Amy Clipston takes us on a journey from pain and hatred to acceptance and the true love of Christ in A Gift of Grace. Rebecca Kauffman, a simple Amish woman with astounding inner beauty is unable to give birth to her own children. She is given the opportunity to be a mother to her two lately orphaned nieces, Jessica and Lindsay. Her relationships with God and her husband are tested as the two “English” girls struggle to adapt to the Amish way of life, causing tension in both her house and community.
This touching book has a tight, though slightly repetitive, focus; it fluidly leads the reader from one event to another, and each thought to the next. It is an easy story to follow and effectively whisks you away from city life and into the Amish world of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Jessica and Lindsay’s relationship is characteristic of typical American teenaged sisters, and many readers will relate to the irritation tempered with love that the two exhibit toward one another. Rebecca’s yearning to show her nieces proper love and direction is sincerely empathized with by readers, and the strife between Becky and her husband Daniel is keenly felt. The best scenes, however, are those involving Rebecca and her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Kauffman. Elizabeth is the voice of experience and wisdom, speaking gently to the heart of the devoted but stubborn Rebecca. Elizabeth exudes godliness and her words reflect God’s peace; as Rebecca tries to guide her nieces, Elizabeth lovingly guides Rebecca.
Rebecca’s sister, Grace (for whom the book is presumably named) and her husband are killed in a car accident, leaving their daughters, Jessica and Lindsay, without parents or home. In her will, Grace requests that Rebecca and Daniel rear the girls in Grace’s childhood home of Lancaster County. The trouble arrives as Jessica and Lindsay are informed that they are to respect and uphold, to a certain extent, the simplistic, but unfamiliar Amish lifestyle. Lindsay adjusts famously after a few months, but despite many attempts, Jessica cannot develop fondness for a community which denies her desires for education and the freedoms to which she is accustomed. The Kauffmans must discover a way to close the wounds of loss and listen to the Lord’s will without driving loved ones away and destroying their family name in their society.
A Gift of Grace is a fantastic book for preteen to teenage girls. It has value for those who have struggled with guardian-to-child relationships, those who’ve lost family members, or folks who have ever wondered about their place in life. Clipston gets an “A” for reader relationships and substance, integrating a genuine road to God as the answer and provider. Highly recommended. – Hannah Selleck, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Rebecca Kauffman’s tranquil Old Order Amish life is transformed when she suddenly has custody of her two teenage nieces after her "English" sister and brother-in-law are killed in an automobile accident. Instant motherhood, after years of unsuccessful attempts to conceive a child of her own, is both a joy and a heartache. Rebecca struggles to give the teenage girls the guidance they need as well as fulfill her duties to Daniel as an Amish wife.
Rebellious Jessica is resistant to Amish ways and constantly in trouble with the community. Younger sister Lindsay is caught in the middle, and the strain between Rebecca and Daniel mounts as Jessica’s rebellion escalates. Instead of the beautiful family life she dreamed of creating for her nieces, Rebecca feels as if her world is being torn apart by two different cultures, leaving her to question her place in the Amish community, her marriage, and her faith in God.