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Women of Lancaster County #4

The Amish Seamstress

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Bestselling authors Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould provide an unexpected surprise in The Amish Seamstress, Book 4 in the Women of Lancaster County series, which tells the stories of young Amish women as they explore their roots, connect with family, and discover true love.

Izzy Mueller is an exceptional listener and gifted caregiver. She's also a talented seamstress. As the young woman sits with her elderly patients, she quietly sews as they share their stories. She's content with her life until circumstances reconnect her with someone she once loved. Zed Bayer, a Mennonite, is not what her family is hoping for in a spouse, and his creative interest in filmmaking is definitely at odds with her Amish upbringing.

As Izzy is swept up again in Zed and renews her friendship with his sister, Ella, she begins to ask questions about her own life--her creative longings and historical interests, her relationships and desire for romance, and most importantly, her faith. What is the path God has for her? Can she learn from the past of both her family's and Zed's--or must she forge a completely different future of her own?

368 pages, Paperback

First published August 1, 2013

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About the author

Mindy Starns Clark

52 books567 followers
Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of more than 30 books, both fiction and nonfiction, and has received numerous literary honors, including two Christy Awards and RT Book Review Magazine’s 2012 Career Achievement Award. Mindy and her husband, John, have two adult children and live near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 94 reviews
Profile Image for Sue.
2,691 reviews170 followers
November 26, 2019
A quaint little story.

I hadn’t realised at the time it was part of a series and it does matter.

I enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Shirley Chapel.
570 reviews76 followers
February 24, 2020
The authors captured my heart with this warm hearted novel . Book four of The Women of Lancaster County. It took this reader a few chapters to be drawn into the story but then I became so captivated that I actually found myself sharing the feelings of insecurity, apprehension and betrayal that the main character Izzy Mueller experienced. It had been a while since I had made my way back into this series. The writers bought me up to date and I was soon able to get reunited with the characters and flow of the story.
Izzy Mueller had always been close friends with Zed . But then just as he was ready to head off to college she realized that it had grown to more than a friendship on her part. How did Zed feel about her, she wondered. This could never be. Izzy was an Amish girl and Zed a Mennonite. He would be away at college for a long time and planned to go to California after that. His goal was to be a director of movies. Would he forget Izzy as he advanced in his studies and met new people?
There is a lot more to this book than just the friendship of Izzy and Zed. The death of an older family member reunites a family that has been torn apart for the many years. Pasts hurts are forgiven and laid to rest as healing brings love.
If you have read the past three books of the series you will want to continue on in it with The Amish Seamstress. Readers of Amish fiction will enjoy this book. I would suggest that you start with book one, The Amish Midwife to better get acquainted with the story as it unfolds from the beginning. I highly recommend it and I gladly gave it five Stars. There's one more book to this series. The Amish Quilter.
I downloaded a Kindle ebook version of this book from the Ohio Digital Library. A review was not requested. All opinions expressed here in this review are my own.
Profile Image for Mayda.
3,020 reviews57 followers
September 9, 2019
Izzy and Zed have been friends for a long time, but a deeper relationship seems unlikely, since she is Amish and he is Mennonite. Izzy is having a difficult time deciding what she should do with her life. She is training to be a caregiver, but has some issues with it. Zed is preparing for college, and seems to be distancing himself from Izzy. But this story is more than a mere romantic tale. Central to the tale is the backstory of Izzy’s family history and the part her ancestors played in the mistreatment and worse of a friendly Indian tribe. As Izzy and Zed search out documents to explain what really happened, they draw closer to each other. What they finally uncover and how they overcome the obstacles that separate them makes for some enjoyable and entertaining reading.
Profile Image for Irene.
244 reviews
September 22, 2016
I have been fortunate to have read some really good books lately. From The Munich Girl to The Girl FROM the Train, and now this amazing story. I have always like Amish stories. They are such God-loving people, you can learn from hearing their stories. This one was one we can all relate to in so many ways from living to dying to loving, family and friends. I highly recommend this book to everyone!
Profile Image for Carolyn Vandine West.
598 reviews23 followers
November 8, 2020
Best friends for years, Izzy and Ned have changes in their relationship as Ned heads off to college. Izzy suddenly realizes how much she will miss him. Unfortunately Ned seems to still see her as his best buddy while Izzy is feeling a little more loving in her thoughts. Ned is Mennonite while Izzy is of the Amish. Izzy wonders how they can ever have a future together. Ned is busy with filming several documentaries about his past family and Izzy has been creating the costs for the films. The story has many subplots that add an ever changing amount of family past and present.

I had a hard time getting into this book, fourth in the series. I think it was just me, turmoil in my health and the election from hell. But I gained momentum and it was a good book by one of my favorite authors.
Profile Image for Caroline.
72 reviews3 followers
August 1, 2018
This would have been another 5-star rating, but as important as all the history was to the story, I found it boring.
Profile Image for Deborah.
274 reviews
January 22, 2014
Bestselling authors Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould provide an unexpected surprise in The Amish Seamstress, Book 4 in the Women of Lancaster County series, which tells the stories of young Amish women as they explore their roots, connect with family, and discover true love.

Izzy Mueller is an exceptional listener and gifted caregiver. She's also a talented seamstress. As the young woman sits with her elderly patients, she quietly sews as they share their stories. She's content with her life until circumstances reconnect her with someone she once loved. Zed Bayer, a Mennonite, is not what her family is hoping for in a spouse, and his creative interest in film making is definitely at odds with her Amish upbringing.

As Izzy is swept up again in Zed and renews her friendship with his sister, Ella, she begins to ask questions about her own life--her creative longings and historical interests, her relationships and desire for romance, and most importantly, her faith. What is the path God has for her? Can she learn from the past of both her family's and Zed's--or must she forge a completely different future of her own?

My Review:

This was quite the sweet story. Izzy is the girl next door type that you can't help but fall for, and Zed is the man she can never have. Forbidden romances tend to be the stuff of Amish fiction, and I can honestly say that I actually enjoy that particular element about the genre. Something forbidden in general appeals to everyone, but it is definitely prevalent in stories about the Amish.

The authors easily bridge the distance between Zed and Izzy. Amish versus Mennonite certainly puts them in a quandary when it comes to romance, but it is always interesting to see which way the tides will turn. There was lot's of genealogical details and history that made this novel what it is, and I have to say that was my favorite part of the story. A wonderful conclusion to the series, An Amish Seamstress captures the voice of The Women of Lancaster County, brings their story to a close, and leaves you touched by all you have read.

This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Rhonda Gayle.
167 reviews4 followers
June 1, 2013
The Women of Lancaster County series has been one of my favorite Amish reads of late! I love following the lives of these Amish and Mennonite young women and their families as they discover secrets about their families and along the way, their own selves! It is very intriguing to me that Izzy does not feel that she "fits" with her family. She feels as though she doesn't belong and yet, she feels completely connected and comfortable with Zed and his family. But Zed is a Mennonite and she is Amish. How will they work out the complex relational differences among their faiths and will they desire to bother?

This series has been particularly meaningful to me as it traces the Amish and Mennonite roots back to Switzerland. This book also deals with the Native Americans among the Amish in the very early days of our nation. My own daughters have Cherokee among their heritage on their maternal father's side so I read this part with delight and great curiosity. Come along and read Izzy's story and feel the stitches and fabric of her life as she sews and designs fashions for Zed and her family and friends. I love to sew and craft so I also enjoyed this portion of Izzy's story and I think readers will as well.

I received a free pdf ARC of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Ashley.H.
25 reviews
July 5, 2014
I have to say, I am starting to loose hope when it comes to this author. I was a huge fan of her mystery series " The Trouble with Tulips" and " The Million Dollar Mystery series." However, this latest series has gone from fair to just plain dull. Much like the previous novel I found myself bouncing between boredom and annoyance with the characters, which caused me to develop a bit of apathy in the process. This story much like the previous one, stars a young girl who is in love but not sure what to do about and is struggling to find herself. While reading this book I found myself in a familiar situation of wanting it to pick up the pace or just end. The melodramatic nature of this story made it feel like a teen love novel that kept repeating itself " he loves me, he loves me not." The only redeemable story line I enjoyed in this book was the family history that is a vital part in all four novels, but even discovering that was a bit anticlimactic and left much to be desired.
Profile Image for Janice .
639 reviews7 followers
August 18, 2013
I have read this 4th book in the Lancaster Women series on the Kindle

I think this was the best one yet i really enjoyed the parts of the history being told in the story as well as Issy & Zeb interaction & how family can be as the story goes along

I couldn't put this one down & would recommend it especially if you have read the other 3 books as then you would follow the people much easier i would give this more stars if i could

I have read the other 3 in the series which are The Amish Midwife, The Amish Nanny, & The Amish Bride
Profile Image for Juanita.
757 reviews8 followers
June 8, 2017
Review: The Amish Seamstress by Mindy Starns Clark. 3.5★’s 06/06/2017

This book was an enjoyable read and the last of The Women Of Lancaster Series #4. This book can be read alone without the series. What I can say about Amish families is that they are wonderful people, caring, and serious about their faith. However, this book was different Amish books that I have read. This community is a combination of Amish and Mennonite families living in a more modern world. Creating mystery and details of the Amish life style before introducing romance or a strict account of their religions gave the story a more modern version. The book was refreshing with no murders, no sexual out-burst, and most of all no violence. The characters were well developed and reading some of the drama that connected these people kept my perception at a higher level and eager to read on.

The main character Izzy Mueller was an introvert sort of person which made her an avid listener and a gifted caretaker. Through the first part of the book Izzy was down on herself because she couldn’t see any good traits in herself compared to other family members. She claimed she was slow as a seamstress but she wouldn’t give herself credit for the wonderful work she did. In order to do her share in the family she started sitting and caring for older patients until her patient died and she became frighten with the issue of older people dying while in her care. She was having a hard time understanding that death is part of life. She loved caring for people and learning so much about their past memories and stories of their families. Izzy finally came to grips with her fear and went back to caring for the elderly.

Izzy is surprise when an old childhood friend reappears. Zed Bayer, a Mennonite studying film making came home for the summer before he starts college. His first small film was a hit at the school he went to and now back home for the summer months he and Izzy start hanging around again and she is interested in his film material that he has planned for his next film and at the same time he listens to Izzy issues and comforts her with good advice which enables her to view things in a positive way. It wasn’t long before Izzy’s feelings for Zed becomes more. Her parents love Zed but he’s not what her family had hopes for in a spouse for their daughter and they thought his creative interest with making films did not agree with their Amish upbringing.

When Zed started college he would be gone away for long periods of time with very little spare time or money to go home and visit his family or Izzy except for holidays. Izzy was hoping that Zed would soon feel the same for her but all he thought about was his education in order to fulfill his dream. So, Izzy went back to creating items as a seamstress to sell and taking care of people who needed her care. Over time Izzy matured into a lovely young women with a positive attitude while miles away Zed proceeds with his studies and researches for another film. Issues came between them, decisions had to be made, but their caring friendship held them together….This is a charming story with relationships, disappointments and growing up while Izzy’s struggles to stay true to her faith…..
Profile Image for Rachel Brand.
1,043 reviews95 followers
August 6, 2013
Izzy Mueller has never felt like she properly fitted into her Amish family, and she’s forced to make some tough decisions about her future her confusion seems to mount. Although everyone tells her that she’s a gifted caregiver, she also loves sewing, particularly costumes for her Mennonite friend, Zed Bayer’s, films. Her friendship with Zed always seemed simple, but now that she’s nearing adulthood and Zed is planning to study film-making at a Mennonite college, Izzy realises that her feelings for Zed might have spiralled out of control. What would it mean for her family and her community if she fell in love with a Mennonite?

Before Izzy has the chance to talk to Zed about her feelings for him, he leaves their community to attend his college in Indiana. Their period of separation gives Izzy time to think about her future prospects—both her for her career and her love life—and delve into a family mystery that Zed wants to feature in his next film. Zed and Izzy know that both their descendents were alive when the massacre of a local Indian tribe occurred, and think that their families’ involvement might make for a good story. But as Izzy discovers centuries-old documents, she realises that the mystery might be more convoluted than they initially expected. As she uncovers the story of her great-grandmother, Abigail, Izzy feels a kinship towards this long-forgotten woman who also had to make some difficult decisions that impacted her family and her faith. Will Abigail’s story help Izzy to make the choice between her faith and the man she’s come to love?

I first discovered Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould’s Women of Lancaster County series in 2011, and I’ve eagerly anticipated each new volume before the synopsis has even been released. Although the covers and titles of these novels might suggest a conventional romance novel, Mindy and Leslie have created a series that stands out from the plethora of Amish novels flooding out of the Christian publishing industry. Having read individual novels from both of the authors, I can see where they lend their separate talents in developing the voices of the strong women who tell their stories in this series.

Given the young age of The Amish Seamstress’s heroine, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to relate to Izzy. Although I’m only a few years older than her, I’ve been living in my own for years, and having attended university and got married sometimes makes it difficult to sympathise with heroines who are still living at home as if they were a teenager. Izzy might well still be living with her parents, but I realised early on that she wasn’t altogether happy with this set-up. Clearly an introvert like myself, Izzy struggles with the chaos and noise in her family home, craving some peace and quiet to sew or read. I sympathised with Izzy’s trouble deciding what career path to take, as her mother continually put pressure on her to finish her caregiving course and take on more jobs, even though all Izzy longed to do was sew. How many of us have been faced with the issue of knowing that we’re good at something, but not knowing if it’s what we want to do for the rest of our lives?

It’s been a while since I read the previous book in this series, but I could recall Zed and his film-making ambitions. Initially I was cautious about the relationship between him and Izzy, since most of their friendship had developed long before the book had started. If this were to be a conventional romance novel, it would be difficult to win me over when the relationship was already set in stone. To complicate matters further, Zed spends a lot of the book away at his college in Indiana. But never fear—there is plenty of conflict and intrigue in this novel to force you to keep turning the pages. This isn’t your typical romance novel, but Izzy’s story is certainly compelling.

I almost want to call The Amish Seamstress a coming-of-age novel, or maybe even New Adult. A lot of this book focuses on Izzy figuring out who she is, where she’s meant to be, what she’s called to do and whether or not she should pursue a relationship with Zed. The romance is more in the background, which will appeal to those who are more interested in Izzy’s character development and the historical aspect of the novel.

That said, Zed and Izzy’s relationship definitely felt authentic. Do you recall the pangs of unrequited love from your teenage years? Even if you didn’t date back then, or were lucky enough to marry the first guy who asked you out (as I did), I’m pretty sure every woman can recall a friendship that they wished would develop into something more, but the guy just didn’t seem interested. No matter how long ago that was, I’m certain that Izzy’s story will draw you back to that time and make you want to wrap her up in your arms and assure her that everything will work out in the end. I didn’t expect to become quite so invested in Izzy and Zed’s relationship, but it was hard not to care about something that hit so close to home.

If you’re not much of a romantic, the historical side of this story might still appeal to you. What I loved so much about the first two books in this series, The Amish Midwife and The Amish Nanny, was the way that they delved deep into the Anabaptist roots of the community. The history was fascinating, but never felt like a lecture or a textbook. There are also more recent mysteries dealt with in this series, relating to secret babies and long-lost relatives (sometimes it does feel a little bit like a soap opera!) but The Amish Seamstress focuses on the eighteenth century and Zed and Izzy’s links to the massacre of a local Indian tribe. It was fun to follow Izzy and Zed as they hunted down old documents and attempted to piece together their family histories. Even more compelling was the way that Izzy’s discoveries eventually impacted upon her understand of herself and the women around her who were all linked back to this family secret.

Although I think you could probably read this book as a standalone, since a lot of the backstory is summarised, I think new readers would get more enjoyment out of this series if they started at the beginning. Part of the reason why I enjoyed The Amish Seamstress so much is because it drew me back into a family and a community that had become so familiar to me. It’s strange to become so attached to a cast of characters, but I will be sad when I have to say goodbye to these Lancaster women. Hopefully this won’t be the last book in this series.

Fans of the Women of Lancaster County series definitely won’t be disappointed with this new instalment, and I hope that new readers are equally enchanted by Izzy’s story. At times, Izzy’s youth caused her actions to be a little frustrating, but her character growth made this book well worth the time spent reading.

Review title provided by Harvest House.
Profile Image for Edward Arrington.
979 reviews7 followers
October 8, 2018
Readers met Izzy and Zed in a previous book in the series. Now they are a few years older and their friendship has continued. Izzy has grown up in the Amish church but Zed grew up as a Mennonite. If you have read about the Amish, their children are expected to grow up, join the church, and marry in the Amish faith. Is this based on the biblical teaching that believers should not be unequally yoked with unbelievers? What happens when an Amish young person is attracted to someone who is not Amish? For several years, Izzy and Zed have convinced themselves and everyone else that they are only best friends. But as Zed is leaving for college in Indiana, Izzy realizes that she loves him as more than just a best friend. Whatever will she do? Convinced in her heart and mind that she is going to join the church, she determines that she has to keep her relationship with Zed on a friends-only basis. She is a talented seamstress, loves the elderly and their stories of the past, and has the personality that suits her to be a caregiver. She just has not learned how to deal with it when an elderly patient passes away. What kind of caregiver loses it when the patient dies? Every way she turns, she seems to encounter stumbling blocks. Meanwhile, Zed seems to sail through life oblivious to how she feels about him and never a worry about anything as he pursues his dream of becoming a filmmaker. I am reminded of the illustration of how we see all the knots and tangles of the underside while God sees the beautiful picture He is creating. As this young Amish seamstress and the Mennonite filmmaker work away at sorting knots and tangles and uncovering the true story of the Conestoga Indian Massacre, what is God going to reveal when they see His picture? I received a copy of this book from the author. This is my honest review. All opinions are strictly my own.
412 reviews20 followers
April 30, 2023
This was an outstanding 4th book in the Women of Lancaster County series and was an easy and beautiful 5 star read for me. This book covered so many difficult subjects that the authors handled with sensitivity, caring and with beautiful writing it was a joy to read. I loved that we met up with characters we knew from the first three books of the series. I am so glad that I waited patiently for my library to get this so I could read it. I would absolutely recommend it as either a standalone , it's easy to read as such, or as the 4th in the series. If you are new to Amish fiction I think this book is a truly great introduction.
Profile Image for Lorraine Anton.
2,104 reviews7 followers
March 2, 2020
A good love story about faith and history.

I really enjoyed Izzy and Zeds story.

She was undecided about her career, whether to be a caregiver or a seamstress. She was good at both.

Zed and Izzy have been friends for years.
He is a Mennonite, who chooses to go to a Mennonite college.
Izzy is Amish, what will happen with their relationship?

See and read it for yourself.
I liked the ending.

# 35 2020 Bookhoarders challenge (in the bonus section) Over 475 Pages
this one is 543 pages
Profile Image for S. Marie.
136 reviews1 follower
January 30, 2018
Fourth book in a series beginning with "The Amish Midwife" which I believe won a Christy award. These two authors knock it out of the park with this series! I have read all four and am looking forward to book #5 coming out in a few months! Romance, history, intrigue, faith and etc. You can't go wrong with this amazing series! One of the best written Amish inspirational fiction book series I have read. Loved it!
7 reviews
March 22, 2020
I loved this!

Well written , (as are their other books) I really enjoyed this story. Like any really good book, you don't read, you fall into the story, and I did fall into this. I felt very much a part of this family and community. The women's family relationships really resonated with me. Loved it!
Profile Image for Cindy Hill.
28 reviews3 followers
June 10, 2020
Very fitting for the current state of events. 2020 lead to great unrest between whites and blacks. As in the book.....between redskin and whites. So much animosity and for what reason. Dear Lord...Please lead to live together in the world in which you created for us. Red and Yeallow Black and White, We are precious in your sight. Amen
Profile Image for cindy massey.
39 reviews
July 16, 2017
Lancaster County's wonderful women

I am not really good at writing reviews; but this series just got better and better and I am so sad book 5 isn't here. I am beginning to feel I have become part Amish and Mennonite.
101 reviews
October 21, 2019
At the beginning I was concerned it was a little too slow for me, but once I got into it I could not put it down. Such a touching story, and full of learning to lean and rely on God, and putting it all down before Him and have Him guide us.
Profile Image for Jolieg G.
826 reviews5 followers
September 18, 2021
Voorspellend einde maar al met al een mooi verhaal.

Een mooie tekst in dit boek van William Penn
"De dood is niets anders dan een oversteek naar een andere wereld; zoals vrienden de zeeen bevaren, zij blijven in elkaar voortleven"
Profile Image for Logan Streondj.
Author 2 books11 followers
October 29, 2021
Very insightful book gives a grean glimpse into Amish/Mennonite life and fabric and sewing in particular, also young romance and elder care and the transition into death in an Amish context.
I found it amazing the lengths the characters went to avoid seeming prideful.
November 3, 2021
One of the very best works of art I have ever read!

I gave it the best rating because I have read only one other book that I would have to say they rank evenly and I assure you I am definitely an avid reader! WONDERFUL
Profile Image for Sarah Cole.
15 reviews1 follower
September 7, 2022
This book was a great continuation of this series - another volume filled with a journey of personal growth and lessons learned through trials and change, while weaving a careful story of love throughout.
Profile Image for Michele.
608 reviews
January 23, 2018
Izzy grows from an insecure girl to a strong woman in this book. I like how the characters develop and their stories intertwine
241 reviews
November 9, 2019
Izzy Mueller struggles through many things but mostly she struggles with her love for Zed Bayer - Ella's brother. Great read.
14 reviews1 follower
January 12, 2020

Really loved the book can't wait to see what happens with the family next another wonderful book can't wait for more
Profile Image for Heidi Matheson.
124 reviews1 follower
April 10, 2020
I have so loved being a part of these characters' lives for 4 books now. Love the story lines. Love the historical content. Looking forward to the next one.
Profile Image for Julie.
969 reviews9 followers
September 8, 2020
A lot of names, a lot of history slow down this book.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 94 reviews

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