Enjoy a year of beautiful seasons in this new story collection, as young Amish couples manage a community garden and harvest friendships and love along the way.
Spring Is in the Air
As the young people of Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, plant a garden in memory of their friend, Katie Ann begins to worry that her older brother, Ephraim, is dating her best friend. What if she somehow loses them both? But Christian, a new boy in the community, also works in the garden—and falling for him may be exactly the distraction, and lesson, that Katie Ann needs.
Home by Summer
Clara Hertzler is surprised when Jerry Petersheim, her old friend, comes to the garden to drop off his younger sister—especially because Jerry has been gone for years, and now seems to be living as an Englisher. As the friends get to know each other again, Clara pushes Jerry to examine why he abandoned his Amish beliefs. Will Clara help Jerry renew his faith in God, and will they find love beneath the summer sun?
The Fruits of Fall
Tena Speicher has come to live in Bird-in-Hand after her fiancé left her for an English woman. When a homeless veteran comes to the fruit stand one day and asks for food, Tena is not sure how to respond—but Wayne intervenes and offers to let him stay in the barn. Afraid to trust Englishers, Tena must learn, with Wayne’s help, that everyone is a child of God and deserving of kindness.
Ephraim and Mandy have dated for some time and now have plans to marry. But after a series of unexpected events and misunderstandings, they wonder if they should go their separate ways. What will happen when their friends at the Amish garden conspire to bring them back together?
About the Author
Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery, Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel, Amish Heirloom, Amish Homestead, and Amish Marketplace 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
Katie Ann Blank's stomach tightened as she marched up the steps leading to Emma Bontrager's back porch. When she reached the door, she squared her shoulders and swallowed a deep breath. The brisk April breeze sent the ties of her prayer covering fluttering over her shoulders, and the crisp air seeped through her black sweater, black apron, and blue dress.
Today was an exciting day, and her older brother Ephraim's thoughtlessness wouldn't tarnish it.
Or would it?
Shoving the thought away, she knocked on the storm door and then did her best to force her lips into a smile. The door opened, and Emma stood before her.
"Katie Ann!" Emma pushed the door open wider. "I was beginning to wonder if you were going to join us." Her warm brown eyes sparkled in the late afternoon sunlight as she stepped out onto the porch. Although Emma was in her late sixties, Katie Ann had always thought she looked a decade younger because of her smooth skin and the dark hair that revealed only a hint of gray.
"I was delayed, but I'm here now." Katie Ann held up the plate of peanut butter cookies she'd baked yesterday. "I brought kichlin."
"Danki." Emma pointed toward the inside the house. "I have barbecue meat loaf in the oven."
"My favorite." Katie Ann smiled. "Did the meeting start?"
When Emma nodded, Katie Ann felt her shoulders deflate.
"But you haven't missed much," Emma added quickly as she beckoned her to enter the house. "Kumm."
Katie Ann followed Emma into the house and set the plate of cookies on the mudroom bench before removing her sweater and hanging it on a peg. The aroma of the meat loaf filled her senses, and her stomach growled its approval.
As voices filtered in from the kitchen, renewed disappointed buzzed through her veins. How could her own brother have forgotten to pick her up for the meeting? After church, Ephraim had taken his girlfriend, Mandy, home to visit with her family. But before going to the Benders', he'd promised to pick up Katie Ann on his way to Emma's house. Katie Ann had waited and waited for Ephraim's horse and buggy to appear in the driveway. When he was more than thirty minutes late, the truth hit her like a thousand bales of hay falling from the loft in her father's largest barn — Ephraim had forgotten her. And the oversight cut her to the bone. Her brother had never left her behind before.
Surely he'd apologize as soon as he saw her, and then everything would be okay — more like it was four months ago, before he began dating her best friend and everything changed.
Mandy's voice sounded from the kitchen. "Now we need to make a list of what we want to plant in the community garden."
Katie Ann followed Emma to where Ephraim and Mandy sat at one end of the table. Mandy was writing on a notepad while their friends Wayne King and Clara Hertzler looked on. Another young man, someone she didn't think she'd ever seen, sat beside Wayne.
"Katie Ann!" Clara waved her over and pointed to the empty chair between her and the young man Katie Ann didn't know. "I was wondering where you were, but Ephraim thought you'd be here soon."
"Did he?" She shot her brother a glare, and he shifted in his seat as his golden-blond eyebrows lifted, a question in the honey-brown eyes they'd both inherited from their mother. At twenty-three, he might be two years older than Katie Ann and much taller than her at six feet, but he had to know when his little sister wasn't happy with him — even when he didn't seem to know why.
"Katie Ann." Mandy's bright blue eyes sparkled as she smiled. "I'm so glad you made it."
"Ya, I am too." Katie Ann divided a look between her brother and her best friend. Surely Ephraim had told Mandy he was supposed to pick her up.
Katie Ann set her plate of cookies on the counter, and then she walked around the table and sank onto the empty chair. She set her tote bag on the floor and began to dig through it for her notepad and pen. When something soft and furry rubbed against her leg, she looked down at Emma's fat, orange tabby cat and grinned. Hank the cat had invited himself to move in with Emma on Christmas Eve during a snowstorm, and despite her efforts to shoo the cat away, Hank had stayed, becoming the widow's sweet companion. Emma had named Hank after her late husband, Henry, using the nickname Henry's friend Urie sometimes called him.
"Hi, Hank." Katie Ann rubbed the cat under his velvety-soft chin.
He responded by closing his eyes as he purred. Then he tilted his head to the side so she could rub his cheek.
"He likes you."
Katie Ann looked up, and her gaze collided with the mysterious young man's dark eyes. His handsome face lit up in a kind smile, and an adorable dimple appeared on his left cheek. She was speechless for a moment, stunned by his friendliness. His thick dark hair complemented his eyes. Who was he? And how had he found out about their meeting today to plan the special garden they were going to plant in Henry's memory?
She dismissed her questions and shrugged while continuing to rub the cat's cheek. "He likes everyone."
The young man shook his head as a sheepish expression overtook his strong jaw. "No, he hissed at me when I tried to pet him."
Katie was surprised. "Really? He might need to get to know you before he'll let you pet him."
"Maybe you can introduce me to him after the meeting."
"Okay." But I'll have to know your name first. Katie bit back a grin as she turned to the cat and rubbed his ear. As if he suddenly had become bored with the attention, Hank sauntered off toward Emma's family room.
Gathering up her notepad and pen, she sat up straight, opened her notebook, and prepared to take notes.
"I've drawn a map of the garden," Mandy continued, "and I have suggestions on what we can plant where." She held up her diagram. "Carrots here, cucumbers here, corn over here, lettuce here, and melons over here."
Katie Ann glanced down at her notepad. Last night she'd spent two hours mapping out where she thought they should plant the vegetables and fruit. Beside the diagram, she'd listed some issues they needed to tackle, such as putting up fencing. She held her breath for a moment and stared at her notepad as Mandy continued reciting her plans.
Suddenly, a wave of confidence overwhelmed her. She had to interject her thoughts. After all, this garden had been her idea. When she and her friends visited Emma on Christmas Eve, Emma talked about how much she missed her late husband. Together, they decided to plant the community garden to both keep Henry's memory alive and help Emma navigate her grief. They would donate their crops to the Bird-in-Hand Shelter for the homeless.
"I have a suggestion," Katie Ann said.
Mandy stopped speaking, and Katie Ann felt everyone's gaze hone in on her. Her cheeks heated.
"What is it?" Mandy asked.
"We need to put some sort of fencing in. Otherwise our crops will be destroyed by animals, such as rabbits and deer."
"That's a gut point," the young man beside her said.
"Oh." Mandy's eyes widened as she glanced at Ephraim. "I hadn't thought of that."
"I can work on finding fencing," Wayne offered.
Clara rubbed her hands together. "I can't wait to get started."
"Does this all sound gut to you, Emma?" Katie Ann turned to her friend, who stood at the kitchen counter, filling the cat's food bowl while he walked in circles at her feet and rubbed at her shins.
"Ya." Emma set the bowl on the floor beside Hank's water bowl. "Whatever you all want to do is fine with me."
"Great." Ephraim grinned at Mandy.
"I have another idea." Katie Ann sat up a little taller. "We could have a stand down by the road to sell our vegetables and fruit. Here's why: I found out we can't donate food to the shelter, but we can sell what we have and then give the money to the shelter in memory of Henry. Emma, I remember you told us Henry always made a donation at Christmas."
"Really?" Mandy's eyes were wide again. "I didn't know shelters needed money instead of food donations."
"I was surprised, too, but I'm glad I asked. We can also use the stand to sell baked goods, such as pies and cookies. We'll donate all the proceeds to the Bird-in-Hand Shelter. We'll have to get our parents' permission to use our own supplies for the first round of sales, and then we can use some of the money we make for supplies as well as any costs associated with keeping the grounds running."
"I can talk to our local grocery store owners about getting some baking supplies donated," Clara said.
"That would be fantastic." Katie Ann wrote down the idea.
"The bake stand sounds great." Wayne pointed to the other young man. "Chris and I can build the stand, right, Chris?"
"Ya. That's no problem at all." Chris leaned back in his chair and folded his arms over his wide chest. "And I can get wood and supplies from mei dat's cabinet shop."
Katie Ann turned toward him. So his name is Chris and his dat is a cabinetmaker.
"Great!" Katie Ann wrote on her notepad. "That helps if the supplies are donated. Now we just have to buy the seeds for the vegetables."
"I can help with that too," Clara said. "Mei onkel owns a nursery. I can get the seeds from him. He might even donate them."
"Fantastic. When do you think you can get them?" Katie Ann asked.
Clara shrugged. "I can go to his store tomorrow."
"That means we can start planting Tuesday afternoon," Ephraim said, chiming in. "I'll bring our gardening tools. And I'll see if I can get someone to plow the area. Our neighbor has a plow." He pointed to Mandy's notepad. "Write that down, okay?"
"Wunderbaar." Mandy wrote on her notepad and then tapped her pencil on the tabletop. "I think that's all we had to discuss." She turned to Ephraim. "Did I forget anything?"
Ephraim tilted his head and looked up at the ceiling. "I think the only other issue was inviting other youth groups to help us. We decided the six of us would have our meetings with Emma on Sundays, like today, and workdays with a bigger group will be on both Tuesdays and Saturdays. Right?"
"That's right!" Mandy snapped her fingers. "I knew I was forgetting something. We need to invite the members of our youth group and then ask them to invite people they know."
"I brought my cousin." Wayne gestured toward Chris. "Does that count?"
Cousins! Katie Ann looked at both men. While they both had dark-brown hair, the similarities ended there. Wayne's eyes were dark blue, and Chris's reminded her of melted milk chocolate.
"Ya, that counts, but we need more people to help with the planting and the harvest." Ephraim tapped the table. "Let's all plan to invite at least one person to join us at our next meeting."
"I will." Clara held up her hand as if answering a question in school.
"I don't have any other freinden," Wayne joked, and Chris chuckled.
Katie Ann looked down at her notepad. She was thankful she'd made a list since Mandy hadn't mentioned the fencing or knew about not being able to donate the food they were going to grow.
"The meat loaf and potatoes are ready," Emma announced. "Do you all want to eat now?"
"Ya," Ephraim said, and the rest of the group agreed. "Danki."
Mandy stood. "Emma, let me set the table."
"I'll get the drinks." Clara followed her to the cabinets.
"I'll help serve," Katie Ann said as she pushed her pencil and notepad into her tote bag.
"Katie Ann," Chris said.
"Ya?" She looked up at him.
"I haven't had a chance to introduce myself." He held out his hand. "I'm Christian Lantz."
"Hi. I'm Katie Ann Blank. Ephraim is mei bruder." She shook his hand, and when his skin touched hers, she felt a strange fluttering in her chest.
"It's nice to meet you." Chris smiled.
"You too." Katie Ann's cheeks heated as she hurried to the counter and scooped potholders from a drawer.
"I'm so glad you got here okay," Mandy said as she gathered a stack of dishes from the cabinet. "Ephraim and I were worried about you."
"What?" Katie Ann turned toward her. "Are you joking?"
"Why would I joke?" Mandy blinked as she looked up at her. Although they were the same age, Katie Ann was nearly five inches taller than Mandy's five-foot-two, petite stature.
Katie Ann paused and glanced toward the table, where the three young men talked about plans for the bake stand. Did her brother truly not remember that he'd promised her a ride? If so, what did that say about their relationship? She and Ephraim had always been close. Did Katie Ann not matter in his life anymore now that he was dating Mandy?
Mandy took a step toward her. "Why did you ask me if I was joking?"
Katie Ann turned back toward her friend. "Ephraim was supposed to pick me up on your way to Emma's."
"We were?" Mandy's forehead pinched.
Katie Ann rested her hand on her hip. When had Mandy and Ephraim become a we? They weren't married. They weren't even engaged!
"I discussed it with Ephraim after church," Katie Ann continued. "He was supposed to drop by the haus and pick me up at four. When he wasn't there by four thirty, I realized he had forgotten me."
"I'm sure he didn't mean to." Mandy touched Katie Ann's arm. "We were visiting with my parents and mei schweschder, and we lost track of time. We didn't leave mei haus until after four."
The excuse sounded so ridiculous that Katie Ann just turned back to the counter, picked up the potholders, and lifted the meat loaf pan. "I'll take this to the table."
Emma rushed ahead of her. "Let me put a trivet on the table for you."
Katie Ann delivered the meat loaf and side dishes to the table, and Clara poured glasses of water while Mandy set out plates and utensils. Then Katie Ann took a seat between Clara and Chris. Ephraim brought a folding chair from the utility room and squeezed in between Mandy and Emma.
After a silent prayer, they filled their plates, and conversations popped up around the table. Katie Ann peeked at her brother and found Mandy whispering to him as his lips pressed into a thin line. Was she telling Ephraim he'd forgotten his sister?
"Emma, you make the best barbecue meat loaf," Clara said after swallowing a bite. "What's your secret?"
"It's all in the barbecue sauce," Emma responded before revealing the recipe.
"How's your family, Wayne?" Clara asked a minute later.
Katie Ann stabbed a forkful of meat loaf. As she chewed, she pushed around the pile of green beans on her plate.
"Do you like to cook and bake?"
Katie Ann's head whipped up, and she found Chris looking at her. "What?"
His dark eyebrows lifted. "I asked if you liked to cook and bake."
"Oh." Katie Ann nodded. "Ya, I do."
"Will you make pies and kichlin to sell at the stand?" he asked before taking a bite of meat loaf.
"I will." She studied his handsome face. Was he always this friendly with girls he'd just met? She ignored the question as the urge to know him better piqued her curiosity. "Are you a cabinetmaker like your dat?"
"Ya, mei dat owns a shop, and mei bruder and I work there." He buttered his baked potato.
"Is your bruder older or younger?"
"He's three years older than I am. He's married, and he and his fraa live just a mile away." He finished buttering his potato and then offered her the butter.
"Danki." She began to butter her own potato.
"I think the plans for the garden sound really gut," Chris said.
"I do too." She tried to smile, but her disappointment in her brother continued to nip at her.
"I can't wait to see it when it's harvesttime," he added.
"Ya," she said, agreeing.
They made small talk while they ate. When everyone had finished, they drank coffee and ate the cookies Katie Ann brought and the chocolate pie Clara brought.
After dessert, the three young women helped Emma clean the kitchen, and the young men went outside to continue talking on the porch. Katie Ann kept her head down as she washed the dishes and set them in the drying rack. Mandy worked beside her, drying the dishes and setting them back in the cabinets, while Clara wiped down the table and swept the floor. No one said much.
"Danki for supper, Emma," Clara finally said when the kitchen was clean. "I'll see you Tuesday."
"Gern gschehne," Emma said. "Be safe going home."
Mandy looked at Katie Ann, and her expression clouded with what looked like concern. "Are you going outside now?"
"I'll be there in a minute."
Mandy hesitated and then nodded. "All right. Gut nacht, Emma. Danki for supper."
"Gern gschehne." Emma gave her a little wave before Mandy disappeared through the mudroom. Emma turned to Katie Ann.
"Was iss letz? Why didn't you walk out with Mandy?"
"Nothing is wrong." Katie Ann busied herself by folding the damp dish towels. "I just wanted to make sure you weren't left with a mess."
"Katie Ann." Emma touched her shoulder. "I've gotten to know you very well during the past few months, and I can tell when something is bothering you. I don't mean to pry, but you can always talk to me."
"I know." Katie Ann bit her lower lip as she debated how much to share. "I'm just upset because mei bruder forgot to pick me up today. He and Mandy visited with her family after church, and they were supposed to get me on the way here. That's why I was late. When Ephraim didn't show up, I had to ask mei dat if I could use his horse and buggy."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Seasons of an Amish Garden"
Copyright © 2019 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.
Table of Contents
Spring Is in the Air, 1,
Home by Summer, x,
The Fruits of Fall, x,
Winter Blessings, x,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Enjoyed all four stories.
I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild and I was not required to give a favorable review. The was a wonderful grouping of story of a community of youth that help both a lady from the community who lost her husband, and also the Bird-In-Hand Shelter. Emma lost her husband and now was trying to keep things up on her own, when the young single adult in the community come up a community garden they could plant on her farm it made it possible for the young men make repairs as needed, and the young women to bake but for all of them to help raised the vegetable to be sold. You start in the spring with the set up and into the winter. But what I think is cool is that each of the young people find their true loves there. A great story.
Received this book from the Fiction Guild. It's a light read. 4-in-1 book. How the Amish youth help an widow remember her husband by starting a garden in his memory and the proceeds go to the local shelter.
What a clever concept of focusing the stories around the four seasons of a garden. I was glad to revisit Emma and her young friends as they collaborate to honor her late husband with a garden and donate the proceeds to his favorite charity. Each story is complete in itself, but you won’t want to skip any of them. Well written and the attention to detail was wonderful. You can envision the labor of love and the bounty of harvest. The sweet romance between the couples is an added bonus. The stories are knitted together like a perfect sweater that holds you tight. I received a complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction Guild. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
When several young people get snowed in at Emma Bontrager's house over Christmas, it starts a series of events that are captured in the four short novellas incorporated in Seasons of an Amish Garden. Emma's husband, Henry, had passed away and the young people wanted to start a community garden and sell the produce to help support Henry's favorite charity. As they meet to plan and organize the undertaking, relationships form and problems develop. How these are played out are narrated in the novellas. While being predictable, they are sweet stories and teach some valuable lessons.
This was such an enjoyable colleciton of Amish novellas! All four were very good and I felt strongly for each of the main characters as they worked through their heartaches, joys, friendships, and fell in love. My favorite of the four novellas was Home by Summer. I felt Clara’s heartache vividly in this story as she realized that she truly loved Jerry Petersheim, even though he was resistant toward returning to his Amish roots. I thoroughly enjoyed each novella in this collection and was happy to see how things worked out for the young people of these stories. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Seasons of an Amish Garden, by Amy Clipston, is a charming collection of four novellas featuring sweet romances that bloom in each season of the year. As friends gather around a community garden, relationships are nurtured, friendships are strengthened, and love takes root and begins to grow. One by one, the stories unfold in spring, summer, fall, and winter, offering a likable cast of characters who work together to bless their community and their neighbors. The author has creatively connected these novellas in ways that are clever, meaningful, and entertaining. There is an easy flow from one novella to the next as the four special stories are linked together through the passage of time, the power of faith, and the bonds of community. From the first sentence to the last, I truly enjoyed being in the delightful world this author created. I was quickly invested in the plot of each novella, and I also had a swift emotional connection to the characters within each story. Their struggles, successes, motivations, fears, and perseverance kept me interested and inspired page after page. Seasons of an Amish Garden is an endearing book to read and to savor. With plenty of warmth and a lot of heart, this book is uplifting and engaging. I eagerly recommend it to all readers. *I was given a copy of this book by the author. A review was not required. The review I have written contains opinions that are entirely my own.
Amy Clipston has outdone herself with these relatable characters and stories. She never disappoints when it comes to her books, and I am proud to call her my favorite author of Amish books!
I love to garden and to "get my hands dirty" so I was immediately drawn to Seasons of an Amish Garden, a collection of four novellas that are each set during a different season of the year. In hopes of helping a widow through her grieving process and to also help benefit a local shelter in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, a group of Amish youth decide to grow a community garden as a memorial to an Amish gentleman who has recently died. As their garden grows throughout the year we also see how these young people grow in their relationships. None of them are married as the Spring begins but throughout the months ahead, several of them begin to enjoy romances and to learn lessons about each other, their families and about life in general. Author Amy Clipston shows us that Amish people may live simpler lives than most of us but they are susceptible to many of the same feelings that we have. They can be tempted, they can feel jealousy and envy, they may doubt themselves and the people around them and they experience hurt and anger! And, just like all of us "Englishers", they need to come to the realization that it is their family, their friends and their faith in God that will help them overcome all of it. Seasons of an Amish Garden made me happy and sad; I laughed and even cried and and I also began to long for the winter to be over so that I could once again enjoy gardening. It is apparent that Amy Clipston has a deep understanding of the Amish lifestyle and I appreciate that she included a glossary to help us understand some of the Amish terms that are scattered throughout the book. Her writing style is easy to read and I believe that this book will appeal to all who like Christian fiction and stories about the Amish people. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and I chose to write this honest review.
This is a set of four stories that center around the same group of young Amish adults that are not married. In each story there is romance. Each of these people learn lessons as they fall in love. I got some laughing in and a little bit of crying. I look forward to more books by this author. I received a copy of this book from the author for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
4 beautiful and uplifting novella length stories all by author Amy Clipston. These stories each take place in one of the four seasons and revolve around a community garden dedicated to a deceased community member in his memory and the proceeds from this garden benefit one of his favorite charities. Each novella follows one couple and is complete in itself. We get to follow the ups and downs of the relationship with each couple.Very well written and enjoyable stories. I have read many of this author's books and they keep getting better and better. I look forward to reading many more books by this author. Published January 8th 2019 by Zondervan. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.
This book is four short stories where each one picks up with the main character being a character you have already became familiar with from the previous story(s). Emma Bontrager's husband has passed away, and younger friends came up with the idea of having a garden, sellilng the produce and giving the proceeds to his favorite charity, Bird-n -Hand for the homeless. This group consists of both males and females. Can you see where this is going? Each of the four stories give out the Christian message we all need to hear. Emma is a dear friend to all, a good listener, and has good advice. In the first story, Spring is in the Air, Katie Ann Blank is feeling left out and alone ever since her best friend started dating Katie's brother. Mandy had never even let on to Katie that she was interested in her brother, so what a shock when they begin dating and it becomes quite clear to Katie that Mandy is so totally smitten with Ephraim that she no longer has time for Katie. Katie becomes angry and resentful. In my opinion, she behaved like a brat. There is someone new at the garden meetings, Christian, who becomes smitten with Katie Ann. The story ended very well, with Katie Ann realizing things about herself, as well as her brother and best friend. In Home By Summer, the garden is producing very well. They are selling vegetables at the roadside stand. Everyone does their share of work in the garden. Jerry gave his sister, Biana, a ride to Emma's. Clara Hertzler took great notice of this as Jerry had left the community without joining the church and lived among the Englisch. Clara and Jerry had been very good friends in school when they were younger and she has missed his friendship. Well...Jerry gets invited to stay and help with the garden and he accepts. Where does Jerry stand with God? Will he come back to his family and community? In The Fruits of Fall, Tena comes to stay with her aunt, Emma for awhile. Her fiance' has left her for no less than an Englisch woman and says it is she that he loves, not Tena. Tena is so heart broken and humiliated and just wants to get away. Tena jumps right in helping with the garden and making friends with the others. One day while tending the roadside stand alone, a homeless man approaches and asks for food. Tena is scared and has great distrust for Englichers due to an incident where someone was greatly injured and now she has a distrust for all Englichers. The others are kind to the man, who also happens to be a veteran and seems to suffer from PTSD. They offer him work and Emma allows him to stay in her barn, much to Tena's dismay. Will Tena ever learn to trust? Winter Blessings bring us back to Mandy and Ephraim, who are now engaged. Yay! With the wedding being only eight weeks away, Mandy is feeling the stress of all the planning and feeling she doesn't have enough time to get everything ready. Ephraim, being a man (ha), sees no problem and feels there is plenty of time. The plan is for them to move in with Ephraim's family after the wedding, and his dad will build them a home of their own on his property. Well...unfortunately, Ephraim's brother-in-law has lost his job and so Ephraim's sister and her family have no choice but to move in with Ephraim's parents. This makes for a crowded house, and adds to Mandy's stress level. She wants to postpone the wedding, and Ephraim sees it that she no longer wants to marry him and is only using that as an excuse. This l
This was a very enjoyable set of stories! They were all the perfect length. All of the characters were real and relatable. I really enjoyed each story. They all faced different challenges on their lives and relationships. It was nice to see them turn to God to find healing and peace. I would love to see what comes next for all of them! I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
If you’ve followed my blog for sometime now, you’ll know that one of my favorite genres, outside of thriller novels, is Amish fiction. And, in that Amish Fiction, I have 5 top favorite authors. One of those is, without a doubt, Amy Clipston. I fell in love with her writing style and books way back when I read a book she did that wasn’t Amish fiction. Every time I pick up a novel by her, she sweeps me off my feet and puts me in the heart of the book, as she did with this new one. This is a collection of four novellas. These novellas feature the characters from her novella in An Amish Love collection. Each story here brings us a different season, in which the garden that is planted will grow. Each story, each season, brings something new to the book, taking the reader on a whirl wind ride of love, hope, fun, and memories. The characters that Clipston brings us back to, all feel like coming home to family. They are chiseled perfectly, their emotions radiating right off the pages. My personal favorite from this collection is Home By Summer, which is following Clara Hertzler and Jerry Petersheim. I loved the message woven into this particular story. Understanding, hope, and most of all, renewed faith in the Lord above. I felt so refreshed after reading their story! Anything less than 4 stars for this captivating read, would be injustice. The pages of this book will pull you in, have you up late into the night, making new friends, and enjoying time with old friends. If you are looking for a book that will refresh your mind, your soul, and take you through the seasons of life, then grab a copy now. You will not be sorry, and if you’re new to Amy Clipston’s work, you’ll be a new fan, instantly! Amy Clipston, hats off to you, once again, for another collection of heartwarming stories that I won’t soon forget! *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booklook Blogger Program and was under no obligation to post a review, positive or negative.*
All of the stories are connected through the characters, gardens, faith, family, Hank the cat and more. Each story shows various struggles faced by people when making decisions about love, friendship and faith. Honesty, having compassion and allowing friendships to blossom like a garden are strong points in each story. I enjoyed this book. I received a complimentary copy of the book. No review was required.
This book was amazing!! I love all of Amy Clipston's books. Each of the stories was well written. Each of them also hooked me right from the beginning. However in the first and last story I wanted to smack Ephraim upside his head as he was being a stupid idiot! Despite Ephraim being a stupid idiot in the first and last stories these little novellas were amazing!
What a great combination of stories! They all surround the community efforts to start a memorial garden that celebrates the life of Emma's late husband and also maintain the work of planting,weeding, watering, picking the produce, hauling the fruits and vegetables to the stand by the road and manning the stand for sales. All this was done to raise money for the Bird-In-Hand shelter in the area. With all the meetings, and work done in the garden, plus repair projects, several of the young Amish developed liking one another. Each season in the book focuses on a different couple but all are included in each season. I appreciated the style of writing with the seasons. It made it so interesting to me. I admit I enjoy books that include some gardening! The first book is called Spring Is In The Air and we meet Katie Ann and her older brother, Ephraim who is dating Katie Ann's best friend, Mandy. Among the disagreements, there are hurt feelings, and misunderstandings but Katie Ann also meets a new boy in the community. Christian (called Chris) seems to produce a sparkle in her eye! The next book is Home By Summer. Jerry returns to help the others after not being involved in the community for 5 years and Clara discovers she has feelings for him even though she tried not to since he went "English" and left the Amish church. She does not want to be shunned so she needs to just be friends with Jerry. Next is The Fruits of Fall that Tena and Wayne display their attraction to one another in spite of their differences and her troubled past. A homeless vet stops by the stand one day wanting food and Tena is fearful of him and can't seem to get over it. So why is she afraid? Last is Winter Blessings with Mandy and Ephraim making decisions about their future together. Should they or should they not? Circumstances with family cause some life changing issues that cover a good lesson for all of us to remember. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of four stories where friendships and love were harvested surrounding the community garden.
My Reviews: My thoughts on Spring Is In The Air: I loved this story, though it felt a tad bit immature and a little selfish. I liked the glimpse into the caring community of Bird-in-Hand, and this story was nice, I felt like Katie Ann’s emotions were all over the place, and her anger grew so much but felt like it was forced and it was over something that is supposed to happen anyway since that’s how God created men. (Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.) The ending was super sweet though. And I’m on to the next story! My thoughts on Home by Summer: This story was great! I enjoyed getting to read about an Amish character who had left the Amish district for a time. I did think that it is unrealistic and slightly unbelievable though. I like how the characters from the story before it were in this one somewhat. As with the first, it was like the author built up to something (this time a change of belief.) and that it concluded a little quickly but it was still very enjoyable. My dad used to move sheds for the Amish, and from what he said about them, the story is almost accurate except for the fact that Jerry left and came back so easily. My Thoughts on The Fruits Of Fall: I do believe this is my favorite of each of the previous stories! I liked the difference in Tena's background from the other heroines of this story collection though I do wish that it had been slightly longer. I am not a hundred percent sure that the Amish would help an Englisher like Wayne and the others did, but it was a nice twist from most Amish books. I do also wish that the families of both would have been in the story more too. So on to the last of these stories! My Thoughts on Winter Blessings: Ahh, that feeling of joy and yet sadness when a series ends. A lovely ending to an enjoyable series of stories! This story was so cool, and I loved that this story was almost reverse of the others and yet had a happy ending! I adored the characters and how each couple made a cameo appearance. This was a wonderful ending to a sweet collection of stories. As the pages turned, I thought that maybe there wouldn't be a happy ending since it was so close to an end, but Clipston gave a cute though unexpected ending! I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Seasons of an Amish Garden is a sweet compilation of four novellas based on the relationships built while tending a community garden. A group of young Amish people work the half acre of land, growing and selling the harvest at a roadside stand, while donating the proceeds to the Bird-In-Hand shelter for the homeless. All this is done as a tribute for the community’s dear matriarch’s late husband Henry. Relationships are formed, molded, blossomed and healed throughout the year’s seasons. Written unlike some novellas, these stories blend into each other using the same loveable characters, each dealing with budding romance and overcoming trials along the way. While the garden is the common denominator throughout, Hank the cat shows us the value of unconditional love. I found this book to be an easy, quick read. Readers of Amish fiction will enjoy. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher without obligation to give a positive review.
This is a great new book of four novellas by Amy Clipston. She shows us how not only things bloom every season in a special garden, but also love. Several Amish young people share special friendships as they work together to raise a garden in memory of a dear friend, and then sell the harvest, along with baked goods to benefit a homeless shelter. In each season, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, we see different characters develop special friendships that turn into love, however, some overcoming obstacles in order to have their relationship. This was a very enjoyable read that you will want to read without stopping. I highly recommend to those who enjoy reading Amish genre. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
The book includes four continuous novellas by Amy Clipston. A group of young people hoping to make a remembrance for a deceased community member and his widow, take on a project of a garden and baked goods stand. The profits from which will go to the homeless shelter near by. Their goals are very worthwhile as they work together to tend the garden, work at the stand and purchase supplies as needed. As they work on the garden with love and caring, you can also see a similitude of how it represented their lives and how they must nuture their relationships with others as they would a garden. I really loved the inner meanings of the stories and how each was woven together in love and kindness, just as they cared for their garden. I felt this was a very inspirational book and really enjoyed it as well as the happy feelings it shared. I received an ebook copy from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.
Seasons of an Amish Garden by Amy Clipston contains four heartwarming Amish novellas. The stories feature the characters from The Christmas Cat. Each story takes place during a different season with the same group of people in each story. The four stories are Spring is in the Air, Home by Summer, The Fruits of Fall and Winter Blessings. Emma Bontrager and Hank, Emma’s Christmas cat, are featured in each of the stories. Emma provides needed insight while Hank provides comfort. After spending Christmas with Emma and Hank last year (The Christmas Cat), a group of young people have decided to start a vegetable garden on Emma’s property in honor of her deceased husband, Henry. They will sell the vegetables at a stand with the proceeds going to Bird-in-Hand Shelter for homeless. I found the novellas to be well-written and the stories move along at a nice, steady clip. I like that each tale features relatable characters with realistic problems. While each novella can be purchased individually, I suggest reading the whole book in order. Each story builds upon the previous one. While I suggest reading The Christmas Cat (such a charming tale), it is not necessary. The author summarized what occurred in that novella. The Christian element is woven into each story providing messages that we all need to learn. The stories do play out in an expected manner, they are still enjoyable to read. I found the book to be a pleasant diversion (I devoured the whole book in under three hours). Seasons of an Amish Garden contains four sweet romantic stories with good life lessons and welcoming characters.
Seasons of an Amish Garden By: Amy Clipston Seasons of an Amish Garden is four novellas Collection by one author, Amy Clipston. The novellas are easy and fast to read. The same characters are in each novella. Each novella focuses on one Amish couple and their friends. Each novel starting back up with a different couple , but it seems like you are reading one full length story. These friends all work together and start a community garden in memory of their friend. There are some misunderstanding, some hurt feeling, love and forgiveness in these novellas. I really loved the way these couples all worked together to do something for their community. If you love a good Amish story I highly recommend this book. I was not disappointed. I was given a complimentary copy of this book, but was not told that I had to give a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Seasons of an Amish Garden is a delightful collection of novellas. Having read The Christmas Cat, I greatly enjoyed the continuing story of Emma and her young neighbors as they develop and manage a community garden for charitable purposes. While The Christmas Cat added an extra depth to my enjoyment, it is by no means necessary to have read this precursor. Each season presents a well-written, engaging story with light romance, usually underscored by a different moral or life lesson, which includes compassion, forgiveness, faith, trust, confidence in yourself, and responsibility. While I appreciated each of them, my favorite tale would probably be The Fruits of Fall. There is a helpful glossary of Pennsylvania Dutch words in the front and Discussion Questions after each novella. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
An enjoyable read from beginning to end, each story building on the previous. We have met some of these characters before, and if you miss the previous introductions, don’t worry there is plenty of information offered so you won’t be left out, and you get to meet “Hank”. These are sweet romance offerings with a spin put in to wonder if these young people will be able to make a life together. From beginning to end you will be pulled into these young adult’s lives. I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Zondervan, and was not required to give a positive review.