Imagine yourself a typical teenager of today, with your cell phone and Ipod, going to high school and looking toward college. With almost no warning, you are suddenly whisked away to an Old Order Amish community, with no electricity, telephones, or automobiles.
New Zondervan author Amy Clipston explores that premise in the first book of her "Kauffman Amish Bakery Series." After receiving an advance copy of A Gift of Grace from BlogTourSpot.com to review for this week's blog tour, I can't wait for the second installment!
When Rebecca Kauffman's "English" sister and brother-in-law are killed in a traffic accident, Rebecca's two teenaged nieces come to live with her in her Lancaster County Amish community . Unable to have children of their own, Rebecca and her husband Daniel now have an "instant family". While one sister acclimates quickly to the Old Order culture, the other rebels at the unwelcome restrictions. Rebecca finds herself torn between abiding by her sister's wishes that the girls be raised in the culture she rejected and her husband's insistance that the girls will never fit in and in fact threaten the Kauffman's place in the community.
Rebecca's struggle to honor her sister's memory and provide a loving home for her nieces in the face of her husband's strong disapproval is heart-wrenching. The way Clipston chose to resolve that struggle was not what I expected...and I liked that. At times in Christian fiction...even good Christian fiction...the ending is rather predictable. It was a pleasant surprise to find I didn't have this one figured out from the start. :)
Clipston writes about difficult issues and emotions without coming across as "heavy". When God's will and our plans collide, the results are often painful, but A Gift of Grace spotlights the hope that comes when we stop fighting His plan, and instead embrace it. Clipston says, " Sometimes we may be convinced God has forgotten us or that what we’re experiencing isn’t part of His plan. However, things may not go the way we’d hoped, but God is always in control. " She speaks as one who has experienced trials...her family is currently awaiting her husband's second kidney transplant, about which she says, "God has been teaching me a whole lot about having patience and giving my burdens up to Him... It’s been a very long and difficult road with my husband’s illness, but prayer and faith have been my companions."
For more reviews of A Gift of Grace, visit the other participants in the Blog Tour Spot tour.