Naomi’s Gift by Amy Clipston
Naomi has begun to believe that she isn’t meant to find love, but she might receive more than she has ever hoped for this Christmas.
Twenty-four-year-old Naomi King has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches, Naomi is certain that her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family’s quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down.
An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid
Abigail has driven other suitors away, but can Micah find a way to show her he cares?
Being a caregiver for Micah Zook’s grandmother is the answer to Abigail’s prayers. In fact, the elderly lady keeps finding ways to set Abigail up with her grandson. Despite Abigail’s constant chatter, Micah realizes he’s beginning to care for her—until he makes a decision that leaves her feeling betrayed. With Christmas in their midst, can Micah find a way to reconcile with Abigail and to reveal the true feelings of his heart?
A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin
Frannie Mast returns to Bee County for Christmas, but her heart stays back in Missouri with an Englisch farm boy.
Frannie knows her parents have the best of intentions when they send her back to Bee County, Texas, to live with her aunt and her aunt’s new husband Mordecai. After all, Frannie knows nothing can come of a relationship with Rocky, the handsome Englisch farm boy back in Missouri. But all bets are off when Rocky follows Frannie to Texas to plead his case. Could he be the Christmas gift to end all gifts?
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery, Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel, Amish Heirloom, and Amish Homestead 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.
Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA bestselling author of the Heaven on Earth, the Amish Wonders, and the Amish Mercies series. She’s a full-time pharmacist who lives in Florida with her husband and three children. When attending Ferris State University School of Pharmacy in Big Rapids, Michigan, she lived on the outskirts of an Amish community and had several occasions to visit the Amish farms. Her interest grew into love as she saw the beauty in living a simple life. Visit Ruth online at RuthReid.com; Facebook: Author-Ruth-Reid; Twitter: @AuthorRuthReid.
Kelly Irvin is the bestselling author of the Every Amish Season and Amish of Bee County series. The Beekeeper's Son received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly, who called it a "beautifully woven masterpiece." The two-time Carol Award finalist is a former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional. Kelly lives in Texas with her husband, photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, two grandchildren, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to read books by her favorite authors.
Visit her online at KellyIrvin.com; Facebook: Kelly.Irvin.Author; Twitter: @Kelly_S_Irvin.
Read an Excerpt
An Amish Christmas Gift
The Amish Wonders
By Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, Kelly Irvin
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2015 Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, and Kelly Irvin
All rights reserved.
Caleb sucked in a deep breath as the taxi van bounced down Route 340 toward Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. After nearly a decade, he'd returned to the town of his birth. He clasped his hands together. Why was he nervous? This was supposed to be a happy reunion with his family, and yet, his palms were sweaty with anticipation despite the biting December wind.
"Dat," Susie said, grabbing the sleeve of his coat and yanking with one hand while pointing toward the indoor farmers market with the other hand. "Dat. Can we stop there? Can we? Please? Please?"
"Why would we stop there?" he asked. "We have a farmers market back home that's much the same."
She blew out an exasperated sigh and glowered with annoyance. "To get a gift for Aenti Sadie, of course. Teacher Linda says that you should always bring a nice dessert to dinner. Please, Dat? I'll pick something out fast like we do at the market at home." She batted her eyelashes and gave her prettiest and cutest smile. "Pretty please, Dat?" She looked like a mirror of her beautiful mother, and his heart turned over in his chest. At the tender age of eight, Caleb Schmucker's daughter already knew how to wrap him around her little finger.
He gave a sigh of defeat, and Susie clapped her hands while grinning with triumph.
"Driver?" Caleb asked. "Could we please make a quick stop at the farmers market?"
The middle-aged man nodded and merged into the parking lot.
"We have to make this quick," Caleb said as the van steered into a parking space. "Your aenti and onkel are expecting us. They know that our train arrived less than an hour ago and will worry if we don't get to their house soon."
"I'll be quick. I promise." Susie nodded, and the ties to her black winter bonnet bobbed up and down on her black wrap.
"We should find a nice pie to bring for Aenti Sadie."
"That sounds gut." Caleb touched her nose and smiled. Oh how he adored his little girl. There was no greater love in his life.
Except for Barbara.
Pushing the thought from his mind, he took Susie's little hand in his and they climbed from the van. He glanced across the parking lot toward the highway, and his eyes fell on the Kauffman & Yoder Amish Furniture Store, owned by an old family friend, Eli Kauffman. Caleb's elder sister, Sadie, had married Robert, the oldest of the Kauffman sons, while the youngest Kauffman son, Timothy, had been Caleb's best school friend. He wondered how his old friend was doing these days. He would have to stop by and visit him before he and Susie returned to Ohio.
"Dat!" Susie yanked Caleb toward the entrance to the farmers market. "Let's go."
Caleb stifled a laugh. The little girl had her mother's impatience too. "I'm coming, mei liewe."
They stepped through the double doors, and the holiday smells of freshly baked cookies and breads, spices, and pine assaulted Caleb's senses. The market bustled with customers, English and Amish, rushing to the many booths. Scanning the area, Caleb spotted booths for baked goods, jellies and jams, crafts and gifts, and paintings. A sea of shoppers pushed past Caleb, and he dropped his hold of Susie's hand as he approached the baked-goods counter.
"What kind of pie did you want to get, Susie?" Caleb asked. "Do you think a pumpkin pie or apple?" When his daughter didn't answer, he turned around and found a group of English customers pushing toward the counter.
"Susie?" he called. "Susie?" He glanced through the crowd, finding only unfamiliar faces. "Susan? Susan?" Caleb's heart raced as he pushed through the knot of holiday shoppers, searching for his only child. "Susan!"
* * *
Naomi King straightened a king-size Lone Star patterned quilt and glanced at her best friend Lilly Lapp, who was glancing through the order book. "I can't believe Christmas is next week. Where has the year gone?"
Lilly shook her head. "I don't know. That's a very good question." An English customer approached and began asking Lilly questions about custom ordering a queen-size quilt as a gift.
Turning her back to the counter, Naomi hummed to herself while mentally listing all she had to do before Christmas. She still needed to shop for her parents and her eight siblings. And then there was the baking for the cookie exchange. And she had to —
"Excuse me," a little voice asked, interrupting her mental tirade.
Naomi spun to find a little girl leaning over the counter and pointing toward the king-size Lone Star quilt Naomi was draping over a wooden dowel. "May I help you?"
The girl adjusted the black bonnet on her head. "Did you make that?"
Naomi nodded. "Ya, I did."
"It's schee." The girl studied the quilt, her eyebrows knitting together in concentration. "My mamm made a quilt like this once, only she used blues and creams instead of maroons."
Naomi smiled. "I bet that was schee."
"Can I touch it?"
"Of course." Naomi held the quilt out, and the girl ran her hand over it.
The girl studied the quilt, her eyes trained on the intricate star pattern. "My mamm promised she would teach me how to quilt someday."
"I bet she will. I think I was about your age when my mamm started teaching me."
The girl looked up, and Naomi was struck by her deep-green eyes. They reminded Naomi of the deep green the pasture turned every spring.
"My mamm is gone," the girl said, her expression serious.
"Gone?" Naomi set the dowel in the rack and leaned over the counter. "What do you mean?"
"She's in heaven with Jesus." The girl ran her fingers over the counter.
Naomi gasped, cupping a hand to her mouth. "I'm so sorry. You must miss her."
"I do. I was only —" she began.
"Susan!" A man rushed over, his expression full of fear. He placed his hands on the girl's shoulders and angled her to face him. He crouched down and met her at eye level. "I turned my head for a moment and you took off. Do you know how much you scared me? I thought I'd lost you. What were you thinking?"
"I'm sorry, Dat." The girl shook her head, tears filling her striking eyes. "I saw the quilt stand, and I wanted to come see the quilts."
The man sighed and closed his eyes for a split second. Standing, he took her hand in his. "Don't do that ever again." His voice pleaded with her. "Promise me?"
"Ya." A tear trickled down her rosy cheek, and she sniffed. His expression became tender, and Naomi's heart swelled.
"Don't cry, Susie," he said, brushing her tears away with his fingertip. "It's okay, mei liewe. You're all right, and that's all that matters." He glanced toward the clock on the wall. "We need to get going. Your aenti is expecting us." He turned to Naomi. "I'm sorry for creating such a scene. My dochder took off and scared me so."
Naomi opened her mouth to speak, but her voice was stuck in her throat for a moment. Her eyes were lost in his, which were the same deep shade of emerald as the girl's.
"It was no bother," Naomi finally said. "We were having a nice discussion about quilts. I'm sorry she scared you."
"Danki." He glanced at his daughter. "We must be going." He turned back to Naomi. "Frehlicher Grischtdaag." He smiled, and his handsome face was kind. Yet, there was something sad in his gorgeous eyes. Naomi surmised it was the loss of his wife. Her heart ached for him.
Before she could respond to his Christmas greetings, the man and the girl were gone. He held the girl's hand as they turned the corner. The girl waved at Naomi, and Naomi waved back, her heart touched by the sweet gesture.
The customer who had been chatting with Lilly walked away from the stand.
"What happened?" Lilly asked, leaning over to Naomi.
"What?" Naomi asked, searching the crowd for the man and girl.
"What was all the commotion with the man and the girl?" Lilly closed the order book.
"The girl wandered off from her father, and he was worried about her." Naomi leaned against the counter. "She told me that her mother made quilts."
"Oh, that's sweet."
"Ya, it is." Naomi lifted a twin-size quilt from the bag below the counter and began to fold it. "But she also said her mother had died."
Lilly frowned and shook her head. "How bedauerlich. "
"Ya, I know." Naomi glanced toward the door, wishing she could see the girl just one more time. "There was such sadness in her eyes. I saw it in her father's eyes too."
"I can imagine that the sadness was from losing her." Lilly straightened the pens by the register. "I know how hard it was to lose my mamm, and I'm much older than she is."
Naomi touched Lilly's arm. "I know. There was just something ..." She let her voice trail off and pushed the thought away. She'd been burned more than once by misreading her own thoughts and feelings. It was silly to even consider she'd felt something for the man and the girl, but the feeling was strong, deep in her gut. She'd wanted to hug the girl and ask her how long her mother had been gone, to take away some of the pain in her eyes.
But that wasn't Naomi's business. She didn't even know the girl or her father. She'd never seen them before. She wondered which district they belonged to. Were they from Lancaster County or were they visiting for the holidays? Now she would never know. The moment was gone and so were the girl and her father.
"What is it?" Lilly asked, a grin splitting her pretty face. She jammed a hand on the hip of her purple frock. "You're scheming something, Naomi King."
"Don't be gegisch." Naomi draped the quilt over a dowel. "I was just thinking about that poor little girl without a mother. My heart goes out to her."
"Is that it? Or were you thinking about her father who misses his wife?"
Naomi frowned. "Please, Lilly. I don't know his name or even what district he's a member of. There's no such thing as love at first sight. Love is a feeling that grows over time. It can't just appear out of thin air."
Lilly's expression was pensive. "You're different than you were when you were seeing Timothy Kauffman."
Naomi shrugged. "No, I'm not different. I just matured. My mamm told me I was boy crazy and made a fool of myself the way I ran after Luke Troyer and then Timothy."
Lilly touched Naomi's shoulder. "That's not true. You were never a fool."
"Ya, I was." Naomi cleared her throat to prevent a lump from swelling as the humiliation rained down on her. She could still feel the sting of her mother's harsh words after she and Timothy broke up. "My mamm told me that I need to concentrate on my family and stop worrying about finding a husband. So, my focus now is my siblings. If I'm meant to find love, God will bring it into my life. But honestly, I think God wants me to help my mamm raise my eight siblings."
Lilly shook her head. "You don't honestly believe that, Naomi. God wants us to get married and have kinner."
Naomi busied herself with hanging the quilt onto the rack in order to avoid Lilly's probing stare. "Ya, I do believe it. I tried love twice and failed. That was the sign that I wasn't meant to find true love, if there even is a true love for me."
"Naomi." Lilly took Naomi's hand and gave her a gentle smile. "Listen to me. I didn't think there was a true love for me, but I was wrong."
Naomi raised an eyebrow in surprise. "You found love?" Lilly's cheeks flushed a bright pink.
"Why haven't you told me?" Naomi asked. "I thought I was your best friend."
"You are." Lilly sighed and sat on a stool. "We were going to keep it a secret until we get published next year."
Naomi gasped. "You're getting married?"
Lilly smiled, and Naomi shrieked and hugged her. "Is it Zach Fisher?" Naomi asked.
Lilly nodded. "I wanted to tell you, but we're trying to keep it a secret."
Naomi smiled. "That's wunderbaar. You deserve to be froh."
Lilly touched Naomi's arm. "You do too. God will lead you to the path He wants, and I believe He wants you to find true love. You've been hurt in the past, but that doesn't mean you're meant to be alone." She gave a gentle smile. "Just remember this verse from Corinthians: 'And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.'"
Naomi nodded in agreement, but she struggled to believe she was meant to be with someone.
"Excuse me," an English customer said, approaching the counter. "I would like to pick up a couple of quilts for my kids for Christmas. Do you have any queen-size quilts available that are Christmassy?"
"Yes, ma'am, we do," Lilly said, moving to the rack. "Let me show you what I have here."
As Lilly pulled out two quilts, Naomi glanced toward the market exit and wondered where the handsome widower and his daughter were headed when they left.CHAPTER 2
The van bumped and rattled down the long rock driveway to his sister's large white farmhouse. The dairy farm had been passed down through the Schmucker family for four generations, and Caleb's parents had lived in the apartment at the back of the house until they passed away.
The white clapboard home still looked the same as he remembered from his childhood. The vast three stories sprawled across the front of the property, while one large white barn and three smaller barns sat behind it, housing their livestock and farming supplies. The white split-rail fence outlined the large pasture, and Sadie's gardens — her pride and joy that she replanted every spring — ran the length of the enormous house.
Happy childhood memories swirled through Caleb's mind. He'd spent many hours on the porch with his parents and extended family during the warm months. The back pasture was where he and his cousins would play baseball.
During his teenage years, the pasture became the site for impromptu volleyball courts during youth socials. And it was at one of those socials where he'd met Barbara, who'd been visiting her cousin for the summer. Caleb had taken one look at Barbara's beautiful smile, and he knew he'd met his future bride.
"Dat?" Susie's little voice brought him back to the present. "We're here, ya?"
Caleb leaned over and touched her chin. "Ya, we are." He glanced toward the porch and found his seven nieces and nephews filing out from the front door. "You go ahead and greet your cousins. I'll grab our bags and pay the driver."
"I can't wait to meet them!" Gripping the pumpkin pie in her hands, Susie trotted up the front steps to the circle of cousins.
After grabbing their two bags, Caleb paid the driver and then made his way up the front steps, where he was engulfed in hugs from his nieces and nephews.
"Caleb!" Sadie's voice rang through the crowd. "It's so gut to see you!" She pulled him into a tight hug. "How was your trip?"
"Gut," he said.
"We were beginning to worry about you," Sadie said.
"We made a stop on the way," Caleb said, glancing at his daughter, who bit her bottom lip. "Susie wanted to bring you a pie."
"This is for you, Aenti Sadie." Susie handed her the pie. "We stopped at the farmers market for it."
"Oh, it smells appeditlich." After hugging Susie, Sadie motioned for them to come into the house. "Kumm! Let's eat!"
* * *
Caleb sat between his nephews, Samuel and Raymond, at his sister's long kitchen table. Across from him, Susie was engrossed in an animated conversation with her cousins about school.
Robert cleared his throat and Caleb bowed his head in silent prayer. The aroma of baked chicken and freshly baked bread filled his senses and he smiled. Being surrounded by family warmed his soul, and he thanked God for the opportunity to spend Christmas with them.
When Robert's fork scraped the plate, Caleb glanced up at the gaggle of arms resembling an octopus reaching for the dishes and bowls of food in the center of the table. Voices rang out around him as the children discussed the upcoming Christmas plans.
"Caleb," Sadie said, raising her voice above the discussions swirling around them. "It's so gut to have you here with us. How does it feel to be home again?"
"Gut." Caleb glanced at his daughter, who was laughing while her cousin Janie shared a story. "Real gut." He loved seeing Susie so happy. He wished they had close relatives back home, but Barbara's cousins lived in a neighboring district and rarely visited.
"How are things in Middlefield?" Robert asked.
"Going well." Caleb grabbed the serving fork for the chicken.
"Is the carriage shop keeping you busy?" Robert asked while cutting up his chicken.
Excerpted from An Amish Christmas Gift by Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, Kelly Irvin. Copyright © 2015 Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, and Kelly Irvin. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
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.
Table of Contents
ContentsNaomi's Gift by Amy Clipston, 1,
An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid, 147,
A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin, 285,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Christmas has come and gone, and I'm overdue with this review. Though, thanks to a blizzard named Jonas and some wintry weather, the last few weeks have felt more like Christmas than did our unseasonably warm December. So the Christmas spirit remains. An Amish Christmas Gift is the first of Bethany House Publishers' Amish Fiction novella collections I had the pleasure to read. When I read this book in November, what a gift it was to usher in the season! I liked it so well that I became an instant fan of the format, and I'm eager for each new release. I won't give a strict novella-by-novella review for this collection. Instead, I'll talk briefly about my impressions and the commonalities between the different stories. An Amish Christmas Gift would be a welcome addition to anyone's Christmastime reading. The simplicity of an Amish Christmas celebration lies in stark contrast to the commercial headache that American consumerism has brought to our sacred time. As such, reading this book is a balm -- a beautiful escape from the holiday rush, as well as a gentle reminder of what Christmas really means. As my reading progressed, I enjoyed each installment more than the one that came before. All three stories have a common thread of finding unexpected love. Each of the young women is unique in some way -- one is older and sure she's destined to be an old maid, another is super chatty and quirky (I love Abigail!), and another is sent away from home to "forget" her feelings for an English boy. Though all initially imagine their futures will be lonely, they learn to trust God's plan for them. God, who makes all things possible, shows each of these ladies that, with His help, she'll find her happy ending. Verdict: 5 of 5 Hearts. As Comforting as a Hot Cup of Cocoa on a Winter's Eve. An Amish Christmas Gift is a good introduction to Amish Fiction and a wonderful way to get your Christmas spirit on! Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, and Kelly Irvin use their pens to point out that love sometimes works in mysterious ways, so we should trust that God, in His timing, has someone special for us. For even when we are convinced we'll never find it, love finds us. *Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Fiction Guild for providing me with a copy of this title. 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.”
Friday, November 27, 2015 An Amish Christmas Gift by Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, and Kelly Irvin, © 2015 My Review of the three novellas in An Amish Christmas Gift: Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston Naomi King is happily tending the quilt stand with her friend in the indoor farmers market as Caleb Schmucker's driver comes near the market. They are on their way to his sister's for Christmas. His young daughter, Susie, asks to stop to take her aenti Sadie a pie. Amid the English and Amish shoppers, Caleb and his daughter are separated and he frantically searches everywhere for her. Susie is comfortable where she is. She has found a maroon Lone Star quilt like the one her mamm had made in blues and creams, and heads for it. Thankful to be reunited, Caleb, Susie, and their gift pie continue on to his eldest sister's home. Happily content with her cousins, Susie is enjoying the many activities and a chance to interact with her new freind Naomi again. Susie had lost her mamm in an accident two Christmases earlier. Her aenti is not so excited to have Susie make the connection with Naomi and steers her brother away every time he seems to get too close. She has plans of her own for her widowed younger brother. This includes his returning to their district in Pennsylvania, and leaving his home in Ohio behind. Caleb had plans for visiting as he always had for the holidays. That is, until he talks to Naomi and feels perhaps his life can go on, with new dreams. I enjoyed this story of Naomi being true to herself and following God when talk and speculation of her motives are going on around her. Have your intentions been judged by others when they are only seeing the external? Other people involved walk off while you are left with the tale-wagging? Thankfully, our Lord sees our hearts and motives. I admired Naomi for standing for right regardless of those avoiding her. An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid Abigail Kemp and Micah Zook's grandmother have come together in an inspiring way. Needing care, Mrs. Zook has welcomed Abigail into her life and heart, after first feeling she didn't need anyone to assist her. A couple drawbacks; Abigail is known to be quite talkative and forward, a little uncertain what will happen when you approach her ~ at least, that's what the thought is around town. In the wintry snow, Abigail trudges through to Edith Zook's hearth, unaware of the warmth she will find there. Edith's sweet and comforting words, along with direction and advice, enter into her life. Such a sweet story of hope and following through on what we say ~ even from the deepest parts of our being. She is receiving and forgiving, an aid in true gathering of hearts and home. A Christmas Visitor: An Amish Christmas Gift Novella by Kelly Irvin Frannie Mast returns to Bee County for Christmas. Decisions may come forth this Christmas she never imagined ~ knowing her true heart. An unexpected guest appears at dinnertime with an uncertain welcome. Prepare to be surprised what the ending of summer's heat, autumn's beginning, into the cold of winter brings to Mordecai King's farm. Changes of heart and home. The auction was one of my favorite parts of A Christmas Visitor, and the children's Christmas program coming out from behind the white sheet. Memories of my own! *Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for this review copy of An Amish Christmas Gift. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.*
I love Amish fiction, and I love stories about Christmas, so this book was a perfect fit for me. All three stories are full of love, and of people finding the true meaning of Christmas. While all three stories are well written and enjoyable, my favorite was the one by Amy Clipston. I have a soft spot for stories which feature a young child, and seven-year-old Susie is so sweet and precious I fell in love with her in the first chapter. Watching her relationship with Naomi grow was so much fun, and as Caleb and Naomi also grew closer, it was good to know that Susie truly loves the woman who will, hopefully, be her new mother. Ruth Reid's story was a touching one as well. Abby and Micah are a very likable couple, even though they are so different. Abby is extremely talkative, and she has a different way of looking at certain things, while Micah is quiet and very much "by the book." The impact they have on one another is well worth the read. Kelly Irvin writes about the Amish in Texas, which is not an Amish locale I am familiar with at all. However, that didn't stop me from enjoying this story. The relationship between Frannie and Rocky is an interesting one. And Frannie's aunt, who keeps trying to push her together with Joseph, definitely adds to the tension in the story.
An Amish Christmas Gift is a compilation of three Amish Novellas by authors Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid and Kelly Irvan. It is a great set of stories that can be read anytime but add something especially peaceful during Christmas. I loved the stories of love and life depicted in the stories. Though they’ve given up so much, they gain so much more. Without the complexities of life outside their communities, love seems to have such a deeper meaning and family is essential. Their stories encompass sacrifice, truly loving someone more than oneself, and the willingness to let God be God in their lives. This is a great collection that can be read throughout the year but would be especially meaningful during the Christmas season. I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishing and the Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest opinion. https://wordynerdyblog.wordpress.com/2016-book-reviews/an-amish-christmas-gift/
I'm a fan of these Amish novella collections, especially during a busy time of year like Christmas. It's so nice to sit down and be able to read a story or two at a time. Each of these is set during the holidays and the main character is feeling isolated from her family and community, but receives the gift of love. Naomi is deemed undesirable by Caleb's busybody sister, and it was a bit frustrating to see him pursue the wrong girl once he decided that marriage was his goal. It was surprising that barely courting someone would lead to assumptions of a betrothal, before they even had a chance to get to know each other well. I enjoyed Naomi's sincerity and the antics of Caleb's young daughter. Abigail's gift of gab prevents Micah from giving her a chance, but his grandmother takes a liking to her and he's desperate for help. I liked that as he was able to witness her redeeming qualities her quirks became endearing instead of annoying. He's kind of overbearing when they disagree, but she is anything but a doormat and sparks are always flying. I loved the story of Rocky and Frannie and the progression of their relationship with each other. The themes of sacrifice, obedience, and spirituality were woven together as Rocky explores the Amish lifestyle with the potential of joining their faith. They had the sweetest romantic moments of the collection since they already had feelings for each other which only deepen as they are tested. (Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
I love Christmas stories and really enjoyed reading these three novellas. They include Naomi’s Gift by Amy Clipston, An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid, and A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin. Wonderfully talented authors, these ladies have each shared a sweet story that is sure to delight their fans. If you’re a fan of Amish fiction, I think you will certainly enjoy the romances that blossom between Naomi and Caleb, Abigail and Micah, and Frannie and Rocky. An Amish Christmas Gift is a great collection! I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. All thoughts expressed are my own.
An Amish Christmas Gift: Three Amish Novellas by Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid and Kelly Irvin has three warm, enjoyable Christmas stories that will transcend readers into three different Amish communities around the country. Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston takes us to Lancaster County, PA to find young widower Caleb and his cheerful daughter Susie going home for Christmas. Caleb keeps running into Naomi a seemingly kind, unmarried young woman that Susie takes to right away, but his gossipy sister insists she is not a good match for him. Still, there is something about Naomi that he likes, especially the way she is with his beloved Susie. Then we take a trip to Centreville, Michigan to meet Abigail Kemp. Having decided that she will never marry, Abigail works hard to raise money for her own horse to help her be more independent. On the way to her independence she meets local glassblower Micah Zook who is working hard to build his own business, but needs someone to care for his aging grandmother. Can the two work out an arrangement that will help them achieve their goals? Or does God have other plans for the pair? Kelly Irvin's A Christmas Visitor takes us to the other side of the country to Bee County, Texas. Fannie Mast has been sent here from Missouri to her Aunt and Uncle's home with the hope that she will find a nice Plain man to marry and forget her Englisch friend Rocky. Fanny couldn't stay Plain and be with Rocky, she knew. She did not want to give up being Plain for anyone, but what would she do when Rocky showed up on the doorstep of her Aunt and Uncle's home? An Amish Christmas Gift will take you on a wonderful journey around the country this Christmas. You will meet some warm and wonderful characters. I did receive this book from The Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review.
Novellas and Christmastime just seem to go together. An Amish Christmas Gift is filled with three heart-warming tales by very gifted Amish fiction writers. All three of the stories were great but if I had to pick my favorite it would be A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin. It was the most romantic by far of the three. The story of Frannie and Rocky was unusual for Amish fiction. Rocky is an Englischer that falls in love with Frannie. When Frannie's parents find out about it they send her off to her relatives in Texas. Much to the family's dismay Rocky follows her there. And while living among the Amish community he finds what his heart longs for even more than Frannie. This story is absolutely swoon worthy! My next favorite is An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid. While the previously mentioned story carried a serious storyline, this one is more upbeat and funny. Abigail claims that her gift of gab is from God Himself and it has given her the much deserved nickname of Gabby Abby by Micah Zook. Poor Micah tries to avoid Abigail but his spunky grandma has other plans. This story is sure to make you smile. Abigail has a personality that is just irresistible. My least favorite of the three is Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston. A short time into the story I realized that this is a reprint of a previously published novella that I read several years ago. I liked it then and I still like it now. I was just disappointed that it was packaged as a new story. Naomi and Caleb's story is endearing but it has its frustrations at the same time. This is one of those stories that the two people involved would be so much better off if they would just talk to each other. Amy Clipston is a wonderful writer and these characters are from The Kauffman Amish Bakery series so it is a nice little glimpse into that community. An Amish Christmas Gift would make the perfect gift for the book lover on your Christmas list. If they enjoy Contemporary Fiction with an Amish flare this would be a great choice. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
Naomi's Gift-- Such a sweet story about second chances. Naomi is what those in the Amish community would call an old maid. She is also known as the girl who chases after the boys, which is a no-no in the Amish community. She meets sweet little Sadie at the farmer's market where she is selling her handmade quilts and she is immediately drawn to the young girl. After finding out that Sadie and her father are visiting for Christmas, they become friends and a wonderful story develops. This was my first read by Amy. I enjoyed it very much. The storyline is sweet with good romance. Nothing overly mushy, and for a novella, a full story that moved just fast enough without seaming too rushed. I most definitely will be reading more from Amy. This one was my favorite of the three novellas in the book. An Unexpected Joy-- This story was a little different, than the Amish books I am used to. For starters Abigail is a very talkative woman which I'm not sure is common is Amish communities. This was overall a great story. I was very much interested the whole time and couldn't wait to finish so I would know what happens. I have come to enjoy the Amish stories I have read recently where the woman is above what is considered to be a marrying age. This one was no different. Abigail has made peace with the fact that she probably won't get married (probably because she can't seem to stop talking). When circumstances make it difficult for her to buy the horse she has been saving for, she jumps at the chance to sit with Micah Zook's Grandmother to finish earning the money she needs. Needless to say this story has all sorts of little hiccups in it for both characters. This was a great read and I could see myself possibly reading something else by Ruth. A Christmas Visitor-- Another good story by Kelly Irvin. This is my second read by Kelly and I have to say I really enjoyed it. Kelly has such a unique style when it comes to Amish fiction. They speak about things I have never thought about in an Amish book before. This book deals with the struggles of loving an Englischer and knowing that you can never leave your faith. Kelly does a great job with this story. Rocky and Frannie were great characters. I also enjoyed that she took me back to Bee County, where I previously visited in the Bishop's Son. This is a stand alone novella, but I enjoyed reading about some of the characters I read about in that book as well. A great finish to a great set of novellas. I was blessed with this book for review, through the Fiction Guild. A positive review was not required.
A collection of novellas is just what the spirit needs during this time of year. Each story is craftily woven with just enough emotion and intrigue to keep readers coming back for more. My personal favorite is A Christmas Visitor because of the length Englisch born Rocky goes to show Frannie and her family they deserve a chance to be together. Heartwarming and hopeful, this Amish holiday collection would make a great addition to any library.
An Amish Christmas Gift - Three Amish Novellas Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston One of my favorite genres to read is Amish and a Christmas Amish story is icing on the cake. Naomi King is approaching age 24, almost considered an old maid by Amish standards. She has tried two times to find her life mate only to have her heart broken both times. She has decided that God intends for her to stay single and help her Mamm take care of her seven brothers and sisters. Caleb has a seven year old daughter, Susie, and lost his wife, Barbara two years ago in an accident. He has lived in Ohio close to his wife's family but decides to come back home to Pennsylvania with Susie to visit for Christmas. As they are arriving in town Susie wants to visit the farmer's market and buy a pie to take to her aunt. Susie wanders off to look at some quilts that Naomi and her friend are selling. Caleb panics when he turns around and can't find Susie. She is making fast friends with Naomi and tells her she wants to learn how to quilt. When he finds Susie he reminds her not to wander off and scare him. Naomi is touched by his love and concern for his daughter and he sees a spark in her eyes. Are they "ships that pass in the night" or will they see each other again? Not if Caleb's sister Sadie has any say in it. She has already picked out a wife and mother for Caleb and Susie. I enjoyed the chance to get to know these characters and their community in this Christmas season. The author was able to describe the scenes very well. I could almost hear the gentle snowflakes falling and the crunch of snow under their shoes. Even "taste" the flakes on my tongue and feel the cold on my eyelashes as I "looked" up into the heavens. The simple lifestyles of these Amish, their worship services and gift exchanges are all something that each of us could learn from. This is the perfect novella to read to get your hearts and minds ready for the season of Christ's birth. An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid begins with Abigail selling her baked goods to the local market for extra money. Abigail is trying to make enough money to purchase a horse. She feels having her own horse will give her a sense of independence since her prospects of marriage seem few and far between. Micah is looking for someone to take care of his grandmother while he works in his glass blowing shop. Abigail offers to help him out when her baked goods sales falls through. Micah is hesitant because he's not sure how she will fit in with his grandmother. I very much enjoyed getting to know Abigail. She made me feel quite inadequate. Abigail had a heart as big as the whole outdoors. She gave away her baked goods to a homeless man and later worried about him being cold and took him a quilt she had made. Her whole years savings to buy a horse was given to a family that was in great need. And she did all of this quietly without anyone knowing. We should all strive to be more like Abigail. She also questioned the shunning that her church places on their "sinners". She said Jesus spent his time among the sinners to bring them to him and why couldn't their church be more understanding of their sinners in the same way. A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin Frannie Mast's parents in Missouri send her to Texas to stay with her aunt and uncle to get her away from Rocky who's obsessed with Frannie. Rocky is not Amish which presents a problem for Frannie. If she pursues a relationship with him she'll have to give up her fait
I LOVED this book! As a fan of Amish fiction this was the perfect book for me for this time of year. It is hard to find time to read full length novels at this busy time of year but with 3 stories in this book I felt like I really accomplished something! Each story gives enough background for you to be able to follow along. Each story also is fully developed enough to leave you feeling satisfied with the ending. All of this in 3 quick reads bound together! My favorite story in this book was the last one. Where Frannie has moved to Texas and is followed by the English boy from back home. All of them were great stories though and I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a novella and Amish fiction!
As a whole, you get pretty much what you'd expect with this kind of collection. The romances are cute and tame, full of side glance smiles and hands "accidentally" brushing up to the whirlwind confession of love and oaths of eternal devotion. Nothing that was long-term memorable for me necessarily, but a solid holiday collection to escape into, particularly if you like the drama in your reading to be minimal and you really want that HEA. FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.
This is a fun collection for the Amish fiction fan to enjoy at the Christmas holidays! I had a great time reading all three novellas. Naomi’s Gift by Amy Clipston was probably my favorite of the three. I just really felt for Naomi. My heart hurt for her and how Sadie gossiped about her. It set the tone for me to feel a lot of empathy for Naomi. I really liked Caleb and his daughter. They were also great characters. The attraction and connection between Naomi and Caleb was perfect. I had not read the series that this novella is connected to, but did not have any problem following along in the story. I also liked An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid. Abigail really grated on my nerves at the beginning of this story. I know that she also annoyed Micah, her future love interest, as well. I thought the growth of their relationship was sweet and fun even if it did happen a little quickly. But I think that is just the nature of it being a novella. I enjoyed reading about Micah’s changing feelings for Abigail. His view of her certainly gets adjusted by the story’s end! A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin had a lot of good tension in it between Frannie and Rocky. I loved the situation that they are in in this novella. Frannie’s aunt adds plenty of extra tension to the situation, as well, with the way she wants to push Joseph and Frannie together. This novella can stand alone, but it is also connected to the Amish of Bee County series, and it was fun to revisit these characters. I enjoy these Amish novella collections. If you do, too, then I definitely recommend An Amish Christmas Gift as a book you will want to read. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Oh my goodness! These three Amish Christmas stories were heart-warming, sweet, inspiring and sigh worthy! There was so much faith and sweet love packed into each of these short novels that really got me ready for the holiday season. Each one was unique with a solid cast of characters and a simple but sweet story line. I personally enjoyed the second novel, An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid the best. It focuses on the story of Abigail Kemp and Micah Zook. Abigail, a talkative young woman full of compassion, finds herself working as a caregiver for Micah's grandmother. Abigail has given up on marriage and is working hard to gain independence by saving up money to buy her own horse. She never could have imagined growing close to Micah. Micah just needs someone to help out with his grandmother while he works to finish up business orders for the holiday season. Falling for Abigail, a chatty, strong willed, independent woman is not on his Christmas to-do list. What ensues is a story full of unexpected friendships and romance. Abigail and Micah are two well rounded, dynamic characters that you'd expect to meet in real life too. The inner struggles they deal with help shape them as strong characters, and the way they learn to embrace each other despite their perceived weaknesses is a beautiful reminder to all of us. They remind us that perhaps our weaknesses are also our strengths as well. This story also had amazing supporting characters which rounded out the story nicely! All three novels, Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston, An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid and A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin were gems. I definitely recommend you pick up a copy of this book just in time for the Christmas season! It will touch your heart and warm your soul.
I loved this book! Who doesn't love Amish stories with Christmas mixed in? In this book you don't just get one story but three stories in one book by three different authors. That made it even better for me. Each story was a great read but Noami's Gift and An Unexpected Joy (the first and second stories) was the longest of the three. I think if I had to pick one to be my favorite it would be, An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid. I will be re-reading this book every year (not just at Christmas time!). I received this book from Fiction Guild for my honest review.
An Amish Christmas Gift, By: Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, Kelly Irvin What a wonderful collection of Amish Novellas. Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid and Kelly Irvin have captured my heart again with their touching stories. Stories that are filled with such love, faith, devotion, heartache that will surely capture your heart. Amy takes us back to the Kauffman Amish Bakery in this Christmas novella. I so love the Kauffman family and the things that happen with them. Travel back to Bee County in Kelly’s Christmas novella that will surely tug on your heart strings. Fall in love with Micah Zook’s grandmother and all the other delightful and frustrating characters in Ruth’s Christmas novella. Such a wonderful way to get in the Christmas spirit. So many surprises twists and turns that will keep your attention to the very end. Be sure to order your copy of An Amish Christmas Gift today. 5 stars.
As I shared before, my mom LOVES Amish stories. She enjoys stories about the simplier times and the clear priorities of faith and family that define the Amish lifestyle. We decided that if any opportunities come up for book reviews on Amish books, she would gladly read them and help me out. Below is my mother, Gloria's review of the Amish Gift by Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin and Ruth Reid: This special novella is a collection of three sweet, holiday romances that are sure to delight and are perfect for getting us in the mood for Christmas. I'll share about each book separately: Naomi’s Gift by Amy Clipston This story takes place in Bird-In-Hand, Pennsylvania where Naomi had faced two different recent heartbreaks. Thinking that she isn’t meant to find love, Naomi had given up on children and marriage. As Christmas was soon arriving, Naomi believed that her old-maid life will be spent helping the family's quilting business and taking care of her siblings during this special time of family, faith, and hope. Through a chance meeting with Susie Schmucker, Naomi met Caleb, a widower with a 7-year old daughter, and she might receive more than she ever hoped for this Christmas. Could this be Naomi’s "Christmas Miracle"? (No spoilers here.) An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid Talkative Abigail Kemp (aka Gabby Abby) was sure she would be an old maid and was saving money to buy a horse so she can have happiness in her life and gain some independence. Abigail's “gift of gab” has driven most of the men in the district who were future prospects away from Abigail. Abigail led by example of sharing her money, food, clothing, showing kindness, and her belief that God loves everyone no matter their circumstances. Micah Zook needed a caretaker for his grandmother and Gabby Abby needed a new job because the store would no longer sell her baked goods. Micah and Gabby Abby seemed to be butting heads right from the beginning, but Micah’s mother liked Abigail and found ways to put them together. In this story, the author had readers wondering if Micah could get past Abby’s "gift of gab" and see her for who she really was. (Again, no spoilers.) As an aside, this was my favorite of the three stories contained in this book. This is a well told story about Amish love and their traditions of celebrating Christmas Day at home by reading the birth of Jesus from the Bible, sharing a special meal, and exchanging small gifts mostly handmade and heartfelt. On “Second Christmas," which is December 26th, the Amish travel and spend the day visiting family and friends. A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin Fannie Mast's parents sent her to Bee County, Texas to live with her aunt, Abigail, and her new husband, Mordecai, in an attempt to get her away from an English man’s influence. A visitor from her past, Richard “Rocky” Sanders, shows up one night unexpectedly having followed Fannie all the way from Missouri. Fannie and Rocky are in love. He was not part of the Amish community, but Rocky intended to be part of Fannie’s life despite being "English”. Rocky then decided that he loved Fannie and would do anything to show his commitment to Fannie - even giving up the convenience of being "English". In this story, the author had readers wondering if Rocky could prove himself Bishop and Uncle Mordecai and the Amish community and show them he had changed? (You got it, no spoiler here.) I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers and Fiction Guild in exchange
This book offers three lovely stories to get readers ready for Christmas to come. In Naomi's Gift, Naomi and Caleb are two characters in a typical Christian romance. They are wounded from the past and a little hesitant to risk their hearts again. Readers are reminded that all things are possible with faith. The best character is Caleb's daughter, who loves Naomi even before Caleb does. It was entertaining to read about the family struggles that occur even in Amish families over the holidays, especially with Caleb's matchmaking sister. Any single person approaching the holiday season can relate to the inevitable matchmaking that seems to go hand in hand with family dinners! My favorite of the three books was An Unexpected Joy. Abigail was such a lovable character, with a charming flaw. I enjoyed reading about Micah's gradual thawing of his reticence over her chatter. I also appreciated the attention that the author gave to PTSD and that it can even impact Amish communities. It was interesting to read about the struggles of Abigail's cousins as they were coping with the realities of being shunned and her courage in providing for them. A Christmas Visitor was a nice was to end the collection. I've never read a book where an English man was contemplating joining the Amish community to be with the girl he loved. This book had the added charm of not knowing what would happen at the end. I wasn't quite sure whether Frannie and Rocky would end up together. That is very rare in a romance story! If you are looking for a light, easy read to get you ready for the Christmas season, this is a great choice. They stories are quick to read, and filled with lovable characters. Plus, they are short enough that you can fit them in between shopping trips or waiting for Christmas recital practices to end! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
If you are looking for a serious Amish read, this collection of three novellas is NOT for you. But if you want a little light holiday escape, you may have found the right book...especially if you have read the books leading up to these stories. I was not familiar with any of the main characters here except Kelly Irvin's Frannie. I liked finding out what happened to her and a few of her relatives, but this novella didn't begin to match the intensity and depth of the other Bee County books. Amy Clipston's story about Naomi seemed flat and predictable to me; I can't imagine any 8 year old "batt(ing) her eyelashes" and speaking like Susie! (She is listed on the back cover as 7.) Ruth Reid came the nearest to really grabbing my interest with "Gabby Abby," but even that story could have gone further with tighter editing. In fact, I felt it could have easily supported a whole novel. Each book revolves around a young, single Amish women at Christmastime. Suspense obviously doesn't play a role here as each story has a happy ending. One of the neat things about this collection was that the tales took place in three very different Amish communities (Pennsylvania, Michigan and Texas). Each comes with a glossary of common Amish words and phrases that lends authenticity to the "voice" of the story. I found myself really caring for Irvin's and Reid's characters, but the folks in Clipston's story seemed flat and two-dimensional to me. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I am usually more of a people-pleaser, and don't sound so negative, but this just wasn't the book for me. If you like other series by these authors, you may find it a nice way to unwind during the busy holidays.
An Amish Christmas Gift is a collection of three stories. The stories include: Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin. I enjoyed all three stories in this collection, especially Kelly Irvin's A Christmas Visitor. A perfect for book to read to get a reader into the Christmas spirit. 4 1/2 stars
Sweet and unexpected Christmas romances... An Amish Christmas Gift Three Amish Novellas By Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, and Kelly Irvin If you love a Christmas romance and Amish fiction you will delight in this new Christmas collection of three novellas. In all three stories our main character feels love, marriage, and a family of her own has passed her by. She is destined to be an old maid, at least that's what she is trying to convince herself. First up is Naomi's Gift - Naomi King has twice been rejected in love. Her mother frowns upon her previous behavior, her anticipation of becoming a wife, a mother. Some say Naomi is too eager for marriage. But those who truly know her know the truth. Is it too late for love when gossiping tongues wag? When a chance meeting with young Susie Schmucker introduces Naomi to widower Caleb, Naomi is determined to guard her heart though a friendship only with this young girl and her father may prove problematic. But Christmas miracles can involve the heart... Will Naomi finally receive the gift her heart has been seeking? The second gift found within this wrapping is An Unexpected Gift. Abigail Kemp has in her words the "gift of talking." Unfortunately for her future prospects her gift is not appreciated by the young men in her community. In fact her gift may keep her single. But when an act of "defiance" means Abigail has to find a job, she finds a short term one caring for Micah Zook's grandmother. Now if she can just keep her keep her chatter from ending her job early Abigail just may be able to buy her horse. But Abigail has more than just her gift of talk she has a caring heart - a heart that just may get her into trouble or may finally lead her to love just in time for Christmas. A Christmas Visitor is the final story to delight your Christmas reading. Frannie Mast has been sent to her aunt and uncle's home to get her away from Rocky Sanders an Englischer who has found a way into her heart. Frannie is determined to stay in her faith, separation from her family is not something she wants. But when Rocky shows up in Bee County, Texas, following Frannie all the way from Missouri pushing him out of her heart just became a lot harder. But Rocky only wants what's best for the woman he loves. Can he give her up if she decides family and faith have more of her heart than Rocky does? Or will this be the Christmas that brings these two people a true gift of the heart? An Amish Christmas Gift is a gift that you will want to share with your fellow book friends. Looking for a December book club selection that won't disappoint - you've found it. And if you want to steal away for a few moments of quiet time during the holiday rush this book may be what you are looking for. I was provided a copy of this book through the Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review.
This was a good read for me because it allowed me the opportunity to read three different authors that I had never read before, I really enjoyed all three stories and it made me want to curl up with some hot chocolate and gear up for Christmas. I always love reading about the Amish life in fiction because it allows me to understand a little bit of what it is like to be Amish. It is so fascinating to me how they live. l also want to try out the recipes in the back of the book. I would have to say of the three stories, that I really enjoyed An Unexpected Joy the most. It was such a cute and funny read because of "Gabby Abby". I was given this book for my honest review by the Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild.