come in so many forms, yet makes us all vulnerable to walking away from God. As the story unfolded, I found myself drawn to each of the characters for different reasons and would love to read more about them! This story will encourage you to let go and let God. It is a perfect gift for the Christmas season, and book clubs will love the discussion questions at the end. I received my free copy from Litfuse Publishing, and thank them for the opportunity to be on the blog tour.
Posted September 21, 2011
I Also Recommend:
This is the perfect holiday book for the frantic Christmas season. It's short, but very thought provoking. A Lancaster County Christmas by Suzanne Woods Fisher continues the authors quest to make the Amish lifestyle both more accessible and easier to glean wisdom from. What do you do when God's plans don't match up with your expectations? Mattie and Sol Riehl want nothing more this Christmas than another child. Mattie is losing hope after several miscarriages and she longs to fill her family table with children. Their son Danny is a joy to them and everyone he meets, but surely there will be more... Married couple Jamie and C.J. are not faring much better. Their chaotic pace of life is leaving them close to divorce and unable to see the love they once had for each other. Jamie longs for the love and guidance she needs from a father, that just may not be able to give it. A snow storm is the catalyst that both families need to seek God and his ultimate plan for their lives. Even when it isn't what they expected. Suzanne Woods Fisher once again gives readers a heartwarming story set in Amish country. Using characters from her very popular novel, The Choice, the author is able to create a sense of the familiar with readers. These are characters most of them already know and will love to hear more about. She also introduces the English couple, C.J. and Jamie, who need to slow down a little bit and smell the roses. Their fast pace of life is killing their relationship, but C.J. has faith that they still have a chance and their Christmas experience with the Riehl's will make an indelible mark on both families. I loved the interaction between the Amish family and the English family. It did not come across as contrived, but very natural and plausible. A snowstorm is definitely a way that two families who may not have met any other way could possibly come together. Woods Fisher has a knack for showing the Amish and their beliefs in a very understanding way and I think that's one of the things that makes her writing so appealing. The way she is able to show that you don't have to be Amish to learn from their faith and beliefs. I like the simpler pace of life she describes and wish I could have more of that in my own life and I think most readers will feel that way at some point when reading her work. In A Lancaster County Christmas this idea is explored, as well as, understanding that what we want may not always be what God wants and accepting that is key to a good relationship with Him. I thought the author explored these ideas well in the time she had with this book and I think it is just perfect for the fast paced Christmas season. A great holiday book for the coming season. It may be just starting into fall, but winter is right around the corner. This is book would be great for cuddling up in front of the fire or listening to the rain drum on the roof. A very relaxing and pleasant read, full of wisdom and understanding.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 20, 2011
Suzanne Woods Fisher is one of my favorite Amish novel authors-I've read so many of her books and I'm always impressed with her writing and story-telling. Each book has a deeper meaning without being "preachy". Lancaster County Christmas is no exception.
Almost all of us can relate to the "wordly", fast paced life of the "Englisch" like Jaime and C.J. It seems like there's never enough time for everything and we rush from place to place while thinking about a dozen things at a time. Do we ever take time to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life? Do we take the time to talk to God and really listen to him?
The idea of the Amish lifestyle (sans the woodstove & washing clothes by hand!) has always intrigued me. What would it be like not to have the daily rush, all our electronic interruptions, and not to "keep up with the Jones'? And the conviction the Amish have is the essence of faith. Or as they say, "Emmanuel, God is with us." Their belief in forgiveness and ultimate love is envious.
Lancaster County Christmas would make a great read for the book club set. It comes with study questions and they will definitely make you think. Overall, the book is a nice feel-good read and you get a sense of calm and peace while reading it. I felt a sense of connection with the characters and was cheering for them at the end.
Overall I give Lancaster County Christmas 5 stars. If you are looking for an easy, holiday book, this is the one.
Available June 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
I received this book free from Revell as part of their book review bloggers program. 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 September 19, 2011
This sweet story starts in a Doctors office with a chance meeting between an Amish family, Mattie, Sol, and Six year old Danny, and an Englisher Jamie Fitzpatrick. Little Danny begins conversing with Jamie while his Mom visits the Dr, she has recently suffered another miscarriage. Jamie is intrigued with Danny, he has shown her the Owl whistle that his Dad had carved for his birthday. After the Rheil's have left Jamie goes into the Dr's room in hopes of getting some more sleeping pills.
On her way out of the Office the Dr asks her to do them a, life changing, favor. Danny had left his whistle and they want her to drop it off. She takes it and goes to get her husband CJ and his service dog Tucker. They are on their way to her father's place and scheduled to leave on a cruise with him.
In the end they end up with a loving adventure at the Rheil's, where both the Amish and English learn to trust what God wants for their lives.
I really enjoyed this very quick read, and helps you remember to count your blessings!
I was provided with a copy of this book by the Publisher Revell, and was not required to give a positive review.
Posted September 17, 2011
A LANCASTER COUNTY CHRISTMAS by Suzanne Woods Fisher is an exciting inspirational contemporary fiction set in Amish country. What a wonderful Christmas story where two worlds collide.One Amish and one English. A touching,heartwarming story of an Amish family, Mattie Riehl,her husband Sol,their young son, Danny and an English couple,Jamie and her husband C.J. It is the story of their renewal,hope,faith,friendship,family,healing,forgiveness and the miracle that happens at Christmas. While Mattie's dream of a house full of children may not come true,Jamie's dream of a loving,caring father may not come true either. When young Danny is lost in a storm,the two couples learn the true meaning of Christmas and forge an unlikely friendship. This is a lovely story that will
have you turning pages from beginning to end.This author has done it again with A Lancaster County Christmas.A keeper and a must read. A light-hearted Christmas story. This book was received for the purpose of review from the publisher. Details can be found at Revell,a division of Baker Publishing Group and My Book Addiction Reviews.
"Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."
Posted September 14, 2011
Suzanne Woods Fisher in her new book, "A Lancaster County Christmas" published by Revell takes us to Lancaster County two days before Christmas.
When you ask people what story best represents Christmas to them some will answer, "White Christmas" with Bing Crosby. Others will answer, "It's A Wonderful Life" with James Stewart. In "A Lancaster County Christmas" Suzanne Woods Fisher gives us a different kind of Christmas story; one that is really human with lots of heart.
Mattie Riehl wants to give her husband, Solomon, the news that they are going to have another child but this is not to be. while they are at the doctor's office they meet Jaime who is suffering deeply from the recent death of her mother. Danny, the Riehl's son, leaves his whistle in the office and the doctor asks Jaime if she would bring the toy over to their house. So Jaime and her husband, C.J. set off on a small delivery which turns into the need for them to stay at the Riehl's home due to a fierce winter storm.
That is the beauty of "A Lancaster County Christmas" it very nicely gives a reason why an Amish family and an English or Non-Amish family have to spend time together. And it is during this time of forced togetherness that God is able to let each family help the other family over their individual hurts. Each family has what the other family needs and it is great to watch it play out over the course of the two days. By itself it is a nice story but it is even nicer because it is a Christmas story and a lot of fun. I recommend this book.
To celebrate the release of her first Christmas book, Suzanne Woods Fisher has teamed up with her publisher, Revell, to bring you the "Christmas in September" iPad Giveaway! The winner will be announced on 9/27 at the A Lancaster County Christmas Facebook Party! Details below. Tell your friends and join in the fun (9/7-9/27).
Oh and be sure to follow the blog tour here - many of the bloggers have copies of the book to giveaway!
Suzanne and Revell will be presenting one merry winner with a Christmas Prize Pack (valued at over $600):
A Brand New iPad 2 with Wi-Fi
$25 gift certificate to iTunes
A copy of A Lancaster County Christmas
To enter, click one of the icons below. But, hurry the giveaway ends on 9/26.
But, wait! There's more! The winner will be announced at the A Lancaster County Christmas Facebook Party on 9/27 at Suzanne's author page. During the party she'll be revealing something *BIG* - you won't want to miss it. She'll also be hosting a book chat, trivia contest and giving away a few early Christmas presents! Hope to see you there.
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand.
To listen to 24 hours a day non-stop Christian music please visit our internet radio station Kingdom Airwaves
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Posted September 13, 2011
I absolutely LOVE Suzanne Woods Fisher! She has been my favorite author for sometime now and I look forward to each and every novel she releases, both fiction and non-fiction. So, I was quite excited to have the opportunity to read this newest novel in her Lancaster County Secrets series.
Christmas. My favorite time of the year, both to experience and to read about! There's just something about the miracle to The Baby and the smells and sights during the Holiday season. Reading about Christmas is always so fun. I lose myself so fully among the pages, nothing else matters, and the story comes to life for me.
In this particular novel, I got to visit friends, as well as meet new ones. Sol and Mattie. They were amazing characters and first introduced in Suzanne Woods Fisher's The Choice. I fell in love with them then, and this novel only made me closer to them. Sol has been through a lot in his life(I won't tell you what he went through in case you haven't read The Choice-book 1 in the Lancaster County Secrets series), but through the power of God, he always embraces it and moves forward. Sweet Mattie. Wanting to please her husband, Sol, she is trying to give him more children, yet she can't, when she experiences the awful heartache of a miscarriage. Watching these two embrace the miracle of the season, embrace each other and their son Danny, and embracing God to lead them through anything was powerful.
But, I would like to say that though Sol and Mattie will always be my favorite characters from Lancaster County Secrets, Jamie and CJ, Englishers who are on the brink of loosing each other, quickly became a part of my heart. Watching them, and their struggles, my heart just went out to them. Seeing them learn the power of forgiveness and the way Faith in God will move any mountain, was beautiful.
I definitely give this novel a high 5 Book rating. It's the way to go, to start the holiday season off early! The sights of Lancaster County in the snow and winter, the sounds of the horse and buggies and the music, all of it will touch your heart and transport you to the heart of the story! Another home run from Ms. Fisher and I can't wait for her new novels to be released! She is a seasoned Amish novelist and one who definitely knows how to keep her readers happy!
Posted September 11, 2011
Mattie Riehl was hoping to give her husband, Sol, the Christmas gift they have both longed for - news that a baby was on the way. But as usual, she is disappointed. The holidays bring an acute awareness to Mattie that her dream of a big Amish family isn't likely to become a reality. Will those empty chairs at the table ever be filled?
Then a winter storm raging outside blows an impatient young woman and her husband into the Riehl home on Christmas Eve - and into a much slower pace of life.
Both couples are about to find out if they can weather the storm - and if miracles still happen at Christmas time. (excerpt from inside cover).
In the latest novel by Suzanne Woods Fisher, A Lancaster County Christmas, takes you into two families that are experiencing a pull in their marriages, for the Riehl family, Mattie and Sol are experiencing the heartache that comes from wanting a much larger family and for now, God has different plans. After another miscarriage, Mattie begins to question her own self-worth at being able to provide the children her and Sol discussed in the beginning of their marriage. Now she isn't sure why they have only been able to have Danny, their only son, but due to this, Mattie fears letting him become more independent and instead keeps an ever watchful eye over him.
For Jaime and CJ Fitzpatrick, they are struggling to find a way to bridge the growing distance that has entered their marriage. Jaime has recently reconciled with her estranged father, who now seems to want to have a daughter in his life. While CJ spends his working hours juggling a teaching position and a volunteer role as a Search and Rescue handler, he has noticed that the marriage between him and Jaime has grown cold. Using his faith to aid him in trying to discover the issue, Jaime has used God as the excuse for allowing her mother to die.
As a winter storm of the century draws near, God has a way of using both couples to help one another work out their differences in a very unique way. Only this Christmas will be life changing for both of them.
I received A Lancaster County Christmas compliments of Litfuse Publicity for my honest review, and once again have to applaud Suzanne Woods Fisher for bringing home a classic Christmas story with a twist of faith. This book will reunite the reader with what is most important during the holiday season, it isn't about what we can buy, but the people we share it with no matter how different they may be. I rate this one a perfect 5 out of 5 stars!