Friday, November 28, 2014

Christmas at Rose Hill Farm

Reading Christmas at Rose Hill Farm was like visiting family friends. The Lapps, Riehls and Zooks are famous in the circle of Amish families between the pages of Suzanne Woods Fisher's books. This book is set just before Christmas near Stoney Ridge Pennsylvania. Young Amos Lapp is soon to wed Bess Riehl. Amid preparations for the Wedding, Bess discovers an ancient rose left in a corner of the greenhouse of her late grandmother Bertha Riehl. Bess spent countless hours in the greenhouse as a girl beside her grandmother and good friend Billy Lapp.  Unable to identify this rose, a rose rustler from Penn State comes to the farm to look at the rose. A bigger surprise than the rose is the rustler who turns out to be Billy Lapp, who left the community abruptly four years ago, breaking Bess' heart as he left.

The study of the rose, this re-connection with Billy and upcoming wedding plans with a patient Amos in the middle leave Bess in a turmoil. Billy, in the meantime doesn't make it easy for her, making it clear he wants that rose identified so he can go back to his life among the English. He makes it clear that he has no plans to visit the Lapp farm or see his father and brothers. 

I learned a lot about roses in this story. I didn't know that there was as much research into the history of roses nor that there were so many details to account for. I have carried on the tradition of other perennials in my family so I can appreciate how important these studies must be.

I could add so many things to this review but I do not want to spoil anything in this poignant story. I will say that I have found another Christmas book that I will add to my Christmas traditions.  I truly enjoyed it.  I hope that Suzanne will continue to write about these lovable characters.

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