Loading…

The Beloved Hope Chest: Review by Susan Scott Ferrell

The Beloved Hope Chest – Some Bumps, but Worth the Read

Beloved Hope ChestIt finally arrived! Mamm Mattie’s story is being told by Amy Clipston! The Beloved Hope Chest, the fourth and final installment in the Amish Heirloom series is in the books! I have mixed reviews about this one – so press on.

The Beloved Hope Chest finally reveals Mattie’s secrets to her three daughters. There’s been a recipe, a picnic basket, and a quilt – somehow they are all tied to Mattie. Not only does the story involved Mattie, but it also involves their father, Leroy. As she unpacks the memories in her mind, a tragic yet triumphant message emerges.

I was given The Beloved Hope Chest in exchange for my honest review. It can be read as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend reading the other three in the series to give better context. While I was thrilled to read Mattie’s story, I was a bit disappointed. I’ve encountered similar stories like this one in the Amish genre – at least four times in the last year. Additionally, I felt that the story could have been told in ¾ of the pages; it tended to drag a bit, and extra “drama” was added with people gasping and mouth gaping open. A longer Epilogue would have been nice, too. But perhaps that was because I didn’t want to say goodbye to this series!

Having said all of that above, I will also say that Clipston thoroughly fleshed out the characters. They drew men in and wouldn’t let go. I particularly enjoyed the sweet relationship Mattie and her mother shared. And I found Leroy to be such a wonderful character as well – all men should aspire to such living! All in all, I thought this to be a good read. It had a few bumps along the way, but it was well worth the time to finally out the secrets of Mattie’s beloved hope chest.


Susan Ferrell and her husband make their home in the Atlanta Metro area. Although Susan struggles with chronic migraine headaches, she stays very busy as a stay-at-home mom to one very precocious little girl. While catching her breath, she feeds her Amishaholic tendencies by reading vast amounts of Amish literature!

More Than a Marriage: Review by Susan Scott Ferrell

More Than a Marriage – The Struggle is Real

More Than a Marriage Want a quick, good read in the coming days? Then Amy Lillard’s latest novella, More Than a Marriage, is what you are looking for!

Lillard takes readers back to Wells Landing and tells us the story of Jacob and Tess Smiley. Jacob, who works hard away from home – and spends too much time on his cell phone…and Facebook. Tess, who has two goats she adores, that provide extra income – and give her an outlet for her frustration over Jacob. Although Jacob and Tess have been married three years, their future looks dismal – separation seems to be the only solution…or is it?

I was given More Than a Marriage in exchange for my honest review. Although other characters from previous novels in the Wells Landing series are mentioned, it can easily be read as a stand-alone. I found this novella to be a very interesting read, as Lillard came upon a storyline in the Amish genre that you do not see very frequently – marital strife to the point of separation.

More Than a Marriage reminds readers that the Amish are human too – even troubles with their marriages. We outsiders/Englischers tend to idolize and romanticize the Amish – even putting them on a pedestal at times. Amy Lillard reminds us that we’re all human, all have struggles, and all need the help of others and God.

PS. For Wells Landing fans…Jonah’s story is next!!!


Susan Ferrell and her husband make their home in the Atlanta Metro area. Although Susan struggles with chronic migraine headaches, she stays very busy as a stay-at-home mom to one very precocious little girl. While catching her breath, she feeds her Amishaholic tendencies by reading vast amounts of Amish literature!

Upon a Spring Breeze: Review by Susan Scott Ferrell

Upon a Spring Breeze – Curiosity Piqued!

Upon a Spring BreezeOver the last few years, Kelly Irvin has really made a name for herself in the Amish genre. Her Amish of Bee County series is phenomenal. I had no doubts that Irvin could deliver with her new series, Every Amish Season. The first in the series, Upon a Spring Breeze, looks to be a promising start.

This novel tells the story of Bess Weaver: young, expecting her first child, and suddenly widowed. When the baby arrives, he looks so much like his father, Caleb. Bess is drowning in despair, loneliness, and apathy. When a job opportunity presents itself at an Englischer’s B & B, she hopes to find a secret escape from her overwhelming life.

Aidan, Bess’s childhood friend, and Caleb’s best friend, also grieves deeply for Caleb. He too has a secret. He’s kept this secret from Bess since before Bess and Caleb ever married. As Aidan faces unbelievable hardship on his farm, he struggles with what God’s will is for his life.

I was given Upon a Spring Breeze in exchange for my honest review. When I read the synopsis about the novel, I was disappointed. Although I love Irvin’s writings, and I always love a good Amish novel, all I could think was: “Not another young Amish widow. Not another best friend in the mix!” This is, at least, the third Amish novel I’ve read in the last year with a similar storyline. I was hoping Upon a Spring Breeze would be dramatically different. The first part of the novel seemed to drag, but it was full steam ahead for the latter half. There are a few characters that diverged from the norm – Mattie’s subplot was heart-wrenching – and Bess’s post-natal depression is an important topic that definitely needs to be written about more often. But, I found myself wishing that the author had not spent so much time in certain areas of the book and further developed others. All of that being said, this novel was well worth the read. Irvin seems to enjoy building up a good story. I cannot wait for the next book in the series, as there are several characters that I want to know more about! Upon a Spring Breeze is a promising start and my curiosity is definitely piqued.


Susan Ferrell and her husband make their home in the Atlanta Metro area. Although Susan struggles with chronic migraine headaches, she stays very busy as a stay-at-home mom to one very precocious little girl. While catching her breath, she feeds her Amishaholic tendencies by reading vast amounts of Amish literature!