All the color and variety of a quaint Amish shop in a charming collection of novellas by four of your favorite authors. Feel free to come in and browse!
Love Birds by Amy Clipston
While Ellie Lapp and her mother are still mourning the loss of her brother, Seth, Ellie starts working at one of the gift shops in town. Seth’s friend Lloyd is talented at carving wooden birds, but his father disapproves and expects him to take over the family farm someday. Ellie sees the beauty in Lloyd’s creations and insists Lloyd sell the birds in the gift shop where she works. As Ellie and Lloyd spend more time together, they begin to develop feelings for one another, but she accidentally betrays his trust. Will she lose any hope of a future with him?
My thoughts: LOVE BIRDS is a really sweet, young adult-ish style romance. Ellie is 18, but acts and thinks rather immature. When her brother dies, she takes a part-time job, but when her new boss says he'll have to cut her hours even more, she goes against Lloyd's wishes and tries to force him into selling his birds instead of respecting his wishes. Lloyd is a sweet young man, kind and caring, though deeply wounded by Ellie's actions. Will he ever trust her again. Well-written, sweet, and YA, this would be a story a mom wouldn't hesitate to allow her tween, young teen daughter to read. 5 stars.
A Bid for Love by Kathleen Fuller
Every week, Hannah Lynne brings her home-churned butter to the local market. And every week Ezra stops by to purchase some. Hannah Lynne knows not to read too much into it—Ezra is a confirmed bachelor and barely even glances her way, despite any hope to the contrary. But when Ezra bids an exorbitant amount to win the quilt she had her heart set on, Hannah Lynne can’t stop her heart from taking over her mind. Could Ezra finally be in the market for love? My thoughts: A BID FOR LOVE is one of the best books I've read by Ms. Fuller lately. I loved Hannah Lynne. She is so sweet and innocent. Ezra is confused by her. He doesn't exactly understand why he seeks her out, why he wants her to be happy, and this ends up hurting her worse as she doesn't know how to act around him. The quilt brings it all to a head, but when the truth comes out, will it ruin any chance for happiness? A sweet romance. 5 stars.
Sweeter Than Honey by Kelly Irvin
Shattering a jar of pickled beets wasn’t the impression Isabella hoped to make on her first trip to the local Combination Store of Bee County, Texas. But as embarrassed as she was by the accident, she didn’t think it warranted the frosty reaction from the handsome manager of the store, Will Glick. As she soon learns, though, Will’s heart has been broken one too many times. And now, for some reason, Isabella finds herself determined to be the one to repair that broken heart and renew his faith in love.
My thoughts: SWEETER THAN HONEY dragged a bit for me and I found myself skimming a lot. I liked Will from some of the previous books in Ms. Irvin's Bee County series. A unique setting, it is interesting seeing an Amish community struggling to survive in southern Texas and the recent immigrants struggling to fit in. I enjoyed getting to know Isabella, and I loved the faith message and the way this story ended. 4 stars
Love in Store by Vannetta Chapman
Stella Schrock works at the Old Mill in Nappanee, Indiana, with new employee David Stoltzfus, a recent widower. When strange happenings begin occurring around town, it appears as if someone wants to close the mill. Stella and David have to work together to solve the mystery of what is happening at the Old Amish Mill, and in the process they might just find that God has more in store for their future than they would ever have dreamed possible.
My thoughts: LOVE IN STORE is a romantic suspense set around two middle-aged people. They both work at a tourist site in Nappanee, Indiana, where strange, but so far, harmless things were beginning to happen. A rubber chicken and strawberry jell-o "blood" left in the ice house. Molasses spilled in the blacksmith shop. Innocent pranks that hinted that something bigger, something possibly deadly, was on the way. I was hooked and spell-bound from the beginning of this story and had to keep reading to see how it would end--and who-dun-it. A great story. 5 stars. Overall, 4.75 stars for the collection. Rounded up to 5.