If you are already a fan or just wanting to dip your toes into Amish fiction, this novella collection is a great choice. For me, the summer theme made it a lovely end of season read.
The collection puts it’s best foot forward, so to speak, with a story by Shelley Shepard Gray, whose Lone Star Hero and Amish of Hart County series have been recent favorites.
How in the world was he going to get himself out of this mess? And if and when he did, how was he ever going to get Sharon to give him the time of day?
He really was too old for this. (p.35, Gray)
A Reunion in Pinecraft is a sweet story of confusion bookended by letters. Those who have read her Brides of Pinecraft series will welcome this addition, and those who have not can still enjoy the dilemma created when Graham discovers he has been writing to the wrong sister.
Combining some grittier circumstances with sweet romance is Amy Clipston’s Summer Storms. Jesse, for whom everything appears to happen easily, finds himself with a broken engagement and in a position where he has to strive to prove himself not only to his ex-fiancee, but to her taciturn father. Much is mended with a letter, a device I find I enjoy in Amish romances.
Kathleen Fuller’s Lakeside Love features another set of very different sisters and a well meaning but confused man.
Peace had been within her reach all along. For once she was ready to grab it–to enjoy life and the blessings God had given her and her family. (p.229, Fuller)
It also features one of the most romantic kisses I’ve read in Amish fiction. Kathleen Fuller has a way of putting small moments into her stories – I’m thinking specifically of her 2016 novel A Love Made New (read my review here) – that are so endearing that she is on her way to being in my very selective list of (working title) Amish Must Read Authors.
The final novella in this collection is also “book 2.5” in Kelly Irvin’s The Amish of Bee County series. One Sweet Kiss is the story of Martha, a young woman forced to grow up too soon, having misgivings about being courted by the more carefree Jacob.
Plain folk aren’t allowed to be insane.” (p.356, Irvin)
As she learns let go of her role as caregiver to her siblings, Jacob begins to let go of his rumspringa behavior and become the mature Plain man that Martha can trust. Another story with a touch of the more gritty side of Amish stories enhancing a sweet summer romance.
Themes of faith and responsibility seemed to run through these novellas of summertime romance. This collection left me happy that I had read it, despite my inclination to take a break from Amish fiction earlier this summer, and with letter writing on my mind. Recommended for when you need quick, sweet summery romance stories no matter what time of year.
An Amish Summer: Four Novellas by Shelley Shepard Gray, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin | Thomas Nelson, June 2017 | paperback, 400 pages
This review refers to a finished copy I received for review through Thomas Nelson and Zondervan’s Fiction Guild. All opinions expressed are my own.