Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin, and Vanetta Chapman. An Amish Market: Four Novellas. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2015. See here to buy the book.
An Amish Market is a collection of four novellas about the Amish. The first three of them, at least, relate to the Amish market.
The first story is by Amy Clipston. It is entitled “Love Birds.” Its
characters and plot intersect with Clipston’s 2015 book, The Forgotten Recipe (see here for my review). Seth Lapp died on the job. Whereas The Forgotten Recipe
focused on his fiancée Veronica and his friend and co-worker Jason,
“Love Birds” focused on his sister Ellie. Ellie and her mother Margaret
are struggling to get by financially after the death of Seth, who was
the source of income for the family. Ellie takes a job at an Amish gift
shop. But the gift shop itself is struggling because there is really
nothing that sets it apart from other Amish stores: they all pretty much
sell the same stuff. That only compounds Ellie’s economic insecurity.
has romantic feelings towards Lloyd, a friend of Seth. Lloyd thinks
that he’s too old for her, since he’s later in his twenties than she is.
Lloyd carves beautiful wooden birds. His father discourages this hobby
and thinks it is prideful. Ellie, by contrast, encourages Lloyd in his
hobby and says that Lloyd gives God glory by using his talents. Lloyd
gives Ellie one of his birds in a tender moment in which both are
mourning the loss of Seth. But Ellie feels tempted to tell her boss
about Lloyd’s birds so that the store will sell them and she can still
keep her job.
This story was all right. The part about how using
one’s talents can glorify God stood out to me. Margaret also trusted in
God’s provision, which I had to respect, considering the economic
insecurity they had.
B. The second story is “A Bid for Love,” by Kathleen Fuller.
Lynne sells butter at the local market. She has a crush on Ezra. Ezra
buys a lot of butter and likes Hannah. But he comes across as aloof.
Hannah herself does not really know how to flirt with Ezra, even though
she can be really talkative with her friends. Hannah does not even think
Ezra is interested in her. He has been a bachelor for a long time.
inadvertently donates his late grandmother’s quilt to an auction.
Hannah really wants that quilt. The reason is that it reminds her of a
quilt of her late aunt. Hannah back when she was a child spilled grape
juice on the quilt in a tantrum, yet her aunt continued to love her and
to display the quilt, stain and all. Her aunt loved that quilt because
it was all she had left of her departed husband.
loses the bidding war. But Ezra buys the quilt from the person who won
it and gives it to Hannah. Hannah works for Ezra at his new house to pay
him back. Ezra later learns from his mom that the quilt was valuable to
the family, and he tells his mom that he will get the quilt back. That
means he will have to break the bad news to Hannah: that he needs the
This is a sweet story. I can identify with the part
about having feelings of love for someone, but not knowing how to
express them. That’s not my situation now, but it has been in the past.
C. The third story is “Sweeter Than Honey,” by Kelly Irvin.
spills pickled beets at the local store, where Will works. Isabella has
romantic feelings for Will. But Will is carrying some emotional
baggage. Will loved two women from the same family: the first rejected
him, and the second left him to be with his cousin, who left the Amish
community. Will is struggling to forgive. His mentor tells Will, though,
that it will be difficult for Will to love open-handedly in the future,
if his fists are clenched about things that occurred in the past.
Isabella is actually new to town. She is shy and quiet, so she did not
really fit in at her previous town, even though it was small and people
knew each other. Her dad asks her if she misses her friends from her
previous town. She remembers that they were really best friends with
each other and just let her tag along. She replies to her dad that she
is glad to be starting anew.
I had some difficulty getting into this story. But it had good lessons, particularly about forgiveness. I also identified with Isabella's shyness.
D. The fourth story is “Love in Store,” by Vannetta Chapman.
and David both work at the same mill. Both are older than many of the
characters of the previous stories. David is a widower. Stella is single
and is known for her sarcastic mouth. Stella is a little put off by
David’s cheerfulness. Stella herself carries baggage: she cannot have
children, so she embraced a life of being alone (though she lives with a
friend who has empty nest syndrome).
A series of unfortunate
events are occurring at the mill, disrupting its business. At first,
they are pranks. Later, arson enters the picture. David gets a letter
from the prankster/arsonist about the Year of Jubilee in the Book of
Leviticus. What is going on there? Stella and David try to solve this
This story was all right. My favorite part was David’s
interaction with I John 4:18: there is no fear in love, but perfect love
casts out fear. David wanted to love Stella so that she would no longer
be afraid. He also hoped that she would find that kind of love from
Overall, I liked the stories. I can see myself reading books by these authors in the future.
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