A Quilt for Jenna, Apple Creek Dreams Series #1
Much More Than Amish Fiction!
Reuben and Jerusha are deeply in love but Reuben questions the Amish faith. He leaves the fold to enlist in the marines in the throes of World War II. Jerusha discovers upon Reuben's return that he is not the same man she knew before he left. His scars run deep, and Jerusha is concerned about his change in character and his sudden conviction to follow the Amish ordnung to the letter. Jerusha and Reuben marry, but the tragic loss of their only child tears them apart. Jerusha's way of handling her grief is to propel herself into her quilting. Her drive for perfection results in haughty pride over her masterpiece quilt. It becomes her escape route from the overwhelming grief she carries and anger toward God at the core of her being. Reuben bolts from his fears and guilt, and travels cross country to Colorado where he seeks a reprieve and an end to his anxieties. Both Reuben and Jerusha are battling their emotions in an unorthodox manner in an attempt to find relief from their captivity.
A Quilt for Jenna is much more than a story about the Amish culture. It is a multifaceted presentation of very strong characters in this novel. Insights into overpowering emotional burdens and beliefs, or lack thereof, are challenged and examined. Jerusha and Reuben Springer are portrayed in depth as their stories unfold and through the insurmountable challenges they encounter. Patrick Craig is gifted with the art of creating vivid pictorial settings, creating reality in this story of tragedy and triumph.
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book by Harvest House Publishers with the express purpose of my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received.
April 25, 2013
A story of hope
Just when I was ready to take a break from the Amish genre, I couldn't help but pick up a copy of "A Quilt for Jenna". I was utterly intrigued by the premise for the story, so I dove right in, and discovered a wonderful novel indeed! The author has cleverly interwoven a story told from multiple perspectives, of Jerusha struggling with the loss of her child and now caught in a life threatening snow storm, to scenes from World War II and her husband Reuben's struggle to forgive himself. The result is a story that moves along at a fine pace, offering a fascinating backdrop to explore themes of loss and bitterness, grace and forgiveness. The book is well-written and filled with some beautiful moments between the characters. I also enjoyed the glimpse the author offers into the Amish community, showing the beauty of a group of people who draw together to serve the Lord, while also cautioning about the risk that the Amish face to become all about rules and legalism instead of freedom in Christ. Ultimately, A Quilt for Jenna is a story of hope, that God can take tragedy and loss, and by his grace turn it into something good. That is a message that we can all learn from!
I was quite thankful to learn that this novel is but the first in a 3-novel series, and that I will be able to return to the world of these characters in Apple Creek. I strongly recommend this novel, and award it 4 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Harvest House, for the purposes of this unbiased review.
April 4, 2013
A different "Amish" story
This is absolutely not your typical Amish novel. Pastor, musician, author Patrick E. Craig is definitely a gifted word-smith and has woven a story that tells the struggles of disillusioned Amish - man and woman. Of their struggles with their faith in God, their adherence to Amish community beliefs and requirements, and in the political landmines of the day.
The story is multilevel taking the reader from the quaint community of Amish believers in the 1940s, through the war years of World War II, and into the 1950s when the winter storm of the century threatens to bury the hopes of many.
Reuben is a young Amish man who simply believes that the constraints and requirements of their community are not Biblical and he can not see staying and trying to live up to them or by them. Jerusha is a young woman of faith in God and faith in the leadership of the Amish community. But the two of them are in love and yet can not come to terms with their differences.
Reuben enters the war as a soldier which is in absolute revolt to his Amish pacifist beliefs of non-violence. He experiences all the horror and terror that is upfront and close battle, blood shed, and death. Broken, he returns to his roots - the Amish community - and asks for forgiveness for his part in the war and to be reinstated in the community.
Eventually Reuben and Jerusha marry and have a child whose death at age four totally breaks both of them.
Their journey through all of this is creatively woven in the story by Patrick Craig as we meander back and forth through years giving bits and pieces but ultimately tying it all together beautifully.
You will enjoy this read because of the multilevel, multifaceted story which deals with the sweet romance, the internal struggles of individuals with their faith, and the personal battles to do that which is right. The World War II jungle battle scenes of Guadalcanal are not something you would normally find in a novel about the Amish and will truly make this an "Amish book that men will enjoy." I await Patrick Craig's next book in this series with great anticipation.
About the author: Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States. After ministering for a number of years in music and worship to a circuit of small churches, he is now concentrating on writing and publishing both fiction and non-fiction books.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of A Quilt for Jenna by Patrick E. Craig by Harvest House Publishers on behalf of the author in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own.
March 10, 2013
What a great book!
A Quilt for Jenna had me near tears. As the first Amish book I have ever read, this was truly a wonderful story, and has me excitedly awaiting the next book in the series.
The scene is set during a Thanksgiving blizzard in Ohio as we read a tale full of heartache, love, and forgiveness that takes place over a five day period. During the book the characters often think back to their past where we find out about the lives of Jerusha Springer and her husband Reuben- how they met, what they've gone through, and the outcome of their unique story. I loved how author Patrick Craig masterfully wove the past with the present keeping me up to speed with Jerusha and her current predicament along with those in Apple Creek. Very well done!
My favorite part of this book was the message. That God never promise life would be a piece of cake and nothing bad would happen, but with our heart trusting in Him when the hard times do come, He will see us through them. I loved the whole book, the whole story, but the last few chapters filled me with a holy awe toward God. He is so good to His children bring the very best out of all the bad.
Be sure to grab this book as soon as you can!
***Thank you Harvest House Publishers for the free book in exchange for my honest review.***
March 8, 2013