A Gift of Grace (Kauffman Amish Bakery Series #1)

A Gift of Grace (Kauffman Amish Bakery Series #1)

by Amy Clipston

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310289838
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 04/03/2009
Series: Kauffman Amish Bakery Series , #1
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 479,727
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

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 University 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; Instagram: @amy_clipston.

Read an Excerpt


A Gift of Grace

A Novel



By Amy Clipston
Zondervan
Copyright © 2009

Amy Clipston
All right reserved.



ISBN: 978-0-310-28983-8



Chapter One 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.

Home.

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.

Chapter Two Shoo-Fly Pie

Crumb mixture: 1-1/2 cups flour 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 cup sugar 1/8 cup shortening Pinch of cinnamon

Liquid: 1/2 cup hot water 1 tsp 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. Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry.

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 in moderate oven (350 degrees) for approximately 35 minutes.

(Continues...)




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

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Gift of Grace 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 174 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.
carolinagirl2104 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
this is one of the best books. I love this series and cant wait till the next one comes out in December. Also cant wait to see if Jessica and Jake become a couple in the next series of books.
wearylibrarian on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Rebecca Kaufman's life is thrown into turmoil when her sister grace, who left the Amish community, is killed, along with her English husband. Suddenly Rebecca, who has resigned herself to a childless life, finds herself raising two teenagers.The oldest daughter, Jessica, wants nothing to do with the Amish lifestyle and refuses to conform. She cannot believe there is no electricity in the house for her to charge her cell phone or use her laptop. Conflict arises between the two sisters when the younger of the two begins to dress in Amish clothing and adopting the Amish lifestyle.In a rare moment of wanting to help, Jessica weeds the garden. The problem is, she chooses to do it on a Sunday while the family is attending church, and she decides to do it in a bathing suit. This results in a visit from the Bishop.It's a great book but I found myself wanting to shake Rebecca for forcing the Amish lifestyle on Jessica, saying that she will eventually come around.
Terryfic on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Too predictable, too slow, but it does project an enlightening view of Amish life and faith.
ark76 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Amy Clipston writes about Amish family life in a realistic manner, drawing the reader into the lives of a childless Amish couple's life after they become guardians to their two teenage nieces that were raised in a non-Amish lifestyle in Virginia Beach. The struggles of the girls to overcome the grief over their parents' deaths and to assimilate into Amish society and of the guardians to understand their non-Amish ways creates clashes and marital strife. The characters grow in love and understanding and ultimately are an example to us in how we should handle diversity.
mrsjason on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I am split on how I feel about Amish books. On one hand, I feel like they are comfort reading. I enjoy reading about the Amish lifestyle and how they live their life in simplicity. I also adore reading about their food, I get stuffed just by reading one book. On the other hand, sometimes I disagree with their spiritual beliefs and also that the author seems to be very one sided in presenting the lifestyle. I have heard that some books have totally fabricated or over exaggerated events to make the books appeal more to readers. With this book, I honestly wanted to really enjoy it. The beginning of the book totally captivated me. There's a bakery (food!), an interesting situation (normal teen girls forced to live in Amish house), and then the fact that the girls were from Virginia Beach (my hometown area). The writing is very engaging and it moves really fast. You get sucked into the story as you want to find out what happens to the girls and their new lifestyle.However there were many problems though I had while reading it. Enough, that I almost gave up reading the book in frustration. The main one was the fact that Rebecca would not let Jessica and Lindsay go to school because they are too old according to the Amish. What bugs me about this is why she didn't' tell them this BEFORE they got back to Pennsylvania? It was said she spent a month with them before traveling back and even then she was hoping it wouldn't come up until later. Also her husband and her had agreed that the girls did not have to become Amish so I don't' understand why they couldn't have let them just go to school. This is especially because Jessica wants to go, and her mother had emphasized that going to college was always important. This really annoyed me because people should NOT be denied an education when they want it. How would they have felt if the situation had been reversed and Amish kids were forced to live in modern world and do things they didn't want just because they now lived in a new household? Also, Daniel really got on my nerves with his flip-floppy behavior. On one hand he's annoyed with Jessica because she won't adapt to the Amish lifestyle and stop being worldly and corrupting his family thus making him look bad. However he won't talk to her and won't tell her exactly what he wants. I cannot see how he can blame her for doing something wrong when she didn't know she wasn't supposed to! Then he's irritated with Lindsay because she DOES want to fit in with the Amish and learn their way of life. He thinks it's just a phase and refuses to encourage her in anything she does. Personally he just seems like he's not ready to be a father to teenagers because he doesn't have a clue of how to handle them at all. There were also issues I had with the Amish community itself. However the author did add a note in the beginning saying that she had changed some of the traditions to fit the storyline.I know it sounds as if I really had problems with this book. I'm not bashing it all. I just had problems with the way some issues were handled because I felt they were handled wrongly. Sometimes I feel that certain books seem to be pushing a certain lifestyle and try to make the reader feel guilty for not living that way. I sort of got that feeling with this book. This probably was because it seemed that everyone was against Jessica for wanting to not change to the Amish lifestyle and I totally agreed with her. I did enjoy reading about the bakery so I'm looking forward to reading more about it in the future. Also I LOVED the recipes sprinkled throughout as some of them seemed very easy to make. I just hope for the next book that these issues have been resolved. While this book may not have been for me, if you are a fan of the Amish lifestyle you will enjoy this book.
tillien on LibraryThing 11 months ago
This book was about a lovely Amish couple who after dealing for years of infertility and no kids of their own, her sister and brother-in-law were killed in a car accident that sent their non-amish girls to live with them. Great story with an unexpected ending {at least for me it was}. The only thing that was a little annoying was the repetitive nature of some of the story line...you don't have to mention to me over and over that a) they were infertile and b) the kids weren't amish and didn't want to be there. It was the authors first book, so I let that pass.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome read.
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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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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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