ABOUT THE BOOK
An Amish Christmas Bakery
Cookies and Cheer by Amy Clipston
As Christmas draws near, Alyssa Byler dreams of a window display for the bakery where she works. When she decides to design and build a sugar cookie nativity scene, all she needs is the right cookie cutters—and handsome blacksmith Kyle Smoker is the one she asks for help. Using Kyle’s handmade cutters, Alyssa creates a striking display that brings more tourists to the bakery than she can handle. And when shoppers request handmade cookie cutters of their own, Kyle finds himself overwhelmed by the demand. As Christmas approaches, Alyssa realizes she’s been too caught up in work to focus on the true meaning of Christmas—and too distracted to explore the feelings she has for Kyle. Together, they put aside the holiday rush and spend their time celebrating the season that has brought them together.
Loaves of Love by Beth Wiseman
As the only girl in a family of eight, Katie Swartzentruber has been left in charge of her family’s bakery while her mother recuperates from surgery. At first, Katie doesn’t think tending to the bakery alone will be difficult. She’s worked alongside her mother for years. But Christmas is coming, and with the holiday comes a flood of patrons, both regulars and tourists. When Katie becomes overwhelmed with the orders she is receiving, she is tempted to move her Old Order family into the modern world by purchasing propane ovens to help with the workload. She finds help from an unexpected source—childhood friend Henry Hershberger, who has harbored a secret crush on Katie for years. He’s been afraid to tell her how he feels, but he’s sure that this Christmas is his moment. As the demands of the bakery only get more intense, both Katie and Henry have to decide what really matters . . . and find the courage within themselves to go after it.
Melting Hearts by Kathleen Fuller
Mattie Shetler is an expert baker, so when her aunt Carolyn begs for help during the busy Christmas rush, Mattie eagerly packs her bags and heads to Birch Creek. What she doesn’t know is that her uncle has also asked for help with the bakery’s new expansion, and he’s asked none other than Peter Kaufman, Mattie’s sworn enemy. As the two work side by side, though, Mattie discovers not all is as it seems. With Christmas just around the corner, Mattie and Peter open their hearts for the greatest gifts of the season: forgiveness and maybe even love.
Cakes and Kisses by Kelly Irvin
Martha Ropp works hard at her family’s bakery, making cakes and pies in preparation not only for Christmas but the many community weddings, including her sister’s. To help during this busy season, Martha’s mother hires Ambrose Hershberger to make deliveries. Martha remembers Ambrose as a gentle giant from her school days, but soon discovers that still waters run deep. The more they work together, the more they want to spend time together outside of the bakery, but both Martha and Ambrose are too timid to make the first move. That’s when the town matchmakers step in.
The four stories in this new book are written by four different authors and even though they are all different, they are all centered around Amish bakeries and they all have the common themes of love, friendship, and the importance of family. I appreciate that there are discussion questions at the end of each novella and I liked that I could choose to read one story at a time, as my schedule allowed. I will admit, however, that I found myself wanting to keep reading because all of them are so good!
Cookies and Cheer
Amy Clipston has a way of placing readers right into the time and place that she is writing about and I love that her faith shines through her stories. In Cookies and Cheer she reminds us that it is easy to forget just what we are celebrating as we become so wrapped up in the materialism of Christmas celebrations. Alyssa Byler realizes that 'I was so caught up in the craziness at the bakery that I lost sight of what Christmas is about.' She also recognizes that there is a special young blacksmith who deserves some attention and I enjoyed watching her relationship with Kyle Smoker develop!
Loaves of Love
Katie Swartzentruber takes on the job of running her family's bakery by herself while her mother recuperates from surgery. As the season rush continues and she finds herself overwhelmed, she considers adopting some liberal practices that are frowned upon by her Old Order Amish community. 'Gott, what should I do? I wish I hadn't made changes to the bakery. Please send me guidance about how to make it right.' Katie also feels a deeper connection between her and her childhood friend Henry Hershberger but misunderstandings may stop this from developing. As Katie feels guilt and frustration, she wonders how to make things right again.
I enjoyed the scenes between Katie and Henry and I could feel her frustation with the other young man who was so "forward" in his interaction with her. Katie truly lived up to the standards of a young unmarried Amish woman.
Mattie Shetler has arrived in Birch Creek to help her aunt Carolyn for a few weeks as the Christmas rush began. She was excited because she loved to travel, she loved to bake, and she especially loved Christmas. Much to her dismay Peter Kaufmann also shows up in Birch Creek and he isn't any happier to see her than she is to see him. And then, her aunt and uncle discover that they are to become parents and they both are in their late forties. Mattie and Peter both offer to help these expectant parents and they find themselves thrown together at work and at night. They agree to call a truce and I enjoyed seeing their animosity turn to respect, friendship, and perhaps, something more? "Mattie, Christ tells us to love one another, and that's what I see in you." These words from Peter suggest that this might be the case.
Cakes and Kisses
At 30 years old, Ambrose Hershberger felt that he had a good life but it was a life alone. He didn't have a wife or children but 'a simple man like himself couldn't expect to be a husband and father. He wasn't smart enough to be in charge of anything.' Yes, Ambrose believed he was simple and many others thought this also but Martha Ropp discovers that this is far from the truth.
This is a story of finding love when your heart is still raw and tender from losing a loved one. The anniversary of the death of Martha's mother is fast approaching and even as Martha successfully keeps their family bakery going, she is still grieving for her loss. When she accepts the challenge of making a wedding cake for her friend Carina, it is Ambrose who steps up and helps her the most and Martha realizes that this man is anything but simple!
I especially loved this story and one quote struck me especially. As Martha and her English friend cry together on Carina's wedding day, Marthat tells Carina not to cry because she will mess up her makeup. "Today is a day for laughter, not tears" and Carina replies "Life is like that. Bitter and sweet often dance together."
You will love this sweet story of love and healing.
An Amish Christmas Bakery is a wonderful collection of inspirational Christmas stories and it will put you in the holiday spirit long before the days actually come. These four novellas stress the need for hope and joy and they all share the true reason for celebrating the season known as Christmas!
I received a complimentary copy of this book but I wasn't required to write a positive review. These are my honest thoughts.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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