Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston

Naomi's gift is a charming Amish Christmas novella that could easily be turned into a full-fledged novel....in fact, I would love to see that happen.  I was so drawn into the story and fell in love with the main characters, that I'd love to see what else happens in their lives!  (Oh, the ideas that are running through my writing mind!)

This story revolves around Naomi King, a 24 year old character re-introduced from another Kauffman Amish Bakery series book. (I've only recently discovered Amy Clipston but I'm really enjoying her delightful Amish tales) Naomi has been burned by love twice before and has all but given up on ever find her 'one true love'.  As Christmas nears, Naomi becomes even more certain that she'll live out her life as an old maid, but we all know that Christmas is a time of miracles....

Widowed, Caleb and his delightfully lovely 7 year old daughter, Susie come back to Lancaster County to spend some time with Caleb's family for Christmas.  Young Susie remembers that it's only proper to bring your hostess a gift when you go visiting, pleads with her father to stop at a local farmer's market to find just the perfect hostess gift for her aunt.  While browsing the items, Susie is attracted to beautiful quilts and is reminded of her mama, who passed away two years prior.  When Caleb notices that Susie's missing, he begins frantically searching the area for his daughter.  Susie, while not realizing she's 'lost' engages in some lively conversation with Naomi about the quilts.

As time continues, Susie develops quite an endearing friendship with Naomi, as well as her cousins.  Naomi begins to take notice of Caleb but fears that it's useless to get to know him since he'll soon be returning home to Ohio so she guards her heart from more heartbreak.  In the meantime, Caleb's sister, Sadie is determined to get her brother and his daughter to move back to his hometown area and to settle down with a new wife.  She feels it's imperative that little Susie have a mother figure in her life.  Sadie plays matchmaker trying to get Caleb and Irene together.  It's obvious that Irene really has no desire to have a 'ready made' family and shows little interest in Susie.

The story was delightful, but I do have a couple of complaints with the story - (1) Sadie's harshness with Naomi - she gossips about her, talks negatively about her, and her extreme interference in her brother's life which anyone familiar with the submission of Amish women to Amish men can see that this is carried to an extreme - Sadie truly pushes things way beyond what would be acceptable behavior; and (2)  the over usage of Pennsylvania Dutch words and phrases...a little goes a long way.  After a while, it distracts from the story.

There was a family tree included in the beginning of the book - which didn't really add anything to the book, as far as I was concerned.  I did enjoy that the author included a recipe as well...those all seem interesting.

I wish to thank Zondervan for the complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

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