A Life of Joy, written by Amy Clipston, is part of the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series. You do not have to read the other books in the series to enjoy this story.
Lindsay has been living with her Amish Aunt since the passing of both of her parents. Her sister Jessica has taken a different road and has chosen to live outside the Amish community. Lindsay has just found out that all of her friends are being baptized into the Amish faith. Now it is time for her to decide what she wants for herself.
When a family friend outside the community needs her help, Lindsay decides it would be a good time to step away and spend some time in the world of computers and cell phones. While she is away she misses her friends, her job at the bakery and especially the handsome Matthew. Will she choose to follow her sister and finish her public education or will she choose to go back to the Amish community? The story follows Lindsay as she tries to decide what she wants to do with the rest of her life.
The book is well written. The story flows well and the characters are believable. You can tell research was done, as the information about the Amish community is abundant. I did find some of the words hard to understand. There was a list with the English word next to the Amish word at the beginning but having to look at the list interrupts your reading. Some Amish books use these words and others just use English. Personally I like not having to look up the meaning of terms used when reading a book for relaxation. However, this does not take away from the story itself and therefore I still would recommend this book and series to anyone who enjoys Amish fiction.
I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read.
PROS: Lindsay's struggles are easy to relate to; breaks out of the mould of traditional romantic Amish novels; revisits characters from earlier books in the series
CONS: Ending is very abrupt and leaves some unanswered questions
Eighteen-year-old Linsday Bedford has lived with her Amish aunt and uncle in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania ever since her parents died in a car accident. While she's settled into the Amish way of life and enjoys working in the family bakery and helping to care for her younger cousins, her older sister, Jessica, lives with a family friend back home in Virginia and is pursuing a college degree. Lindsay thinks that she's settled in her new lifestyle, until her sister comes to visit and encourages her to experiment more in the English world that she grew up in and see all that she's missing out on. As much as Lindsay enjoys life in Bird-in-Hand, she can't help but wonder whether she's letting her real parents down by not pursing a college degree and a career like her sister. So instead of taking baptismal classes with her friends, she spends the summer staying with Jessica's legal guardians and caring their "Aunt", who has broken her leg. But although the temptations of the English world are all around her, Lindsay feels uncomfortable wearing the typical beach clothes everyone in Virginia is wearing, attending rowdy parties with her old school friends and eating off paper plates in front of the television. As her old friends and neighbours question the way of life she's been living with her aunt and uncle back in Pennsylvania, Lindsay also questions the route she's meant to take in her life. Does God want her to be career-motivated like Jessica? Or is her contentment in Bird-in-Hand a sign that she's meant to stay there?
Next to Beverly Lewis, Amy Clipston was the first Amish author I ever read. The first book in her Kauffman Amish Bakery series appealed to me because it wasn't a standard romance, but the tale of two orphaned English teenagers who came to live with the childless Amish uncle and aunt. A Life of Joy revisits these teenagers, who are now young women, and follows Lindsay as she figures out which path in life she's destined to take. This novel differs from a lot of other Amish novels in that at least half of it takes place in the "English" world in Virginia, where Lindsay is staying with family friends. But despite the lack of buggies and prayer kapps, Amy has crafted an incredibly compelling story. There's a little romance in the background of the story, kept alive through letters and phone calls between Lindsay and a male friend back in Pennsylvania, but the main body of the story deals with Lindsay finding herself.
Any woman who has felt torn between the life God wants her to lead and that which the world and her peers think is best for her will be able to relate to Lindsay's struggles. This book came at just the right time for me, so I may be a little biased in my review. I've known since I was a teenager that all I want to do in life is get married and have a family. I'd love nothing more than to be a stay-at-home mum; but right now I'm getting married this summer rather than pursuing an internship or searching for work experience bemuses my fellow classmates. I'm not driven like they are when it comes to career matters, but they don't always understand this; just like Jessica doesn't understand how her sister can enjoy baking pies and babysitting her cousins over going to college. I could completely empathise with Lindsay feeling pulled towards the English world even though she was normally content being Amish. Sometimes the pressures of friends and family make us feel like we're not doing enough, just because we're taking the path that most avoid. Reading about Lindsay's search for the place she was meant to be and the role she was meant to inhabit truly encouraged me, and I hope it does the same for many other readers.
This is the fourth novel in the Kauffman Amish Bakery series, and unlike some books in the Amish genre I don't think it can be read as a standalone. That said, long-term fans of Amy's novels will be pleased to revisit characters like Lindsay and Jessica, as well as their aunt and uncle, in this novel. Characters from the second and third instalments in the series also appear in the background from time to time, as do popular locations such as the bakery and furniture store. But just as this book follows on from earlier instalments in the series, the ending left me wondering if Lindsay and Jessica's stories were going to be concluded in the fifth and final book. I turned the page on my Kindle expecting another chapter or an epilogue to find discussion questions and had to go back and reread the last paragraph, surprised at how abrupt the ending was. While it was optimistic for Lindsay, I couldn't help but feel that Jessica's story wasn't finished yet, and there were some unanswered questions regarding Lindsay's aunt and one of her friends. I do hope that Amy plans to answer these questions in the final book in the series, and since she's announced that she'll be writing a YA spinoff of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series perhaps this will revisit some of Lindsay's teenage friends.
The fourth novel in the Kauffman Amish Bakery series is just as delightful as those that came before it, and many readers will be able to relate to Lindsay's struggles to discover her place in life. Long-term fans of the series will be pleased to revisit old favourite characters in A Life of Joy and will be left greatly anticipating the fifth and final instalment, A Season of Love.
For the past four years, Lindsay Bedford has lived with her Amish aunt, Rebecca Kauffman, and her family. She and her sister, Jessica, moved to Bird-In-Hand, Pennsylvania after their parents died in a car accident. Lindsay is eighteen years old, an age where she can take classes so she can be baptized into the Amish faith. While her Amish friends are sure that they are ready to make the lifetime commitment, she's not. It doesn't help that Jessica, who no longer lives with the Kauffmans, seems to always be pushing her to do something more with her life. Lindsay has also started to notice how cute Matthew Glick is, but they can't date until she is baptized.
Lindsay really struggles with the decision of whether she should stay English or became Amish. She loves her life in Bird-In-Hand. She works at the Kaufman family bakery. She also helps Rebecca take care of her two younger children. Lindsay prays for God's guidance and gets an answer.
Her parent's best friends Frank and Trisha McCabe live in Virginia. When Trisha breaks her leg, they ask Lindsay to stay with them for several weeks to help out. Lindsay experiences living like the English again. She goes out with old friends and uses all the modern conveniences, like laptop computers. Lindsay soon realizes where she belongs. Is it in Bird-In-Hand, where she has spent the last four years of her life? Or is it back in the English world where she was born? Read A Life Of Joy to find out.
This story focuses mainly on Lindsay's decision but there are smaller stories going on. Rebecca is having health issues, Jessica is living the life she always wanted, and Matthew and Lindsay develop a friendship. I really enjoyed this book. Lindsay wanted to do what God wants for her life, she's just not sure what that is. Her friends and family are very supportive of her not getting baptized with the rest of her friends. The McCabes aren't pushing her to stay English, the Kaufman's aren't pushing her to become Amish. She has to figure out on her own what to do. This book shows us to trust God for His guidance in our lives.
This is book 4 in the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series. I didn't read the first three books and think this could be a stand alone book. I wasn't lost or confused about the characters as I read through the book.
I received this free e-book from NetGalley for honest review.
Before I started reading Amish fiction I always thought the Amish automatically joined the church and became members without any deliberation at all. Obviously, that is not the case. An Englisher joining the church must have an even harder time trying to make such a momentous decision. A Life of Joy brought me right into the decision making process!
In this 4th installment of the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series, we see 18 year old Lindsay Bedford on the threshold of adulthood. Does she join the church through baptism and continue her life in the Amish community? Should she go to college and resume life in the English world like her sister Jessica?
When I first finished the book I thought it was a good book for teen girls because most of the story revolves around an 18 year old, but as I chewed on the story and thought more about it, I realized that it's a good book for adults too. Lindsay is encouraged by her elders to pray, asking God to lead her to make the right decisions for her life. They aren't trying to force her one way or the other. They truly want her to have joy in life.
There are tidbits happening in the lives of several characters from the other books but not so much that this one couldn't be read as a stand-alone novel. The author has a lovely way of weaving the lives of these characters together. The most enjoyable part of the book for me was watching Rebecca and Daniel. They have an endearing relationship and this book finds them expecting more than they expected.
Zondervan provided a galley through Netgalley for review purposes. No compensation was received. I was not required to write a positive review, only my opinion of the book, which I have done.
Since her parents died four years ago, Lindsay Bedford has lived with her Amish Aunt and Uncle in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She is now eighteen, and her friends are planning on taking the Ã¢â¬ËInstruction for Baptism' classes, after which they will be baptised and become full members of the Amish faith, responsible for fulfilling all the rules of the Ordnung. While her friends expect her to join them in the class and get baptised, her sister, Jessica, who is attending college, is encouraging Lindsay to complete her high school education and consider further education. As Lindsay is pondering her choice, she is asked to spend the summer back in her old hometown in Virginia, helping a close family friend recover from a broken leg. This brings her into contact with some of her old friends, and helps her decide which life she will choose.
A Life of Joy is the fourth in the Kauffman Amish Bakery series, following A Gift of Grace, A Place of Peace and A Promise of Hope. However, it can easily be read as a stand-alone, as the relevant events from the previous books are covered in enough depth that the new reader understands the background, without providing so much detail as to bore the regular reader. I suspect these titles are more focused at the Young Adult than then Adult market. While there was nothing wrong with the book, I am old enough that I don't really want to read about teenagers any more - but I can fully see that these would be worthwhile books for my daughter to read in a few years. A Life of Joy emphasised the importance of making your own decisions based on your own faith in God, and not allowing external pressures or Ã¢â¬Ëworldly' people to influence that decision, and this is certainly something I expect that many Christian parents seek to teach their children.