MENDING FENCES

24 02 2019

Mending Fences Cover

Mending Fences is a very good book. You have two people living at Windmill Farm as a rehab to get back into society. Luke, who was raised as an Amish, and Izzy, from the English side. Izzy has already be at the farm and learning much from Amos and Fern Lapp when Luke moves in – into the barn. She wants to be Amish, but does she want to embrace God, too? The mending fences title comes from following Luke, who in the past, had hurt many people with practical jokes. Through this, he begins to heal and come to God whole-heartedly. But are these two beginning to like each other? You will have to read the book to find that out for yourselves!

Luke Schrock is a new and improved man after a stint in rehab, though everyone in Stoney Ridge only remembers the old Luke. They might have forgiven him, but nobody trusts him.

Amos and Fern Lapp allow Luke to live at Windmill Farm under two conditions. First, Luke must make a sincere apology to each person he’s hurt–a four-page, single-spaced list. Second, he must ask each victim of mischief to describe the damage he caused.

Simple, Luke thinks. Offering apologies is easy. But discovering the lasting effects his careless actions have caused . . . that isn’t so simple. It’s gut-wrenching.

And his list keeps growing. Izzy Miller, beautiful and frustratingly aloof, also boards at Windmill Farm. Luke’s clumsy efforts to befriend Izzy only insult and annoy her. Eager to impress, Luke sets out to prove himself to her by locating her mother. When he does, her identity sends shock waves through Stoney Ridge.

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Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of Amish fiction and non-fiction. Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, who was raised Plain in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. She travels back east a couple of times each year for research. For fun, too.

Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world. She has an underlying belief in her books–you don’t have to “go Amish” to incorporate many of their principles into your life: simplicity, living with less, appreciating nature, forgiving others more readily, trusting in God.

When Suzanne isn’t writing, playing tennis, or bragging to her friends about her grandbabies (so cute!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To her way of thinking, you just can’t take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone’s underwear in its mouth.

Mending Fences became available for purchase on February 5, 2019.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for this review.

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THE TEACHER’S BRIDE

4 02 2019

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The Teacher’s Bride is a book that will keep you glued to the pages.  I got caught up right from the very beginning.  There are a few “mini stories” within this book, so you get to know everyone. You have Christian (or “Chris”), who is the teacher in Birch Creek.  He is very organized personally and at work.  Then there is Ruby, who, for lack of words, is a klutz.  She moved to Birch Creek and moved in with her brother, Timothy, and his family to prove to herself that she is responsible and to make a new start.  These two are looking for mates.  Well, Christian knows nothing about how to communicate with a woman.  While Ruby keeps having accidents.  He is looking at Martha, his sister’s friend.  Ruby is looking at Seth, the bishop’s son.  Meanwhile, Ruby is teaching Christian how to communicate and act around a woman.  So, do they match up with the people they are looking at?  Are they going to get together themselves?  That is what you will need to read the book for!

If there is one thing Christian Ropp will not allow in his classroom — or his life — it is chaos. So why is he drawn to Ruby Glick, a woman who seems to bring mayhem wherever she goes?

Christian Ropp moves to Birch Creek to accept a teaching position in the rapidly growing Amish community. He’s determined to put the rambunctious school in order as well as check another task off his list: finding a wife. Of course, that would be much easier if women were like textbooks, straightforward and logical.

When an accident puts Christian out of commission, a new community member named Ruby Glick takes over his classroom. But Ruby’s exuberant teaching style clashes with Christian’s careful methods and he worries his students will never be the same.

With a track record of catastrophe, Ruby always feels too clumsy, too distracted, too . . . much. Desperate for a chance to prove that she can do more than make mistakes in her life, she throws herself into her new teaching position. But when Christian can’t seem to stay out of her way, she finds herself slipping into old, chaotic tendencies.

What she doesn’t anticipate is that Christian’s heart is slowly catching up with his mind — and she, too, must decide whether to follow logic or love.

Kathleen_Fuller

Kathleen Fuller (born September 11, 1967) is an American writer, specializing in Christian and Amish romantic fiction. She was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and currently resides in Geneva, Ohio with her husband, James Fuller, and three children.

As a stay-at-home mother of three Kathleen Fuller became enamored with Christian fiction. She started writing in 2000, and a year after published her first short story. By 2003, she published her first novella, “Encore, Encore” and by 2004, Kathleen would release her first full-length novel, Santa Fe Sunrise under Avalon. Since then Kathleen has authored several short stories, novellas, novels, and some freelance non-fiction works.

Kathleen’s break out year came when Thomas Nelson Publishers offered her several opportunities to write and participate in a series of Amish romance novels. In 2009, Kathleen’s novel, A Man of His Word, was released and became a CBA and ECPA bestseller. Kathleen followed that with the successful release of the anthology An Amish Christmas featuring her novella “A Miracle for Miriam.” The anthology would go on to become a CBD, CBA, and ECPA Bestseller.

The Teacher’s Bride became available for sale December 4, 2018.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for this review.

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THE FIRST LOVE

14 01 2019

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I absolutely loved this book!  Of course, with it being Amish, that is my favorite genre.  You feel for Maggie, who turns 18 during this book, who has a debilitating illness.  With her using a cane because of this illness, she feels as if no boy would want the added responsibility of taking care of her and she is unable to be the vibrant woman that a man would want.  

She then goes to a Mennonite tent revival and gets turned on to Jesus.  She is now reading her Bible all the time.  She hears about healing and wants that more than anything.  Will she get her healing?  Will she fall in love and be a wife to someone special?  You will need to read it yourself to get those answers.

It’s the summer of 1951, and Maggie Esh is in need of some hope. Sweet-spirited and uncommonly pretty despite struggling with chronic illness, she is used to being treated kindly by the young men of her Old Order Amish church district. Yet Maggie wishes she were more like other courting-age girls so she could live a normal, healthy life.

To make matters more complicated, Dat has recently remarried, less than a year after her mother died. And while her stepmother is kind, Rachel is much younger than Mamm, and she simply doesn’t understand Maggie or her illness the way Mamm did.

When tent revival meetings come to the area, Maggie is curious, and the words of the Mennonite preacher challenge her to reconsider what she knows about faith. Can she learn to trust God even when hope seems a distant dream?

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Beverly Marie Jones (Lewis) was born in the heart of Amish country—Lancaster, Pennsylvania. At the tender age of nine, she began writing short stories and poetry. Prior to that, she made up lyrics to the “little fingers” piano pieces she learned, at the age of five.

“My mother saved everything I wrote, even the stories I dreamed up during my grade school years,” Beverly says. One such tale is semi-autobiographical, about a young girl whose parents can no longer afford to give her piano lessons. The manuscript was 77 pages long and titled “She Shall Have Music,” penned under the shade of a lone willow tree. “Reading, writing, and playing piano have been top three on my list of favorite things,” she says.

Not until her own children were well into middle school did Beverly seek to publish her work, first in magazines such as Highlights for Children, Dolphin Log, and Guideposts for Kids. Her first book followed in 1993—Mountain Bikes and Garbanzo Beans—presently retitled Big Bad Beans (book #22 in the popular Cul-de-Sac Kids series of chapter books—see list of Bev’s children’s books).

The First Love became available for purchase September 4, 2018.

I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from NetGalley for this review.

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THE SOUND OF DISTANT THUNDER

22 10 2018

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Book One in “The Amish of Weaver’s Creek Series”
Katie Stuckey and Jonas Weaver are both romantics. Seventeen-year-old Katie is starry-eyed, in love with the idea of being in love, and does not want to wait to marry Jonas until she is eighteen, despite her parents’ insistence. So much can happen in a year. Twenty-year-old Jonas is taken in by the romance of soldiering, especially in defense of anti-slavery, even though he knows war is at odds with the teachings of the church. When his married brother’s name comes up in the draft list, he volunteers to take his brother’s place. But can the commitment Katie and Jonas have made to each other survive the separation?

To admit it, it was difficult for me to get going in this book.  So, that is why I give it a 4-star.  It seemed dragged out for the introductions.  But later on, you understand why Jan Drexler took her time in the introductions.  You got to know these people in a personal way.  

Katie and Jonas are so in love with each other, but she is young yet.  Her father has told her she has to wait until she is 18.  But also for Jonas, there is the Civil War.  He believes strongly against slavery.  He wants to help – somehow.  He prefers not to shoot anyone.  When his brother ends up on the draft list, Jonas feels the only option is to take his brother’s place.  This definately turns 2 families upside down.  Katie feels as if he is going to get killed.  The question is: will he?  You will need to read the book to find out.

So, I give this a 4-star because of the slow beginning, but once I got into it, was hard to put down.

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Jan grew up surrounded by books and storytellers. With Pastors and Teachers populating both sides of her extended family, we aren’t surprised that she wanted to be a first-class storyteller herself.

Born and raised in Michigan, Jan is the descendant of Amish, Mennonite and Brethren immigrants who settled in Berks, Somerset and Lancaster Counties in Pennsylvania in the mid-1700’s. The descendants of these immigrants pioneered in Maryland, Ohio, and finally Elkhart and LaGrange Counties in Northern Indiana in the 1850’s.

During the years when Jan was raising and homeschooling their children, she and her husband moved nine times in thirty years, finally landing in South Dakota where they enjoy incredibly Michigan-like weather. A northerner is always a northerner!

The ideas for Jan’s books come from the stories told by her parents and grandparents, seasoned with a lot of research and imagination.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for this review.





A SIMPLE SINGING

14 09 2018

A Simple Singing cover

For years Marie Bachmann thought of herself as the “good” daughter. She was the most loving to their mother, the most dedicated to their Amish way of life. But when a Mennonite farmhand, Gordon Martin, shows interest in her she can’t help but be flattered–until her mother sends her off to Florida. While there, Marie begins spending time with bad-boy Eli Jacob, the bishop’s son from back home.

When Gordon shows up in Florida to volunteer in a homeless shelter, her life becomes even more complicated. At the same time her aunt begins telling her of a Civil War-era ancestor and the woman’s uncommon bravery . . . a story that begins to work at Marie’s heart.

Marie hopes returning home may simplify life, but Eli soon follows. As Marie grapples with whether she should court Eli or leave the church for Gordon, the story of Annie Bachmann shines a light on what God has for Marie’s future.

This is one of the best books I have read in a long time.  A Simple Singing has two of my favorite types in one book – Amish and the Civil War.  When Marie’s aunt begins telling her about her ancestor, Annie, who lived through the Civil War, I was enraptured.  Leslie Gould has a flair about her writing that pulls you right in, as if you were Marie yourself.  You understand her learning to be more thoughtful of others instead of herself.  She was so wrapped up in the rules and regulations of the Amish faith that she forgot about God and what He wanted her to do.  There were times you felt she was going to go one way and she ended up going another.  You begin pulling for her.  Your heart goes out to her to learn a very valuable lesson.

L Gould

Leslie Gould is the coauthor, with Mindy Starns Clark, of the #1 bestselling The Amish Midwife and The Amish Nanny. She is also the author of numerous novels including two Lancaster Amish series. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction writing at Multnomah University as an adjunct professor. She resides with her husband and four children in Oregon. Learn more at www.lesliegould.com.  

Look for the third book in this series, A Faithful Gathering, set to be published February 5, 2019.

I received a copy of this ebook from NetGalley for this review.

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HOME ON HUCKLEBERRY HILL

31 05 2018

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Mary Anne Neuenschwander knows she should be content with what Gotte has given her. She has a comfortable house, a fruitful farm, and a good, steady husband. But after nearly six years of marriage, she still longs for a baby. Yet her husband, Jethro, seems to care more about fishing than about his wife. Unable to bear Jethro’s indifference, Mary Anne moves into a tent in the woods where he won’t have to be bothered. But when her mammi and dawdi find out what she’s done, they’ll stop at nothing—including a little camping trip of their own—to help save their granddaughter’s marriage . . .

Jethro’s greatest blessing is his beloved wife, Mary Anne. Nothing else in his life has turned out anywhere near the way he expected. Rather than burden Mary Anne with his disappointment, he shields her by spending less and less time at home and more time on the river. But when he finds that she’s moved out, he’s shocked. What will people think? What is Mary Anne thinking? And what clever plans are her grandparents hatching?

 I truly enjoyed this book.  I did notice that this is not old order Amish, but it was enjoyable.  You get to feel for Mary Anne.  You understand why she left Jethro, but the elders were none too happy about it.  Her family stood with her and they all were camping in the woods behind the house.  What was most enjoyable was when Jethro began to understand why she left and started to court her again.  A truly enjoyable romance.

Jennifer Beckstrand

Jennifer Beckstrand is the RITA nominated and award-winning author of the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill and The Honeybee Sisters series, as well as a number of novellas. Novels in her Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series have been RITA® Award and RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award finalists. Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for inspirational fiction and Huckleberry Hearts was named a Booklist Top 10 Inspirational Fiction Book of the Year. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people. She and her husband have been married for thirty-four years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and six adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

 

I was given a complimentary copy of this ebook for this review from NetGalley.

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THE ROAD HOME

18 05 2018

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Grieving the death of her Amish parents and the separation from her nine close-knit siblings, Lena Rose Schwartz consoles herself that her new life in Lancaster County won’t be forever. Surely someday soon she will return to her beloved Michigan settlement, including her beau. But even as she holds on to hope for a reunion with those she loves most, she discovers that Lancaster holds charms of its own. Will she find the courage to open her heart to other possibilities?

I loved this book!  It was very difficult to put down.  I felt for Lena – having to leave the only home she knew in Michigan and go to Pennsylvania to family she didn’t even know.  The sorrow of her parents dying in an accident and leaving all her siblings and her beau – I can’t even imagine it.  By the end of the book, I was in tears of joy.  You got to feel as if Lena Rose was your friend.  What was especially good, was how she learned to completely trust in God and step out of His way.  That is something we all have to deal with.

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Beverly Lewis was born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country and she has more than 17 million books in print. Her stories have been published in 12 languages and have regularly appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including the New York Times and USA Today. Beverly and her husband, David, live in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, making music, and spending time with their family.

 I received a copy of this book from Bethany House for this review.