Young Amish couples tend to a community garden and harvest friendships and love along the way in this new story collection by bestselling author Amy Clipston.
Spring Is in the Air: As the young people of Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, plant a garden in memory of their friend, Katie Ann begins to worry that her older brother, Ephraim, is dating her best friend. What if she somehow loses them both? But Christian, a new boy in the community, also works in the garden—and falling for him may be exactly the distraction, and lesson, that Katie Ann needs.
Home by Summer: Clara Hertzler is surprised when Jerry Petersheim, her old friend, comes to the garden to drop off his younger sister—especially because Jerry has been gone for years, and now seems to be living as an Englisher. As the friends get to know each other again, Clara pushes Jerry to examine why he abandoned his Amish beliefs. Will Clara help Jerry renew his faith in God, and will they find love beneath the summer sun?
The Fruits of Fall: Tena Speicher has come to live in Bird-in-Hand after her fiancé left her for an English woman. When a stranger comes to the fruit stand one day and asks for food, Tena is not sure how to respond—but Wayne intervenes and offers to let him stay in the barn. Afraid to trust Englishers, Tena must learn, with Wayne’s help, that everyone is a child of God and deserving of kindness.
Winter Blessings: Ephraim and Mandy have dated for some time and now have plans to marry. But after a series of unexpected events and misunderstandings, they wonder if they should go their separate ways. What will happen when their friends at the Amish garden conspire to bring them back together?
Each story in this sweet, contemporary collection can be read as a standalone, but the stories are best enjoyed together. Book length: approximately 95,000 words. Also includes a reading group guide and an Amish glossary.
“One story slides into the next, woven together effortlessly with the author’s knowledge of the Amish life. Once started, you can’t put this book down.” —Suzanne Woods Fisher, bestselling author of The Devoted
Four Amish novellas in one book!
Seasons of an Amish Garden takes us through the four seasons of a special vegetable garden in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. Spring is in the Air has our young people planning the garden in honor of Emma Bontrager’s deceased husband with the proceeds going to the Bird-in-the Hand Shelter. Katie Ann Blank is feeling like a third wheel since her brother, Ephraim started dating her best friend, Mandy. Christian Lantz is new to town and is smitten with Katie Ann. Working on the garden gives him an opportunity to spend time with Katie Ann and maybe it will help Katie Ann understand her brother’s relationship.
Home by Summer forwards us to August when the garden is bursting with fresh produce. Clara Hertzler is surprised to see Jerry Petersheim drop off his sister, Biena. Jerry decided not to become baptized with the rest of the group. He took a job with his uncle and began dressing English. Jerry was protective of Clara when they were children and she misses spending time with him. As Jerry helps with the garden, Clara tries to find out why Jerry left the Amish faith. Jerry lost his connection with God, but with Clara help, hopefully he can find his way back home. Can love and faith bloom along with the vegetables this summer?
Tena Speicher comes to live with Emma Bontrager in Bird-in-Hand in The Fruits of Fall. Tena is suffering from a broken heart after her fiancé left her for an English woman. She is working at the vegetable stand when a homeless veteran comes up looking for food. Tena is nervous around him, but Wayne King offers the man a home cooked dinner plus a place to sleep. Alex McCormack, the veteran, has had a hard time since leaving the armed services. Emma and the group offer him room and board in exchange for help around the farm. Tena is uncomfortable around Alex and other Englishers. Wayne helps Tena to see that all people are Gods children and deserving of benevolence. Can Tena learn to trust Englishers and open her heart to the possibility of a new love?
Mandy and Ephraim have gotten engaged and their wedding is eight weeks away in Winter Blessings. Mandy is overwhelmed with the preparations, but she is eager to marry Ephraim and start their new life together. But when Ephraim’s sister and her husband need a helping hand, it leads to disagreements and misunderstandings between the engaged couple. The pair have doubts and wonder if they are truly meant to be together. Their friends work to bring them back together during this special time of year.
Seasons of an Amish Garden by Amy Clipston contains four heartwarming Amish novellas. The stories feature the characters from The Christmas Cat. Each story takes place during a different season with the same group of people in each story. The four stories are Spring is in the Air, Home by Summer, The Fruits of Fall and Winter Blessings. Emma Bontrager and Hank, Emma’s Christmas cat, are featured in each of the stories. Emma provides needed insight while Hank provides comfort. After spending Christmas with Emma and Hank last year (The Christmas Cat), a group of young people have decided to start a vegetable garden on Emma’s property in honor of her deceased husband, Henry. They will sell the vegetables at a stand with the proceeds going to Bird-in-Hand Shelter for homeless. I found the novellas to be well-written and the stories move along at a nice, steady clip. I like that each tale features relatable characters with realistic problems. While each novella can be purchased individually, I suggest reading the whole book in order. Each story builds upon the previous one. While I suggest reading The Christmas Cat (such a charming tale), it is not necessary. The author summarized what occurred in that novella. The Christian element is woven into each story providing messages that we all need to learn. The stories do play out in an expected manner, they are still enjoyable to read. I found the book to be a pleasant diversion (I devoured the whole book in under three hours). Seasons of an Amish Garden contains four sweet romantic stories with good life lessons and welcoming characters.