A Gift of Grace by Amy Clipston

6052350Fiction — print. Zondervan, 2009. 323 pgs. Received from PaperBackSwap.

Unable to conceive, Rebecca Kauffman has given up on filling her and her husband Daniel’s Old Order Amish home will children. When her older sister, Grace, who left the Amish community for the modern world, dies in an automobile accident, Rebecca is left custody of her two teenage nieces, Jessica and Lindsay. Raising her two English teenage nieces proves to be a bigger challenge than Rebecca anticipated and the task begins to cause a rift between Rebecca and Daniel and the community the Kauffmans live in.

I’ve read a different novel about the Amish dealing with a similar topic, The Redemption of Sarah Cain by Beverly Lewis, and they both end much in the same way. However, I enjoyed this novel quite a bit more than Lewis’ novel. I wouldn’t say Clipston’s novel is better written as I think they’re about the same in terms of writing quality; it’s just that Clipston’s novel has much more likable characters particularly Jessica and Rebecca.

One of the things that stood out to me where how harshly the Amish community acts towards Jessica, especially when she is caught wearing shorts and a bathing suit. Both Rebecca and Daniel (along with the rest of their family) work with tourist day in and day out, and I find it hard to believe that the family would be so harsh towards Jessica for listening to her iPod, wearing shorts, and using a cell phone. That’s a lot of judgment.

Not exactly the best representation of Amish culture, but not a terrible Amish novel either. I wasn’t trilled with the ending, although I’ve kind of come to expect it with this type of novel. They’re always setting the reader up for the next one in the series.

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