Amish couple Heidi and Lyle live a simple life on their farm, but with Lyle out most of the day and no children to care for, Heidi finds her days empty. When Heidi advertises a cooking class – that she will teach in her home kitchen – an unexpected variety of participants arrives. They’re nervous to start cooking, but also nervous about being judged by a new group of people.
The Seekers is very predictable, and an easy, straightforward read. I kind of needed something like that when I read this, so I appreciated the no-effort, feel-good experience! The Seekers wasn’t overly simplistic, though. The author wrote in a few characters that I myself judged … and by the end she had taught me a little lesson about that. *hangs head in shame*
Once in a while it’s necessary to get back to basics, on an Amish farm, with a cooking class worthy of The Breakfast Club, and a lesson much more important than the pie crust turning out. I found that in The Seekers.
This month I’m making a nice dent in the “Christmas” folder on my kindle… and although I probably bought Christmas Roses years ago, I’ve just gotten to it this week. I’m glad I did!
This is a Christmas story set in the 1800s. Celia is a young widow, raising her infant alone, and running a boardinghouse out west for a living. Though life isn’t easy for anyone living in the copper mining town, Celia struggles to deal with her baby’s health issues, the stress of staying financially stable, and the affections of too many men who just aren’t right for her.
Enter Mark, a wandering carpenter looking for a lost relative.
I loved how Mark’s presence changed everything in subtle ways, and how the Reverend compared Mark’s compassion for people and fear of the unknown to that of Mary’s husband Joseph in the story of the Nativity.
Though slightly predictable, I also enjoyed the ending that demonstrated the importance of communication, attentiveness, and honesty. This is a quiet, traditional story that highlights the best in people, and the endless possibilities when you reach out in love.
Celia had a very merry Christmas, as did so many of the characters, which is even better than a regular happily ever after.
November means Christmas reading, so I hunkered down the past couple nights with two novellas in my Kindle’s “Christmas” folder.
These charming and heartfelt stories felt like full-length novels in that the characters were many and varied, the plots had time to twist and meander a bit, and the main characters were wonderfully developed.
In Forever Christmas, Kristianna tries to live out her own authentic life, fighting through family pressures and a stressful romantic past. I loved that Kristianna’s best friends never wavered in their love and loyalty to her. I enjoyed Kristianna’s fun dates, her surprise gifts, and the relationships she had with the quirky townspeople. Although saving her town of Jingle Bells from corporate intrusion was top of mind, Kristianna eventually got the message that working together for a solution is more effective than cutting off your nose to spite your face.
In My True Love Gave to Me, loving wife and mom of two Penny has had it up to here with her newly-unemployed husband’s moping. But when he finally does something to snap out of it, she’s not truly on board with that either. The plan? A family RV trip. The reaction? Horror, as you might guess. However, in the spirit of a good Christmas story, the lessons are in the journey. Lynxwiler gives us an entertaining road trip where relationships are strengthened, trust is built, and true love abounds.
Both novellas have a Christian perspective, with a mentions of “God’s plan” and positively describing other characters as Christian. They both have a happily ever after, too.
You’ll be glad to know my Kindle’s Christmas folder is full of myriad holiday novels. These were only the tip of the iceberg!
What a terrific book! I loved reading The Devoted for Suzanne Woods Fisher’s excellent writing and ability to touch my heart. Amish Ruthie is thinking of leaving the community to search for something bigger and better. Dok has been there, done that, has the t-shirt… and wore it back home for a reason. Patrick the Englischer faces matters of his own mortality and wants to become Amish, serendipitously taking away time Ruthie might have with her boyfriend Luke.
The bishop watches it all unfold, shares his words of wisdom, and takes a stand when individual storing-up grows into a problem worse than the Israelites hoarding manna. I so appreciated the discussions of sufficiency and dependency woven seamlessly into a story that centers around family and community.
Fisher has a way of bringing the reader into the Amish world, so we wend through problems with the characters, connecting and loving and learning with them. I’m grateful.
This book is a collection of three novellas that center around Amish kitchens at Christmas time.
Baking Love on Ice Mountain introduced Clara, who managed to bake up a storm even while grieving … and moving on. I enjoyed this well-written story and the mountain setting, as well as the wisdom of the older people being passed down to the next generation.
The Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill is by one of my most favorite authors, Jennifer Beckstrand. Beckstrand didn’t disappoint, bringing her signature silly grandparent pair Anna and Felty to Katie’s life, ready to be matchmakers once again. I loved that they maintained a sense of humor even when the wrong boy was trying to court sweet Katie – for the wrong reasons… her triple chocolate cakes!
The Special Christmas Cookie contained a fun twist on one of my favorite tropes – governess/nanny/tutor falls in love with guardian of a sweet child. Problem was, the writing was sloppy. Many repetitive paragraphs and pages should have been cleaned up during editing – especially when it came to telling (in addition to the already sufficient showing) how independent and strong Jonathan wanted to be.
The three authors send a common message with these novellas: loneliness can be overcome by taking a step forward. Each novella had a character that suffered loneliness because he or she was afraid to reach out. Once they could extend themselves, they found a brighter, more joyful season waiting for them.
And at the end of each novella, you’ll find a recipe waiting for YOU. 🙂
This is a charming story of five book club friends whose main connection is friend Abby. When Abby dies, the remaining four need to find a way to carry on. Abby provides that guidance from some angel gifts she’s left for them.
I was disappointed in the beginning of this book because I could sense the “setting up” of the plot… a little contrived or overplanned. However, by the middle, I loved the direction Carlson took the four women – it seemed natural and authentic. Seeing the women use Abby’s Angels to help them grieve and then use their talents to help others warmed my heart, and it will warm yours, too.
I think this third installment of The Honeybee Sisters is my favorite! Josiah is the sweetest, most tender hearted boy. Having loved Rose for four years, he will stop at nothing to make her happy and comfortable. Rose has a few personal hang ups, though, and doesn’t want the expectations that come with a relationship – nor does she think she deserves Josiah. But when trouble starts on the farm, Rose has to depend on others for help- including Josiah.
Beckstrand put together a wonderful cast of characters who really love each other. Rose and her sisters don’t always agree, but they find cute ways to figure out their problems. Josiah and his best friends rib each other constantly, but are there for each other when push comes to shove. And Aunt Bitsy shows her nurturing side to more than just the girls and their beaus: she helps out a couple of local boys beyond their expectations.
Though I view this series as sort of light, relaxing reading, Like a Bee to Honey made me cry. The examples of forgiveness were so authentic and heartfelt – and not a preachy moment in the whole book. Beckstrand spoke to my heart through the honeybee sisters, their aunt, and their friends.