Showing posts with label Amish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amish. Show all posts

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Emma Raber's Daughter Series by Jerry Eicher

Katie Opens Her Heart 

This is one of those books that creates such a roller coast of emotions in the reader.  We meet Emma Raber a widow and her daughter Katie.  Emma has withdrawn since the death of her husband. The problem with this is that she is also forcing her daughter to withdraw from society. This causes Katie a lot of pain in so many ways.  She misses out on activities other girls her age participate in.  Her mother squashes all attention paid toward her by the boys.  Katie loves her mother and has always been obedient.  While working at Byler’s store she becomes friends with some of the Mennonite girls.  They invite her to some of their activities and she disobeys her mother and goes with them. Not only is she hanging out with the Mennonites she has a big time crush on Ben Stoll.  No one in her life thinks he is right for her.

Another story line running through this is that of Jesse Mast.  He is a widower with five children.  His oldest daughter Mabel has pretty much stepped into her mother’s shoes. Her dad decides he needs a wife and his kids need a mother.  He asks Emma to marry him and she turns him down.  Ruth Troyer is another widow and is trying to work her way into their lives. Jesse’s children don’t like Emma or Katie.  They’ve heard the talk about how strange they are.

Will Katie switch to the Mennonite faith? Will Jesse find a wife and mother for his kids? Will Emma ever allow herself to love again?  I suggest you read this book to find out.

Katie’s Journey to Love

In this second book in the series Jesse and Emma are married and a new issue has arisen.  While most of the children are beginning to accept Katie and her mom. Mabel, the oldest at age sixteen had taken care of things
including her father, after her mother’s death.  She feels like she is being pushed out.  She is mean and nasty to Katie and Emma.  I hated the things she said and did to Katie and Emma, but I could understand somewhat why she felt the way she did.  Even though Jesse and Emma are discouraging a relationship between Ben and Katie, she is sure they will get married one day.  She is also still going to group activities with her Mennonite friends.  They invite her to go to Europe to study her Amish roots.  She can’t afford it until someone mysteriously pays her way. Katie goes and not only does she learn so much about the Amish in Europe, we are taken on this historic trip.  Jerry has done an excellent job of sharing this historical information with the readers in a way that makes it interesting and not boring. While in Europe Katie learns that Ben has been arrested.  I recommend you read this book to see if this family can find peace in all areas of their lives.

Katie’s Forever Promise

In this final book we find Katie with two boys after her. The first is Ben. He is trying to win her back and seeks her forgiveness.  The other is a man named Norman. This is a problem since Mabel likes Norman as well.  The author showed a side of the Amish that most Amish fiction doesn’t deal with.  We see once again that the Amish face a lot of the same temptations and issues the rest of us face.  We who are not Amish have built this fa├žade for the Amish.  I think we have built it based on the fact that they set themselves apart from the rest of the world, so that must mean they don’t have the same problems.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  
I felt sorry for Ben.  It didn’t matter that he had changed. There were so many in the community that refused to forgive him or believe he had changed.  This irritated me.  When I was a child some of my relatives had an issue with something my dad had done.  It didn’t involve any of them yet they chose to judge him.  Since I was living with my relatives at the time and my parents and sisters were coming for a visit, I was told they didn’t know if they could forgive him for what he had done.  My response to them was, since they weren’t involved in the situation it wasn’t their place to forgive him, that was God’s job.  I wanted to shout this to Ben’s community.  We often forget that God is the one who is in control of ultimate forgiveness.  I liked the way he relied on God to get him through his situation.  Will Katie and Ben get together?  What about Mabel and Norman?  You didn’t really think I was going to tell you everything did you?  You really must read this entire series.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Let's Talk Food - One Year Anniversary of Simply Delicious Amish Cooking by Sherry Gore

One year ago Sherry Gore's book "Simply Delicious Amish Cooking" was published.  I had to wait two months to get the book. There was no sense in getting it before I was out of school.  I wanted to try out some of the recipes.  This book is a compilation of recipes from around the community of Pinecraft, Florida.  If you are not familiar with this place of Amish/Mennonites then I suggest you check out my links below.  I am lucky to live less than a mile from this wonderful place.

Bored with eating the same things over and over I decided to try some of their recipes  that were different from mine.  The first thing I tried was the recipe for Shepherd's Pie (p.115).  I am not going to tell you the ingredients. For that you need to buy the book. This recipe had a richer taste than mine and actually used different vegetables than I used. Mine usually consists of mixed vegetables, brown gravy, hamburger and onions topped with mashed potatoes.  I have to say their recipe was much tastier. 

Another favorite was the Breakfast Casserole (p. 44) which I fixed to take to a breakfast at school.  My husband was going through the cookbook and decided to fix the Taco Soup (p. 71).  We love soup and he did an awesome job with this.  Two recipes in the book surprised me.  There were two recipes that I found in the book that made me run to my own  recipe box. One of them is the Amish Oatmeal Cake (p. 192).  This recipe is identical to one passed down to me by my great-grandmother.  The only difference is the types of icing we make for the top.
My great-grandmother mixed brown sugar, nuts butter and coconut and spread it over the warm cake. Her daughter, my grandmother made a peanut butter powder sugar icing and put on top.  It was actually my favorite.  The other recipe I found in the book is a special one to me. Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake (p.194). This  is  another recipe that is identical to one passed down from my great- grandmother.  It was my father's favorite cake.  I try to make it every year for Memorial Day since my father passed away 15 years ago May 28th, just 2 days before Memorial Day. We always had it for Christmas and Thanksgiving.

There are several more recipes I am longing to try from this book. My husband and I have a Nutri-Bullet and while looking through this cookbook I found the Freezer Fruit-and-Yogurt Pops (p.231).  The recipe comes with a variety of combinations.  My husband and I are planning to mix up some of the recipes in our Nutri-Bullet and add some fresh spinach.  They will be ready when the grandkids come this summer and the grandkids will never know the difference.  They suggest using a 5 oz. paper or plastic cup with plastic spoons as the handles.  I've chosen the 3 oz. size because I believe it will be less messy for slow eaters or smaller children. I love the idea that these are fruit and yogurt pops, and in my case will have some veggies slipped in.

This is definitely a favorite recipe book. It is one of three Amish Recipe books I own.  I will try to get them reviewed in the next couple of weeks since I use them as well.  Trust me I have many to choose from, but I'm finding that I love the Amish/Mennonite recipes because they are so close to what I grew up with.

The more I learn about the Amish and Mennonite the more recipes I find that are similar.  No, we are not related to any Amish that I know of.  However, A large portion of the Amish have German ancestors as well as the fact that they pass recipes around.  I have ancestors that came from Pennsylvania and were German.  So who knows, maybe somewhere along the line they were neighbors to an Amish person and shared recipes.

I have had the privilege of meeting the author of this book. Sherry is such a down to earth person. If you want to know more about her check out my links below.

Sherry Gore
Pictures of Pinecraft from Sherry's Site
Article by NY Times about Pinecraft

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Perfect Square - Vannetta Chapman

Publisher:  Zondervan
Pages:  352
Source:  Won a copy from author
Genre:    Amish, Romance, Mystery, Christian

From Goodreads:
There's more to the quaint northern Indiana town of Shipshewana than Amish-made furniture, immaculate farms, and close-knit families. When a dead girl is found floating in a local pond, murder is also afoot. And Reuben Fisher is in jail as the suspect. Reuben refuses to divulge any information, even to clear himself of a crime Deborah is certain he didn't commit.

My Thoughts:
I love a murder mystery, especially if it has been taken up a notch by placing it in an Amish setting.  Callie and her friends are once again trying to solve a mystery.  Reuben has been locked up in jail as a suspect in the death of an Amish girl.  No one in the community believes Reuben could or would have done such a thing.  While Callie has her hands full with one mystery, an old Amish gentleman comes to her seeking her help.  His daughter had disappeared during the 1965 Palm Sunday tornadoes.  I remember those tornadoes and the feel of our house being lifted off of its foundation.  Now Callie must try to make the connection between the two mysteries to solve them.

I love reading books by Vannetta Chapman.  It is a great blend of Amish and English, Romance and Mystery.  The Christian aspects are not preachy.  I can’t wait until the third book in this series, Material Witness, comes out this fall.  If you want to see what Vannetta is up to go to her Facebook page.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fall From Pride – Karen Harper

Publisher:  Mira; Original Edition (July 26, 2011)
Pages:  352
Source:  Review copy from Netgalley
Genre:  Amish Mystery

From Goodreads:
Against the peaceful night sky, a barn burns…
Sarah Kauffman sought permission from her church elders to paint murals on a few of the Amish community's barns. Each was designed like an old–fashioned quilt square, representing a piece of the Amish traditions Sarah loved. The works of art were intended to draw more tourists to the Home Valley in the struggling economy. But instead, they invited a menace. One by one, each barn is set ablaze and destroyed…

The arson fires spread fear through the community— amongst Amish and Englischers alike. Now Sarah wonders if she's being punished for her pridefulness…or whether there's a more malevolent will at work.

As an outsider, arson investigator Nate MacKenzie struggles to investigate the crime scenes while adhering to Amish ways. With Sarah as his guide, he warms to the Plain People and their simple ways. As the fires rage, beliefs are challenged, a way of life is questioned and family secrets are exposed. In the aftermath of the destruction the people of the Home Valley must join together to raise their barns and their hopes for the future.

My Thoughts:
This was a good mixture of Romance and Mystery.   Sarah is a young Amish woman who loves to paint.  Her bishop allows her to do it from the standpoint it might bring in tourists.  Sarah sees it as an acceptable way to do what she loves without appearing prideful.  The barns she has painted symbols on are burning and this causes an outsider to be brought in to investigate the crimes.  Sarah now faces her feelings for a man who is not Amish.  This is another no-no.  I loved the way the author didn’t try to put the character’s in an all restrictive, “don’t talk to the Englishers”, type of story line.  I live in a community in Florida that has both Amish and Mennonites.  The postal clerk in this small community is Amish and is one of the most pleasant people I know.  For this reason I felt the book was much more on target than what is often pictured in Amish books.  The characters were well thought out.  I loved the idea of a budding, yet forbidden romance.  The ending was okay.  It was good enough to make me say, I can’t wait to see what is next in this series.  So if you are the type who loves Amish fiction with a twist of mystery then this is probably the book for you.

Disclosure of Material Connection:   I received this book free from Netgalley. 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.

Friday, August 19, 2011

In Plain Sight - Marlayne Giron

Source:  I received a copy for review from the author
Genre:  Christian, Fiction, Paranormal
Age:  Young Adult, Adult

It was supposed to be a barn raiser like any other.  When Rebecca Esh arrived with the other women and began setting out the food, she had the distinct feeling she was being watched.  Then she saw him, the boy with the silver eyes.  She was drawn to him, yet at the same time was hesitant.  There was something different with him and it wasn’t just the eyes.  When at last they met, Seth was asked to leave.  What was it that put Rebecca’s father off?  When Rebecca finds Seth and his Twin brother Silas hiding in their barn, everything she knew about her world changed. 

I could tell you so much more about this book.  There is so much to discover.  By reading this book you will gain more knowledge about the Amish.  You will discover more about Seth and Silas.  You will witness the love grow between Rebecca and Seth.  Ask yourself this question as you read the book, What sacrifice would you make for love, and is love eternal?  This is a great book for anyone who loves Amish Romance and for those who love a little paranormal twist.  I’ve been telling everyone about this book.  I have yet   to read anything by this author that I didn’t like.  I started with her first book The Victor, followed that with Make a Wish and now a topic I love, Amish fiction with a twist.  This is an author you need to keep your eyes on.  She sprinkles tidbits of herself throughout her writing.  Check out her book trailers, websites and find out what gems wait for you with this author.

Marlayne’s trailer URL

Friday, July 8, 2011

High Treason - Samuel Oakes

Publisher:  Horizon Books (Oct.1, 2011)
Pages:  320
Source:  I received an ARC for review
Genre:  Amish political thriller

Let me say two things right off the bat.  One, this is not your typical Amish fiction.  Two, this is a must read.  Imagine the world as you know it now.  Suddenly the world finds itself fighting an epidemic.  Vaccines become mandatory.  Without it you will not be treated.  Imagine that rumors surface that the government is behind these problems.  You have now been introduced to the beginning problem of this story.  Now mix in two main characters that are from different worlds.  One is a female pastor, Regina, who feels it is her job to take care of the ill no matter what those in charge say.  She feels inadequate enough to do, what she knows can get her in trouble, secretly help those who need help.  Add in a second main character, Enos, a young Amish man waging a war of his own.  His father has decided they will not accept the Englishe'rs vaccine even as he watches his wife die and his children become sick.  Their bishop has given them the go ahead but he still refuses.  Enos disagrees with his father and takes the vaccine.  His father pretty much disowns him.  When his future plans are ripped from his hands he lets hate take over.  He sees no way back for himself.
This book is different because we usually see Amish fiction as love stories,  feel good stories that always paint the Amish in a good light.  This book paints the Amish in a true light.  This of course is my opinion.  We know the Amish are human like those of us who are not Amish.  They feel anger and hatred, etcetera.  What is different is that often we act on those feelings, and usually they don't.  We are led to believe through Amish fiction that they never get real angry or act on these feelings.  Since their community is closed to most English people we never really know.  This book brought  out several questions about the Amish and made you wonder what would really  happen in a situation like the one in the book. Both of the main characters were well developed.  They were believable in their thoughts, emotions and their beliefs.  I thought it wonderful that we see the way Enos struggles with his beliefs and the way he feels he is lost to God forever.  We all feel that way at times.  It is great to see the message of forgiveness.  This was a wonderful book.  I look forward to reading anything else this author puts out.  It is now in my top 10 favorites of 2011.  There are going to have to be some really great books published to knock it out of that spot.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

INSPY Reviews

I was a finalist judge for the INSPYS this year and enjoyed reading the books in the Amish category.  I was reading for INSPYS and CYBILS at the same time so I am just now getting around to posting my reviews.  I hope you enjoy them enough to pick them up and read them.

Anna’s Return by Marta Perry
Publisher:  Center Point Publishing
Pages:  350
Source:  Purchased
Genre:  Adult Amish Romance

Anna's Return was a thriller and romance rolled into one.  It was very refreshing.   This one kept me on the edge of my seat to the end.

Anna Beiler had spent three years in the English world after running away from her Amish  roots.  Now she is back with her adopted daughter Gracie.  This is sure to cause a stir.  Her plan is to stay there until she and Gracie are safe.  Gracie’s father Pete signed away his rights before she was born.  Her mother gave her legally to Anna before she died.  Now Pete wants her back and will do anything to get her.
Anna’s plans were temporary she thought.  The Samuel entered her life.  She finds that what she had run from can be mended and forgiveness is there for the asking.
I absolutely love Amish fiction.  I hate to say it but it is one of the very few types of romance stories I will read.  I love the simple life, the budding romance and the Christian lessons all wrapped up in one book.  Marta Perry did an excellent job with her characters.  You could feel the fear and pain in Anna’s situation.  We can all relate to doing something stupid and fearing we will not be forgiven.  I look forward to reading more of her books.

An Honest Love – Kathleen Fuller
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Pages:  304
Source:  Received review copy from publisher
Genre:  Adult Amish Romance

An Honest Love was a combination of a mystery and romance rolled up into one.  I am so used to reading Amish romance that this made it nice change
There were duel stories going on here.  First we find the love story of Elizabeth and Aaron.  Aaron is quiet and obedient since he joined the church.  He has a secret he is hiding.  Elizabeth is drawn to him yet she is interested in joining her English friends.  Can she learn from Aaron’s mistakes before it is too late?  Then we have Anna’s story.  She, her mother and her uncle have moved to Middlefield, Ohio.  They are opening a shop and Lukas is delivering goods to them.  He offers to help them with the wiring and other things.  Thus begins the relationship between the two of them.  Elizabeth has a secret though and she is afraid to tell Lukas.  However this secret becomes a source of contention between them later on.  This is a great story of learning to forgive and leaning on God for all of your needs.

Love Finds You in Charm Ohio – Annalisa Daughety
Publisher:  Summerside Press
Pages:  320
Source:  Received review copy from publisher
Genre:  Adult Amish Romance

Emma seems to have it all.  She is a teacher and her sister Abby is always trying to push her and Jacob together.  But Emma is hiding a secret.  Her family wants her to join the church and she knows she will but, she wants to experience the English world.  When she is given the opportunity to spend the summer in Charm, Ohio to help her aunt with her quilt shop she jumps at it.  Her sister Abby jumps at the chance to make sure Jacob doesn’t forget her sister and finds herself falling in love with him. 

Emma meets Kelly, an Englisher who is spending her summer trying to forget her cheating boyfriend.  The two become friends and Emma gets the opportunity to experience the English life and makes some serious discoveries.  She also discover a man named Noah.  She finds herself attracted to his easy going ways and finds he feels the same way about her.
I loved the three stories going on and how they blended so well.  The lesson of learning to listen to God to discover his purpose and not jump ahead of him really stuck out in this.  Not in a pushy way.  This was a book that took you into the small town life.  I felt like I was a part of the town.  I grew up outside of a small town like that and this brought back great memories.  I guess we are all looking for our version of Charm, Ohio.

Winter’s Awakening – Shelley Shepard Gray
Publisher:  Avon Inspire
Pages:  304
Source:  Purchased
Genre:  Adult Amish Romance

Winter's Awakening  was a wonderful look at the prejudices on both sides.  It was also a look at the temptations that both sides faced.  I believe we tend to assume things when we don't have all of the information. 

Joshua and Gretta live in Sugarcreek and it has always been expected that they will get married.  Then an English family moves in next door to Joshua and Lily catches his eye.  This causes him to question his feelings for Gretta.  Gretta’s family has moved here because Gretta is pregnant.  People are talking on both sides about Joshua and Gretta.  Gretta just wants a friend and finds it in Joshua.  When a snow storm blows in can both sides put aside their differences and their beliefs to help each other?
I really liked this one.  It is well known that the Amish don’t associate on a personal, friendship level with the non-English because of a difference in beliefs.  I thought this was a very accurate telling of that relationship.  Because of their relationship with God they will bend over backwards to help those in need.  Great recommended read.

Plain Paradise – Beth Wiseman
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Pages:  320
Source:  Received review copy from publisher
Genre:  Young Adult Amish Romance

Plain Paradise surprised me.  I've known several Mennonite families that have become foster parents or adoptive parents.  I never once thought about the biological parent(s) wanting anything to do with the child after they have been indoctrinated into the Amish world.
Linda was adopted by an old order Amish family.  She has a great relationship with her mother until the day her biological mother Josie shows up.  Her mother had never told her she was adopted.  Linda isn’t sure she wants anything to do with  Josie and Linda’s mother is afraid of losing her.  Josie didn’t come back to cause problems.  She has an inoperable tumor and wants the opportunity to get to know the daughter she gave up.
What I really liked about this book was how realistic it was.  How the message of love conquers all is still an important message today.  It made me ask myself what I would do If I was in Linda’s shoes or her Amish mother’s shoes.  Would I be as loving or forgiving?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Plain Promise by Beth Wiseman Review for Thomas Nelson

I enjoyed this book. It was after I read it that I realized it was the third book in a series. I will definitely have to get the first two and read them. Sadie belongs to the old order Amish. She is a widow and has been writing to Milo, an Amish man in Texas. She waits for his phone call each Tuesday. She thinks and hopes that he is the one God is sending her way. Then her world is turned upside down by the entrance of Kade.. He is trying to get away from the rat race called life. He has rented the small cottage on Sadie’s property. It has electricity unlike her place. Unfamiliar with the Amish ways he makes several blunders when trying to be friendly to Sadie. The two begin to build a friendship when Kade’s estranged wife drops their autistic son off so that she can run off and get married. Kade has to adjust to a life with his son Tyler. As time goes on he finds his way back to God and a peacefulness begins to fill his life. His feelings toward Sadie begin to change and his relationship with Tyler changes into something he could only dream about. This story is full of lessons of hope, love and perseverance. The promises that we receive from God if we are only willing to stop, listen and let him guide us. I am finding that I love stories of the Amish. At first I thought it was because I live in an area full of Mennonite and Amish. I finally realized that so much of their lives remind me of my simple upbringing on a farm in Indiana. A time I love to remember. A time that was far from the rat race of life. It was a time in my life when my parents taught me to rely on God for everything. I have so many friends that need to read this book simply because I know that they will love the messages within.