A Plain & Fancy Christmas

A Plain & Fancy Christmas

by Cynthia Keller
4.2 14

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A Plain and Fancy Christmas 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
bkwormIA More than 1 year ago
This unusual situation made for a great read for the holidays. It didn't have the in-depth Amish details usually found in these types of books but did have a good story line and kept me intriged.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Gil and pregnant Nina Lawrence were traveling through Lancaster County, Pennsylvania when she went into labor. She was rushed to Lancaster's Griffin Hospital where she gave birth to her daughter Ellie before the trio continued on to New York. Also in the hospital giving birth is Amish Leah King who with her husband Isaac names their child Rachel too. However, Nurse Violet Thompson realized that her husband the physician to both families mixed up the babies. To save his career and his life she persuades Paul to do nothing. Now over three decades later, he is dead and she is dying with a need to cleanse her conscience. She dispatches the same letter and proof to the two adult switched at birth babies. Both are hesitant about meeting their biological parents, but Ellie makes the plunge first. The Amish welcome her especially her birth mother which makes the widowed single mom Rachel jealous as she never pleased her critical mother. Accompanied by her daughter Katie, she heads to Manhattan to meet her affluent biological parents, who welcome her warmly, but Rachel feels like a fish on dry land. Although switched at birth is not a new premise (see The Wrong Child by Patricia Kay), Cynthia Keller provides an interesting spin to the nurturing vs. naturing debate with the cultural differences between the two families. Aptly titled, the cast is strong as the parents and other members of the families and friends are kind, welcoming and caring while the switched offspring adapt differently to meeting their biological families and the culture they should have been part of. Harriet Klausner
Joanna_Aislinn More than 1 year ago
Disclaimer: I borrowed the book from my church’s library. I was not paid for this write up. This sweet, switched-at-birth story by author Cynthia Keller touched me.  The title, A Plain and Fancy Christmas, was a bit of a misnomer. The story doesn’t revolve around Christmas at all, which makes it a perfect book for year-round reading.  The title does, however, suggest the backgrounds and backstories of its lead characters, 30-year-olds Ellie Lawrence and Rachel King Yoder. (I’m always good for stories set involving an Amish backdrop.) Ellie holds an executive position in a high-profile, New York City public relations corporate firm. Despite an underlying dissatisfaction with her job and romantic relationship with Jason, she has slipped into a content-enough routine with the family she believes to be hers and the overall trappings of her life. (If I had to choose a protagonist, I’m thinking she’s Ellie.) Rachel was raised Amish. Widowed three years ago and unable to manage the farm she and her husband owned, she and her 10-year-old daughter are back in her parents’ home. Although she often finds herself feeling at odds with her mother, this is the only life Rachel has ever known.  Respect, and the rules and ways that go along with having chosen to be baptized into the Amish faith and culture, keep Rachel from delving too deeply into her emotions. She has always felt dissatisfaction too, especially after having lived among “the English” during rumspringa, the period of exploration and/or rebellion Amish teens are allowed. Rachel returned to her faith, mostly because she’d fallen in love with Jacob Yoder, and couldn’t imagine her life without him.   Long story short, Ellie and Rachel each receive a letter explaining the circumstances that led to the switch. Rachel buries hers in a drawer, but Ellie sets into play a series of events that will impact both these ladies’ futures. (Of course, y’all knew that, or there would be no story and nothing for me to write about! ;) ) This story is nicely written, told from the points-of-view of its leading ladies, with one exception: a chapter told from the perspective of the nurse who was involved in the switch. I was readily transported to Rachel’s Amish farm and related easily to the go-go-go associated with life in NYC. My only beef is how the author provides backstory, in several-page-long flashbacks (?) of exposition. Mrs. Keller did this more often at the beginning, which made getting into the story lag a bit. (Liking the premise—and the characters early on—kept me reading.)  I also related to Ellie’s intrigue with a simpler way of life; it reminded me of how much I love spending time at my cottage. I could easily adopt—and adapt to—the choices she made as the story and her character’s journey developed. What Rachel learned about herself describes me too, but I don’t want to give anything away.   Finally, the story explored the themes of family, nature, nurture and what might have been had the switch not occurred. I kept wondering what kind of a resolution could possibly be reached--particularly for Rachel--as the tale approached its close.
wfnren More than 1 year ago
An interesting story about a difficult situation - great read Rachel King and Rachel Lawrence were born in the same hospital in Lancaster, Pennsylvania 2 days apart, both were raised in loving families, one was raised Amish and one was raised in the English world. Elle, Rachel Lawrence's nickname, was raised in Manhattan in an affluent family, she is single and has a good job. She has one brother and one sister and is very successful in her career. Rachel Yoder (King) was raised in Lancaster and has several brothers and sisters. She is a widow of three years and has a daughter Katie, 11 years old. Rachel and Katie have moved back home with Rachel's parents since her husband passed because she couldn't handle the farm on her own. She isn't real happy living there, but life is good and she is Amish through and through. Elle is settled in her own apartment in Manhattan but gets stressed with her job, otherwise life is good for her too. Things change drastically when both women receive a letter from a nurse who worked at the hospital they were born in. It seems she was married to a doctor who was an alcoholic and he got so he was going to work drunk, that's when the mix-up happened, he sent Rachel King home with the Lawrence's! She covered it up for her husband so he wouldn't lose his job and be ridiculed, he would never be able to get another job anyplace, and she loved him deeply. She is dying when she decides it's time the girls know the truth. Now the two have to deal with this 'mix-up' for the rest of their lives. Just imagine how you would feel if this happened to you, not only are they raised in different areas of the country, but completely different lifestyles. How would you deal with this, would you immediately want to meet your biological parents, how would you explain this to your children if you have any (like Rachel does)? How would you feel if the other woman came to meet her parents and you felt she was treated better than you had been your whole life? Do you think you would consider the other woman and what she was feeling or just think about yourself, would you want to talk to her or would you just try to bury the whole thing and live the life you were put into? A VERY interesting book, I like the way Cynthia tells the feelings of the two women and how they dealt with what happened. I know this has happened and I don't know how I would deal with it. Wonderful look into a difficult situation. I would suggest this book as I found it very good. I think this is the first book I've read by Cynthia and I will be looking for more.
read74me More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful Christmas story.It's a story about a family trying to struggle to stay together. They also are having financial problems too. The family moves near an Amish family and learns how to survive all their problems. Highly recommend this book. I could'nt put the book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the part where the dog got into the pies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the story.
maryhelenGA More than 1 year ago
This is a light,pleasant read. It had a good, solid under story and a romance that develops in an interesting way. However, the total premise was just a bit hard to buy into. Still, a nice read for a quiet winter evening or even while sitting on the beach!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
a predictable story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Genealogy_Rocks More than 1 year ago
First time reading a book written by Cynthia Keller. Great story on two children switched at birth and the differences between the the two adults. One Amish and the other a Englisher. I would recommend this author..
TiffiniLong More than 1 year ago
If you like amish stories then this is a good read
TheReadersCove More than 1 year ago
What would happen if you checked your mail today, opened a letter to discover that when you left the hospital you were given to the wrong parents? That is just what happens to Rachel, a devoted Amish daughter and a mother of a young daughter and to Ellie, a highly successful public relations executive living in New York City. Cynthia does a exceptional job of sharing their thoughts, trials, and tests as they discover the differences in their lives and what they might have been. A can of worms is opened and the outcomes have eye opening effects on Rachel, Ellie and their families. The book is well written, the chapters alternating from one perspective to the other. Her characters are emotionally driven and easy to visualize. The story seemed a little drawn out, but each chapter brought a new perspective to ponder. A wonderful read for the Christmas season.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago