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What is The Beloved Hope Chest about?
The Beloved Hope Chest is the final installment of my Amish Home series. During the story, the Fisher sisters learn the mystery behind their parents’ marriage—and about the sibling who has never been spoken of. Mattie Fisher’s three daughters know that she’s been keeping a secret from them. With each item pulled from the beloved family hope chest, they’ve discovered a new clue about their mother’s past. But there’s a reason Mattie has been keeping her history hidden, and she’s not sure she’s ready to reopen old wounds. Will dredging up the past change the way her children view her? Or her marriage to their father? And can she handle the pain of revisiting the memories that preceded the last few happy decades? Mattie’s story is one of grief and learning to love again. But like the best things preserved in a hope chest, it’s a story of love and redemption born out of heartache—and it’s past time to share it.
Where did you find your inspiration for writing The Beloved Hope Chest?
This book is very close to my heart since it is the last in my Amish Heirloom series. I’ve grown to love the Fisher family, and writing Mattie and Leroy’s story was bittersweet. The series was inspired while I sat with my publishing team in a conference room in Nashville, Tenn., at HarperCollins Christian Publishing’s headquarters. My publisher shared the idea of writing a series about a family with three daughters, in which I would tell the daughters’ stories in the first three books and then go back in time to share the parents’ story in the last book. Before I started writing the first book, The Forgotten Recipe, I plotted out the entire series and chose each mystery item that I would reveal in each book. Therefore, I knew what Mattie and Leroy’s story would be before I even wrote book one. I hope readers enjoy The Beloved Hope Chest since it reveals all of the mysteries that have been placed throughout the series.
What inspired you to write Amish fiction?
I was always fascinated with the Amish when I was a child. I remember visiting Lancaster County when I was younger, and my father, who was a German immigrant, told me the Amish speak the same dialect of German as my relatives. I was drawn to their simplicity and faith. Due to my German heritage, I feel a loose connection to the culture. I was inspired by other Amish authors to try to write my own Amish stories.
How do you research your Amish books?
I have a very dear Amish friend who answers all of my questions. She lives in Gordonville, PA, and I visit her at least once a year. I also speak to her on the phone frequently. I leave her a message on her voice mail, and she calls me back, normally within twenty-four hours, depending upon how busy she is. I try to keep my books as accurate to the culture as possible, but I sometimes take a little fictional license for the sake of the story.
Why do you think Amish fiction continues to be popular?
Our modern world is full of distractions. Each day our time is ruled by cellular phones and email messages. Most of us rush off to work in the morning and find ourselves trapped in traffic jams. When we get home at night, we again hurry through the motions of the daily routine before going to bed. Many of us are not able to spend much time with our families due to the demands of our careers.
I believe most of us secretly crave the romanticized view we have of the Amish life since their lives are focused on their families and faith. They chose to live simply and without the conveniences that have taken over our modern lives. The Amish have more time to spend with their families, and their lives revolve around their children, not stressful jobs. The Amish novels are an escape from our crazy lives, and the stories transport us to a simpler way of life. By reading about the Amish, we feel a closer connection to God and we refocus our lives toward what really matters.
Could you share one recipe from The Beloved Hope Chest?
In the story, Mattie likes to bake raspberry pies using the raspberries found in Leroy’s garden. Here is my Amish friend’s favorite recipe for raspberry pie:
Black Raspberry Pie
2 unbaked pie shells
Bring 2 quarts of water to boil
Meanwhile, moisten 1 cup *Therm Flo with ¾ cup water
Whisk together, then whisk into boiling water
Add ¾ cup sugar
Remove from heat and add one quart fresh raspberries
Pour into pie shells (don’t overfill, you may have extra)
Top with pie crust; cut holes in dough to allow steam to escape
Bake at 350 degrees for one hour
*Therm Flo is a modified food starch derived from waxy maize. It is used in canning and freezing home-prepared foods as a clear thickener.
What’s coming next for you?
I’m excited to announce I’m working on a new series called the Amish Homestead series. The first book, A Place at Our Table, will debut in November. My new series will center around the Riehl family who live on a dairy farm in Bird-in-Hand, PA. I’m super excited to share more about my new series closer to the release date!
Amy Clipston is the best-selling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple best-seller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. She and her family live in North Carolina.