Reviewed by Brenda Casto for Readers' Favorite
When I picked up A Wedding Quilt For Ella by Jerry Eicher, I was certain it was going to be another Amish story about a couple courting and marrying. Instead we get the story of Ella Yoder who is twenty, and Aden Wengerd who is twenty-five. The young couple is truly in love and plan on being married in June. The couple has been courting for a few years, but in their community of Seager Hill, the Amish aren't allowed to wed until they are twenty one. So as they plan for their June wedding, Aden has purchased property and plans on building Ella a new house, and Ella is working on her wedding quilt. When tragedy takes Aden's life unexpectedly, Ella is left with a broken heart, wondering how her beloved could be taken from her, and vows that she will never love again.
When a few other unexpected tragedies occur in the community, the young people start to whisper that death often occurs in three's and start wondering who might be next. As life continues to go on, Ella decides she wants to finish her wedding quilt, which seems to bring her solace. She is also approached by Aden's brother Daniel with the idea of building her the house that Aden wanted her to have. As Ella is trying to decide about building the house, a young man who turns out to be a Bishop, comes to ask for her hand in marriage. Her parents think it’s the best thing that could happen for her, but Ella only wants to marry for love; so she asks the Bishop for six months while she decides. Will Ella allow Daniel to build the house that Aden wanted her to have, and can Ella ever find happiness again?
Mr. Eicher does a great job of capturing the essence of Ella. She is anticipating her future, and then it seems as if that future is taken away from her. The feelings and questions Ella express are part of the grieving process, and I found it totally normal when she decided to keep a journal. Her parents are supportive of her, giving her room to grieve, but also reminding her that life goes on. One thing that seemed out of place was when Ella's parents encouraged her to marry the Bishop, someone Ella had never met before.
I thought the secondary characters added to the story and am quite interested in seeing where the storyline goes with Eli and the English nurse Pam. I also enjoyed the camaraderie between her sisters; there wasn't a lot of bickering going on which was refreshing.
I enjoyed Mr. Eicher's style of writing; he doesn't use a lot of German words making it easier for the reader to understand. Another interesting aspect to this story for me was the fact that the community prohibited marriage before the age of twenty one, quite different from most Amish stories where marriage takes place at a younger age.