Amy Clipston. A Place at Our Table. Zondervan, 2017. See here to buy the book.
A Place at Our Table is the first book of Amy Clipston’s “Amish Homestead” series. Jamie Riehl is a volunteer firefighter and is Amish. He meets Kayla Dienner, who also is Amish, when he rescues her little teenage brother Nathan from a fire. There is an attraction between Jamie and Kayla, but Kayla fears that Jamie is having a bad influence on Nathan. Nathan dreams of becoming a firefighter, and Kayla does not want him to do that because their older brother, Simeon, died as a firefighter in the line of duty.
Tragedy hits Jamie and his family, and Jamie suffers an incredible amount of grief and guilt. His sister, Cindy, cannot bring herself to forgive him. In an attempt to heal his own wounds, he dives into work, both at the fire department and at home. This leads him to neglect his blossoming romance with Kayla. Kayla herself is recovering from a relationship in which her previous boyfriend, Abram, neglected her, although she had been wholly devoted to him.
I have said in other reviews that some of Amy Clipston’s novels tend pick a theme and to dwell on that theme throughout the course of the novel. This book did that a little, yet the book was still good, for a variety of events were occurring in the book. The characters were also likable: Nathan, for example, brought a youthful enthusiasm to his dreams, as well as a desire to learn. Kayla maybe went overboard in thinking she should be number 1 to her boyfriend, and yet her desire to be loved was understandable.
The religious themes were fairly good. Kayla suggests, appealing to the Gospel of Luke, that Jamie’s faith can make him well. Both help each other to heal, and that is beautiful. Some of the views about God may be troubling to some, and encouraging to others. Some characters find strength in the belief that God causes tragedy, and others trust in God to protect, even though God has permitted tragedy in their lives up to that point. Then there are characters who are practical: who say that the risk of tragedy can be minimized, even if not avoided, through proper attainment of knowledge and training (in this case, in the firefighting field). Clipston herself never implies that any of these views is right or wrong.
The book is enjoyable—-it would be enjoyable, say, as a TV episode, in the Little House or When Calls the Heart genre.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers. My review is honest.