Thursday, June 3, 2010

Reading Lists - Bonnet Fiction

“Bonnet fiction” is a term for Christian fiction that usually focuses on Amish or Mennonite communities. The plots often involve events that cause characters to reexamine their commitment to their faith, ultimately reaffirming their choices. Beverly Lewis is a popular author in this genre.

The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Choosing to forsake her feelings for an outsider and enter into a marriage of convenience, Amish Carrie faces huge consequences, as both she and her husband, Daniel, bring broken hearts and buried secrets into their relationship. This first novel is a welcome reminder that it is never too late to find your way back to God.

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
Nomi longs to escape the confines of her strict religious life just like her mom and older sister have. She's stuck in a backward Mennonite town ruled by an over- zealous pastor, and rebelling seems to be her only option. This episodic, introspective first novel is bold, tender, funny and intelligent, In a twist on the genre, Toews explores belief and belonging in a coming-of-age story.

Eyes at the Window by Evie Miller Yoder
Miller's moving debut relates the saga of Amish settlers in Ohio and Pennsylvania in the 19th century, when simple survival is a triumph. Seen through the eyes of eight characters who alternate chapters, the story centers on how the mysterious death of an infant in 1810 reverberates for the next 50 years. This is highly readable and anachronism-free historical Christian fiction.

A Gift of Grace by Amy Clipston
In the first of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series, Rebecca Kauffman's sister Grace, who left the Amish behind years earlier, is killed in an accident. Rebecca and her husband must raise Grace's two teenage English daughters in their Old Order Amish community. Complex relationships and cultural tension make A Gift of Grace a compelling read. The included recipes are an added bonus!

Leah’s Choice by Marta Perry
An Amish woman relies on her faith as she is courted by both Daniel Glick, widower and newcomer to Pleasant Valley, and Johnny Kile, her former fiancĂ©, who seeks reconciliation after choosing to leave the community. Perry’s richly detailed, character-driven, heartwarming novel, the first in the Pleasant Valley series, is sure to become a reader favorite.

Levi’s Will by W. Dale Cramer
Running away in the middle of the night, 19-year-old William Mullet flees a dogmatic father, a pregnant girlfriend, and his Old Order Amish community in Ohio. It's 1943, and William enters an unfamiliar world, enlisting in the military, and begins living a lie that becomes more complicated with each turn. Will is a complex hero with complicated relationships, and his story is an original one.

A Man of His Word by Kathleen Fuller
When Amish wife Moriah Byler is abandoned by her husband, she fears that she'll never find a man of his word. What Moriah doesn't know is that Levi's twin, Gabriel, has loved her for years. The characters are well drawn and the plot involves a sweet but winning romance in the first Hearts of Middlefield novel.

The Outsider by Ann Gabhart
When one of Gabrielle's visions comes to pass and a doctor is brought in to save the life of a young man, a chain of events that challenge Gabrielle's loyalty to the Shakers is set into motion. The War of 1812 setting, two points of view, detailed descriptions of the Shakers and their stringent religious beliefs, and light touch of romance make a fascinating addition to the genre.

Plain Paradise by Beth Wiseman
When Linda discovers that she was adopted and that her mother, an "Englisher," wants to become a part of her life, her world is turned upside down and she begins to question God's plan for her. Wiseman’s vivid, lifelike characters populate entertaining, engaging, believable stories. Like the rest of the Daughters of Promise series, Plain Paradise is a real page-turner.

The Sommerfield Trilogy by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Twenty-three years ago, Marie left her Old Order Mennonite family and faith to begin a new life with Jep Quinn. But her husband's early death cut her dreams short. When her aunt leaves Marie a house and small café in Sommerfield, Kansas, she heads back home. Sawyer tells a good story with plenty of emotion and conflict. Her characters leap off the page and touch the reader's heart.

The Storekeeper’s Daughter by Wanda Brunstetter
Naomi helps her widowed father run a store, manage a household, and raise seven children. There is no time to think about courtship or having her own family, though her heart yearns for Caleb Hoffmeir. Naomi’s days continue unchanged—until the day her baby brother disappears from the yard. The first of Brunstetters’ Daughters of Lancaster County series is bittersweet but heartwarming.

When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall
In the first Sisters of the Quilt novel, Hannah Lapp wants to marry outside her Old Order Amish community. Before Hannah and Mennonite Paul Waddell can marry, tragedy strikes and Hannah faces losing her place in the community forever. A powerful, emotional writing style, subtle subplot, and shocking conclusion make this a great read.

A Widow’s Hope by Mary Ellis
Hannah Brown, childless and widowed after six years of marriage, needs a change. She sells her farm, puts her sheep on a truck, and heads to Ohio to live with her sister. The first in the Miller Family series is a gentle tale of renewed hope that puts readers in the middle of Amish life. Hannah’s flock of sheep adds a unique twist!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Staff Selections - Anna, Children's

What is your favorite genre? Historical fiction, mystery, and young adult.

Who are your favorite authors? Agatha Christie, E. Nesbit, L.M. Montgomery, Will Hobbs, Jane Austen, Avi, Herge, Marguerite Henry, and Louis L'Amour.

What are you reading now? A Cold Treachery by Charles Todd.

What have you read recently? I Will Plant You a Lilac Tree by Laura Hillman and Random Harvest by James Hilton.

What is your favorite classic? Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Carry on Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham, Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss, and I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino. I guess you could say I love the classics!

What are your all time favorite books/series? Dragonback series by Timothy Zahn, The Mrs. Pollifax Mysteries by Dorothy Gilman, The Cat Royal Adventures by Julia Golding, The Lady Grace Mysteries by Grace Cavendish, Homer Price by Robert McCloskey, All-of-a-Kind Family series by Sydney Taylor, Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Royal Diaries series, and Hank the Cowdog series by John Erikson.

What are your favorite recommendations? Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt, Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith, Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman, Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard, Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin, The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Carlson, Mr. Tucket by Gary Paulsen, The Cay by Theodore Taylor, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin, Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates. For the young children I recommend Too Many Frogs by Sandy Asher, Wet Dog! by  Elise Broach, and Skippingjon Jones by Judy Schachner.