cover image The Beloved Hope Chest

The Beloved Hope Chest

Amy Clipston. Zondervan, $15.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-3103-4197-0

Bestselling Amish fiction writer Clipston reveals Mattie Fisher’s secrets in the final installment of the Amish Heirloom series (after The Cherished Quilt). After her daughters discover baby clothes, handprints and footprints, and birth and death certificates in her hope chest, Mattie decides that the time has come to share the truth about her past and her marriage. Flash back to 1989, when she’s married to Isaiah Petersheim and three months pregnant with her first child. After Isaiah dies as a hero, Mattie is left alone. Four months later, still grieving, she marries Leroy Fisher, her best friend since childhood. It’s primarily a marriage of convenience, but Leroy has faith that Mattie will learn to love him. When further grief enters their lives, Mattie decides to leave her new husband and retreat to her parents’ home, forcing Leroy to face the difficult choice of whether to continue to pursue her or respect her wishes and allow the woman he loves to walk out of his life. Leroy’s character is almost too perfect, but Clipston provides a deep, nuanced portrait of Mattie’s grief and the challenges of trying to move forward in life while buried under pain, fear, anger, and confusion. An epilogue serves to tie up the series, but the novel is enjoyable as a standalone. (May)