Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Review: "An Amish Garden" by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Tricia Goyer, and Vannetta Chapman

I received a free copy of "An Amish Garden" from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.  

"An Amish Garden" is a collection of 4 novellas:  "Rooted in Love" by Beth Wiseman, "Flowers for Rachael" by Kathleen Fuller, "Seeds of Love" by Tricia Goyer, and "Where Healing Blooms" by Vannetta Chapman.  They are not tied to each other than they all deal with Amish communities and the central theme of gardens.  Each of the stories has a glossary at the beginning telling the Amish terms used in the story and a Reading Group Guide at the end.  There are also recipes at the back of the book.

"Rooted in Love" was my favorite of the stories in the book.  It is about Rosemary Lantz struggling to take care of her family after her mother's death.  Saul Petersheim dated her for 3 months when they were teenagers before Rosemary suddenly broke up with him.  He still loves her and continues to ask her out, but she has a reason for turning him down and he can never find out.  When Saul starts helping Rosemary start her garden, will they find a way back to the love they once shared?

In "Flowers for Rachael", Rachael Bontrager comes to take care of her grandfather after his stroke.  She has a way with flowers and loves working in her garden.  She wishes for more than friendship with her neighbor, Gideon Beiler, but knows that that will never happen.  Besides, she's too busy trying to make enough money to keep food on the table.  Gideon loved Rachael from the moment she moved in next door, but he's too shy to tell her.  His sister tries to help, but will she make it even worse?  When Rachael's garden and her life are a shambles, will she realize that she can't do everything on her own, but allow others to help her and know that God is in control?

"Seeds of Love" tells Sadie Chupp's story.  She has just moved to Montana to live with her aunt and uncle following the deaths of her mother and father.  She brings with her the heirloom tomato seeds passed down from generation to generation, the only thing she has left of them.  She struggles to know how best to garden in this new area and Eli Plank offers to help.  He is a traveling bachelor scribe writing for "The Budget", but his family is in the seed business and he's done his share of gardening.  As they work together, they forge a relationship, but will a miscommunication trample the seedling of love they have grown?

Emma Hochstetter's past year has been difficult with the deaths of both her father-in-law and her husband, Ben.  She is glad for the strength and help of her friend and neighbor, Danny Eicher.  Danny and Emma had dated before he decided to travel for "The Budget", but now she is a grandmother and too old for romance.  She finds a runaway teen in her barn and the Bishop asks her to shelter a mother and her young sons.  When her mother-in-law reveals a long hidden secret, will they all be able to find a way to build a place "Where Healing Blooms" ?  

I enjoy Amish stories and these were no exception.  I did find it sort of unusual for Amish stories with the amount of kissing the characters did.  Normally in Amish stories, they can barely be alone together or hold hands before they are married.  It made these stories seem more like contemporary romances (other than the lack of technology).  There was also one instance in the last story where it says Ben instead of Danny.  On the whole, I enjoyed "An Amish Garden" and would recommend them to those who enjoy clean romances.  It is nice to be able to read a story in an evening without guilt of it taking all day to do it!

Length 416 Pages
Publication Date March 18, 2014
Company Thomas Nelson

"An Amish Garden" is available for $11.59 as a paperback or $9.99 as a Kindle edition.

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