Thursday, January 28, 2016

Grace's Forgiveness by Molly Jebber {A Book Review}

Christian Amish Fiction is still a fairly new genre within my reading realm, but it is one that continues to grow on me. My first experience with Christian Amish Fiction came this past fall when I read and reviewed The Amish Christmas Sleigh, which is made up of three novella's by three separate authors (you can see my review for An Amish Christmas Sleigh here). Of the three novella's, An Unexpected Christmas Blessing by Molly Jebber was my favorite. So when I had the chance to read & review her novel Grace's Forgiveness, I signed up immediately!

Grace's Forgiveness is the 2nd in Jebber's A Keepsake Pocket Quilt Novel series, but it definitely stands on its own! I have only read this second book, and it is a very detailed and well-rounded novel. The novel centers around Grace, who is both a midwife & a businesswoman as she runs a quilt store with her friend, Sarah. Both girls are Amish and live within a tight-knit, protective Amish community. The community is open to outsiders from a business standpoint, but members of the community are to refrain from any communication and contact with "the outside world" that isn't business related. This exclusion is the main source of conflict between Grace and Sarah, as Grace's best friend Becca married a man who isn't Amish, so Becca is to be shunned. Grace still loves and cares for Becca and breaks the rules a bit to remain in touch with her.

As the reader begins to see the complexities within Grace & Sarah's friendship, a newcomer arrives. He is Mark King, and has just moved from the Amish town of Lancaster and desires to become part of Berlin's Amish community. Mark is single and will be opening a store nextdoor to Grace and Sarah's quiltstore. Sarah, who is married, makes it clear to Mark that Grace is single and available. While the two seem a little embarrassed, they are both intrigued. And Grace is very impressed by the gentleman who seems oblivious to the birthmark on her face that causes so many others to stare at her.  While Grace and Mark get to know one another better, the reader finds out that Mark has a brother Abel who left the Amish church and is the source of much chaos and heartache. And the reader begins to wonder: Will Abel bring turmoil to Mark's new life in Berlin? Will Grace and Mark discover they both have a secret connection with someone shunned from the Amish community? Will that knowledge bring them together or end their relationship?

Grace's Forgiveness provides interesting insight to life within the Amish community. From the Bishop having to approve Mark's acceptance, to a barn raising, to the rituals for funerals and engagements, to interacting with local police, and to family dynamics, Jebber is able to bring both depth to her characters and awareness to her readers in a seamless manner. It's not "just" a romance novel, as it contains some mystery and suspense. Adding Grace's parents as minor characters brings another layer of depth and tension to the novel. Grace is an independent and confident woman, and seeing her navigate falling in love while using her skills as a midwife and remaining a successful business woman makes the novel a must-read.

**I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.**

Grace’s Forgiveness by Molly Jebber is a 320 page novel in the Christian Amish genre. It is published by Kinsignton Publishing Corp and was released on Jan 26, 2016. To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book

”Grace’sA handsome newcomer with secrets shows a yearning Amish woman a chance at happiness—but their love will need all their courage to keep . . . Grace Blauch is skilled at midwifery—and crafting quilts that help others pass on messages of enduring family love. But a disfiguring birthmark keeps the young Amish woman from a husband and home of her own—until Mark King arrives from another community. His helpfulness and independent nature earn Grace’s respect. And he finds her outspoken ways and determination to do right irresistibly appealing. Soon Grace is planning a wedding quilt of her very own . . . until her father discovers that Mark’s shunned brother is hiding somewhere in town . . . Grace can well understand why Mark took such a risk once she hears his wrenching reasons. But she fears even prayer will not convince her father to restore his blessing on their union. She wills herself to face the end of her dreams, but sudden danger and an impossible act of generosity will show her that abiding hope can inspire the most precious of miracles . . .

About the Author

”mollypicture”Molly Jebber is an educational, motivational, and Women’s Christian Connection speaker. She was raised in a small town in the Midwest, and insists if you had blinked twice, you would’ve missed it. She loves God, her family and friends, sunshine, swimming and traveling to the Amish communities. Creating historical Amish characters and throwing them into difficult situations and joyous times has been challenging and fun for her. The greatest reward she’s experienced in becoming an author is meeting wonderful people from all over the world who’ve been encouraging and supportive.

copyright 2016 LeAnne Klopfenstein

Sunday, January 10, 2016

"You're a Good Mom" {Perception & Misconception}

"You're a good mom."

I hear those words very often, and nearly everywhere I go--Costco, Target, church, the grocery store, the doctor's get the idea. And I suppose the strangers' words come out naturally when they see a gal with a 16 month-old on one hip, a 21 month-old on the other, a three-year old tagging alongside.

But while I hear the words, they aren't being said to me.

The words are being said to my 15 year-old daughter, Kaitlin.

Kaitlin, my oldest child who--along with younger siblings Connor & Kylie--has spent 5 years sharing her home & life with foster siblings. She was 10 when our journey as a foster family began....and 13 when someone first called 'mom' as she snuggled tiny baby Charlie--who is now officially & forever her brother--at church.

Church, where her dad is one of the pastors.

Fostering is not a parent's a family journey. One that has affected my kids in ways I did not expect. Could I have possibly dreamed my 13 year-old daughter would be assumed to be a mother? Or that by the time Kaitlin was 15 that she would be the one assuming everyone thinks she is a mom? Never. Many things crossed my mind when we began this journey, but pushing my young teen into the "mom spotlight" was never on my radar and definitely not my intention.

I know that many families have children that fall within a wide age-range, and I'm sure the older children are often considered to be a parent rather than the sibling. So even though we didn't birth all of our kids, we have now created an interesting lineup within our home as we have kids ages 15, 14, 12, 3, 21 months & 16 months. The lineup causes many double-takes, questions, and assumptions that affect each of us in various ways. And for Kaitlin, it means many people will assume one of the little girls is her own child.

Last night, I asked Kaitlin, "What do you think when when people tell you you're a good mom?" And she told me she really doesn't think much about it because it's "kinda weird" . Then, with a wink and a smile, she said, "But I really am a good mom."

She is indeed.

copyright 2016 LeAnne Klopfenstein