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A Plain & Fancy Christmas: A Novel Hardcover – October 25, 2011


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A Plain & Fancy Christmas: A Novel + An Amish Holiday: Two Heartwarming Tales
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345528751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345528759
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #475,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Cynthia Keller’s An Amish Christmas

“This little book is a holiday charmer young and old will find appealing.”—Fredericksburg Free Lance–Star

“This simple, compelling tale feels fresh like a brisk winter morning.”—Lincoln Journal Star

“The perfect holiday read.”—BookLoons

About the Author

Cynthia Keller is the author of An Amish Christmas. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children.

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Customer Reviews

Great story and very believable characters.
HeartforGod
As each woman tries to decide where she belongs and how to deal with this dilemma, others in both families are profoundly affected, as well.
D. Mckinzie
Just seems to take too many pages to get one thing said and it's starting to bore me.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By N. Porter on November 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Although I have read many of the Amish Christian Fiction before, it is generally not my favorite genre of Christian Fiction. However, this one pulled me in very heavily and I read it in a little over a day. I give it 4.5 stars, with a few faults.

The plot is top-notch. Mixed up at birth, an upper class family from New York has raised an Amish girl from birth, and the Amish family has raised the New Yorker girl. Throw the two together years later after they are well established in their own cultures, and you are bound to have a great story. This definitely does not fall flat in that regard either.

My issue is that I had trouble connecting with the Amish young lady... which is odd, since I probably have more in common with her than an executive running the rat race in NYC! I just found her to be illogical many times, and it was frustrating how she went about her decisions in the story. Her final decision seemed petty and annoying to me as well. I won't say more in fear of giving away the plot. I found her very selfish and self-absorbed, to the point of ultimate betrayal; and yet somehow the author seemed to condone this in her story, as if she had the right to make the choice she did in the end. It was a bit disturbing, as was the behavior of her family dealing with it as well. I just felt like it was completely unrealistic and "picture perfect for everyone" without it being REAL, dealing with REAL responsibilities of the world, REAL emotions that would suffer because of decisions, etc... So heads up that you may not like the ending, although the author sugar coats over what really happened so that you DO come away from the book positive, but the more you mull over it, the more it disturbs you.

Other than that, the book was well-written and really pulled me in. I still recommend it, but with hesitation about the author's point of view on what is truly important in life and what we measure our self-worth with.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By drebbles VINE VOICE on November 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Raised in a close-knit Amish family, Rachel Yoder did toy with the idea of not returning from her Rumspringa but she did, marrying Jacob. Jacob is dead now and Rachel and her daughter Katie have returned home to help her family. In New York, Ellie Shore is consumed with her public relations career to the point she ignores her love life and family at times. The two seemingly have little in common but when they discover they were switched shortly after birth and sent home with the wrong family, each decides to live with their biological families for a while to get a taste of what their life might have been like. Each of them will find themselves and their lives forever changed.

"A Plain and Fancy Christmas" is an interesting, at times thought provoking, novel about two women whose worlds unexpectedly collide. Author Cynthia Keller does lean a bit toward making the Amish lifestyle seem more appealing but she does do an excellent job of showing how such news can initially shatter each family yet ultimately pull them together and perhaps make them stronger. I thought the novel got off to a bit of a slow start as Keller built the characters of Rachel and Ellie, but once the switched at birth thing was brought into the book the pace picked up quickly and the book became quite interesting. Keller does an excellent job of showing how Rachel and Ellie cope in their new worlds (again since Keller seems to lean towards the Amish lifestyle, Ellie seems to adjust more easily than Rachel). The characters may handle the situation a bit too easily (Rachel and Ellie do seem to struggle with their changes - Rachel especially so - but their families accept things far too easily) but it is a Christmas novel after all. While Keller does guarantee a happy ending for all, she puts in an unexpected twist not seen in many Amish novels which is a very nice touch.

"A Plain and Fancy Christmas" is a nice holiday novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Gil and pregnant Nina Lawrence were traveling through Lancaster County, Pennsylvania when she went into labor. She was rushed to Lancaster's Griffin Hospital where she gave birth to her daughter Ellie before the trio continued on to New York. Also in the hospital giving birth is Amish Leah King who with her husband Isaac names their child Rachel too.

However, Nurse Violet Thompson realized that her husband the physician to both families mixed up the babies. To save his career and his life she persuades Paul to do nothing. Now over three decades later, he is dead and she is dying with a need to cleanse her conscience. She dispatches the same letter and proof to the two adult switched at birth babies.

Both are hesitant about meeting their biological parents, but Ellie makes the plunge first. The Amish welcome her especially her birth mother which makes the widowed single mom Rachel jealous as she never pleased her critical mother. Accompanied by her daughter Katie, she heads to Manhattan to meet her affluent biological parents, who welcome her warmly, but Rachel feels like a fish on dry land.

Although switched at birth is not a new premise (see The Wrong Child by Patricia Kay), Cynthia Keller provides an interesting spin to the nurturing vs. naturing debate with the cultural differences between the two families. Aptly titled, the cast is strong as the parents and other members of the families and friends are kind, welcoming and caring while the switched offspring adapt differently to meeting their biological families and the culture they should have been part of.

Harriet Klausner
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