An Amish Summer: Review by Susan Scott Ferrell

An-Amish-Summer

An Amish Summer – Bring it On!

When you happen upon a novel that contains the stories of four well-known Amish-genre authors, your heart skips a beat. Well, at least mine does – especially when I have the opportunity to read Shelley Shepard Gray, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, and Kelly Irvin! So when An Amish Summer arrived, I said, “Bring it on!”

A Reunion in Pinecraft by Shelley Shepard Gray follows sisters Sharon and Sherilyn Kramer, who have made the trek to Florida for vacation…and perhaps something more. Sherry has been exchanging letters with an Amish man named Graham. Sherry and Graham have decided to rendezvous in Pinecraft. But Graham is shocked to find that he’s been writing to the wrong sister! Now he must choose who he really likes – but it’s not that easy. Who will get a match? Read and find out!

My Take: A Reunion in Pinecraft was a good, quick read. The characters were winsome, and Shelley Shepard Gray kept this reader guessing ‘til the end. Definitely a good start with this first novella of the collection.

Summer Storm by Amy Clipston tells the story of Arianna and her lifetime friend and fiancée, Jesse. All is going according to plan until one eventful night that involves Arianna’s brother (and Jesse’s best friend), Tobias. When Arianna’s dad forbids their union as a result, all plans come to a halt…and maybe that is God’s will after all?

My Take: Summer Storm was a page-turner. The story was believable and agonizing. I couldn’t put it down until I knew just what would happen! Now I want the story to continue!

Lakeside Love by Kathleen Fuller takes you an a journey with Esther Coblentz. Esther has always struggled with comparing herself to her gorgeous younger sister, Sarah. She can’t even catch the attention of her secret love, Judah (whose smitten for Sarah.) When a handsome Yankee named Rhett comes to live with the Coblentzes, everything is turned on end.

My Take: Lakeside Love is a beautiful, charming story of summer romance. Sarah is a hoot – and the other characters are downright loveable. I’d love to go to their lake and just stay for a while. Outstanding novella.

One Sweet Kiss by Kelly Irvin brings you to Bee County, Texas, Jacob King, and Martha Byler. Jacob only has eyes for Martha, and it seems almost everyone can see that but Martha. Martha is afraid to trust again – especially since her mother’s death. Her place is with her father, raising her siblings. Besides, Jacob is a poster child for rumspringas. Martha doesn’t need yet more responsibility. What will happen?

My Take: One Sweet Kiss was an amusing, captivating read. At one point my life had to stop so that I could finish this novella! The subplots were well-executed – I think we all know a Dwayne – and I adored the Simon/Amanda story and the way it was handled.

I was given An Amish Summer in exchange for my honest review. It was fabulous! Each novella held its own (not always the case with a collection of novellas.) This is the perfect book to take with you to the beach. Even if you’re not headed to the beach, don’t waste any time snagging your copy of An Amish Summer – it’s worth the read!


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!

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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!

The Bishop’s Son – The story behind the story by By Kelly Irvin

The story behind The Bishop’s Son goes back to the days when I first decided to write Amish fiction. Some of my writer friends were very surprised. They had questions. Had I examined the Amish faith? Was I sure they were “true” Christians? What about the fact that they don’t evangelize? Aren’t we called to win the lost and make disciples? I did my due diligence. I did my research, and I found that the Amish are devout Christians who live by scripture and, in particular, the New Testament Gospels. Like all Christian denominations, they have their set of rules and rituals. One big difference is they don’t judge the rest of us on ours. I sometimes feel like we are the modern day Sadducees and Pharisees, so concerned with rules that we lose sight of the meaning of true faith. The Amish let their lives and their faith be their examples to the world.

It’s true they don’t generally evangelize. They live their faith by example. They don’t shout it out. If you ask questions, they’ll answer. They are a light in a dark world. That’s why people are so fascinated by them. They live their faith.

All this percolated in my brain through two series of books. Finally, it bubbled to the top. What if a young Amish man feels he is called by God to become a minister? He feels he is called to win the lost and make disciples. Amish ministers are chosen by lot. No man would be so arrogant as to suggest God called him to do anything. The Amish are humble folks. They also are obedient. So Jesse Glick has this powerful feeling in his gut that he must do this. In order to be a minister, he will have to give up everything, his Amish faith, his family, and possibly the woman he loves.

Luke 14:26-27 says “if anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, and wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.”

Hate is a strong word. Jesse ponders it. So do I. The commentaries say it means we must fling aside anything that gets in the way of our eternal salvation. God calls us to do big things. We need to do them. We must do them. Leila loves Jesse, but she also loves her family and her way of life. She has to ask herself if she loves God more.

These questions became the story that is The Bishop’s Son. It’s a story of faith, obedience, and a powerful love. My hope is that it sparks thought and conversation and prayer by readers who ask themselves what they would be willing to give up to follow Jesus.


 

Kelly Irvin  is the author of the critically acclaimed The Beekeeper’s Son, called “a beautifully woven masterpiece” by Publishers Weekly. The book is the first of three in The Amish of Bee County series from Zondervan/HarperCollins. Kelly also penned the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both from Harvest House Publishing. She has also authored two inspirational romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.

The Kansas native is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism. She wrote nonfiction professionally for more than thirty years, including ten years as a newspaper reporter, mostly in Texas-Mexico border towns. She has worked in public relations for the City of San Antonio for twenty-one years. She is a member ofAmerican Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and serves as secretary of the local chapter, Alamo Christian Fiction Writers.