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The Hidden Life: An Amish Quilt Novel By: Adina Senft

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Emma Stolzfus has never been courted or kissed, despite a few dates during her Rumspringe years that never amounted to anything. Now 30 years old, it has become her place as the unmarried daughter to look after her elderly mother. In the dark hours when her mother is asleep, Emma writes letters and essays to Amish periodicals, short stories, and even a novel she's been working on for the last five years. When an editor at a New York publishing house, Tyler West, takes an interest in her work, Emma secretly goes to meet him. It is the first time a man has paid attention to her, and beyond that Tyler wants to publish her novel. Emma suddenly finds herself torn between her Amish faith and the lure of all the English world offers her.

Goodreads Summary

In her Amish community, Emma Stolzfus has nearly come to terms with her lot as an unmarried, never-been-kissed daughter who will care for the mother she loves in the Daadi Haus. Her long-term prospects are for life in the family farmhouse, helping her sister Karen take care of her growing family. Emma’s Hidden Life helps her to survive the bleakness of her life without love and children. Gifted as a writer, few people in her community realize that Emma is the author of stories and letters in the Amish periodicals. Now, her novel, chosen as a finalist in a national contest, has attracted the attention of a New York literary agent. Besides the excitement of her book, she is helping to plan for a best friend’s wedding; and suddenly, men in her community are trying to court her. However, Emma gave her heart to a man, who married another, many years before. Will Emma find love?
I’ve only read a couple of other stories set in the Amish community. Although they were all enjoyable, I really loved this story. The contrast between the Amish and the modern world added a unique viewpoint to the story; it added humor to situations too. The caring, easy friendship between Emma, Carrie, and Amelia, making their quilt and cupcakes, opens the story. Senft creatively inserts letters and a police report to provide plot information. Emma’s blunt speech coupled with her kind heart rewards readers with dialogue that looks beyond the surface. The impressions of New York that Emma relates put my own recent feelings about the city into words. Emma’s prayers to listen more openly to God reminded me to ask for guidance. Reading more “sexy” romances is fun, but sometimes they feel too dirty, never uplifting. When Emma thinks that Grant’s smile – as their eyes meet - is “a gift beyond price”, it made my heart glad to think of my husband’s smile.

Four and a Half Stars

*Reviewed by Colleen*

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.


  1. An uplifting romance instead of a dirty one? I will have to check this out!

  1. This book looks very sweet. I enjoy that from time to time.

  1. Mona said...:

    Thanks for your review :)

    I am somehow fascinated by the Amish and their lifestyle. I own several books and have watched movies in this genre. Maybe their simple life appeals to me but they are human like the rest of us and have emotions/desires of their own.

    This book sounds really good b/c it has elements of both the Amish life and the modern one.

    The Amish rumspringa ritual is one that should be in every culture, IMO. It gives one the opportunity to experience another culture and make a choice.