Saturday, February 12, 2011

Review: A Gift of Grace

A Gift of Grace (Kauffman Amish Bakery - Book 1) by Amy Clipston

Publication Date: April 2009
Publisher: Zondervan
Genre: Christian Fiction/Amish
ISBN-13: 9780310289838
ISBN:
0310289831

(Received for review from Zondervan)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Christianbook.com, IndieBound

If you live in Morehead, KY or the surrounding area:
Purchase form our local independent bookseller: CoffeeTree Books
Borrow from our local library: The Rowan County Public Library

Amy Clipston on the WEB: Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter

Excerpt from A Gift of Grace

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

Rebecca always dreamed of being a mother, and now she is - of two teenage girls. Somehow, it just wasn't the scenario she had planned.

Rebecca Kauffman longs to fulfill her quiet Old Order Amish life by getting her husband, Daniel, a child, but for years she has been unable to conceive. When her older sister, Grace, who left the Amish community for the modern world, dies in an automobile accident, Rebecca is left custody of her two teenage nieces, Jessica and Lindsay. Now Rebecca wonders how she is going to take on this daunting task of being an Amish woman raising two English teenagers.

Rebecca struggles to give the girls the guidance they need as she tries to fulfill her duties as an Amish wife. The strain between Rebecca and Daniel mounts as the girls search for their identity in this new home. Caught between her husband's disapproval and her niece's unhappiness, Rebecca begins to question her place in the Amish community, her marriage, and her faith in God. Will she be able to reconcile differences in her home - or will the clash of cultures tear her world apart?

Thoughts:

Amy Clipston's debut novel, A Gift of Grace is the first book in the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series. Readers will be enthralled by Clipston's descriptions of the Old Amish Order community and it's people. This is a book about the shock of trying to blend two totally different cultures and the author does a wonderful job of showing the differences in between the Amish way of life and that of the Englisher.

Rebecca Kauffman's dream was to be a mother and a good Amish wife. But, her dreams had to be put on hold when she was unable to have a baby. The Old Order Amish community she lives in, believes that everything that happens is God's will and for a purpose. There faith is sorely tested when Rebecca's sister is killed in a car accident and her two teenage daughters are left in her custody. Not only are they teenagers who have lost their parents, but they are English, raised outside the Amish community and totally unprepared for the Amish way of life. Lindsay adjusts well to the Amish life and is a joy to both Rebecca and Daniel, but Jessica is another story. There's no TV, no internet, nothing familiar in her life and she begins to rebel at the quiet, simple Amish life. When Daniel is held accountable for her actions it begins to cause problems in Rebecca's marriage. Rebecca struggles to help the girls adjust while trying to be a good Amish wife. Will she be able to blend the two cultures or will it change her life forever?

A Gift of Grace is a very poignant novel. The characters are faced with a situation that would challenge anyone. Two teenage girls who have lost their parents. They not only have their whole lives changed in the blink of an eye but they must leave their home, their school and their friends behind, go to a place they have never been and start a completely different life. Talk about culture shock! They go from an English lifestyle which includes: TV, internet, ipods, cell phones and college plans to a totally different existence. I can't imagine what both Rebecca and her nieces must have felt. Clipston does wonderful job of voicing the teenage angst that Jessica feels as well as Rebecca's fears and worries. She is able to get inside the heart and mind of teen who is devastated by loss and a woman who finally has what she always wanted a family, though it isn't what she expected.

Rebecca goes through some very big changes throughout the book. It seems like her dreams have been dropped in her lap, only to cause more problems than she ever dreamed. Problems in her marriage, her community and in her heart. She is full of doubts and worries as she tries to guide these two high-spirited young girls and still do her duty as an Amish wife. She begins to doubt herself and even her faith at one point in the book, and the author was able to show readers how Rebecca was feeling with compassion and a lot of feeling. I think readers will really identify with her character because many people face issues in their lives that either strengths their faith or defeats it. Rebecca is a very inspirational character who shows us how to reconcile two worlds.

Jessica a young girl in turmoil. Most teens who are emotionally unsettled a lot of the time, but they don't have the added devastation of losing their parents and everything they feel that is normal in their lives. Not only is Jessica transported to a whole new way of life, she has to give up her friends and her dreams of attending college, since the Amish do not believe in girls attending school past the eighth grade. She naturally feels alone and unwanted and takes it out only person she can, Rebecca. When she starts a lot of trouble for Daniel in the community it strains Rebecca's marriage, but she is still unable to let herself care. She is lonely young girl and when teenagers feel put upon they sometimes rebel. I liked her character in some ways and in some ways not. She was strong, but she used that strength in some peculiar ways. Teens will certainly be able to identify with her and parents will probably see their own children in some of her actions.

This is just a wonderful inspirational book. I recommend it to Christian Fiction readers and readers of Amish fiction. Give this one a try if you've never tried an Amish read before. I think you will be really impressed with the author's take on the culture. I liked this one a lot!

A Gift of Grace is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!





Amy Clipston is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). She holds a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full time as a public information specialist for the city of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband and two sons.

1 comments:

Amy said...

Thank you for the wonderful review! Happy Valentine's Day!
Sincerely,
Amy Clipston