An Amish Gathering Paperback – Dec 21 2009
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About the Author
Award-winning, bestselling author Beth Wiseman is best known for her Amish novels, but she has also written several successful contemporary novels, set primarily in her beloved Texas, including Need You Now and The House that Love Built. Both have received glowing reviews. Beth's The Promise is inspired by a true story. Website: www.bethwiseman.com Twitter: @bethwiseman Facebook: Fans-of-Beth-Wiseman
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In the first story Leah is a little lost as an amish woman. Will she follow her calling to be a writer or will she succome to her father's wishes to be a "gut" amish wife and learn to cook, clean, sew and garden? She does not see getting married in her life, all she wants to do is write and inspire people and help them to see God's way. Will she find someone who accepts her the way she is and will she fulfill her dreams along the way?
The second story will touch everyone. We have all lost someone in our lives. Who, but God determines how we heal, and how long it takes. But God does allow us to heal and to move forward.
The third story shows that God does allow us to find our way, with some gentle guidence. If we just stop and listen we will hear God telling us the way.
All three show that there is someone out there for everyone, no matter what their shortcomings are.
This book will make wonderful gifts.
Recommended reading for those who like stories about Amish life.
The book was written by three authors with very similar styles, and is comprised of three short stories that build off one another. I have ranked them in order of my preference:
A Change of Heart - Beth Wiseman (4.5 stars)
This story centers around two young people who aren't certain of their feelings for each other or their paths in life. The heroine, Leah, is headstrong and fiercely independent to the point of convincing her parents she will never be fit to recommend herself as a proper Amish wife to any respectable Amish man. Much to Leah's dismay, however, she captures the attention of the handsome Aaron Lantz. Leah and stud-muffin Lantz find common ground in sharing Leah's stories and a relationship blossoms as the two discover Leah's talent as an author is more than enough to keep a man's interest. Will it be Mr. Stud-Muffin who captures her heart?
When Winter Comes - Barbara Cameron (3.5 stars)
This story centers around two young people who appear doomed to bad timing and prevailing cross-purposes. The heroine, Rebecca, carries a heavy burden of grief over lossing her twin sister and is haunted by the belief she might have prevented it. It was his intent five years earlier, before losing her sister, that Ben Weaver would make Rebecca his wife, having loved her all his life. When the timing becomes conducive for Ben to pop the question and for the couple to begin their happily-ever-after life together, a series of events unfold that play out an emotional tug-a-war that makes for an interesting, light read.
A Place of His Own - Kathleen Fuller (3 stars)
This story centers around two young people learning to heal old wounds and support each other. The story has two equally strong characters; Josiah, who returns just as suddenly as he left the Amish village more than a decade ago without even a good-bye to his best friend and neighbor, Amanda, has no intention of mending fences with Amanda or sticking around long enough to care. Amanda, still hurt and confused by her best friend's behavior a decade earlier, is determined to pick up where they left off and, if she's really daring, take their friendship to the next level. While Josiah works at a fevered pace to fix his dilapidated childhood home in order to sell it and move on with is life forever away from his Amish roots and distracting neighbor, Amanda insinuates herself in his life (by way of his kitchen) and challenges him in more ways than she's aware. Will Josiah continue running from his past or will he take a chance on love with Amanda?
The first-person perspective of both the male and female lead characters as well as other key characters throughout the stories.
The easy way all three authors incorporate the Amish dialect into every-day conversations between characters. I did not need to refer to the glossary while reading since the meaning of many words and phrases was understood from context.
The contrived and predictable story lines that pretended to be otherwise, particularly with the last two stories, which tended to draw out, longer than was necessary in my opinion, the tension and climax of the story. The last two stories read overly dramatic and unrealistic "big secret" or misunderstanding scenarios, which lead to so much heartache between characters, when revealed proved untrue to character and tended to dilute the plot and moral of the story.
Feminists be warned. As one might expect, Amish values are traditional,including those about women's roles; while women are respected in Amish society they typically earn that respect through their contribution in the kitchen (boy is there a lot of eating and cooking in this book) and house-keeping. In a small, fleeting way this book taught me to value the simpler, more traditional ways I contribute to the happiness of others, like cooking a meal or fixing a hem, as opposed to the more familiar ways in which I tend to feel the greatest sense of contribution to others...work. An overall refreshing read, I would recommend this book.
What's nice about the collection is that all the stories are tied together, with recurring characters appearing in all the stories. Yet each writer is able to showcase her unique style of writing and gives her story certain flair. While i enjoyed all the stories, the story featuring Leah was my favorite. I really enjoyed seeing how she loved to write and wanted to use that gift to do good. Her family may not have understood her at first but eventually they begin to let go and allow her to do her will. It was just nice to see that they were open minded and not so dependent on the rules of the community to dictate their life.
If I had any qualms with the entire book, I did feel that story by Cameron fell a little flat. I liked the plot, I just didn't really like Ben's character. I just felt that he didn't know what he really wanted from Rebecca and got mad at her for not sharing the same feelings. I got frustrated with his story because all the characters needed to do was talk to each other and instead unnecessary drama got in the way.
Other than this, I really enjoyed this collection. These three authors have combined the best things about Amish fiction that I really enjoy and left out all the things I hate. I really wish all Amish fiction could be like this - comfort reads that embrace the culture without preaching at you or making you feel guilty for not wanting to be like them. As with the first Amish collection, these three authors have written these novellas very well. Normally I'm not a fan of novellas because I feel that the storyline is too rushed and characters are underdeveloped. However all three of these stories don't have that happening. I felt they were all written well and the stories were paced carefully to allow for a shorter read but still have a good plot. I enjoyed reading this collection and am looking forward to reading the single book titles from the authors.
A Change of Heart:
Much to the despair of her parents, who fear she'll never get married, Leah Petersheim isn't good at the skills a proper Amish wife needs - skills like cooking, sewing, cleaning, and gardening. Leah doesn't care if she ever gets married, all she wants to do is write even if it is frowned upon in the Amish community. Aaron Lantz seems to like Leah just the way she is, but he has a hard time convincing her. Aaron may need some help convincing Leah that his love for her is real.
"A Change of Heart" is a very cute novella - if I had to pick a favorite of the three this would be the one. The novella is full of delightful characters - Leah, who struggles to be herself in a world that insists on conformity; Aaron, who loves Leah enough to be willing to eat chicken salad for the rest of his life; and Aaron's eccentric Auntie Ruth (my favorite character in the entire book). While there is a wonderful sense of humor throughout the book there is also a great deal of seriousness. The book does an excellent job of showing how the Amish and Englisch intermingle. The romance between Leah and Aaron is very sweet and enjoyable.
When Winter Comes:
Ben Weaver has waited patiently by the sidelines while Rebecca Miller mourns the death of her twin sister Lizzie in a skating accident. Ben has always been in love with Rebecca, but it has been five years since Lizzie died and he is wondering if he should move on. Rebecca is finally starting to heal and explore her feelings for Ben, but is it too late?
"When Winter Comes" is a nice is somewhat sad romance. It is hard not to feel Rebecca's pain as she not only mourns Lizzie's death but blames herself for not being able to save her. Author Barbara Cameron does an excellent job of showing how Rebecca and her life has changed since Lizzie's death. Readers will admire Ben for sticking around as long as he has although he does have one of the most humorous proposals I've ever read. "When Winter Comes" is an enjoyable Amish romance.
A Place of His Own:
10 years ago, when he was 14, Josiah Bontrager left Paradise with his father without saying goodbye to his best friend Amanda Graber. Now he's back, but he's changed and tries to keep his distance from Amanda. Undaunted, Amanda is determined to help Josiah fix up his old home. Josiah reluctantly lets her help but he has a secret he is determined to keep from her. Will these two former best friends find love as adults?
If I had to pick the least favorite of the three novellas of the book "A Place of His Own" would be it. It is not a particularly bad story - it features a strong heroine and perhaps shows the best of all three novellas how close knit the Amish community is. However, I felt that author Kathleen Fuller took a bit too long revealing Josiah's secret and when it finally is revealed it was a bit of a letdown, and ultimately not developed as well as it should have been. All in all, I thought it was a bit too slow moving and Josiah's reasons for keeping Amanda at arms length never quite worked for me.
Fans of Amish romances will enjoy "The Amish Gathering". Also, if you've never read a romance set in the Amish community but like sweet romances you'll enjoy this collection.
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