Date published: October 2011
Reviewed by Angie
Review Copy Provided by Publisher
Rachel Yoder and Rachel Lawrence are two women whose worlds collide when they learn of a mistake at the hospital where they were born, just two days apart. When both women receive a letter from a nurse at the hospital where they were born stating her husband was the doctor who delivered them both and accidentally discharged them to the wrong parents they are both devastated. Not knowing who they truly are, where they belong and how to tell their families leaves both of them in a turmoil no one will ever understand.
Rachel grew up in an Amish community with family that loves her dearly, although she has never felt herself fitting in with their ways. She joined the church only because the only man she ever loved was ready to become fully committed. She is raising her daughter the best she can, but yet often feels a pull toward learning that is truly not the Amish way. She will never leave her family and church yet, something is missing and when she receives the letter, she knows why she has never felt as good as other members of the family.
Ellie grew up in New York City and has dedicated her life to her job, a high paid public relations executive. She has never fallen in love, created strong bonds to other friends or anyone outside her family. While she does not feel unhappy, stomachaches plague her and she never feels totally content with her life. She wants to fit in, yet she doesn't know what she is yearning for in her life.
Cynthia Keller has taken a horrific plot and given it so many dimensions that this novel is a must read for lovers of a simpler life. She takes the most complex set of characters and brings them together in heartbreaking scenarios that end with the happiest of all endings. As a reader I felt myself cringing as Rachel and Ellie had to find their way "home" to their true families and yet striving for them to maintain their bonds with the parents who raised them. A better ending could not have happened making this a true love story - without romantic overtones.
The characters in this story are so complex that nothing can describe the dimensions involved in a story with these dynamics. Ms. Keller has truly taken the lifestyles of the Amish in stride, brought them to life and left this reader wanting more knowledge. Living only 30 miles from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the setting for this story has given me ideas of day trips and wondering how much knowledge there is to be soaked up without being intrusive into the lives of this wonderful, yet elusive community. I will definitely be seeking out a copy of Cynthia Keller's An Amish Christmas and will be watching for future novels from this talented, brilliant author.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.