Thursday, February 25, 2016

An Amish Market

An Amish Market is a book comprised of four novellas from four separate authors: Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin, and Vannetta Chapman. I've read books by two of the authors before and was curious to see how well I enjoyed the others.  They did not disappoint! I had a book that I couldn't put down and found myself thinking of the characters and wondering "Where are they now?".

Love Birds by Amy Clipston

If you've read The forgotten Recipe you might recognize Ellie and her mother who are still grieving the loss of her brother Seth.  It's only been a month but the wounds are still fresh and Ellie is having trouble moving on. She still remembers his corny jokes and his infectious laugh.However, she would like to move on by getting married and having children. She has her eye on Lloyd Blank a friend of her brother whom she has loved since she was 12 years old.  She fears she has blown her chance when Lloyd sees her fall down in a mucky mud puddle while chasing their ornery cow. She believes Lloyd will never see her as anything other than a little sister type because she is around the same age as his sister...just her luck! She's willing to just be his friend if that's all she can get...anything to be around him.  Lloyd is harboring heartbreak of his own not just over his friend Seth but also his grandfather.  He feels like no one truly understands him anymore.  His dad is pushing him to learn all there is to know about the family dairy business so he can take over when it is time.  He's so strict and persuasive that he says it's prideful and a sin that Lloyd wants to do wood carving in his free time.  Little does he know, or understand, that's how Lloyd feels connected to his grandfather and unwinds.  Besides, he doesn't sell the birds he carves instead he keeps them in his little shop in the back of the barn.  Will these two ever get over their heartache and find love? Honestly, I had just about given up on the two of them until they were at a youth gathering talking about Seth and Ellie decides to share one of his jokes "What did the green grape say to the purple grape?" "I don't know" "Breathe stupid!" and they dissolved into laughter.  Honestly I did too! It's one of my favorite parts of the book because that's when they let their guard down and shared their hearts.

A Bid for Love by Kathleen Fuller

The heart wants what the heart wants. Every week Hannah Lynne carries her homemade butter to the Middlefield Market to sell. She gives some to the family finances and keeps the other for her future, whatever that might be. Every week without fail Ezra Yutzy, the towns confirmed bachelor, comes by to buy a pound of butter.  Never mind, that he has more butter than a single man could ever eat, his mom and dad too for that matter! He still stops by to buy butter and while he purchases the butter Hannah tries her best not to let him catch her starting at him, after all it doesn't hurt to look. Imagine her surprise when she finds out Ezra has bought a house and is doing extensive renovations. Could it be that he's finally starting to fall for her to? She's not sure but one thing is for certain he sure is acting funny.  First he decides to stick by her side at the charity auction as she waits to see if she's the winner of the quilt she bid on. He seems flustered and is acting quite weird.  She had no idea it was the quilt his family and donated and he had no intention of telling her he just felt drawn to her for some inexplicable reason, he just wants to see her smile.  In his opinion she doesn't do it enough.Then he buys the quilt from the lady that who won just to give it to Hannah. This story is full of twists and turns.  Neither Hannah Lynn nor Ezra are what they seem.  She seems shy and reserved and even a bit flustered at times but when she needs to she can put her foot down and stand up for herself.  Ezra seems gruff and has a hard edge and is definitely set in his decision to be a bachelor.  Yet, he can't seems to stay away from Hannah. I felt this was a perfect love story just the right amount of silly and sweet.  It was fun to "watch" them figure out what to do with the quilt after Ezra impulsively buys back his own quilt! I also like the fact the author included an epilogue so that we don't have to guess where Ezra and Hannah Lynne ended up. 

Sweeter than Honey by Kelly Irvin

Needing a new start after her dad had a heart attack and couldn't farm like he used to Isabella and her family moved to the close knit community of Bee County Texas. It was her chance to make a new start and become the woman God intended her to be while finding the man he intends her to be with. Things don't go as planned however when she drops a jar of beets in the local combinations store on her first visit.  She offers to clean it up but the shopkeeper Will won't have any part of it. She feels awful that she has caused this great mess and persists that he at least allow her to clean it up.  Just as it seems she's making a friend he completely turns sour when he sees her speaking to a local English girl. This is a sweet story of finding second chances and romance where you least expect it.  I found myself relation to Will more than I would like to admit.  I tend to judge people based on my past experiences.  I let my prejudices color situations in an unfavorable light when I need to open my heart and trust the other person.  Isabella has to learn to stand up for herself and assert herself when needed otherwise she's easily over looked.  

Love in Store by Vannetta Chapman

Stella Shrock and David Stoltzfus work at the Old Mill in Nappanee Indiana. Stella has never been married and David is a widower who moved to Indiana to help his recently widowed daughter.  You'd think the two of them would form a friendship but that isn't the case.  Stella is bitter because she learned at a young age that she couldn't have children so she automatically assumed that meant no husband. What Amish man would marry a woman who couldn't have kinner?  David is her exact opposite, he's upbeat and happy and tries to find the best in every situation which irritates Stella to no end.  When mysterious things start happening at the old mill they both believe them to be harmless pranks but what if they aren't? Can they put aside their differences and find the culprit who is reeking havoc though out the Old Mill or will their bickering doom the Mill?  I found it refreshing that this wasn't a typical Amish story. For one it was a mystery and two it featured an older couple. I also loved how Mrs. Chapman keeps us guessing what's going on at the mill.  She captured me from the start and even managed to shock me a time or two. Love in store is a great read and I'd love to find out where Stella and David are now. 

You can pick up a copy here:
An Amish Market