Book Review (+ Giveaway): The Newcomer

20 Feb

the-newcomer-fb-coverClick HERE to purchase your copy.

the-newcomerAbout The Book

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Historical; Amish

Release Date: January 31

In 1737, Anna Konig and her fellow church members stagger off a small wooden ship after ten weeks at sea, eager to start a new life in the vibrant but raw Pennsylvania frontier. On the docks of Port Philadelphia waits bishop Jacob Bauer, founder of the settlement and father to ship carpenter Bairn. It’s a time of new beginnings for the reunited Bauer family, and for Anna and Bairn’s shipboard romance to blossom.

But this perfect moment cannot last. As Bairn grasps the reality of what it means to be Amish in the New World–isolated, rigid with expectations, under the thumb of his domineering father–his enthusiasm evaporates. When a sea captain offers the chance to cross the ocean one more time, Bairn grabs it. Just one more crossing, he promises Anna. But will she wait for him?

When Henrik Newman joins the church just as it makes its way to the frontier, Anna is torn. He seems to be everything Bairn is not–bold, devoted, and delighted to vie for her heart. And the most dramatic difference? He is here; Bairn is not.

Far from the frontier, an unexpected turn of events weaves together the lives of Bairn, Anna, and Henrik. When a secret is revealed, which true love will emerge?

About The Author

suzanne6-235x300Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher

Pennsylvania of 1737, the setting for The Newcomer, is like a foreign country. Parts of it might seem familiar — the same hills and creeks and blue sky, but we’d hardly recognize the settlers. People like Anna, or Bairn, or the mysterious Newcomer. We wouldn’t be able to understand their language, their customs and traditions. Their world was that different from our modern one.

The first group of Amish immigrants (first written about in Anna’s Crossing and followed up in The Newcomer) settled northwest of Philadelphia, then a vast wilderness, and relied on each other for safety, security, building projects, and church. In nearby Germantown, settlers were tradesmen, so they clustered houses together in small knots. The Amish farmers took out land warrants for sizeable properties and lived considerable distances from each other.

In The Newcomer, Anna cooked food in a cauldron over a large hearth. One-pot meals can trace their beginnings to open-hearth cooking when ingredients for a meal went into a large kettle suspended over the fire. Traditional dishes — ham and beans, pork and sauerkraut — used sturdy, available, and simple ingredients that improved with long, slow cooking. The dishes could be easily expanded when the need arose to set a few more places at the table. And it did, often. Large families and unannounced company inspired Amish cooks to find ways to “stretch the stew.”

Noodles (including dumplings and rivvels) could be tossed into a simmering broth to make a meal stretch. Most farms had a flock of chickens, so eggs were easily at hand. Today, homemade noodles are still a favorite dish.

Another “stew stretcher” was cornmeal mush, originally eaten as a bread substitute. Early German settlers who made their home in eastern Pennsylvania roasted the yellow field corn in a bake oven before it was shelled and ground at the mill. The roasting process gave a nutty rich flavor to the cornmeal. Mush is still part of the diet the Old Order Amish — cooked and fried, baked, added into scrapple, smothered in ketchup. Dress it up and you’ve got polenta.

Now here’s one thing we do have in common with 1737 Pennsylvania immigrant . . . a love of good food and a shortage of time! Here’s one of my favorite one-pot recipes — probably not the kind of stew Anna might have made for ship carpenter Bairn or the mysterious Newcomer (ah, which man one stole her heart?) . . . but definitely delicious. Enjoy!

Lentil Chili

Here’s one of my favorite “stew stretchers”. You can expand it even more by serving over rice.


1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced
10 c. water
1 lb. dry lentils
1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt (season to your taste)

½ tsp. pepper
2 c. salsa (your favorite variety)
29 oz. canned tomatoes, crushed

My Impressions:

Suzanne Woods Fisher is my go-to author for Amish fiction. Her Amish Beginnings series is a bit different, though, as it explores the migration of the Amish to the New World in the early 1700s. The second book in the series, The Newcomer, finds the small Amish church from Ixheim, Germany in Penn’s Woods ready to embark on a new life where they will be free to live according to their conscience. I loved the historical details, including historical figures, that Fisher includes in this novel. This one is perfect for those who want to know more about the Amish in America.

As stated above, The Newcomer is an historical novel. I was intrigued by the immigration requirements of the British government, and the reaction that came from the those newly arrived. While naturalization may have only taken a few days to a few weeks, the immigration process was no easy feat. Months of a dangerous sea crossing gave way to lines at the courthouse to swear allegiance to the British king. For many, citizenship, and the land that could come with it, required compromise and patience. Then the immigrants were tasked with finding jobs or clearing land for homes and farms. Sacrifices abounded for a new start. The main characters from book 1, Anna’s Crossing, are joined by a few new characters that add depth and a bit of intrigue to the story. If you’ve read book 1 and are hoping for more from Bairn and Anna, you won’t be disappointed. Characters battle doubts, discouragement, and fear in their journeys. It was interesting to me that the small church that gave up so much to worship God, often forgot to focus on Him and His promises. They are not so different from modern believers who seek other’s opinions or their own sufficiency before God’s.

For fans of Amish or historical fiction, The Newcomer is a great choice. It gets a recommended rating from me.


Audience: older teens to adults.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


Blog Stops

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February 13: Karen Sue Hadley

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February 14: Rhonda’s Doings

February 14: Bigreadersite

February 14: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

February 15: Blossoms and Blessings

February 15: Connie’s History Classroom

February 16: Bibliophile Reviews

February 16: Book by Book

February 17: Pause for Tales

February 17: A Holland Reads

February 18: A Greater Yes

February 18: The Power of Words

February 19: Lighthouse Academy

February 19: A Baker’s Perspective

February 20: By The Book

February 20: Giveaway Lady



To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!


17 Responses to “Book Review (+ Giveaway): The Newcomer”

  1. Rita Wray February 20, 2017 at 11:19 am #

    Sounds like a great read.


    • rbclibrary February 20, 2017 at 4:41 pm #

      It was! Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Suzanne Sellner February 20, 2017 at 1:34 pm #

    I, too, love Suzanne Woods Fisher’s Amish novels. I read Anna’s Crossing, the first book in this series, and loved it. I have already received The Newcomer, which I’ll begin soon.Amazingly, the immigrants had so many obstacles to overcome as they traveled to and settled in this new country. I admire them.


    • rbclibrary February 20, 2017 at 4:41 pm #

      Suzanne, you are so right about the immigrants. My paternal grandfather’s family settled in Pennsylvania around the time frame of this book. They were from England, however. My German ancestors didn’t arrive in the US until the late 1800s.


  3. Marilyn R February 20, 2017 at 2:11 pm #

    Nice review of The Newcomer. Loved this historical Amish genre book.


    • rbclibrary February 20, 2017 at 4:39 pm #

      Thanks! So glad you liked it.


  4. j4hibdon February 20, 2017 at 5:41 pm #

    Thank you for the review. I so want to read this series.


  5. susanlulu2013s - Susan Fletcher February 20, 2017 at 6:53 pm #

    Sure hope to be able to get this book! The cover screams, “Read me!”


    • rbclibrary February 21, 2017 at 7:16 am #

      I hope you do too! Enjoy!


  6. Carolyn West February 25, 2017 at 6:52 am #

    Sounds like another home run love her books


    • rbclibrary February 25, 2017 at 7:40 am #

      I love her books too! Hope you enjoy it.


  7. Brenda Murphree February 27, 2017 at 1:37 am #

    I would love to read this book. The cover is beautiful and it sounds like a good one. Thanks for the giveaway.


    • rbclibrary February 27, 2017 at 6:25 am #

      Brenda, the blog tour giveaway has ended. So sorry!


  8. honeybeerosewritings February 28, 2017 at 5:37 pm #

    Is there a winner yet?


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