July 12, 2017

Fresh from the Bookshelf: The Beloved Hope Chest by Amy Clipston {Book Review}

The Beloved Hope Chest by Amy Clipston- Book Review
There are three things that my regular readers should know about me by now--#1 I am not a big fan of Amish fiction, #2 I prefer historical fiction, and #3 I strongly dislike reading series books out of order. Now imagine my thoughts when I received my latest book The Beloved Hope Chest by Amy Clipston from the Fiction Guild to review, and discovered that it was book #4 in a contemporary Amish fiction series. Could this book still win me over, even though it started with three strikes against it? Let's just say I have now added Amy Clipston to my list of MUST READ authors. Read on to learn how this book beat my odds!

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About The Beloved Hope Chest

The Beloved Hope Chest is the fourth book in the An Amish Heirloom Novel series by Amy Clipston. The conclusion to the series finally shares the story of the mother of the three daughters featured in the previous books The Forgotten Recipe, The Courtship Basket, and The Cherished Quilt. In this book, Mattie Fisher finally shares the tale of her life and particularly the first year or so of her relationship with Leroy Fisher, the girls' father. In her story, all the pieces she shared with her daughters in the previous books finally come together in a complete explanation. We finally get to meet the young Martha Jane (aka Mattie) and learn how she overcame a horrible double tragedy which threatened the very marriage she had with Leroy long before their daughters were even born. Her story is one of grief and learning to love again. 

My Thoughts on the Story

I was leery about reading a book that was #4 in a series--but quickly learned that this book actually was a sort of PREQUEL as it was the story of the mother in the previous three books. Thus it stood 100% on its own. Though the book is in the Amish fiction genre, the setting and "religion" of the characters never ever gets in the way of the main plot. 

The story of Mattie and Leroy is one that grips you. Turns you inside out. Carries you along with the swells and plunges of their relationship. You become a champion of both and will find yourself rooting for each of them. Mattie experiences a double tragedy that would break ANY person in two. And the way the story lets you into her thoughts and raging, rough, honest emotions--well I feel like only someone who has experienced these for herself could write about them so accurately. The doubt. The despair. The depression. The feeling of unworthiness. Things that all too many people today can relate too. Then there is Leroy. Strong Leroy. Loving Mattie, even when she considers herself unloveable. Faithfully holding her with no expectations in return. Being there when she needs him, even when she turns from him a little while later in rejection. Patiently pursuing a relationship with her. 

It's a story of unconditional love. Really it's an example of Gods love for us. How He loves us when we feel unloveable. Holds us when we are broken. Sends us messages and encouragement even when we are running away. And is there to welcome us back with open arms when we are ready to return. 

This was a beautiful story. Simply beautiful.
The Beloved Hope Chest earns 5★
I truly do not think I have ever given an Amish fiction book 5 stars. So this book is a first. But let me tell you. When you are sobbing your eyes out by the end, there is only one rating you can give! I was so moved with this book that I was ugly crying. So yes. This book DEFIED my odds for it. Amy Clipston blew me away with The Beloved Hope Chest. I can't wait to find the earlier three books and savor them as much as I did this story. 

by Amy Clipston



***
I am so glad that I took a chance with this book. I discovered such a rich story in it, and added a new author to my list of "Must Reads"!