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.
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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 four spoiled rotten cats. Visit her online at AmyClipston.com; Facebook: AmyClipstonBooks; Twitter: @AmyClipston; Instagram: @amy_clipston.
Read an Excerpt
Naomi's GiftAn Amish Christmas Story
By Amy Clipston
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2011 Amy Clipston
All right reserved.
Chapter OneCaleb 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 in her throat 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 TwoThe 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?"
Excerpted from Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston Copyright © 2011 by Amy Clipston. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston is a Christmas novella in the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Naomi King has faced two recent heartbreaks that have left her wondering if marriage is God's will for her and a reputation for chasing men with some of the men in her community. Caleb Schmucker is still mourning the loss of his pregnant wife Barbara in a tragic buggy accident two years ago while trying to raise his daughter Susie. Caleb and Susie return to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania where he grew up to spend the holidays with his sister Sadie and her family. Sadie has plans for Caleb which include getting him to move home, marrying her friend Irene and working for Irene's father in his buggy shop, but when Susie meets Naomi, the two quickly become friends, and soon Caleb becomes curious about the young woman who so quickly captured his daughter's heart, who his sister seems determined to keep him away from. If you aren't familiar with the series (like me), you'll still comfortable quickly as Clipston does a good job of keeping the families straight for new readers. Naomi and Caleb's attraction for each other grows quickly but naturally over the course of the story. Both are sympathetic characters, and Susie is sweet, but Sadie comes across as completely unlikable, and Naomi's mother, Irma, not much better. I think when trying to create conflict for the story, some of the characters became stereotypes rather than people, so the story isn't as strong as it could be.
This was a quick read. Short sweet nice book
I loved the characters in this book. They wound me in and captivated me to the point that I wanted to visit. The whole story was so real I just missed them when it ended. The downfall of this novel was that it ended so quickly.
If you enjoy Amish stories, you will enjoy this. It is easy, light reading and keeps your attention.
A lot of readers just might associate themselves with Naomi. It was a heartwarming story with a great ending!
Looking for the spitit of Christmas? It is presented clear and simple in this easy read book. You can keep your mind on the hope that Christmas is intended to be and enjoy the Amish story all at the while. I recommend it highly.
I highly recommend this book,, I could not put it down...
I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. First off, I have to say that I love Amish stories so I went into this expecting to love it, even though I have not read any of Amy Clipston's books before. I wasn't disappointed! I really, really loved it! I am definitely going to be getting my hands on more of Amy's work! From Goodreads: "Naomi's Gift re-introduces twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love and has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches---a time of family, faith, and hope for many others---Naomi is more certain than ever 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." Poor Naomi has a bit of a reputation in her Amish community as a man-chaser. This is not quite true, but her mother believes it and reminds Naomi of it on a regular basis. Because of this, Naomi has decided that God does not intend for her to find love, but to work in the family business and take care of her siblings. Enter Caleb, a handsome widower with an adorable, precocious 7 year old daughter who is visiting from Ohio for the Christmas holidays. His family is from Bird-in-Hand but he's been away for years. Naomi meets Susie and takes an instant liking to her, and vice versa, but when Naomi meets Caleb and finds herself attracted to him, she fights it because she's afraid of people gossiping about her again. Unfortunately, Caleb's big sister, who he's staying with, is the biggest gossip of all. She also thinks she knows what's best for Caleb and doesn't hesitate to do what she can to push her agenda. I love that this book, although about the Amish, is something that anyone, Amish and English alike, can relate to. Feeling embarrassed about something you did when you were young is also a subject that is very relatable. All in all, this whole book was a very quick and easy read because you can feel Naomi's pain and embarrassment, and you find yourself really rooting for her to find happiness. I also have to say that Amy's writing is so beautifully descriptive you feel like you are there in the quilt shop, or in the Kauffman house, or the bakery with the characters. I'm really looking forward to exploring more of her wonderful imagery in her other books about the Kauffman family. In summary, this is a beautifully written Christmas novella that I highly recommend, not just to people who like Amish books, but everyone who loves holiday romances :D
As fall is beginning to peak around the corner, some of the best books are just beginning to hit the bookshelves in time to get us in the Christmas spirit, and one of the best I've read belongs to Amy Clipston, who wrote, Naomi's Gift, An Amish Christmas Story. I've yet to read an Amish book, I didn't like and this one was such a true pleasure to read. I could imagine life at Bird-In-Hand Pennsylvania, the crisp cold chill of snow in the air, settling under thick, gray clouds. Just in time to make it for Christmas, widower Caleb Schmucker and his young daughter, Susie come to visit his sister Sadie and her family. Just before arriving at their house, Susie reminds Caleb that it isn't proper to show up for a visit, without bringing something, and insists on visiting a local Farmer's Market to pick up a homemade pie. Once they arrive inside the busy indoor market they both head for a small bakery and try to decide if they should buy apple or pumpkin pie. Just when Caleb looks down to ask Susie for her opinion, she is gone. Lost in the hustle and bustle of a busy market place, Susie is drawn to a quilt stand operated by Naomi King. She tells her that the quilts remind her of her own mother who died. Feeling a connection beyond sympathy with Susie, a friendly conversation begins between the two, as Caleb suddenly rushes up, grabbing Susie. He reminds her that she can't leave like that because he was so worried. Susie introduces him to Naomi and a warm connection flows between the two. Now struggling to face his own personal feelings of getting over his grief for his wife Barbara, he is pulled in two directions. One by his sister Sadie's interference in finding him a "suitable" wife and the connection he feels whenever Susie and Naomi get together at their family home. This love story will warm your heart as you find yourself hoping that Caleb and Naomi will find true love, but will Caleb be able to leave the memories of his first love behind in Ohio to make a fresh start in Pennsylvania? You'll have to read, Naomi's Gift to find out how this holiday story will end. One thing is certain is their faith in God has helped them weather their storms up to this point and they both know with God anything is possible, even the potential of a widower finding love again. I received this book compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review. If you are an Amish fan or a lover of great Christmas stories, than this one will need to be placed at the top of your wish list. I personally rate it a 5 out of 5 stars and will be reading this each year during Christmas!
This book was so good I read it in one day, which is unusual for me. I have read the first two books, A Gift of Grace and A Promise of Hope, in the Kauffman Amish Bakery series, and liked them also. I don't have the third one yet, A Place of Peace, the fourth one comes out in January, A Life of Joy, and the fifth one, A Season of Love, is scheduled for June of 2012. Caleb and Susie, his eight year old daughter, are returning to his home town, Bird-in-Hand, PA for the holidays. He lost his wife in a buggy accident two years ago in Ohio where they lived. The only family there are his wife's cousins and they don't live close, but he has no desire to Pennsylvania. Susie insists on stopping at a Farmer's Market to take her aenti Sadie a pie. While there she see's a beautiful quilt, her Mother loved making quilts and had promised to teach her to quilt, and gets away from her daed to admire the quilt and talk to the lady that made it. Caleb is frantically looking for Susie when he sees her talking to someone by the quilts. They will learn that her name is Naomi King and his sister, Sadie, does not like her, she has plans for him to court her friend Irene Wagler. Sadie is quite the busybody, likes to be the first to know everything, doesn't know how to keep a secret, and thinks her ways/ideas are the only/right way to do things. She thinks she should take charge of Caleb's life since their parents are gone and he has no one to look out for him. Caleb does not agree with her ant tries to tell her to 'mind her own business' gently. You'll have to read the book to see if that works. That's all I'm going to tell you, you'll have to read the book to find out if Caleb and Susie return to their home in Ohio or make a home in Pennsylvania, if they go to Ohio do they take Naomi or Irene with them or if they stay does Caleb remarry or not. This book is a definite purchase and read book, you will not be disappointed. I won this book and was not required to read it or do a review, but I am so glad I took the day to read it an hope you enjoy it too.
Although this is suppose to be a Christmas story, there wasn't much Christmas to it. Still, it was a good, short book. Caleb returns to Bird-in-Hand for Christmas with his small daughter, Susie. Caleb is a widower and falls in love with Naomi. He wants to marry her but his siter, Sadie, has other ideas. She wants him to marry Irene, but Irene does not like little Susie.
I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.First off, I have to say that I love Amish stories so I went into this expecting to love it, even though I have not read any of Amy Clipston's books before. I wasn't disappointed! I really, really loved it! I am definitely going to be getting my hands on more of Amy's work! From Goodreads: "Naomi's Gift re-introduces twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love and has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches---a time of family, faith, and hope for many others---Naomi is more certain than ever 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."Poor Naomi has a bit of a reputation in her Amish community as a man-chaser. This is not quite true, but her mother believes it and reminds Naomi of it on a regular basis. Because of this, Naomi has decided that God does not intend for her to find love, but to work in the family business and take care of her siblings. Enter Caleb, a handsome widower with an adorable, precocious 7 year old daughter who is visiting from Ohio for the Christmas holidays. His family is from Bird-in-Hand but he's been away for years. Naomi meets Susie and takes an instant liking to her, and vice versa, but when Naomi meets Caleb and finds herself attracted to him, she fights it because she's afraid of people gossiping about her again. Unfortunately, Caleb's big sister, who he's staying with, is the biggest gossip of all. She also thinks she knows what's best for Caleb and doesn't hesitate to do what she can to push her agenda.I love that this book, although about the Amish, is something that anyone, Amish and English alike, can relate to. Feeling embarrassed about something you did when you were young is also a subject that is very relatable. All in all, this whole book was a very quick and easy read because you can feel Naomi's pain and embarrassment, and you find yourself really rooting for her to find happiness. I also have to say that Amy's writing is so beautifully descriptive you feel like you are there in the quilt shop, or in the Kauffman house, or the bakery with the characters. I'm really looking forward to exploring more of her wonderful imagery in her other books about the Kauffman family.In summary, this is a beautifully written Christmas novella that I highly recommend, not just to people who like Amish books, but everyone who loves holiday romances :D
Naomi's Gift: an Amish Christmas Storyby Amy ClipstonPublished 8/16/2011ZondervanRATING: 3.5 starsSummary: Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you'll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman's story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams ... and secrets. You'll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the 'English' way of life---and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families. Naomi's Gift re-introduces twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love and has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches---a time of family, faith, and hope for many others---Naomi is more certain than ever 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. Naomi's story of romantic trial and error and youthful insecurities has universal appeal. Author Amy Clipston artfully paints a panorama of simple lives full of complex relationships, and she carefully explores cultural differences and human similarities, with inspirational results. Naomi's Gift includes all the details of Amish life that Clipston's fans enjoy, while delivering the compelling stories and strong characters that continue to draw legions of new readers.Review: Caleb Schmucker and his young daughter, Susie, travel to Pennsylvania to celebrate Christmas with his Amish family and church district. Widowed for two years, Caleb realizes that he misses the community he grew up in and how the relationships there play a positive role in he and Susie's path to the future.Naomi King feels undeserving of anyone's love or attention after two failed relationships. She takes pride in her work as a quilter and helping to care for her younger siblings, and believes this will be her mission in life. Quietly, however, she yearns for her own 'happy ever after' in accordance to God's plan.Susie has just one simple Christmas wish--- he wants to see the light in her father's eyes; that he may experience joy and be truly happy again. She just needs to figure out a way to get meddling Aunt Sadie and her friend, Irene out of the way first.I really enjoyed this sweet, love story. While both Caleb and Naomi seemed to waver back and forth constantly in their decisions, the emotion that they felt seemed realistic in each of their situations. They seemed to have some magnetic attraction right from the beginning. The fact that their relationship blossomed in such a short amount of time (a week maybe?) felt a bit rushed, but in the end could probably be described as love at first sight.Recommended
Such a sweet love story. It made my heart and soul sigh. This story has somehow magnified that love I feel for my own husband. It was like experiencing falling in love all over again! I just want to melt into his strong warm embrace. It was a perfect story for this Christmas season. I wish there was more, definitely didn't want it to be over. It's been a stressful week, and listening to this book honestly kept helping me feel more at peace. It just has that effect! A wholesome love story indeed!
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.