Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Review: Amish Christmas at North Star: Four Stories of Love and Family

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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-old 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 great 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.

Star 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.

~See more at http://waterbrookmultnomah.com

This was a great Christmas read!  I don't normally read a lot of Amish stories but I decided to give this one a try.  I loved the thread running through all four stories about the babies that were all born on the same night and where they are now as adults.

My favorite of the stories was Guiding Star by Katie Ganshert.  I liked the element of adoption in this story and how Elle is drawn into finding her biological parents.  The process of connecting with her family was sweet.  I also liked how Chase and Elle connect and fall in love.

Morning Star by Amanda Flower was also interesting.  The nature of the short story novella didn't allow much time for developing a relationship between Jacob and Eden, but there was a connection.  And the mystery of Isaac's death keeps your attention.

In the Stars by Cindy Woodsmall was my least favorite of the four.  The whole reason for Savilla's rejection of Kore and his broken heart could have been solved a whole lot quicker by a little more communication and trust.

Star of Grace by Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark was endearing.  Andy left town after Nellie jilted him and left to pursue higher education.  Although Nellie is now back in town and sorry for what she has done, Andy has also left town and has a hard time trusting her again.  However, the main part of this story (and what make it so endearing) centers around Andy's brother Sam who is desperately trying to get Andy back into town for Christmas.  How he goes about it is sweet and also touches the life an old widower.   Good story!

*Thanks to Blogging For Books for the complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions stated are my own.*

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Katie Ganshert
Christy Award finalist, Katie Ganshert is the author of Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows. She lives in Iowa with her handsome husband, their dinosaur-loving son, and their goofy black lab, Bubba. When she’s not busy writing or playing or reading or snuggling, she is obsessing over the paperwork and the waiting that comes with adoption, which she and her husband hope to complete sometime before they are fifty.

Amanda Flower
Amanda Flower is an Agatha Award–nominated author. She also writes the USA Today bestselling Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries, including Murder, Simply Served and Murder, Simply Stitched under the name Isabella Alan.

Cindy Woodsmall
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author of numerous works of fiction and one of nonfiction. Her connection with the Amish community has been featured widely in national media. She lives in the Foothills of the North Georgia Mountains with her family.

Mindy Starns Clark & Emily Clark
Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of more than 20 books, both fiction and nonfiction (more than 800,000 sold) including coauthoring the Christy Award–winning The Amish Midwife. Mindy and her husband, John, have two adult children and live in Pennsylvania. She enjoys speaking to churches, civic groups, and libraries across the country. Her unique blend of humor and insight make her an audience favorite.
Emily Clark is Mindy's daughter.