• Reviews by Anne Blackburne

    Book Review “An Amish Second Christmas”

    With stories by Shelley Shepard Gray, Patricia Johns and Virginia Wise

    Time for a report on the book I read on my recent cruise! My friend, Linda, found “An Amish Second Christmas” at a store in SE Ohio in February, and after she read it, I grabbed it because it has three stories from three of my favorite authors of Amish romance!

    The authors are Shelley Shepard Gray, Patricia Johns, Author, and Virginia Wise.

    All three stories were, as expected, wonderful. Are you surprised by this??

    Shelley’s story, “Their Second Chance”, focused on Amish nanny Hannah Eicher, her sweet pup, Daisy, and a handsome, English fireman named Rob Prince. Hannah and Rob have to work hard to make their relationship work – and to convince her family that he’s the man for her. I loved this story and it’s unexpected, but satisfying, ending.

    Patricia’s story, “His Amish Angel”, is all about Maggie Lapp, a fierce young Amish woman who has decided she is unmarriageable! Why? Because she’s too outspoken. (I can relate to this, I’m afraid!) So she finds satisfaction and a place of belonging by secretly writing a weekly newspaper advice column called ‘Miss Amish’. Enter Maggie’s former fiancé, the very traditional-minded Atley, who accidentally ruins everything by revealing her secret . . . and the sparks fly! But a second chance at love is also taking flight.

    Finally, Virginia’s story, “An Heirloom Christmas”, focuses on Rachel Miller, another independent young Amish woman who is recovering from a bout with cancer, and is determined to prove she can make it on her own by selling heirloom plants she cultivates in her greenhouse. Enter Joseph Webber, who needs a job to pay for a new buggy after irresponsibly wrecking the one his father gave him. Rachel remembers Joseph as a cheeky lad from her school days. She longed for his attention then – and is NOT interested in it now. Or . . . is she?

    Thank you all for your wonderful stories! I laughed and cried as I read them under a palm tree on a Caribbean island; and in my cabin any chance I had during my week-long adventure.

    The book itself may be a bit the worse from wear (sorry, Linda!) after my sister accidentally sat on it in a wet bathing suit. Ha ha! But it’s still readable!

    I recommend this book, and basically anything from these three wonderful women. And if you’re looking for something new, I’d be honored if you’d read my debut novel, “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise”, available on Amazon.com. My second book, (with characters you’ll remember from Ruth’s story), is “Mary’s Calico Hope”, and it is releasing very soon – in e-book on May 15, and in print on June 1.

    If you’d like to keep in touch with me, I’d love it if you subscribed to my newsletter! My web manager assures me there’s a place to do so here on my website. If you can’t find it, you can message me your email in my Facebook messenger at Anne Blackburne on Facebook. I’ll post about once a month, except when I have a book coming out. Then it may be a bit more often!

  • Reviews by Anne Blackburne

    Time for some Amish Book Reviews!

    I’ve read a number of good Amish romances and sweet Amish mysteries lately, but I haven’t had time to review them for a few weeks. So here is a catch-up post!

    Amish Snowbirds by Barbara Cameron

    I recently read “Amish Snowbirds” by Barbara Cameron, a novella that takes place in the Sarasota, Florida area in the Amish town of Pinecraft. Lots of Amish folks head there every winter to get a break from the northern cold. I’ve now read two books set there; “Amish Snowbirds” and Wanda Brunstetter’s collection, written with three of her family members, “Sisters by the Sea”.

    I enjoyed both books a lot! But I digress. “Amish Snowbirds” deals with a young Amish woman who is running away from an unpleasant situation back home, and a young man who lives year-round in Pinecrest with his grandfather. They meet, and love blooms. But Lizzie must find the courage to tell Eli what it is that haunts her back home. Will her trust issues end their promising relationship before it really begins? By the way, now that I’ve read these two books, I’ve added Pinecraft to my bucket list places to visit! I’m hoping to get there next winter. Maybe after that I’ll set a story of my own there!

    Wife on His Doorstep, by Patricia Johns

    I just finished reading Patricia Johns’ book, “Wife on His Doorstep,” from Love Inspired. In this story, Mirium Lapp and her estranged husband, Amos, must figure out whether it is a lack of love keeping them from living together happily, or simply a lack of understanding.

    At the beginning of the story, Mirium, who was raised by her successful, businessman father to be able to run a business empire, arrives unannounced on her husband’s doorstep, in search of some documents which she needs to claim the one business left to her by her father. It seems that after spending years teaching Mirium to be a businesswoman, her father decided she shouldn’t be one after all, and left everything else to his son.

    Determined to have something of her own, she goes home, where she finds her husband caring for his dying grandmother; a woman Mirium loves dearly. She agrees to stay and help care for the elderly lady, fully understanding that matchmaking is in the plan; a plan to reunite a husband and wife who have more in common than they both think. This is a very good book — no surprise from Patricia Johns. And the ending is really satisfying!

    Agatha’s Amish B&B Series, Books One – Three, by Vanetta Chapman

    One of my favorites recently was Vanetta Chapman’s cozy mystery series set in Texas, “Agatha’s Amish B&B” stories. First up was “Dead Wrong” in which we meet Agatha and her neighbor, ex-detective Tony Vargas. The two work together, along with Agatha’s housekeeper and friend, to solve the murder of a guest. The second book, The second and third books are “Dead Broke” and “Dead Set”. This is a really good series, and for fans of Chapman who have read her other Amish mysteries, you’ll get to reconnect with an old friend – a character from a previous series! I highly recommend this series. I hope she writes more books in it. Vannetta’s sweet Amish mysteries have given me ideas about writing sweet Amish mysteries of my own! Watch for more on that in the future!

    The Courtship Basket, by Amy Clipston

    Finally, I read “The Courtship Basket” by Amy Clipston. This book is part of a series, but can be read as a stand-alone. Rachel has been dumped by her boyfriend for her best friend! A double betrayal that is twice as hard to take. Meanwhile, Mike is struggling to raise his much younger brother as their father has become too infirm to do so. They meet when Rachel becomes the child’s teacher…and the attraction is instant. But they struggle against it! A family heirloom picnic basket brings them together. I loved this story, and plan to read the other books in the series.

    In fact, Amy Clipston may just be a new favorite author for me! This is a happy thing, as we are included together with authors Mindy Steele and Amy Lillard in a collection of Christmas novellas coming out September 1 called “A Lancaster Amish Christmas“! What an honor for me! And isn’t the cover stunning? I’m nearly finished editing my story. Here’s a hint; it’s about Lucy, a young Amish woman raising her little sister, who has Down Syndrome. When she made the decision to do so, her “almost fiancée”, John Zook, dumped her like a hot brick and married someone else. That’s fine with Lucy; why would she want a man who thought she would give up her beloved sister just to get married? She’s perfectly happy on her own, thank you very much. Then along comes handsome, compassionate and accepting hardware store owner Amos Fisher. And Lucy might just be ready to consider taking another chance on love!

    So if you’re looking for a new Amish romance or mystery author, look no further. These books are all good, and I think you’ll be happy with any of them.

  • Reviews by Anne Blackburne

    I Found a New Amish Romance Author I love!

    Canadian Author of Sweet Romance, Cozy Mysteries and Amish Romance, Patricia Johns, Didn’t Disappoint!

    The Amish Marriage Arrangement“, the third book in Patricia Johns’ “Amish Country Matches” series, was my first by this author. I was immediately captivated by Patricia’s main characters, Sarai Peachy and Arden Stoltzfus.

    The couple have a history…
    Okay, not a personal history…they were not previously romantically involved. But Sarai knew several friends who were attracted to Arden years ago when he’d lived in their town while visiting his grandfather. He’d let them believe they were special to him, and broken all their hearts, playing fast and loose with their feelings. As far as Sarai was concerned, Arden was not a man to be trusted.

    How could she know that while she’d been living with her elderly grandmother, raising chickens and helping to care for their home, the four years Arden spent in Ohio helping to establish a new Amish community had matured him?

    All she knew was that he was back to talk his grandfather into returning to Ohio with him. Sarai didn’t want that to happen, because her grandmother Ellen was sweet on the old man, and it was Sarai’s hope that the two elders would marry and care for each other, freeing her to leave Pennsylvania to travel to Indiana, where she hoped to find new adventure, and possibly the man God had been saving just for her.

    Yet she couldn’t deny the attraction she felt for the handsome young Amish man – a man she simply couldn’t bring herself to trust.

    As for Arden, he had no time for love, because he had a big secret; one that wouldn’t allow him to marry – not until he confessed his biggest regret, and paid back the man he’d wronged years ago.
    Sarai Peachy was the last woman he wanted to fall for – because the man he’d wronged was Sarai’s father. How could that have a happy ending?

    Read “The Amish Marriage Arrangement” to find out! Meanwhile, I’m off to buy the first two books in the series! Happy reading!