Book Review: A Mother’s Secret by Amy Clipston

A Mother's SecretFrom the Book Description

“Carolyn Lapp dreams of marrying for love. But will the errors of her past destroy this dream forever? Carolyn Lapp longs to have a traditional Amish family. But she lives on her brother’s farm with her parents and her 15-year old son, Benjamin. Carolyn has never revealed the identity of Benjamin’s father and lives daily with the guilt and shame of her youthful indiscretion. Her brother simply will not forgive her. His answer is to arrange a practical marriage for Carolyn to Saul, a widower with a little girl. But Carolyn isn’t convinced that Saul really loves her and believes he is simply looking for someone to help raise his daughter. When Benjamin causes trouble at a local horse auction, horse breeder Joshua Glick decides that he must be taught a lesson. Carolyn and Joshua are unmistakably drawn to each other, but Joshua mistakenly assumes that Benjamin is Carolyn’s brother. Carolyn fears that if he discovers the truth, her past will destroy their budding romance. After years of shame and loneliness, Carolyn suddenly has two men vying for her attention. But which of them will give her the family – and the unconditional love – she’s longed for?”

My Comments

Amy has done it again. Over and over Amy proves why she is one of my favorite love-inspired, Amish novelists, and A Mother’s Secret is no exception. I didn’t realize, when I chose this complimentary book to read and review through the Book Look Bloggers Review program, that it was the second of a series of books. It doesn’t matter though, this book is easily read on its own.

What I love about Amy’s writing is that she focuses on compelling themes, in this case forgiveness and restoration. She writes characters that are believable and likable, and in some cases, not so likable. 🙂 When I read her books, including this one, I am transported into another world, and yet, I can so easily relate to the struggles and joys experienced by the Amish characters. Who hasn’t made mistakes, been judged, and/or needed to forgive or be forgiven at some point in their life? Most of us have, Amish or not.

Amy also writes in a way that keeps me interested and turning the pages. As a matter of fact, I read this book in one sitting because I didn’t want to stop reading! It is an easy read, for sure, with a predictable ending, but that doesn’t take away the enjoyment of reading the book.

A Mother’s Secret is the perfect end-of-summer light read and I give it four (4) stars.

Book Review: The Gift of Love by Amy Clipston

Gift of LoveFrom the Book Description:

Bestselling author Amy Clipston overcame hardship and tragedy early in her marriage, but nothing could have prepared her for the trials she would face when her husband was diagnosed with kidney disease shortly before the birth of their first son. With nearly 100,000 people needing kidney transplants, Joe was on a long list of recipients waiting for a match.

After watching her husband suffer through transplants, a rejected kidney, and interminable dialysis, Amy took the ultimate risk in the hopes of saving her husband’s life and the life of a woman she didn’t even know. Through the John Hopkins paired donor program, Amy donated her kidney so that Joe would receive one from a matching donor.

Amy’s story is one of strength, courage, and patient endurance in the face of an uncertain future. Readers will be inspired by her resilience, encouraged by her faith, and humbled by the realization that they too are ultimately helpless without the power of God.

The Gift of Love will appeal to readers who are fans of Amy’s fiction and those who are facing health challenges of their own.

My Comments:

I am going to get right to the point: I loved this book!

I have had to opportunity to read and review a few of Amy’s books in the past so I was thrilled to have the chance to read this as well (thanks to the BookLook Blogger’s program). Amy’s writing is honest, vulnerable and her faith in God during her struggles is inspiring.

One of the reasons this book resonates with me is because my husband, like Amy’s, is a transplant recipient. He had a liver transplant in his early 20’s and thankfully has done very well. He is required to take expensive anti-rejection medication every day and has to be regularly checked by his doctor, but other than that, he is doing fine. So reading her story about her husband’s initial rejection, and her courageous choice to donate one of her kidneys to save the life of her husband and another person blew me away.

Another thing that blew me away is the fact that Amy has written her books while working full-time, taking care of her children and husband and parents. Re-reading the Kauffmann Amish Bakery series will never be the same. Amy is an inspiration to all aspiring writers and authors. I know that it has me re-thinking my excuse of not having time to write!

Finally, I appreciate how honest and open Amy is about her struggles. She doesn’t sugar coat her fears or her imperfections. She admits to her breakdowns and at one point, she admits to yelling at her husband when she couldn’t take his selfishness any longer. She is real and vulnerable and that makes her story that much more real and moving.

If you want to have your faith strengthened and have your heart uplifted then I highly recommend you read this book! I absolutely give the book five (5) stars (which I rarely do!).

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Book Review: An Amish Kitchen

An Amish Kitchen coverAn Amish Kitchen is actually a collection of three short stories: A Taste of Faith by Kelly Long, A Spoonful of Love by Amy Clipston and Recipe for Hope by Beth Wiseman. Although I’m not familiar with Kelly Long’s writings, I’m a fan of both Amy Clipston and Beth Wisemann so I was excited to have the opportunity to review this book.

From the book description:

“The Amish Kitchen is the Heart of the Home – and the Ideal Setting for Stories of Love and Hope.

Fall in Paradise, Pennsylvania always brings a brisk change in the weather. This time also provides unexpected visitors, new love, and renewed hope for three women.

Fern has a green thumb for healing herbs and flowers, but longs for love to bloom in her life. The next-door neighbor’s oldest son Abram comes running into Fern’s kitchen seeking help for his little sister. The crisis soon leads to a promise of romance—until an incident threatens to end their growing attraction.

Nearby, Hannah runs her parents’ bed and breakfast, Paradise Inn—but her life feels nothing like Paradise. She longs for a man of integrity to enter her life, but never expected him to knock on the front door looking for a room. Will she be able trust Stephen with her future once she discovers his mysterious past?

When a storm blows a tree onto Eve’s farmhouse, she has little choice but to temporarily move her family into her parents’ home. Outside of cooking together in the kitchen, Eve and her mother can’t agree on anything. But this may be just the recipe for hope in healing old wounds.

Three Amish stories—each celebrating love, family, and faith—all taking place in a tight-knit community where the kitchen truly is the heart of the home.”

My thoughts:

I enjoyed all three stories. They were charming and engaging with realistic characters I could relate to and appreciate. Was the plot/storyline predictable? Yes, in usual Amish fiction fashion, but it doesn’t take away from enjoying the story and it doesn’t keep you from getting involved with the character’s lives. And all three stories give the reader different glimpses into Amish daily life.

I have to say that of the three novellas, I think the first one, A Taste of Faith was my favorite. I so loved watching Fern and Abram’s relationship change and blossom. I will definitely be checking into more of Kelly Long’s books. 🙂

Besides the sweet stories, An Amish Kitchen has some extras at the end of the book. One is a study guide (which is typical in Amish fiction) and then a bunch of recipes. The one set of recipes are recipes for medicinal treatments and the second set are food recipes. I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, but they look good!

If you are a fan of Amish fiction you will enjoy these stories. I give An Amish Kitchen four (4) stars.

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I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com (http://www.booksneeze.com) 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 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html) : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.