Thanks Barbour Publishing for a review copy of Amish Cooking Class: The Blessing.
I’ve read several Amish fiction books; the first (and most memorable) being a few of Beverly Lewis’ early series. I’ve kind of taken a break from them lately, but I was initially drawn to Amish Cooking Class: The Blessing by its cover. The woman pictured really looked like she could be Amish to me. It seems that often the “Amish” person pictured on such covers resembles Barbie more than a member of the “plain” faith.
I’m glad I did request this book to review. It was enjoyable. The main character is Heidi Troyer, an Amish woman who is so sweet and agreeable she must dream only of unicorns and Jesus. Wishing she could have kids but unable to, Heidi keeps busy teaching cooking classes. Honestly I’m not sure how busy they keep her, because there are only six, and they’re held two weeks apart.
Amish Cooking Club
The six students who come to her class have varied backgrounds: the overworked teen daughter of an alcoholic mom who is struggling with life. The older lonely widower who misses his late wife. The harried mom of two preschoolers. Heidi teaches them to make six Amish recipes (all included in the book), and while they’re cooking, the participants share life stories with each other.
If a Hallmark movie could become a book, this book is what it might become. Because while there are struggles, they all turn out great in the end. The woman whose police officer husband is shot comes out of surgery just fine, only needing to miss work for several weeks. The cooking class member who is a newspaper critic and honestly a bit of a jerk ends up realizing his need for God and for church attendance. The alcoholic mom similarly recognizes the error of her ways and tearfully apologizes to her entire family. Realistic? Maybe not — but sometimes a sweet, happy read is just what you need. That’s what you’ll get here.
The book is full of Heidi’s cheery attitude. When her plans for adopting a baby fall through, Heidi says, “I’m disappointed, of course, but it’s a situation I cannot change, so I am trying to accept it as God’s will.” She writes Bible verses onto the back of the recipe cards she sends with students after each class, and the participants always take these to heart.
Author Wanda Brunstetter has done her research about the Amish, and details about their lives are woven in in a way that’s not obtrusive. Recently, we drove through an Amish area and my kids saw solar panels on some houses and thought these would disqualify those houses as belonging to the Amish. The next day, I read in this book that some Amish do indeed have solar panels in their houses. Interesting!
Amish Cooking Class: The Blessing is the second book in a series, but it was no problem for me to begin with this book. There were some references made to people in the first cooking class, but reading that isn’t necessary to enjoying this one. I see that a third book in the series will be out this winter, as well as an Amish cookbook based on recipes from the “cooking club.”
Light, enjoyable read!