Jess's Reviews > An Amish Christmas

An Amish Christmas by Cynthia Keller
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's review
Aug 30, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: firstreads
Read in September, 2010

Any book I get from FirstReads makes me happy. When I get an ARC from FirstReads, I'm over the moon. An Amish Christmas was not only an advanced copy, it was also a fantastic book in its own right. Let's go in chronological order, shall we? (Yes, I'm obsessive enough that I took notes while reading.)

- I understand that the move from materialism to thankfulness is a theme in the book, but I dislike how the materialism was handled. Keller could have gotten away with just subtly mentioning that the Hobarts had multiple cars instead of listing the types. Same went for the gadgets they had in the house. I occasionally felt like Keller was just listing things instead of talking about Meg's life. Not a big issue, but a little thing that bothered me as the book started off.

- I liked the use of third-person narrative much more than I would have expected. I didn't think we'd get to know Meg well enough for the story to have an impact, but Keller proved me wrong. She has a free-flowing style that really works to help the readers get into Meg's head, even if the story isn't in third person.

- Just mentioning "Start Your Own Country Day" and "Absurdity Day" made me want to celebrate them.

- I giggled that the Hobart kids got a kick out of the town Intercourse. When I was in high school, it always made me snicker, too. This was also my first inclination that the Hobarts would be traveling through the Amish Country with which I'm familiar. I really go excited at this point.

- As I was reading, I really hated James. In fact, I often wished Meg would leave him. As the book ended, I was glad to see that I, as a reader, was taught a lesson in forgiving James, also.

- It may throw off readers to hear that the Lutzes don't have electricity in their home, but do have a refrigerator.

- I loved the image of Catherine's root cellar. The shelves lined with canned foods remind me of my childhood.

- I really appreciated that Keller gave the members of the Lutz family distinct personalities; that they weren't all just generic friendly Amish people. I especially loved the fact that David poked fun at his own lack of technology. The comments about his "website" and "armstrong heater" made me chuckle.

- Description of the Amish kitchen was spot-on. I could smell the apple pies baking. I could see the shoofly pies. And, oh, the whoopie pies! How badly I want a properly-made whoopie pie right now!

- I'm kind of curious as to what happened to Meg's mother to make her such a horrible person. Even before their falling out, when Meg was a child, it sounds like her mother was harsh and hateful and resentful.

- I love that Keller supplied her readers with knowledge of Amish life in a natural way - through Meg's questions and observations - rather than throwing it all on the reader at once. It made the book sound natural and realistic, rather than a lecture on the Amish lifestyle.

All in all, An Amish Christmas was a thoroughly enjoyable book, and one I look forward to recommending to my friends once it's released. Keep your eyes peeled for this one, folks. It's a great pick-me-up and a heartwarming read.

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