Thursday, July 28, 2011


Story Description:

Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you'll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman's story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams ... and secrets. You'll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the "English" way of life-and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families.

Naomi's Gift re-introduces twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love and has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches-a time of family, faith, and hope for many others-Naomi is more certain than ever her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family's quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down.

Naomi's story of romantic trial and error and youthful insecurities has universal appeal. Author Amy Clipston artfully paints a panorama of simple lives full of complex relationships, and she carefully explores cultural differences and human similarities, with inspirational results.

Naomi's Gift includes all the details of Amish life that Clipston's fans enjoy, while delivering the compelling stories and strong characters that continue to draw legions of new readers.

My Review:

Caleb Schmucker and his eight-year-old daughter, Susie, return home from Ohio to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvannia for the Christmas holidays.  Caleb’s wife, Barbara, who he’d been married to for 10 years had passed away two years ago from an accident.

Susie is such precocious and vivacious little girl and she enjoys befriending people and she did just that at the mall she and her Dad went to.  Susie saw some Amish quilts she liked and ran over to the display and struck up a conversation with a woman named Naomi who was quite attractive and had beautiful eyes.  Naomi, even in those few moments that she spoke with Susie, adored the child.  Susie had told Naomi that her Mamma was going to teach her how to quilt one day but she died and was now in Heaven.  Naomi was deeply saddened for Susie and the news tugged at her heartstrings.

A few days’ later Caleb runs into Naomi at a family function and they struck up a friendly conversation but Caleb’s nosy and interfering sister, Sadie, had other plans for Caleb.  She wanted Caleb to strike up a conversation with Irene Wagler and perhaps end up courting and marrying her one day as she felt that he was too young to stay a widow forever and little Susie needed a Mom.  However, Caleb made it quite clear to Sadie that he was not in the market for a new wife and couldn’t betray his beloved Barbara.

Naomi had lost two previous loves and now believed God meant for her to take care of her parents and never find love again.

Both Caleb and Naomi are struggling with different aspects of love.  Caleb doesn’t feel he can love someone else after Barbara and Naomi feels she’s already been given two chances and failed at both so there was no further hope for her.  Perhaps they both need to give it up to God and let Him decide what is right for these two lost souls.

I enjoyed the characters in this novella and delighted in the traditions of the Amish, but one thing stuck out for me in this story and that was “gossip”.  In my opinion, Christians in general believe that the Amish with their strict orders are immune to gossip and rumour but that is apparently not true.  They are just as susceptible to gossip as the rest of us Christians.  Christian or not, none of us are exempt from this unappreciated quality and it unfortunately harms and hurts people, congregations, and communities, but we’re not a perfect society.

Amy Clipston has written a lovely novella that will tug at your heart strings and make you realize that our life doesn’t always go the way we want it to go because there is a higher power at work.  I would definitely recommend this to everyone.

****Thank you to  netGalley for the preview.****

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