BLOG, NetGalley, Revell

The Roll of the Drums, #2 The Amish of Weaver’s Creek by Jan Drexler

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(This site uses affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link, I may be compensated.)

About the Book

Title: The Roll of the Drums

Series: The Amish of Weaver’s Creek

Author: Jan Drexler

Publisher: Revell

Released: October 2019

Ruby Weaver’s curly red hair isn’t the only thing that sets her apart from her Amish community in 1863. Twenty-eight and single, Ruby doesn’t believe a woman needs to be married in order to be happy. Her ailing friend Lovinia Fischer, however, has other ideas and wants Ruby to promise to marry her husband after she dies. Never imagining she’d have to fulfill that vow, Ruby agrees. And she’s not the only one. Lovinia has extracted a similar promise from her husband, Gideon.

With both Ruby and Gideon reluctant to keep their promises, a compromise must be reached. Ruby will spend her days with Gideon’s family–helping to raise the children and keep the house–but her nights will be spent at her sister’s neighboring house. But this arrangement raises eyebrows in their conservative Amish community, and it soon becomes clear that Ruby must make a decision–marry Gideon or turn her back on her friend, the children she’s grown to love . . . and their father.

Get your copy here.

My Review

This series, The Amish of Weaver’s Creek, presents an unusual view of the Civil War. The first book, A Sound of Distant Thunder, saw Jonas off to war, taking the place of his (pacifist) drafted brother. Now, Jan Drexler provides us with the story of Ruby Weaver, Jonas’s sister. 
Poor Ruby is outspoken, red-haired, and brash. No wonder she is still single. When a new family moves into the area and settles, Ruby has no idea the effect that befriending them will have on her life. 

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Who, as a reader, won’t fall in love with Ruby? She isn’t your typical beauty, she doesn’t fit the typical behavior norms, and she isn’t just “perfect.” But she is loyal, kind, and she loves children. 
Gideon was a puzzle to me. I liked his determined character, his hard work, and his loyalty to those around him. Gideon feels like he failed God, and God cannot forgive him or use him. But the more I think about it, the more I believe his understanding of right and wrong or what he should have done, was very skewed in real life. Just my opinion. You’ll have to read the book to see what I’m referring to, and even then, you may have a different opinion. 

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All in all, I really enjoyed this book. If you like Amish, romance, or the Civil War, this might be a book for you. I can’t wait for book three! 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Revell via NetGalley
. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own. 

My Rating

5 Stars- Superior – Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

6583749.jpgJan Drexler brings a unique understanding of Amish traditions and beliefs to her writing. Her ancestors were among the first Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, and their experiences are the inspiration for her stories. Jan lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband of thirty-five years, where she enjoys hiking in the Hills and spending time with their expanding family.

 

 

BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, Revell

Stitches in Time, #2 The Deacon’s Family by Suzanne Woods Fisher

(My post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on a link.)

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About the Book

Title: Stitches in Time

Series: The Deacon’s Family

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Publisher: Revell

Released: October 2019

Detachment had worked well as a life strategy for horse trainer Sam Schrock. Until he met Mollie Graber . . .

New to Stoney Ridge, schoolteacher Mollie has come to town for a fresh start. Aware of how fleeting and fragile life is, she wants to live it boldly and bravely. When Luke Schrock, new to his role as deacon, asks the church to take in foster girls from a group home, she’s the first to raise her hand. The power of love, she believes, can pick up the dropped stitches in a child’s heart and knit them back together.

Mollie envisions sleepovers and pillow fights. What the 11-year-old twins bring to her home is anything but. Visits from the sheriff at midnight. Phone calls from the school truancy officer. And then the most humiliating moment of all: the girls accuse Mollie of drug addiction.

There’s only one thing that breaks through the girls’ hard shell–an interest in horses. Reluctantly and skeptically, Sam Schrock gets drawn into Mollie’s chaotic life. What he didn’t expect was for love to knit together the dropped stitches in his own heart . . . just in time.

Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the little Amish church of Stoney Ridge for a touching story of the power of love.

 

Get your copy here.

My Review

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s trademark warmth, humor, and faith combine to make Stitches in Time (The Deacon’s Family, #2) another of her special, not-to-be-missed books. While this book is touted as the story between Mollie and Sam, it is very much also a continuation of the story of a maturing Luke Shrock and his marriage to Izzy. Will we see Luke chosen by lot to be the new deacon? In the last book, Luke desperately needed to grow up. In this book, God has been at work in Luke. Yet others need to find God’s help for their situations and stations in life.

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The fun thing about this story is that God had bigger plans than the characters. You can’t outmaneuver God; He lined up situations and people in such a way to bring the outcome He desired, despite the characters. God does this in real life, too.

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As you might guess, I was most impressed with Luke and Izzy, but Mollie and Sam do have a great story.
“…the more I pray, the more things happen.” Just one of the super great quotes in this book. You don’t need to read book one to enjoy this book, although I would highly suggest it. I found the three pages of “who’s who” in the front of the book helpful as I could see which books I’ve missed by which characters I didn’t know well.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher via NetGalley. (I also bought my own paperback copy.) This in no way influenced my opinions, which are solely my own.

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My Rating

5 stars – Superior- Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

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Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling, award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books, host of the radio-show-turned-blog Amish Wisdom, a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine.

Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, who was raised Plain. A theme in her books (her life!) is that you don’t have to “go Amish” to incorporate the principles of simple living.

Suzanne lives in California with her family and raises 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.

Suzanne can be found online at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

The Tinderbox by Beverly Lewis

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

With her Amish parents’ twentieth anniversary approaching, eighteen-year-old Sylvia Miller stumbles across a surprise–the old brass tinderbox her clockmaker father keeps in his Lancaster County shop has been left unlocked. Against her better judgment, Sylvia opens the cherished heirloom, not realizing that what she is about to discover will splinter apart her happy life.

Sylvia’s bewilderment grows when her father confronts her about snooping in the box. To her amazement, the respected convert to the Old Order reacts as if he has something to hide.

Burdened by the weight of his deception, Earnest Miller decides he must reveal the details about his past to his beloved wife, Rhoda. The long-kept secret alters everything for the close-knit family, jeopardizing Earnest and Rhoda’s relationship, as well as threatening Sylvia’s recent engagement to the preacher’s grandson.

Can the Millers find a way forward through the turmoil to a place of forgiveness and acceptance?

MY REVIEW:

“Hard work puts meat on your bones…and builds strong character.” Ack, character: for sure and for certain the centerpiece of yet another Amish tale Beverly Lewis has brought us. A family and couple(s) are in crisis. The Tinderbox out in her father’s clockmaking workshop has tempted Sylvia ever since she was small. Little does Sylvia realize the Pandora’s Box she will be opening as she peeks inside.
While not a fast-moving book, The Tinderbox deals with some of the strongest human emotions possible: intense human love, lust, (very tastefully dealt with), anger, fear, deceit, betrayal, and despair. I have my suspicions about a few others that we may not realize until the sequel, The Timepiece, is out in September of this year.
Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.
It has been said that women are emotional creatures. I thought about this a lot as I read The Tinderbox. It was easy to put myself in either Rhoda or Sylvia’s place. I wondered if the stress and emotions would be unbearable. God has said He will not give us more than we can bear. While Rhoda, Sylvia, Hannah, and Earnest all must have questioned this, God provided a special friend for the ladies as well as for Earnest in his time of need. It was fun to visit with the Wise Woman of Hickory Hollow, Ella Mae, yet again. Everyone needs an Ella Mae in his/her life.
Five. That many months until the sequel comes out. I need it now. Lewis neatly sets us up for The Timepiece, and I, for one, don’t want to wait!
Quotable:
“Have you fallen so far that the Lord can’t reach down and pick you up?”
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to leave a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Beverly Lewis, raised in Pennsylvania Amish country and both a schoolteacher and an accomplished musician, has been an award-winning author for over a dozen years. Her acclaimed novel, The Preacher’s Daughter, was a 2006 Quill Book Award finalist in the romance category. Her books have appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including USA Today and The New York Times. She and her husband, David, live in Colorado.”

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BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

The Amish Candymaker by Laura V. Hilton

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About the Book

 

 

Title: The Amish Candy Maker39302056

Author: Laura V. Hilton

Genre: Amish Christian Fiction

Release date: February 5, 2019

Publisher: WhitakerHouse

Agnes Zook finds herself on her own in a small Amish community in Mackinac County after a tragedy kills her family. Most of the Amish call her “off in den Kopf” (strange) since she’s starting her own business and forging her own way in the community instead of relying on the bishop to take care of her. Since she’s viewed as non-submissive and too-forward for an Amish woman, she’s not courted by young men in the area.
Isaac Mast is on the verge of leaving the Amish church. He’s become a sought-after auctioneer and has a thriving business, but he feels confined by the strict rules. When his brother is severely injured in a wildfire, Isaac receives a letter from his sister-in-law, begging him to come to Mackinac County to help out while his brother is hospitalized. Isaac agrees but is unsure how to manage their young children when he has weekend auctions he’s expected to attend.
Agnes may be the answer to a prayer. Sparks fly when she and Isaac meet. But could their differences help them form a deeper connection to their faith…and each other?

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

MY REVIEW:

The story of two very broken young people who must make peace with their God and their pasts, The Amish Candymaker is a sweet and sour romance. The sweet part is the obvious romance we all expect as the readers. The sour part is all the different obstacles that seem determined to keep “half-Amish” auctioneer Isaac and “old maid” Agnes apart.
It took me a while to appreciate the characters, especially Agnes, who was thinking about marriage within minutes of meeting Isaac. As the book progressed, I began to understand a little more the great emotional pain planted in Agnes by her father, who assured her that his words as a Preacher were inspired by God. How furious I was at Agnes’s father for wounding her so deeply.
Isaac knows his past will keep him from getting close to Agnes. Or will that be his inability to settle down and commit to one woman? Bishop Miah finally tells him, “ Running from your problems is a race you’ll never win,” and,
“The trouble with our past is that it refuses to stay past.”
One more Bishop Miah quote:
“Jesus never leaves the faithful to suffer alone. He heals the limping man’s faith.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own and no positive review was required.

MY RATING:

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About the Author

 

Laura Hilton is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with more than a thousand reviews published Laura-picture-300x225on the web. Her first series with Whitaker was The Amish of Seymour, comprising Patchwork DreamsA Harvest of Hearts(2012 Laurel Award winner, first place in the Amish Genre Clash), and Promised to Another; and her second was The Amish of Webster County, comprising Healing LoveAwakened Love, and Surrendered Love. Her next series was The Amish of Jamesport, featuring The Post CardSnow Globe, and The Birdhouse. Her latest books include The Amish FirefighterThe Amish Wanderer, and Love By the Numbers. Laura and her husband, Steve, live in Arkansas with their five children, whom Laura homeschools.

 

Guest Post from Laura

RECIPE FOR FUDGE À LA AGNES ZOOK

 

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge

Courtesy of Laura V. Hilton

 

1 bag (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips

1 bag (10 ounces) peanut butter chips

2 cans sweetened condensed milk, divided

6 tablespoons butter, divided

20 to 30 miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or six regular-size ones broken into four or five pieces each

For the chocolate layer: Line a greased 8-by-11.5-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

In a double boiler or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, combine milk chocolate chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and 4 tablespoons butter. Stir until melted and smooth.

Pour into prepared baking dish and allow to cool to room temperature, then move to the refrigerator while preparing next layer.

For the peanut butter layer: In a double boiler or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, combine peanut butter chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir until melted and smooth.

Pour on to the milk chocolate fudge layer and press pieces of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups into the surface. If desired, group candy pieces in a grid-like fashion for easier cutting later.

Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight or until set.

Remove from refrigerator, lift out of the pan by the edges of the parchment paper, and cut into squares, with roughly one miniature peanut butter cup or piece of a cup per square.

Store in the refrigerator.

 

Blog Stops

Christian Author, J. E. Grace, February 5

My Devotional Thoughts, February 5

Carla Loves To Read, February 5

Among the Reads, February 6

Girl’s In White Dresses, February 6

Britt Reads Fiction, February 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 7

The Avid Reader, February 7

Random Thoughts From a Bookworm, February 7

Emily Yager, February 8

Quiet quilter, February 8

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 8

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 9

Maureen’s Musings, February 9

Bibliophile Reviews, February 10

Vicky Sluiter, February 10

Through the Fire Blogs, February 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 11

Daysong Reflections, February 11

Texas Book-aholic, February 12

Janices book reviews, February 12

Carpe Diem, February 13

A Baker’s Perspective, February 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14

SusanLovesBooks, February 14

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 14

Blossoms and Blessings, February 15

Stephanie’s Life of Perseverance, February 15

Inspiration Clothesline, February 15

Inklings and Notions, February 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 16

Pause for Tales, February 16

Have A Wonderful Day, February 17

For the Love of Books, February 17

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 17

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, February 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 18

Bigreadersite, February 18

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away a grand prize of a large and small spatula set and a $10 Starbucks gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d9a6/the-amish-candy-maker-celebration-tour-giveaway.

BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, Revell

Mending Fences, #1 The Deacon’s Family by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

SERIES: The Deacon’s Family

PUBLISHER, DATE: Revell, February 2019

GENRE: Amish Romance

Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future.

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.

Bestselling and award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher returns to her beloved Stoney Ridge for this brand-new series featuring some of her readers’ favorite characters.

 

MY REVIEW:

Suzanne Woods Fisher has become an author whose books I snatch up as soon as they are available. She is such a wordsmith that one’s whole being is drawn into the worlds she creates. In Mending Fences, Fisher combines a couple different series as Luke Schrock returns home to Amish Stoney Ridge after his third stint in rehab.
This is a novel of second chances; caring for the unlovable; longing for what one doesn’t have, while perhaps missing what is offered one; discovering that one’s foolish actions can have both negative and positive consequences. And the laughter!! Fisher knows how to present serious truths in a hilarious setting.
I felt my heart sympathize with quiet Izzy who is learning to be plain. I wanted to like bad boy Luke who is trying to reform, but still carries a bit of an attitude. I especially liked the characterizations of Amos, Fran, and Bishop David Stoltzfus. Each is more than they initially appear. David is unlike many of the bishops one reads about, very caring, respected, thoughtful, and wise.
Since it is forbidden to quote the whole book, here are a few quotes I liked:
“Like I said, forgiveness, that comes naturally for us. It’s trust that’s hard to restore. Trust is a fragile thing. There’s no such thing as a little violation of trust, especially if you are the one who was betrayed.”
“He was a pity party of one.”
and,
“at any given moment, your life is going to be determined by your view of you, or God’s view of you.”

I can’t wait for the next installment, book two of The Deacon’s Family.

This book can be read without benefit of the other series, as enough backstory is revealed. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I was not required to leave a positive review.

 

 

MY RATING: 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

suzanne-woods-fisherSuzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling, award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books, host of the radio-show-turned-blog Amish Wisdom, a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine.

Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, who was raised Plain. A theme in her books (her life!) is that you don’t have to “go Amish” to incorporate the principles of simple living.

Suzanne lives in California with her family and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To her way of thinking, you just can’t life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone’s underwear in its mouth.

Suzanne can be found online at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

Bethany House, BLOG

The First Love by Beverly Lewis

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

TITLE: The First Love

AUTHOR: Beverly Lewis

PUBLISHER AND DATE: Bethany House, November 2018

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?

 

MY REVIEW:

Packed full of emotion and Biblical truth, this latest novel by Beverly Lewis explores young Maggie’s struggle with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis as she comes of age. The First Love also reveals Maggie’s family’s struggle to accept their father’s new wife, less than a year after their beloved Mamm dies.  
The reason I enjoyed the book was that it helped me see life from the perspective of people who have had a very different experience than myself. 
Lewis carefully brings out the details of a disease like Maggie’s. Life is never predictable, health-wise, from day-to-day. Others may or may not understand the inability of one with RA to do tasks one day that they could do the day before. Bad health can make a romantic future uncertain. I learned to love Maggie and was especially glad when she takes a risk that changes her life. 
I also really enjoyed the wisdom of Aunt Nellie. I am fortunate to have a godly person in my life with that kind of wisdom. 
The camp meetings are an integral part of the narrative, yet I was torn, wondering if there was a way to get this most important message across without being preachy. It felt like the book was only a vehicle for the message at that point. 
On to more positive. Having survived my own kids’ teenage years, I can identify just a pinch with Rachel who feels she is desperately trying to find her place in her stepchildren’s lives, let alone hearts. What a tough journey she undertakes, so courageously! 
Quotables I loved: 
Aunt Nellie’s goal: “Her goal is to make one person smile every single day.” Definitely one of my goals. 
“God won’t guide his footsteps unless he’s willin’ to move his feet.” God works best in those willing to obey. 
And lastly, a prayer for my adult children. “I pray you never disdain prayer. It’s the simplest way you can serve our Lord, and suffering won’t hold you from it…”  
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. All opinions are my own and no review was required. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Beverly Lewis, raised in Pennsylvania Amish country and both a schoolteacher and an accomplished musician, has been an award-winning author for over a dozen years. Her acclaimed novel, The Preacher’s Daughter, was a 2006 Quill Book Award finalist in the romance category. Her books have appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including USA Today and The New York Times. She and her husband, David, live in Colorado.”

 

 

 

BLOG

The Sound of Distant Thunder, #1 The Amish of Weaver’s Creek by Jan Drexler

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

TITLE: The Sound of Distant Thunder,#1 The Amish of Weaver’s Creek

Paperback, 352 pages

ISBN:9780800729318

PUBLISHER: Revell

PUBLISHED: September 18, 2018

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?

From the talented pen of Jan Drexler comes this brand new Amish series set against the backdrop of the Civil War. She puts her characters to the test as they struggle to reconcile their convictions and desires while the national conflict threatens to undermine and engulf their community.

 

MY REVIEW:

An old-order Amish community, making every effort to keep itself separate from the world, finds it cannot escape the distant rumblings of war. We view the Weaver’s Creek community mostly through the eyes of young Katie and Jonas, who hope to wed but are slowed by their youth and the worldly changes that intrude even upon those who would ignore them.

War is such a divisive subject in any era. In the United States, the Civil War was arguably one of our most contentious as it divided friends and families and our nation itself. Then add to that, the idea of an Amish man considering joining ranks of the volunteers, and the incredibility of the situation just skyrockets. Indeed, the Amish of Weaver’s Creek believe they can look the other way until conscription begins…and names on the list include Englischers and Amish alike.

What didn’t I like about the book? It made me think. I couldn’t find any easy answers. I wanted to vilify one character (and his choices) or the other. The black and white lines blurred into gray and blue… and red. Red for loss of life, loss of a way of life, loss of innocence and standing apart from the world.

A wise quote for today: “Labeling folks with ideas different from your own as “them” and calling yourself “us” is the surest way to create division.” Hm… I do believe many, many groups today could profit from this bit of wisdom.

What a heart-warming, yet heart-wrenching family-centered novel about one of the darkest times in our nation’s history.

I gratefully received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and the publisher. This in no way affects my opinions, for which I am solely responsible. I was not required to leave a positive review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jan Drexler brings a unique understanding of Amish traditions and beliefs to her writing. Her ancestors were among the first Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, and their experiences are the inspiration for her stories. Jan lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband of thirty-five years, where she enjoys hiking in the Hills and spending time with their expanding family.

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