Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Courtship Basket

Ever have one of those days where you keep putting your foot in your mouth? How about when you let your temper get the better of you and you judge before you know all the facts? Rachel Fisher knows the struggle all too well. She has a tender and loving heart but sometimes she leaps before she looks.

The Courtship Basket is the second book in Amy Clipston's Amish Heirloon series. Rachel Fisher is the younger sister of Veronica who we met in the first book, The Forgotten Recipe. Rachel longs to be married. She's been dating her beau David Beiler for four years and is convinced he will propose any day now but one huge secret will devastate Rachel and make her future far less certain.

On the heels of the secret coming to light, Rachel accepts a teaching position with her cousin, Malinda, in a school for special needs children. It's here that she meets John and his older half-brother Mike. When John starts acting out in school by being a bully and refusing to do his work, Rachel reaches out to Mike for help. She's discouraged by his one sentence reply to the note she sends home and decides to take matters in her own hands and go confront Mike. She has to make him understand that this is his responsibility to work with her, she can't do it alone.

She's full of fire and fury at Mike and what she assumes is his lack of caring and parenting skills to his little brother, John. When she learns the truth, she is devastated. Mike lost his mom when he was 10, John's mom died giving birth to him, and his dad is seriously sick with kidney disease. He's not cold and uncaring. He's tired, overworked, and doing the best he can. He's also ticked at her for judging him before she knows all the facts, and the icy stare in his eyes lets her know she's overstepped her bounds. What can she do to make it up to him? What can she do to make life easier on John?

I absolutely devoured this book! Amy takes two very sensitive topics, kidney disease and special needs children, and spins a heartfelt and heart warming story. Amy's own husband has suffered with kidney disease and eventually required and received a transplant, so she has first hand knowledge of what a family experiences watching a loved one battle this disease. I admired how she handled the topic of children with special needs. The teachers in the story had a heart for these precious little ones. They went above and beyond what was required of them to help these kids succeed and feel better about themselves. As a mom of two special needs children, I appreciated her tact but also her willingness to include them in one of her books.

I related to Rachel more than any other character. She has a huge heart for helping people. She hates to see anyone sad, suffering, or left out. She wears her heart on her sleeve and sometimes that can get her in trouble, especially when she believes someone doesn't care. She lets her temper and big mouth get her in trouble quite a bit. She wants to right all the wrongs but sometimes those wrongs are just in her head. There's a saying that goes "Think before you speak", too often though Rachel and I speak before we think and find ourselves in trouble or worse yet hurting someone's feelings unintentionally.

The Courtship Basket is a story with a lot of heart and self-discovery. Rachel finds her world upended by a huge secret and has to find her new normal. Mike has his plate full dealing with a sick dad and a bother who needs extra help. He's now the breadwinner and parent and he just doesn't have any extra time for a nosey teacher butting in where she isn't wanted. Will these two ever get it together and be friends? I recommend this book to anyone who loves to read. Don't pass it by because you don't typically read Amish fiction. Give it a try! You won't be sorry.

You can grab your copy here: The Courtship Basket by Amy Clipston