Monday, March 14, 2016

Amish Christmas at North Star: Four Stories of Love and Family by Cindy Woodsmall, Amanda Flower, Katie Ganshert, Mindy Starns Clark, and Emily Clark

This Review was Written by: B
Received: Blogging for Books
Publication Date of Book: October 2015
Pages: 400 (paperback)
Stars: 4/5

Official Summary:
 One night, four lives entered the world by the hands of an Amish midwife, just outside North Star, Pennsylvania.

Rebekah's babies, as they are called, are now grown adults and in four heartwarming novellas each young person experiences a journey of discovery, love, and the wonder of Christmas.

Guiding Star by Katie Ganshert
Curiosity gets the best of Englisher Chase Wellington when he investigates the twenty-five-year disappearance of an Amish baby.  When he finds adventurous Elle McAllister in Iowa will his discoveries upend her world?

Mourning Star by Amanda Flower
Eden Hochstetler slips from her parents' fudge shop to investigate the death of her friend Isaac Yoder.  Who is guilty?  Isaac's handsome new nephew Jacob, an angry Englisher, or someone else?

In the Stars by Cindy Woodsmall
Kore Detweiler has nursed his broken heart, avoiding North Star after Savilla Beiler suddenly rejected his love.  But when he is called to return home, he and Savilla must join forces to keep a family together.

Stars of Grace by Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark
Andy Danner left North Star to work in construction in a new Amish settlement in Louisiana.  His little brother devises a scheme to bring Andy home for Christmas, and unwittingly unleashes the power of forgiveness in an old widower's life.

My Thoughts:
This is easily one of the most heartwarming collections of stories that I have ever read, and the beauty of this book will undoubtedly stay with every reader long after they put it down.  If you are looking for a meaningful Christian fiction contemporary that focuses on breathtaking journeys, I highly suggest this one.  Up until this point, I had never read a single story featuring Amish characters even though there are several on my shelves.  I recently decided that this needed to be rectified immediately, though.  In the end, picking up Amish Christmas at North Star was a smart decision.  While not everyone can relate to the Amish, everyone can certainly relate to these graceful, inspiring stories that these people are featured in.

What really stood out to me in Amish Christmas at North Star was the heavy focus on so many important topics, such as redemption, forgiveness, and even new beginnings.  Each novella left me feeling so warm and fuzzy inside, which I was honestly not expecting to happen as strongly as it did.  On top of that, there was not only romantic highlights in each marvelous entry, but there was also a familial love that was featured, which I absolutely cherished.  This aspect was admittedly my favorite part of the entire book.  Especially in Star of Grace, the brotherly love was absolutely adorable, charming, and affectionate.  Also, the stories were in no way preachy or forceful in their messages, but rather they were fondly subtle and honest, bringing each novella to a satisfying conclusion.

Amish Christmas at North Star is a book that is sure to warm the soul.  Each author is terribly talented and was able to create stories that wove into each other in inexplicable, mystifying ways.  I was continually amazed at how they were all able to show God's unconditional love and baffling ways of working through others to spread His message and devotion.  This book was able to start off beautifully engaging and ended in the exact same way.  The Amish and Christmas settings were perfect and set up a beautiful backdrop for four incredible stories.  I highly recommend reading this during the Christmas season, but this in no way means that it can't be read during any other time!  Its winter context may be seasonal but its messages are not.  

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Please note that I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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