I was very impressed by the novellas written in this book. I didn’t expect there to be four stories filled with deep lessons that centered around the importance of communication in marriage and peace in the home. When I was first searching for a book to read, I was immediately drawn to the front cover. You are never supposed to judge a book by its cover, but in this case I believe the cover of the book depicted the stories greatly. To begin, I would like to go over the front cover (it was what attracted me the most). The cover shows a woman in her kapp and dress holding a basket of clothes with clothes on a line with a garden in the background. This quickly grabbed my attention as I reminisced about growing up and hanging clothes on a line that stretched between two poles near our two large gardens. My grandmother had always spoken about the Amish growing up. I remember looking over across the room and seeing her read one of many of her favorite collections of her Amish books. Immediately after seeing the title and cover of this book I wanted it to be the first book of my choice to review for our blog.
A CUP HALF FULL by BETH WISEMAN
Abram and Sarah are newlyweds who are looking forward to raising a family and beginning their life together. When a car suddenly hits their buggy leaving Sarah in a wheel chair and unable to walk, this adds a huge wedge between not only one another but also their future plans. Through it all, they both remained faithful to one another and never gave up on each other as a series of trials came their way. How easy it was that one quick misguided assumption could have split them two apart due to lack of communication between one another. Still, their love and respect for each other brought them through while keeping them away from the temptation of giving up on themselves and on one another. Read Abram and Sarah’s story of the amazing love and respect that they share for each other and how they made it through these times.
HOME SWEET HOME by AMY CLIPSTON
This story focuses on a young married couple who end up living in the daadihaus of an Amish family’s property with no electricity and one bedroom. After Mia became pregnant with their daughter Kaitlyn before marriage and after dropping out of school to marry Chace, her mother and father cut all ties with Mia. Mia grew up having everything. She lived in a fine home abundant in wealth and hopes for a successful career and all the conveniences that she ever needed. What she didn’t have was the grace, love and understanding from her own parents that she needed. Instead, Chace and Mia start their own life together and find hope in the kindness of mankind again through the love and friendship from their new landlords, an Amish family. The bond that builds between Chace and Mia with the Amish family grows into a beautiful portrait of family and community. Generosity and grace spill out of the Amish family and gives the hope this young family so desperately needs. The dead-end obsession of materialism and money would have been inherited from Mia’s mother and father could have easily destroyed this family that was meant to be together. You can read more on how Chace and Mia learn the importance of having love in the home for each other and not love for material possessions. A home is a home no matter how big or small. Home is where the heart is.
A FLICKER OF HOPE by RUTH REID
In only a few minutes everything changed for Thomas and Noreen. Noreen had gone down to their cellar to quickly grab a jar of peach preserves only to return and see her kitchen on fire. She tried to put out the fire, but it only made the blaze worse. Thomas got Noreen out of the house only to look on in shock as they watched their home burn to a pile of rubble. Thomas and Noreen were blissful newlyweds who started their journey filled with love and fluttery kisses. Just like their home that quickly went ablaze from the fire; their marriage suffered through many trials and hardships. The story reminisces on some of the best and worst moments of their 15 years together from courting days to married life. As Thomas and Noreen began sifting through the rubble they uncover burnt pieces from the memories in their past. The handle of a destroyed hammer that was used to build their home, why was it so important to Thomas? A piece of a quilt that belonged to Noreen; what was so special about this piece? Could these pieces ever be restored like their marriage that seemed to be destroyed also? Even after the fire burns their home down, the trials do not stop for this family. Would there ever be a flicker of hope instead of a flicker of disaster? Read Thomas and Noreen’s story and how a flicker of hope is all they need to start over again.
BUILDING FAITH by KATHLEEN FULLER
Do opposites really attract? In this story Faith and Silas have many differences, but the one thing they both love brings them together. Silas was Faith’s ex-finace. After numerous miscommunication and assumptions, Faith called off the engagement between her and Silas and kept herself busy working in her grossdaadi’s woodshop. Many believe it to be unsuitable for Amish woman to do such things, but for Faith she was determined. Faith missed her grossdaadi very much and felt close to him while she was out in the shop. Her heart ached from his passing and I could relate to this. I understood how she was feeling when she described what her grandfather said as “the wood speaks to you.” She reminded me of myself standing in the barn back home and hearing my grandfather teaching me lessons about cows and gardening. I could feel her pain.
Silas, like Faith, also loved to work with wood. A very talented carpenter, Silas is left to take on the reigns for his father’s business. Many bills are needing to be paid for himself and his parents and when his friend asks him to build cabinets for his new home Silas feels this is an answered prayer that he had praying about for a while. However, the friend who asked him to build the cabinets is about to be married to Faiths friend who also had asked her to build her the cabinets.
Once again through miscommunication, Silas had arrived at his friend’s home to see Faith standing inside already taking measurements. You could feel the tension as you read further along into their story. Will both of them be hired for the job or will they both give up on the job at hand? This story is such a fantastic read because as humans we are so quick to draw conclusions and judgment upon others and allow our pride to get the best of us. Pride is something that is challenging and difficult to overcome and Fuller does an outstanding job showing the reader how to deflate the pride in our life as we must be like Faith. Faith had to re-examine herself and realize that all of her assumptions about Silas were far from the picture she had painted in her mind about him.
This story is very well written as we read on and familiarize ourselves to both Silas and Faith. You can see why they are meant to be together. Silas is faced with several major responsibilities as he must take on while Faith still continues to see him as irresponsible. Will there ever be forgiveness between the two of them again? Read this story to learn how assumptions, pride and miscommunication are the wrong tools to build faith in each other. To have faith you need the right tools for the right job otherwise what you end up building will not pass code and ultimately will be condemned and destroyed.
Each one of these stories teaches a very important lesson. Each story has a solid plot and relatable characters which keeps you engaged and wanting to read on. I feel as if the Amish community is often stereotyped negatively when people fail to realize they too have stories just like you and I. This book was sent to me at perfect time in my own life. I had no idea what this collection of novellas was even about until I began reading. Each story had some lesson or meaning I think we all could relate to no matter where we come from. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, but especially to young married couples starting their lives as husband and wife.
Brewing Wisdom was provided a complimentary copy of An Amish Home from the publisher for us to review. Check them out at the link below!