Monday, July 25, 2016

Book Write-Up: The Cherished Quilt, by Amy Clipston

Amy Clipston.  The Cherished Quilt.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016.  See here to buy the book.

The Cherished Quilt is the third book of Amy Clipson’s “Amish Heirloom” series.  Book 1, The Forgotten Recipe, focused on Veronica and her relationship with Jason.  Book 2, The Courtship Basket, focused on Veronica’s sister Rachel and her relationship with Mike.  Book 3, The Cherished Quilt, is about Emily, the third sister.

One can understand most of The Cherished Quilt without having read the previous books of the series.  Readers should keep in mind, however, that the character of John is a little kid.  Readers of The Cherished Quilt could probably detect that from what he says, but it is not explicitly stated in that book.  Those who have read the previous book of the series already know that he is a little kid, since he was a major character in The Courtship Basket.

In The Cherished Quilt, Emily meets Chris, who has recently moved to the area to work with his uncle.  Chris is self-doubting and aloof, and Emily wants to reach out to him.  Chris is dealing with a lot of guilt because his little brother Gabriel fell off a horse while Chris was around.  Chris is estranged from his father, who blames Chris for the accident.  While Chris is attracted to Emily, Chris is reluctant to be baptized and to join the church, which is a requirement for marriage.

The Cherished Quilt is probably the best novel by Amy Clipston that I have read thus far.  Many of her novels (that I have thus far read) are repetitive and cover the same territory over and over.  The Cherished Quilt, by contrast, covered the same territory the right amount of times (in my opinion), diversified its presentation of the territory, and covered a variety of topics.

The character of Chris was particularly well-developed.  Chris was insecure, even towards people who had been nothing but friendly towards him.  There was more to Chris’ relationship with his father than the accident involving Gabriel: Chris’ father showed favoritism towards Chris’ brother Paul because Paul was better at training horses.  Chris’ struggle with joining the church is also explained in some detail.

The scene in which Chris and his father talk things out is remarkable, as Chris’ father acknowledges his foibles, while also explaining his perspective.  Chris’ religious struggle was resolved too hastily, and yet Amy Clipston may genuinely feel that the answer to Chris’ perplexity had a simple answer.  The book also briefly discussed the question of whether Chris’ crafts are a graven image and violate the second commandment, but more detail and wrestling with this question should have been provided.

Emily often thinks of others besides herself, yet she struggles with her own loneliness.  The intersection between these characteristics perhaps could have been developed more, and yet Emily is still a lovable character.

Like the previous two books of the series, the third book ends on a mystery.  This mystery intersects with the mysteries in the previous two books.  The mysteries remain unresolved, and yet Emily’s mother at the end of the book is finally willing to explain what happened.  We may have to wait for the fourth book before we, the readers, can find out!

In terms of stars, this book is too good to get four stars, yet not quite five-star material.  I would give it a 4.5, while giving it five stars on Amazon.  The book is officially released in November, though, so I will have to wait before posting my Amazon review.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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