Title: An Amish Reunion
Author: Beth Wiseman
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Format: ARC, Paperback
From bestselling authors in the Amish genre come four stories about reuniting with those you love.
Their True Home by Amy Clipston
When Marlene Bawell moved from Bird-in-Hand ten years ago, she was in the deepest of mourning for her mother. Now her family has moved back so her father can seek employment after being laid off. To help save money, Marlene works at the hardware store owned by Rudy Swarey’s father. She knew Rudy growing up and had a secret crush on him, though he never seemed to notice her. But just as a friendship between them begins to blossom, her life is once again turned upside down. Will Marlene ever have a chance to find her own true home?
A Reunion of Hearts by Beth Wiseman
Ruth and Gideon Beiler experienced one of life’s most tragic events. Unable to get past their grief, the couple abandoned their Amish faith and went in different directions, though neither could bear to formally dissolve the marriage. When their loved ones reach out to them to come home for a family reunion, Ruth has reason to believe that Gideon won’t be there. Gideon also thinks that Ruth has declined the invitation. Family and friends are rooting for them to reunite, but will it all be enough for Ruth and Gideon to get past their grief and recapture a time when they were in love and had a bright future ahead of them?
A Chance to Remember by Kathleen Fuller
Cevilla Schlabach, Birch Creek’s resident octogenarian matchmaker, is surprised when Richard, a man from her Englisch past, arrives in Birch Creek for a visit. While he and Cevilla take several walks down memory lane, they wonder what the future holds for them at this stage of life—friendship, or the possibility of something else?
Mended Hearts by Kelly Irvin
At eighteen Hannah Kauffman made a terrible mistake. Her parents and members of her Jamesport Amish community say they’ve forgiven her. But she feels their eyes following her everywhere she goes with eighteen-month-old Evie. Thaddeus, Evie’s father, escaped this fate by running away from Jamesport. Now that Thaddeus is gone, Hannah’s old friend Phillip is stepping up to be by her side. He has waited patiently for Hannah to realize just how much he cares for her. But when Thaddeus returns after two years, Hannah can’t deny the love she feels for him. Does the fact that Phillip has waited patiently for her all this time mean that she owes him something? Can she trust either one of them? Can she trust herself? She has repented and been forgiven by the One who is most important—her heavenly Father. But is she willing to risk making more mistakes by opening herself up to love?
I’ve been reading – or, more accurately, listening to – a ton of these Amish short story collections lately, so I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to get an ARC of the latest publication. It arrived on my doorstep the day it was published so I jumped right in. Before I get into the review of the actual stories, I wanted to point out that when you have a physcial copy, versus the audiobook version that I was used to, there’s a dictionary for all of the Pennsylvania Dutch words used in the stories. For the most part they’re straight forward and I didn’t have to bother looking them up, but every now and then I ran across one that I had to check!
Now, on to the actual stories! One thing that all four had in common (besides being about reunions) was that they took a different twist on Amish romance. Divorce, senior citizens finding love, and unwed parents were featured – tough topics for any community, but especially difficult for the Amish. It was refreshing to read some nontypical romance after working through several of these collections nearly back to back. I was able to connect with most of the character and once I started a story I would get sucked in and read it in one sitting. The last story, Mended Hearts, was my favorite out of the four.
The only qualm I had with this collection was that I noticed that several tied in to other stories by the authors. That’s totally fine, and actually makes me interested in reading some of the other full length stories, but I did feel like I was missing out. Maybe because I was reading instead of listening, it seemed like there was important information missing. I also found A Chance to Remember a little off. The romance takes place between an Amish woman and English man, which generally isn’t allowed unless the other party is willing to convert (he wasn’t). The ending felt a little odd and forced, but there was a mention that the two characters in the short story would have their own novel so maybe I just need to pick up the rest of the story!
ARC provided in exchange for an honest review