An Amish Charity Event Leads to a Christmas Romance
Christmas Fiction from New York Times Bestselling Author , Wanda E. Brunstetter
Join the Hochstetler twin sisters on stage as they bumble their way through baking a cake for a charity auction in front of a live audience. The take-charge Elma and the klutzy optimist Thelma manage to entertain their audience—and attract the admiration of two bachelors, an outspoken woodworker and a shy harness maker from a neighboring Amish community. As fall leads into the Christmas season, could romance be blossoming for one or more of the Hochstetler twins? Find out in this brand new romance from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, writing with her daughter-in-law Jean Brunstetter.
Don't miss The Farmers' Market Mishap, the sequel to The Lopsided Christmas Cake!
The Farmers' Market Mishap - Book 2!
|Publisher:||Barbour Publishing, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written close to 90 books translated in four languages. With over 10 million copies sold, Wanda's stories consistently earn spots on the nation's most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards.
Wanda’s ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.
When Wanda visits her Amish friends, she finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties. Wanda enjoys photography, ventriloquism, gardening, bird-watching, beachcombing, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Richard, have been blessed with two grown children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
To learn more about Wanda, visit her website at www.wandabrunstetter.com.
Jean Brunstetter became fascinated with the Amish when she first went to Pennsylvania to visit her father-in-law’s family. Since that time, Jean has become friends with several Amish families and enjoys writing about their way of life. She also likes to put some of the simple practices followed by the Amish into her daily routine. Jean lives in Washington State with her husband, Richard Jr. and their three children, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish communities in several states. In addition to writing, Jean enjoys boating, gardening, and spending time on the beach. Visit Jean's website at www.jeanbrunstetter.com.
Read an Excerpt
The Lopsided Christmas Cake
By Wanda E. Brunstet
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2015 Wanda E. Brunstetter and Jean Brunstetter
All rights reserved.
Three days later
Standing in the front yard, while gazing at their grandparents' rambling old two-story house, all Elma Hochstetler could do was shake her head in disbelief. Glancing toward the road as their driver disappeared, Elma bit her lip. This is it. There's no going back.
Overcome with emotion, she turned to face Thelma. "I can't believe this place is really ours."
Holding the orange-and-white cat that had sauntered up to them, Thelma nodded.
Everything from the weeds choking out the garden to the sagging front porch and peeling paint spoke of one thing — work. The barn and other outbuildings were run-down, too. Since this was the first week of September, Elma knew they would have to get some of the outside chores done before the harsh winter set in.
How quiet it was. She hadn't noticed that before when they'd visited Grandpa and Grandma. Their grandparents' home was on a side road, with farms on both sides of it. The home across the street had a FOR SALE sign out front.
As they stepped onto the porch, Thelma paused and tipped her head. "Listen to the tinkle of Grandma's wind chimes."
Barely noticing the chimes, Elma pointed to the eaves above the porch. "Oh my. There's an ugly brown spider up there."
"It's nothing to worry about. I'll take care of it later." Thelma stroked the cat's head. "I think it'll be fun to fix this place up."
Elma shook her head. "Fun? You think all the effort it will take to get this place livable is going to be fun? I'd call it work. And some of it will take money we don't have."
"You're right, but we can have fun in the process." Thelma's exuberance was almost contagious. But then, even when the twins were children Thelma hadn't worried about things. "Free-spirited." That's what Dad called Thelma, while he'd labeled Elma as "the serious one." While the physically identical twins shared the same petite frame, blue eyes, and chestnut brown hair, their personalities didn't always mesh.
I suppose I am too serious, Elma thought ruefully. But someone has to stay focused. It takes organization to keep things running smoothly. If I followed my twin sister's path, we'd spend every day looking through rose-colored glasses.
Thelma released the cat and slipped her arm around Elma's waist. "We've always done everything together, right?"
Elma could only nod, watching a clump of cat hair float through the air.
"Together, we'll turn this place back into what it used to be before Grandma and Grandpa got too old to keep everything up."
Thelma smiled. "We'll make this a glicklich adventure."
Elma knew her sister had good intentions and was thinking positively. Even though the situation looked overwhelming, perhaps Thelma was right. "Jah, we'll make it successful," Elma said. "The first thing we should do is go grocery shopping, because I'm sure there's not much fresh food in Grandma's kitchen."
* * *
"I think we should've accepted Mom's offer to help us organize this place," Thelma said as she mopped the kitchen floor the following day.
"This is our project." After disposing of some out-of-date canned fruit and vegetables they'd found in a cupboard, Elma placed the empty jars in the sink. "Besides, Mom has plenty to do at home, taking care of the house and helping Dad at the store. They'll be coming here in a few weeks to visit. I want to surprise them with all we've gotten done."
Thelma grimaced. "They'll be surprised all right. Mom will wonder why we don't sell this place and move back home."
"Hey, where's that positive attitude you had yesterday? This is our home now," Elma reminded. "Grandma and Grandpa's store is our only source of income." She opened another jar and dumped the contents into the garbage can. "Can you believe all the green beans Grandma canned two summers ago? It's a shame to waste all this food."
"It is a waste, but it's not safe to eat something that old." Thelma plugged her nose. "Smell that musty odor?" She drew the curtain aside that hid the items under the sink. "Uh-oh. It looks like the pipe's been leaking for some time. Grandma must have tied this old thin rag around it to stifle the dripping. Eww ... it's soaking wet." Thelma rubbed her hands over her apron and pointed to something else. "There's a coffee can under the pipe to catch the water. It's nearly full."
"You'd better dump it. We should get that fixed as soon as possible, but for now we should find a thicker piece of material to secure around the leak." Elma pushed her dress sleeves up. "I've started a list of things that need to be done. It would be good if you started a list, too, in case I miss anything."
Thelma scrunched her nose. "Oh no. Not more lists!"
"They do help when there's so much to be done."
"I suppose. One thing I know we need to do is paint." Thelma gestured to the wall behind the woodstove. It was coated with soot.
"You're right," Elma agreed. "I think most of the rooms in this house could use some paint. That alone will help to spruce things up."
Thelma pushed a piece of her hair back under the black scarf covering her bun. Then she gestured to the missing handles on a few of the cupboard doors. "The whole place seems to be falling apart. Didn't Grandpa fix anything?"
"He and Grandma were old. Their health was slipping before the accident." Elma spoke in a quieter tone, tears welling in her eyes. "I think it was too much for him to keep up."
"You're probably right," Thelma agreed, "but wouldn't you think they would have sold the place and moved to Sullivan to be closer to family?"
"Remember, Dad tried to talk them into moving." Elma rinsed another jar. "But our grandparents were too independent to budge. They would probably still be running their store if the accident hadn't happened. Besides, it can't be easy selling the home you've always known." Tears clung to her lashes. She would miss seeing them. Grandpa told funny jokes. Grandma knew how to cook better than anyone and always had a delicious treat waiting whenever the twins came to visit.
Unfortunately, due to how busy they'd been at their folks' store, the twins hadn't made a trip to see their grandparents for two years. That saddened Elma, because she and Thelma hadn't been able to see Grandma and Grandpa before they'd died. But knowing they'd been entrusted with this old house and the store fueled her determination to make a go of it.
"Guess I can't blame Grandma and Grandpa for staying put," Thelma admitted. "This place was special to them. It was their home for as long as I can remember." She pushed the mop under the table. "It's hard for older people to lose their independence and rely on others." She sighed. "I don't look forward to getting old."
"Try not to worry about aging," Elma said. "Let's take one day at a time and try to —"
"Enjoy the moments we have on earth." Thelma finished her sister's sentence and set the mop aside. "I don't know about you, but I'm tired of working. With all the organizing and de-cluttering, we'll never find time to do anything fun."
Elma flapped her hand. "Oh, sure we will. The holidays will be coming soon. There'll be all sorts of fun things to do."
"We can go Christmas caroling. If we get enough snow, we can get that old sleigh out of Grandpa's barn."
Thelma perked up. "A sleigh ride sounds fun. We can put bells on the horse's harness, and sing Christmas songs, like Grandpa used to do when we were little."
"Don't forget the holiday baking we'll get to do," Elma put in. "We can make Grandma's special Christmas cake — you know, the one she used to fix whenever we came to visit during the holidays."
"I've always liked that special cake with Jell-O in it." Thelma gestured to the woodstove across the room. "If we have to use that old relic, everything we make will probably flop. Besides, I'm not the world's best baker."
"We can't afford to buy a propane-operated stove right now. We'll make the best of what we have." Elma had removed another jar from the cupboard when she spotted a little gray mouse skittering across the floor. Startled, she loosened her grip on the jar, sending it crashing to the floor. "Ach! Did you see that?"
Elma dashed into the utility room, grabbing the broom. Instead of cleaning the mess, she shoved it under the stove, swishing it back and forth.
"What are you doing, and what did you see?"
"There's a maus in here! Didn't you see it?"
"No, I didn't, and you won't get it with that. We need to bring in one of the katze. Grandpa always said his cats were good mousers."
Elma grimaced. "You know I don't like katze in the house."
"Would you rather have a maus?"
Elma shook her head vigorously. "They're ekelhaft little creatures."
"If you think they're disgusting, then let me bring in a cat."
"Okay." Elma grabbed a dustpan. She swept up the broken glass and beans. "After he gets the maus, make sure he goes outside."
* * *
When Thelma stepped outside, she spotted one of the cats curled in a ball on the saggy porch. "Come with me, Tiger." She bent down and picked up the cat. "You have a job to do in the kitchen. I'll bet you'll appreciate the meal." Even though one of the neighbors had been feeding the animals since her grandparents had died, this cat looked scrawny.
Meow! Tiger opened his eyes, looking at Thelma as if to say, "Why'd you wake me?"
Thelma took the cat inside and set him on the floor near the stove. "Get the mouse, boy!"
Elma's gaze went to the ceiling. "You think he's gonna listen to you?"
"Tiger may not understand what I said, but if that mouse moves, the cat will spring into action." Thelma stood back with her arms folded, waiting to see what would happen.
"Jah. That's what I named him because of his color. I think it fits. Don't you?"
"I guess so."
Tiger sat a few seconds then turned toward a moth that had flown into the room. Thelma ducked. She'd never cared much for moths, especially when they flew toward her face. Tiger took off in good form, heading for his prey that now hovered over the bucket of ashes near the stove. The cat leaped into the air and upset the container.
"Die katz laaft im esch!" Elma shouted.
Thelma groaned. Her sister was right — Tiger walked in the cinders and had caught his airborne snack. She knew if she didn't get him quick, he'd be tracking the mess all over her clean floor.
Thelma dashed across the room, but when she was about to grab the cat, the mouse shot out from under the stove. Elma shrieked and jumped on a chair. Dropping the moth, Tiger chased the mouse. Thelma raced for the door. Jerking it open, she was relieved when the mouse made its escape. Tiger followed. Slamming the door, she turned to face her sister. "You can come down now. It's safe."
"For now, anyway," Elma muttered, stepping down from the chair. "If there's one maus in the house, there's bound to be more. What if there's a whole family of them?"
"Maybe I should bring Tiger back in," Thelma suggested.
Elma shook her head. "Not now. I think we've done enough here this morning. Let's finish cleaning this mess. Then we can fix lunch. When we're done eating, we can head over to the store to see what needs to be done there."
When they'd finished cleaning the floor, Elma stepped out of the room and came back with a notebook. "Here's the list I started. I'll make another one when we go out to the store."
"Pretty soon we'll have so many lists you won't know which one to look at," Thelma teased; then she got serious. "Do you think we should hire someone to help us in the store? That would give us more time to do some other things around here."
Elma shook her head. "Maybe later. Right now we can't afford to hire anyone." She opened the refrigerator, glad they'd had time yesterday to pick up a few things at the grocery store. "What kind of sandwich would you like — ham or bologna?"
Thelma shrugged. "I don't care. You choose."
Elma took out the packages of lunch meat. "I'm hungry enough to eat two sandwiches, so let's have both."
"Sounds good to me." Thelma got out the bread.
Elma placed the lunch meat on the counter and opened the packages. "You know, Thelma, I've been thinking that it's good for us to be on our own. After all, we're not kinner anymore. We need to prove to ourselves, and also to Mom and Dad, that we can make a go of things."
"You're right." Thelma gave Elma's arm a tender squeeze. "With the Lord's help, we can handle most anything."CHAPTER 2
I wonder if we'll ever get this yard in shape." Elma kicked some scattered leaves as they walked past a dead bush. "There's so much to do here; I feel overwhelmed by it all."
Thelma clasped her sister's arm. "Don't worry so much. It'll get done in good time."
"I hope so, but that's our first priority." Elma motioned to the general store, several feet behind the house. According to Grandpa, with the help of his friends, he built the store a few years after he and Grandma were married.
When Thelma heard chickens clucking, she glanced to the left. "I just remembered, we didn't check for eggs last night. Think I'd better do that right now."
"Go ahead. I'll head over to the store and start organizing some of the shelves." Elma took a few steps in that direction but turned around. "Don't be long. There's lots of work, and it's going to take both of us."
"Don't worry. It won't take much time to gather a few eggs. I'll join you shortly."
After Elma walked away, Thelma headed for the chicken coop. My sister worries too much. People shopped at Grandpa and Grandma's store when it wasn't perfectly organized. If we don't have everything just so, I'm sure it won't affect our business.
Thelma thought about her folks' store back home and how, between Mom and Elma, everything was kept neat and tidy. One or both of them seemed to be constantly cleaning and organizing. Thelma had never enjoyed cleaning that much. Organizing was definitely not her thing. She'd rather wait on customers so she could visit.
When Thelma opened the door to the coop, she was greeted by several cackling hens. She remembered collecting eggs with Grandpa when she was a little girl. He would talk about a few of his favorite chickens and had even given them names.
Thelma fed the chickens first and gave them fresh water. When that was done, she grabbed a basket and filled it with eggs. It was fun to see the different colors. Not all the chickens were the same, and not all of the eggs were white. Some hens laid eggs in various colors. She was surprised to see any eggs at all, since one of Grandma's neighbors had been taking care of the animals. Perhaps, since they knew Thelma and Elma would arrive yesterday, they hadn't collected any more eggs.
Thelma hummed, reaching under a stubborn hen that wouldn't move off its nest. Bawk! Bawk! The chicken ruffled her feathers and hopped to the floor, looking back at Thelma as if to say, "How dare you steal my egg."
Thelma looked out the small window facing the corral. She saw Rusty, the horse Grandpa bought a few months before he died. His old horse, Cutter, had been pulling their rig the day of the accident and was killed. That left only Rusty available to the twins. Unfortunately, he was still a bit green and would be a challenge. One more problem, she thought.
Satisfied that she'd gotten all the eggs, Thelma moved toward the door. "Oh, great," she chided herself when she realized that she'd left it open. "Sure hope none of the chickens got out."
Thelma's brows furrowed as she stepped outside and saw chickens roaming all over the yard. "Good grief! Now I have chickens to round up."
She set the basket on the ground and moved toward the nearest chicken. Apparently, the hen didn't want to be caught, because it took off like a flash. The other chickens scattered, too.
The chickens really didn't need to be in the coop all day. She'd wait until nightfall, when they would be subject to predators, to put the birds back in their coop. They'd be easier to catch when it started getting dark, and she'd have Elma's help.
Thelma grabbed the basket and hurried into the house. She took care of the eggs first then paused for a drink of water. After working in the kitchen most of the morning, Thelma was tired. Too bad Elma wanted to work at the store right now. Thelma wanted to sit outside and work on the gloves she'd begun knitting for Mom's Christmas gift.
Excerpted from The Lopsided Christmas Cake by Wanda E. Brunstet. Copyright © 2015 Wanda E. Brunstetter and Jean Brunstetter. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
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
Hilarious! The Lopsided Christmas Cake, By: Wanda E. Brunstetter and Jean Brunstetter This was such a wonderful wonderfully refreshing Amish fiction read. I laughed my way through this book at the things that happened. Twins that are so different in personality make this a very enjoyable book. I am so looking forward to reading more of Wanda & Jean’s books that they write together. Be sure to get your copy of The Lopsided Christmas Cake today. Remember it also makes a great gift! 5 stars!
Since Christmas is a most wonderful time of year, for me, I was thrilled to get this book and spend the day reading! Mrs. Brunstetter was the first Amish genre author that I read, many years ago, and once again, her book is a delight!! Sisters....whew....need I say more, but these are twins with 2 different personalities. Anyone who has a sister knows the challenge...LOL!! Put on some Christmas carols, get your Christmas blanket out to snuggle with and a nice warm cup of meadow tea.....and spend a day that I promise you will enjoy!!
The Lopsided Christmas Cake is Book One is a series written by Wanda & Jean Brunstetter. It is a delightful, playful Amish Christian romance about twin sisters Thelma and Elma. The twins have inherited their grandparents home and store which keeps Them busy. The girls decide to bake a cake for the community auction. As fate would have it, they meet two Amish bachelors, Joseph Beechy and Delbert Gingerich. Joseph has been wanting to meet Thelma and convinces Delbert, too. It is a fun, read that provided some laugh out loud moments for me. Both authors work well together and definitely write a great book. The characters a well defined and become friends before the story ends. The conversations flowed well. Descriptions were on point and carried me to Amish country for a short visit. I would definitely recommend this sweet Amish book. Anyone that enjoys Amish or Christmas stories will be delighted with it.
In trademark fashion, Wanda Brunstetter, along with Jean Brunstetter, has created another captivating Amish novel. It's a fantastic start to a new series, and kept me hooked until the end. The blended writing style of these two talented ladies was a refreshing experience! Thelma and Elma's characters stole my heart completely! Their characters are unique! They are identical twins, but they are older, in their 30s. That's unusual in books like these but I loved that twist to the story! They are twins, yet so different. These sweet ladies really kept me smiling! Their devotion to their grandparents, God and to each other was really wonderful. The mishaps of their lives, the possibility of being old maids and never finding love, the quirkiness woven into the story, all of it kept me engrossed in the story. Watching one lopsided yummy cake change that, well it was not what I was expecting but was also refreshing. I loved Joseph and Delbert's characters, too. They really livened up the story! This is definitely a book worth 5 stars and 2 thumbs up. It's going to the top of my list of 2017 top reads. If you love yummy cakes, quirky characters, God and family, be sure and snatch this one up! You'll be left wanting more mishaps from these lovely twins!
When their Grandparents pass away in a buggy accident Elma and Thelma are surprised when their home and store are left to the twins in the will. Moving away from their family to take over their Grandparents' place provided it's own set of challenges, including finding ways to meet and build relationships within their new community. Enter the charity auction. Through some bumps and bruises, the girls manage to find their way in the house (that needs umpteen repairs), the store (which needs a thorough overhaul and inventory), and in finding their place in their new community. And where love does, reluctantly, blossom. This is my first 5 star review of the year. I don't know if this book is just that much better than other really good books I've read or just my mindset while reading it was just that much different. Don't second guess it because I might have to overthink and change my mind! This book was exactly what I needed when I read it, a light-hearted feel good story. Elma drove me batty, exactly as she should have, with her somewhat judgemental take on everything. Thelma made me laugh with her anything goes fly with what takes you outlook. Together they make the perfect odd couple. Though I honestly felt as though Thelma was immature for her age and possibly lacking in her own confidence. I mean seriously, she wants to keep a kitten and thanks her sister for letting her? Please woman! The sequel to this book, 'The Farmer's Market Mishap' comes out on June 1st and I can't wait to read it. I actually have the book through on of my review programs so sent Ma off to the library to grab this one for me so that I had a good balance and order before diving into the next one.
A fun, relaxing read! 32 year old twin single girls, Elma and Thelma, have inherited their grandparents house and store. They move away from their family to live on their own and learn how to support themselves. You will laugh out loud at the many things they find themselves having to deal with, including a rat in the house, and an old wood stove that burns just about everything, and a lopsided Christmas cake that brings a couple of guys into their lives! This book is a very fun easy read that could definitely be read anytime of year!
This was a cute, delightful book written by Wanda Brunstetter and her daughter-in-law, Jean Brunstetter. It's about twin sisters, Thelma and Elma who inherited their grandparents old house and store The twins are kept quite busy with the store and doing repairs to the house. I loved reading about Thelma and Elma who are completely different in the personalities and who say they will never separate from each other. They decided to bake a cake for the community auction and end up meeting two Amish bachelors, Joseph Beechy and Delbert Gingerich. Joseph has been wanting to meet Thelma and gets Delbert involved. I don't want to write too much about the book but I will tell you it's a quick read but very delightful. Both authors did an excellent job writing this book. I received a complimentary copy of The Lopsided Christmas Cake from the author and Barbour Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions that I express are strictly my own.
Wanda takes us on a journey from Illinois to Indiana with the Hochstetler Twins, who couldn’t be more dissimilar! As always, Wanda does a great job describing the area of Indiana that the twins settle in. So much so that the next time I get down that way I’m going to eat at Tiffany’s! You’ll enjoy that although there are major differences between the sisters they are devoted to each other. And then love comes calling. What changes will that bring in their lives? You will want to read and find out. I enjoyed this book; it was a light, quick read that was fun and relaxing. I received a complimentary copy of this book but as under no obligation to post a review.
The Lopsided Christmas Cake Wanda Brunstetter / Jean Brunstetter Elma and Thelma Hochstetter are twins. both are unmarried and live with their parents in Sullivan Illinois . The twin's grandparents suddenly die in a tragic buggy accident and they leave their house and store to the girls. Thelma and Elma must move 300 miles from their home to Topeka Indiana. When Elma and Thelma arrive at their late grandparents house and store, they find out there is much work to be done. One day while Thelma is at the hardware store, she picks up a flyer about a cooking show auction and fundraiser to be held for the community. Without informing Elma, Thelma signs them up for the show. Elma gets upset but the girls decide to bake their grandmothers Christmas cake for the show. The night before they bake the cake, but it turns out lopsided and the icing melts on the cake. When the girls get to the show they have to get on stage and show how to make the cake. Everything goes wrong and the audience thinks the girls are putting on a skit. When it comes time to bid on the finished cake, Joseph tells his friend Delbert to bid on the cake for him. Wanting to meet Thelma, Joseph bids the highest on the cake. Delbert and Joseph being spending time with the twins and only Joseph and Thelma are hitting it off. Delbert is getting on Elma's nerves and she decides to not to see Delbert any longer. Since the girls made a pact that one would not marry unless the other did, Thelma breaks it off with Joseph , as they are becoming close. Elma sees how unhappy Thelma is without Joseph and she arranges to the two of them to get back together. This was a very well written story for the holiday season. In fact, it can be read anytime of the year. It is a story of love and learning to live on one's own. At the end of the book, there is a recipe for Grandma's Christmas Cake. Coming in June of 2017, The Farmer's Market Mishap will be released by Wanda Brunstetter, with more adventures of Thelma and Elma
This is the story of twins, alike and yet so different. Elma and Thelma Hochstetler are thirty-two year old identical twins who are both single and still living in their family home in Illinois. When they inherit their grandparents' farm in Indiana, Elma and Thelma leave their comfort zone and move there. We soon witness some of their experiences and adventures and these twin's differing personalities become very evident. Elma is very capable and likes to take control and Thelma is an outgoing, sociable person who sometimes has trouble completing everyday tasks; the word klutz might be the word to describe her! It is Thelma who decides that they should enter a baking contest together but she fails to mention that the cake will be made before a live audience! The finished product is disappointing, to say the least, but it doesn't stop two Amish gentlemen from bidding on this "lopsided" cake. They are intrigued by these young women and this baking contest is the catalyst that begjns courtships for both Elma and Thelma. The Christmas Lopsided Cake gave me a different viewpoint of Amish life. I always think of Amish women as being very capable and having their own large families at an early age; they are extremely capable and they always have "perfect" baked goods! This collaboration by Wanda Brunstetter and her daughter-in-law Jean is both humorous and heartfelt. It has laugh-out-loud moments and I recommend this entertaining read! I received a copy of this book from the author and Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All expressed opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
I've been enjoying some Amish romances recently and thought I might try a Christmas themed story. This book was listed as Christian, Romance. But I would have slotted it more into Christian women's fiction. It's the story of Amish twins Elma and Thelma who inherit a house and general store from their grandparents some distance from their family home. This is a big thing for the twins who are thirty-two and unmarried, still living at home and helping out at their parents store. Apart from the big move, not a lot actually happens in the first half of the book. Every detail of what happens with the house, the store, the cats, the rats and shopping and food seems to be mentioned. The minutiae of daily life. What we do learn in this part of the book is how different the identical twins are in personality. One likes lists, one is dreamy, one likes cats and fishing, the other not so much. About a third of the way through we briefly meet the male protagonists, Joe and Delbert but we don't really get to know them until well past the half way mark. From there we get more interaction with them but still a lot of detail about food and daily life I'm not used to seeing. Overall this was a sweet story with a good insight in the simple life of Amish sisters. As a romance it lacked a lot of spark but I suppose it's not easy in a Christian book to show the attraction. The ending was satisfactory when we got there. I received this book from Netgalley for review.
Thelma and Elma are identical twins physically, but not personality-wise. Thelma is fun-loving and sociable. Elma isn’t as likeable. She rarely seems to approve of Thelma’s plans. They’re in their thirties, and unmarried. Thelma enters them in a charity baking show. She bakes a jello cake the night before, and brings ingredients to demonstrate creating another at the show. Everything that can go wrong does. Joseph Beechy is a shy bachelor. Thelma intrigues him, so he gets his friend Dell Gingerich, also unwed, to bid on Thelma’s lopsided cake. Thelma and Joseph hit it off, and they try to get Dell and Elma interested in each other so they can double date. That’s asking for trouble. Thelma was easy to like, but Elma was grating. She really needed some redeeming quality, other than loving her sister. Otherwise, an enjoyable read. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All expressed opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
This is the first book I have read by Wanda Brunstetter that also has a coauthor, her daughter-in-law. Together, the Brunstetters spin a yarn about two 32 year-old single twins who are suddenly on their own, taking over the house and store of their recently deceased grandparents. Elma is a hard worker, but also very particular in how things should be done. Thelma is very social, loves to entertain children rather than work in the shop, but is also very brave and good with the twins' newly inherited, wily horse. On a whim, Thelma decides the girls should enter a baking contest in Shipshewana. All should be fine except for two things; the girls are still battling the cranky cookstove their grandparents left behind, and they will have to assemble the cake on stage, in front of everyone. A minor detail Thelma omits to tell Elma until the last minute. When shy Joseph Beechy convinces his cousin, Dell Gingerich, to bid on the girls' disaster of a cake, the twins meet and start dating the two best friends. This appears to be a stand-alone book, which causes a few issues for me. While the twins's characters were fully developed, I was hoping for significant growth in at least one of them. The ending seemed rushed and pulled together with basting stitches instead of the small, intricate stitches for which the Amish are known. Worth reading, yes? Could it be a great book in others' eyes? Read others' reviews. Probably.In my mind, it just did not live up to the warm, fuzzy feeling I usually have when I finish a Wanda Brunstetter book. I gratefully received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book was SO good! It was a refreshing look at Amish twin sisters and their sometimes wild experiences while beginning a new life after inheriting their grandparents' home and variety store. I imagined their grandparents to be very old or perhaps in poor health due to the broken-down state of their house. Lots of issues and challenges for two young women to overcome. The Lopsided Christmas Cake was an adventure all by itself and I loved how the story was told, not only interesting but very entertaining! I could actually picture it all happening! Very funny! The Brunstetter ladies are very talented indeed. I am looking forward to more of their joint-written books.
Laughter is good for the soul and this book is filled with humor! Elma and Thelma have quite an amusing presentation at the Cooking Show to Benefit Amish Medical Bills but that doesn't stop Joseph and Delbert and a mystery man from bidding on the lopsided Christmas cake. The cake gets the highest bid of any item of the day in fact! The bachelors, Joseph and Delbert, want to get to know the cute identical twins. The antics of the couples as they court are at times amusing and sometimes, the relationship issues made me sad. I won't spoil things for readers as to why but I loved this book and had to keep reading until the very end without stopping! This book really captured my attention from the very beginning. I admire the twins and the determination they show as they take over the store and home their grandparents left to them. I am not sure that I would have handled myself with the courage that Elma and Thelma showed. I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it. The recipe for Grandma's Special Christmas Cake is included as well. I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchage for my honest review.
Getting to know the Hochstetler twins is an experience to be enjoyed! Elma and Thelma plunge into their first major life change with some trepidation, but the sense of excitement compels them to leave their home in Illinois for the farm they've known all of their lives. Killed in an Amish buggy accident, their grandparents left their estate in Topeka, Indiana to their twin granddaughters. Elma and Thelma are identical twins except for their very different personalities. Discovering the quirky and somewhat contrary personalities of these young women is not only interesting, but very entertaining! Familiar temperaments reminded me of people in my own life! Identical doesn't count where their identities are concerned! The fact that life isn't always what it seems comes to play in this adventure of discovering what befalls them as they take over the farm. The activities that ensue on the farm are a bit overwhelming, but humorous to say the least! I thoroughly enjoyed the predicaments these young women found themselves in, and had a few laughs at the comedic episodes that ensued. A sweet autumn season leading up to Christmas, I found this book to be a charming story of the devotion these women held for one another, and their discoveries about who they are as individuals. Romance is in the air, and the innocence of new love is endearing! Be sure to add this book to your collection and enjoy another wonderful book by Wanda E. Brunstetter with the assistance of her daughter-in-law, Jean Brunstetter! Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All expressed opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
Thelma and Elma are twins who inherit their grandparents store and in need of repair house. Throw in two male best friends who bid on a Lopsided Christmas Cake and the adventure begins. This story keeps you reading and makes you laugh many times. It is an easy read for anytime and throughly enjoyable. Wanda and her daughter in law make a great team writing an Amish story that will leave you wanting more. I was blessed to receive a copy of this book for an honest review.
A Light Fun Amish Fiction Read! You Will Love It! I can honestly say this is one of the best books I have read lately. Author Wanda Brunstetter and daughter-in-law, Jean Brunstetter, have a hit on their hands. I do hope they pair up for some more creative fun reading pleasure for readers. I loved reading about Elma and Thelma Hochstetler. Although twins, they couldn't be more opposite in personalities. One being very serious, one jovial and enjoying life. They really did compliment each other. This book had me rolling with laughter in many places. Oh my, I was actually living what they were going through when they entered their cake for a charity event. You will also enjoy reading about best friends, Joseph Beechy and Delbert Gingerich. They too have very different personalities and you will chuckle with laughter at some of the things they go through. Don't get me wrong, it isn't all laughter. There are some life teaching events in this story. It just goes to prove to us all that God is in Control of our lives. I highly recommend this book to everyone. Don't miss it. There is also a bonus recipe in the back. I plan to make this recipe in a few months. I wish to thank Wanda Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter and Barbour Publishing for gifting me with ,The Lopsided Christmas Cake. I was not required to write a review but how could I not write a review on such a wonderful story? The opinions expressed in this review are mine alone.
Elma and Thelma are identical twin Amish women that suddenly inherit their grandparents home and store after a tragic accident. The only problem is, they are in their early thirties, never married, and still living with their parents. They move 300 miles away and find that their aging grandparents weren't able to keep their home in very good repair. In spite of all the problems they face and little money, they look on it as an adventure. To become more a part of their new community, Thelma enters them in a baking contest. But cooking on an old wood stove is still quite a challenge. The cake, much to Thelma's dismay, turns out lopsided. So much that even frosting won't fix. But it does get them a chance to meet two single Amish men. This was a delightful story that for me, read very quickly. A wonderful first book venture for Wanda Brunstetter with her daughter-in-law, Jean Brunstetter. The characters were fun to get to know and hopefully will continue in subsequent books. There is even a copy of the Christmas cake recipe in the back of the book. Hopefully mine will turn out even since I'll be cooking it in an electric oven! I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given.
The Lopsided Christmas Cake by Wanda E. and Jean Brunstetter is a charming Amish novel. Elma and Thelma Hochstetler have just inherited their grandparent’s home and store in Topeka, Indiana. Instead of selling their inheritance (which is what their mother wanted) the girls decide to move there and make a go of it. The girls are twins and thirty-two years old. When they arrive at the home, they find the house in a deteriorated condition. The house is going to need a lot of work to bring it up to snuff. Elma is all about order, making lists, and working. Thelma tends to be a little scatterbrained (flighty), would prefer to have a little more fun than work. The house needs more work than the girls anticipated and they seem to have mice. Thelma wants to let in a cat or two to take care of the problem, but Elma has something against the cats. Elma finally relents because she hates mice worse than cats. While shopping in Shipshewana, Thelma notices a flyer for a cooking show. Each item will be demonstrated and the final product auctioned off. Proceeds go to the Amish community medical fund (they do not have health insurance). Thelma, without Elma’s knowledge or consent, enters them to make their grandmother’s Christmas cake. They will have to make it using the homes wood stove which neither of the two ladies are used to using. While shopping in Shipshewana, Thelma meets Joseph Beechy. Joseph is owns a harness shop is LaGrange. He is a timid man with a dog named Ginger. During another trip, Thelma runs into Delbert Gingerich. Delbert is a woodworker. He is very outgoing and competitive. Elma, Delbert, Thelma, and Joseph see each other again at the cooking demonstration and auction. Joseph has Delbert bid on the girls cake (the demonstration does not go well and the cake is lopsided). The four of them start spending a lot of time together getting to know each other. It would be perfect if each girl found the right man at the same time (thanks to a childhood agreement between the two of them). Will it be happily ever after for the four of them? I found The Lopsided Christmas Cake to be a cute story. I liked Thelma who is outgoing, friendly, and full of life. Elma was not as likable a character at first (she grows on you in time), but I did understand about her migraines (we seem to have the same type). I did not understand Elma’s dislike for cats which was mentioned frequently throughout the book (it got a little annoying after a while). The book is written in a good style that makes the book just a breeze to read. I liked that there was no foul language, violence, or sex in the book (which is so prevalent in our culture). This is a book that will put a smile on your face especially after you read the ending. I give The Lopsided Christmas Cake 4 out of 5 stars. I received a complimentary copy of The Lopsided Christmas Cake from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions that I express are strictly my own.
This is an enjoyable Amish romance. I really want to give it 4 ½ stars because it only has a minor distraction for me. I fell in love with all four of the main characters. Their personalities were very different from each other and that made their interactions entertaining to me. I’m not used to reading Amish stories where the romantic leads are in their thirties already. It was actually refreshing to have adults that were already settled away from their parents. At the same time they were trying to figure out life on their own and concerned that they may never find the right person to marry. The story was very sweet and I really liked that they took time to develop a friendship first. Then as they spent time together they gradually moved into a courting relationship. The only think that was a distraction for me was the sporadic use of a single Pennsylvania Dutch word. If they had been used regularly throughout the story I would have enjoyed them. At times it felt a little like the authors were reminding the reader, “This is an Amish story. They don’t speak English.” Then there was a forced feeling in fitting in the English translation for the word used. This slight distraction is definitely not enough to stop me from recommending the book though. I received a free eBook copy of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Do You like Lopsided Christmas Cake? Lopsided cake might not sound wonderfully appetizing, but you’ll enjoy the flavor this book has to offer. This light-hearted Christmas-themed book is about unmarried twins, Thelma and Elma, who take on new experiences in life when their grandparents , who live in another state, pass away and leave their home and store to them. The girls’ lives take on many twists and turns when they move to take over their grandparents’ deteriorating house and store, meet two handsome bachelors, and enter a cake baking contest. Just when you think you have the storyline figured out, you are surprised at what happens. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys “light” reading for the holidays. I received this book from Barbour Publishing Inc., through NetGalley for my honest review.