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An Amish Christmas    by Cynthia Keller order for
Amish Christmas
by Cynthia Keller
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Meg Hobart seems to have the ideal life - a happy marriage to James, a handsome and successful lawyer; a large, beautiful home in Charlotte, North Carolina; and three children whom she loves dearly - fifteen-year old Lizzie, thirteen-year old Will, and nine-year old Sam. Lately, however, James has been irritable and the children - who have 'the latest electronic everything' - seem 'incredibly spoiled'; they don't show much appreciation for the good life that they have together.

On Thanksgiving Day that life implodes when James confesses that he had been fired three months before and subsequently lost all of their savings in a bad real estate investment. Meg is most upset that he lied to her for so long, but pulls herself together and starts dealing with things. They sell up, pack themselves and their remaining belongings in James' old Mustang and head towards upstate New York to stay with Meg's unloving parents (having had to eat humble pie in large quantities first).

In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (an area with a big Amish population), James crashes into a telephone pole while trying to avoid a horse-drawn buggy on the icy road. With the car badly damaged, the buggy driver, David Lutz, takes them home with him. He and his kind wife Catherine enfold the Hobarts into their home and their lives and, waiting for the car repair, they end up staying for some time. Though Meg and James enjoy the change of pace, and Sam adapts quickly, Lizzie and Will are sullen. They behave badly, embarrassing their parents.

Of course you can see where this is going. While living - and working hard - amongst the Lutz's large extended family, Meg and James are 'able to breathe again'. They revive their relationship and find an alternative to moving in with her cold parents, Sam enjoys a grandfather substitute and a dog, and the teens develop a better sense of what matters. Though I found the Amish in the story rather idealized, I enjoyed An Amish Christmas very much and recommend it to you as the perfect holiday read.

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