Thursday, December 23, 2010

Book Review: "A Plain and Simple Christmas" by Amy Clipston

When Anna Mae McDonough left her Amish community four years ago to marry David, an Englisher, her family shunned her. Now eight months pregnant with their first child, she longs to return home for Christmas. But when she arrives, she doesn't receive the welcome she expects. Will it cause her to question her faith in God?

I will admit before I started reading this book, I was very wary about it. I had read Clipston's first Amish book last year and I did not like it at all. In fact, I had major problems with it and swore that I would never read another of her books again. Then I saw that she had written a Christmas novella and I'm a sucker for Christmas books. So I picked up this books with very low expectations and was thinking that I would find myself being very disgruntled again. Therefore it was a complete shock to find that not only was the story done very well but that I found myself enjoying the book very much.

The story deals with a couple with the wife being ex-Amish. Anna Mae left her Amish community and family after she fell in love with Kellan. Because of this, she had been shunned by her family. Two years later, she's pregnant with their first child and missing her family dreadfully. Plans are made to go back and visit them but there's a lot of trepidation and tension. Anna Mae's family could completely reject her and her husband. This whole scenario is very interesting to me. Anna Mae has no intention of returning to the Amish faith yet she still wants to reconnect with her family. Kellan brings up a very good point of asking why they are shunning her when she's not only a faithful Christian but she's married to a Christian as well. While the whole thing deals with tradition and custom, it's a very legit question because as true Christians they really shouldn't be doing it at all.

The only over dramatic part was that I knew with Anna Mae being so pregnant at the time of the visit that her having the baby not in a hospital was bound to happen. She just kept ignoring all the signs that she was about to go into labor and of course there would be a snowstorm during the climax scene. Nothing wrong with it but I could see this coming miles away. A bit predictable but nothing completely out of the ordinary.

Overall, I will have to say that I did enjoy this story. Beliefs are challenged but also allowing for both sides to come to a truce with each other. I really liked all the characters especially Kellan (especially because he never gave in to become Amish which I was dreadfully afraid he was going to by the end of the book just to be with Anna Me). The best part of this for me was that even though Anna Mae respects her parents and their beliefs, she has chosen a life for herself and chooses to stay with her husband and make a family together instead of going back to her childhood home. This was a really nice Christmas story as well. In short, it has made me think twice before banishing an author from my library again. At the least, I'll give the author a second try because like Amy Clipston, they might surprise me on the second go round.

A Plain and Simple Christmas by Amy Clipston is published by Zondervan (2010)

This review copy was provided by the Amazon Vine program


  1. Thank you for the review and for giving my books a second try. Merry Christmas! :0)

  2. Merry Christmas -- And Amy, I'll give your books a try, too :)

  3. Anonymous4:54 PM

    I haven't read the book, but I HAVE excluded authors from consideration based on a book I disliked. Perhaps I need to take your cue and intentionally give some authors another try! I'll keep Amy's book in mind, too!


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