“…if love can find a way through this, and if truth can pull together instead of push apart, and if we can get to a place where our prayers tell God that we are thankful He didn’t answer our petitions like we thought we wanted, then I think we’ll have something special that most couples won’t have. We’ll have found and won, where they’ve just accepted and melded.” ~Rose, in a letter to Jonathan
Christmas is approaching, but Rose is having a hard time feeling festive. Her fiance has returned from serving as a medic in World War 2, leaving her conflicted about their relationship. How can he claim to be Amish when he helped the Englisch? Then Rose finds out that she is Englisch herself—adopted by her Amish family when her Englisch family abandoned her during the Depression—and she’s left struggling to decide where she fits in and what the truth is.
In this Christmas novella, author Tricia Goyer pens a touching story about community and faith and adoption. I found myself identifying with Rose in her struggle to decide where she belongs—in the Englisch world to which she was born or the Amish world in which she was raised? Because we’ve moved to Victoria, BC, from Alberta for university, my husband and I often talk about where we want to end up—back in Alberta where we grew up and have family, or here in Victoria where we have community? It isn’t an easy question.
Rose and Jonathan also have to fight for their relationship, as his choice to help in the war and her discovery about her birth family threaten to tear them apart. As Rose says in her letter, love and truth and faith will see them through, but that comes with a huge struggle. Rose wonders what the community thinks of them because of their connections to the Englisch world. In the end, Rose must learn to trust in God and His plans for her—plans that included Englisch parents and an Amish family.
“All the trees needed for growth, for fruit, was tucked inside—the Creator God made sure of that. She had to believe God had good plans tucked deep inside her, too.“
As a fan of Tricia’s books, I was looking forward to reading this novella. I wasn’t totally sure about reading a Christmas story in the middle of September, but I found myself drawn more into Rose’s story than the season in which it takes place. I did question why Rose didn’t know she was adopted when her siblings and community knew about that, but I liked the way Tricia wove Johanna Spyri’s novel Heidi into Rose’s story, allowing Rose to be inspired by the parallels between her own sense of homelessness and Heidi’s.
Overall, this was an inspiring, quick read that I recommend picking up, whether it’s Christmas or not! If you like Amish fiction or Tricia’s novels, make sure to check out her Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series. You can also visit Tricia’s website or her Not Quite Amish Living blog.