Friday, December 23, 2011

Book Review: A Lancaster County Christmas

Lancaster County Christmas, A
by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Grand Rapids: Revell Publishing, 2011

Even though I traveled to Lancaster County last year and found it to be absolutely nothing like I had imagined, I still enjoy reading Amish fiction, and "A Lancaster County Christmas" did not disappoint. Jaime first encounters the Amish family that will change her life at a doctor's office. She is there seeking a prescription for sleeping pills to help her bury the grief she feels at the loss of her mother. Mattie is there because she has recently miscarried and is suffering the pain of not having another child. Mattie's son Danny is six years old and happy to talk to anyone who would listen. He and Jaime forge a connection over an owl whistle. When Danny leaves it behind in the office, the doctor asks her to please return it to the family.

Jaime's whole life is on the rocks, totally upended by her mother's death. Her marriage is suffering and she just quit her job. Never very religious, she feels threatened by her husband C.J.'s new found faith. In light of recent events, she and God are definitely not on speaking terms. Mattie has a deep faith, but she can't shake her sadness and finds herself overly protective of the child she does have. She worries about everything and no matter how hard she tries, can't find peace.

When Jaime's car slides into a pond on Mattie's property and a large snowstorm hits, the two families are thrown together for Christmas. Over the course of the holiday, miracles will happen, hearts will warm, and faith in God will be rediscovered.

People, myself included, enjoy Amish fiction because it emphasizes getting back to basics and appreciating simple joys. My favorite line from the book comes from Mattie's husband Sol. He is praying after breakfast and says "The days available to say a kind word to someone this year are rapidly drawing to a close. Lord God, teach us to be kind." That's a good message to take with us every day of the year.

This is a feel-good book. A short book, it is a compelling story that offers a touch of mystery that will keep you turning pages and leave you smiling at its conclusion.

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