A Cup Half Full by Beth Wiseman—Sarah Lantz always dreamed of the perfect home, the perfect husband, the perfect family. When she married Abram, she knew she was on her way to securing her perfect life. All of that changes in one moment when an accident leaves her unable to walk and confined to a wheelchair, dashing all of her dreams. As Abram starts to transform their home, Sarah begins a transformation in her spirit, and she begins, once again, to see her cup as half full.
My thoughts: Sarah was depressed for much of this book -- understandably, since she had everything taken away from her. I loved the way the author used a handicapped duck to teach her that she can survive if she tries and keeps trying. I know this is fiction, but I was bothered by the fact that the husband and dad went to a bar, drank a couple beers, and wow, all of Abram's problems were solved because Dad bailed him out. The faith message is being angry with God, but it is never resolved and very weak. More of a women's fiction than romance.
Home Sweet Home by Amy Clipston—Down on their luck and desperate after they are evicted from their small apartment, Chace and Mia O’Conner reluctantly take Chace’s Amish boss up on his offer to rent them the daadihaus located on his property. They are certain they will never feel at home in the rustic cabin without any modern conveniences, and they start to blame each other for their seemingly hopeless situation. But with the help of their new Amish friends, Chace and Mia begin to enjoy their cozy cabin and realize that home really is where the heart is. My thoughts: Mia and Chance have a lot of difficulties as a married couple who got married because they had to. They thought they were in love, but didn't know what love was. They had no idea what marired life could be like, especially as life kept kicking them when they were down. Fired, homeless and abandoned by those who were supposed to love them, they found a home in Amish country. But things were still not peaches and cream. Realistic. A weak faith message (but more than the first book in the collection) and kind of sad. More of a women's fiction than romance.
Building Faith by Kathleen Fuller—Faith Miller knows that carpentry is an unlikely hobby for a young Amish woman, but she loves the work and it keeps the memory of her grandfather alive. So when her cousin asks Faith to build the cabinets in her new home, Faith is only too happy to take on the job, even if it is the most ambitious project she has ever taken on. The only catch is that she has to work with her ex-fiance, Silas. As they work to build Martha’s kitchen, can they put the past behind them and start to build faith in one another again? My thoughts: This one is all romance. :) I enjoyed getting to know strong-willed Faith and equally strong-willed Silas, and seeing how they are coerced into working together to build cabinets for their friends' house. I loved how each one brought different gifts into the process. I also loved how caring Silas is to his mom. Truly a gift with a son so devoted to her.
A Flicker of Hope by Ruth Reid—Fifteen years ago, Thomas and Noreen King were blissful newlyweds. Young, naive, and in love, life was rosy . . . for a while. Then trials and tribulations rocked their foundation, shattering them emotionally, and soon, their marriage was in shards. All hope for restoring their previously unshakable union seems lost. When a fire destroys their home, Thomas and Noreen are left to sift through the rubble. As uncovered items from the remains of the house shake loose memories of the past, Thomas and Noreen begin to draw closer and a flicker of hope—and love—is re-ignited. My thoughts: Another women's fiction, but this one heavier on the romance between a husband and wife. This story isn't as sad (to me) as the first two in the story. I love Ruth Reid's stories, as a rule and enjoyed getting to know Noreen. Thomas was quite a bit of a puzzle at first because he was so distant. I wanted to know what the tragedy was that pulled these two apart since Thomas promised to love and cherish his wife and his actions were anything but. The story changes from 15 years prior to present day, but it is smoothly done.
My overall thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, AN AMISH HOME is a collection of stories about four couples (married or otherwise) in Amish country. Not all of the couples are Amish. Not all the stories are romance. But they are all about some aspects of making a home despite difficulties, physically, mentally, or financially. Recipes are included at the end of the book - one or two from each author.