Review of:  The Amish Quiltmaker’s Unexpected Baby

Jennifer Beckstrand

Kensington, $7.99 (341p) ISBN 978-1-4201-4924-1

Beckstrand begins the first of a new series with this redemptive tale featuring Esther, who at age 30 and not yet married, is considered an “old maid” in her Amish community.  After the death of both her parents and subsequent inheritance, Esther relocates to Byler, Colorado for a fresh start [pp. 1-44].  However, she is surprised when her estranged younger sister Ivy shows up at her doorstep with her newborn baby only to run off a day later, stealing her cash and leaving Esther to care for her infant [pp. 1-44].  Esther’s anger at her sister is intensified as she recalls how she felt years prior when she found Ivy kissing her fiancé three days before her wedding [p. 147].  When Esther called off her nuptials as a result of the betrayals, Ivy left her family and the Amish community altogether, turning to man after man to take care of her [p. 147 ff].  Readers discover that deep down, Esther blames herself for Ivy’s leaving and has carried the guilt for nearly a decade [p. 149].  In the course of caring for Ivy’s daughter, Winnie, Esther meets Levi, who with 11 younger siblings, knows how to take care of babies and, along with his extended family, helps her bond and care for the child [p. 3 ff].  Esther and Levi are drawn to each other despite their initial misgivings regarding their age difference, as Levi is six years her junior [p. 53 ff].  When Ivy returns to Byler and tries to manipulate Levi into marrying her [p. 189 ff], both he and Esther realize their true feelings for each other.  Readers will root for their future as well as Winnie’s in this heart-wrenching story about the tragic consequences of shame.  All is redeemed in the end, but Ivy’s actions are so despicable that one will wish that justice had been better served in the end.

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