Tag Archives: Amish fiction

Book Review: The Englisch Daughter

27 Apr

Old Order Amish wife and mother Jemima has put her marriage and family ahead of herself for years. She’s set herself aside. Raising four children, she’s followed all the rules and has been patient in looking forward to her time to chase a dream of her own.

But when she finds out that her life savings for pursuing that dream is gone — and her husband, Roy, has been hiding a child with another woman — her entire world is shattered. Will she be able to listen to God and love Roy’s child? With so much at stake, how can she and Roy fix their relationship before their lives come crashing down

Cindy Woodsmall is the “New York Times” and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction. She’s been featured in national media outlets such as ABC’s “Nightline” and the “Wall Street Journal”. Cindy has won numerous awards and has been finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in Flowery Branch, GA.

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book.

Find out more about Cindy and Erin at http://www.cindywoodsmall.com.

 

My Impressions:

Authors Cindy and Erin Woodsmall have teamed up again to bring fans of Amish fiction another great read. This mother-in-law/daughter-in-law duo set stories in Plain communities, but there is nothing simple about the issues their characters face. The pace may be slower, but they face real-life struggles just like those in the more modern world. To me that is a plus — a story that resonates with the reader showing that people are people wherever or whenever they live. So if you want a true to life story, pick up The Englisch Daughter.

There are four main characters in The English Daughter — husband and wife Jemima and Roy, Roy’s sister Abigail, and newcomer to the community, Chris. All four struggle with identity and their roles within relationships as determined by experiences and their community’s expectations. And a realistic perspective of identity is everything whether Amish or English. I found the emphasis within the Amish community to conform, to forgive, to move on, interesting and thought-provoking. There is a great deal of tension and conflict within the pages of The Englisch Daughter, but also healing.

While there is plenty of Amish flavor in The Englisch Daughter, it really is a story for every time and place. It is also a book that would create great conversations, making it a good choice for book clubs. So grab your friends, and dig in!

Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(Thanks to Waterbrook for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Reading Road Trip — Ohio

8 Apr

Today I am taking a Reading Road Trip to Ohio! With stay-at-home orders impacting most of America, a good book is a great resource for some virtual traveling. My list consists of a number of genres — Amish, dual timelines, mystery, historical — something for everyone.

Ohio’s motto is So Much to Discover. I hope you will discover a great new book!

 

Reading Road Trip — Ohio!

 

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories. The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife Clare and their four-year old son Jacob on a remote mountain trail.

When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare awakens the next morning to find herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can to recover her son . . . especially when her second child is moments away from being born.

Clare will face the greatest fight of her life, as she struggles to reclaim her son from the Shawnee Indians now holding him captive. But with the battle lines sharply drawn, Jacob’s life might not be the only one at stake. When frontiersman Jeremiah Ring comes to her aid, can the stranger convince Clare that recovering her son will require the very thing her anguished heart is unwilling to do — be still, wait and let God fight this battle for them?

Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock

Stunning coming-of-age drama set during the Great Depression and Prohibition

When Eve Marryat’s father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots. Eve’s uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.

 Eve can’t wait to leave St. Paul, a notorious haven for gangsters. At seventeen, she considers her family to be “good people,” not lawbreakers like so many in her neighborhood. Thrilled to be moving to a “safe haven,” Eve soon forms an unlikely friendship with a strange young man named Link, blissfully unaware that her uncle’s lodge is anything but what it seems.

When the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma. Does she dare risk everything by exposing the man whose love and generosity is keeping her family from ruin? And when things turn dangerous, can she trust Link in spite of appearances?

Refuge on Crescent Hill by Melanie Dobson

Jobless, homeless, and broke, Camden Bristow decides to visit the grandmother she hasn’t seen in years. But when Camden arrives in Etherton, Ohio, she discovers that her grandmother has passed away, leaving her the 150-year-old mansion on Crescent Hill. The site of her happiest summers as a child, the run-down mansion is now her only refuge.

When Camden finds evidence that she may not be the mansion’s only occupant, memories of Grandma Rosalie’s bedtime stories about secret passageways and runaway slaves fuel her imagination. What really happened at Crescent Hill? Who can she turn to for answers in this town full of strangers? And what motivates the handsome local Alex Yates to offer his help? As she works to uncover the past and present mysteries harbored in her home, Camden uncovers deep family secrets within the mansion’s walls that could change her life — and the entire town — forever.

A Plain Death by Amanda Flower

Welcome to Appleseed Creek, the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country, where life is not as serene as it seems.

While her Cleveland friends relocated to Southern California and Italy, 24-year-old computer whiz Chloe Humphrey moves with some uncertainty to Appleseed Creek to direct technology services at a nearby college. Her first acquaintance is Becky, an ex-Amish teenager looking for a new home.

While driving Chloe’s car, Becky collides with a buggy, killing an Amish elder. But what looks like an accident is soon labeled murder when police discover the car’s cut brake line.

Now, Chloe must take on the role of amateur sleuth to discover who the real intended victim was before the murderer makes a second attempt. Becky’s handsome Amish-turned-Mennonite brother, Timothy, a local carpenter, comes in handy along the way. With God’s help, they’ll solve the mystery that’s rocking this small community.

 

Where will you read next?

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Spring TBR

17 Mar

After a really rainy winter here in the “sunny” south, spring has really sprung! All the flowers are bursting forth bringing all the pollen too. Warmer temps are the norm, and more days feature sun rather than clouds. While we can now get out of the house, out and about is out of the picture. But we can still enjoy the fresh air and great outdoors even if it is on the back porch or apartment balcony. I plan to use this time of quiet pursuits reading new books. I know that’s not much different than how I normally spend my time 😉 , but the inside of a book is a great escape from the turmoil found in the media.

I am joining other bloggers with Top 10 Spring TBR lists. My list includes a variety of genres — something for everyone! To find more fabulous lists, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top 10 Books on My TBR

 

The Blue Cloak by Shannon McNear

True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through unique stories of historical romantic suspense. Collect them all and be inspired by the hope that always finds its way even in the darkest of times.
 
Based on real events beginning in 1797 — Rachel Taylor lives a rather mundane existence at the way station her family runs along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee. She attends her friend’s wedding only to watch it dissolve in horror has the groom, Wiley Harpe, and his cousin become murderers on the run, who drag their families along. Declaring a “war on all humanity,” the Harpes won’t be stopped, and Ben Langford is on their trail to see if his own cousin was one of their latest victims. How many will die before peace can return to the frontier?

A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano

Lady Eliza Sumner is on a mission. After losing her family, her fiance, and her faith, the disappearance of her fortune is the last straw. Now, masquerading as Miss Eliza Sumner, governess-at-large, she’s determined to find the man who ran off with her fortune, reclaim the money, and head straight back to London.

Much to Mr. Hamilton Beckett’s chagrin, all the eyes of New York society — all the female ones, at least–are on him. Unfortunately for all the matchmaking mothers and eligible daughters, he has no plans to marry again, especially with his hands full keeping his business afloat and raising his two children alone.

When Eliza’s hapless attempts to regain her fortune put her right in Hamilton’s path, sparks instantly begin to fly. The discovery of a common nemesis causes them to join forces, but with all their plans falling by the wayside and their enemies getting the better of them, it will take a riot of complications for Hamilton and Eliza to realize that God just might have had a better plan in mind all along.

The Englisch Daughter by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall

Old Order Amish wife and mother Jemima has put her marriage and family ahead of herself for years. She’s set herself aside. Raising four children, she’s followed all the rules and has been patient in looking forward to her time to chase a dream of her own.

But when she finds out that her life savings for pursuing that dream is gone — and her husband, Roy, has been hiding a child with another woman — her entire world is shattered. Will she be able to listen to God and love Roy’s child? With so much at stake, how can she and Roy fix their relationship before their lives come crashing down?

Flight Risk by Cara Putman

Savannah Daniels has worked hard to build her law practice, to surround herself with good friends, and to be the loyal aunt her troubled niece can always count on. But since her ex-husband’s betrayal, she has trouble trusting anyone.

Jett Glover’s father committed suicide over a false newspaper report that ruined his reputation. Now a fierce champion of truth, Jett is writing the story of his journalism career — an international sex-trafficking exposé that will bring down a celebrity baseball player and the men closest to him, including Savannah’s ex-husband.

When Jett’s story breaks, tragedy ensues. Then a commercial airline crashes, and one of Savannah’s clients is implicated in the crash. Men connected to the scandal, including her ex, begin to die amid mysterious circumstances, and Savannah’s niece becomes an unwitting target.

Against their better instincts, Jett and Savannah join ranks to sort the facts from fiction. But can Savannah trust the reporter who threw her life into chaos? And can Jett face the possibility that he’s made the biggest mistake of his life?

A Gift to Cherish by Victoria Bylin

Rafe Donovan, a cop from Cincinnati, is haunted by a recurring nightmare about the death of his high school sweetheart. Those nightmares force him to take leave from his job, seek help, and shelter in Refuge, where he pounds nails for his brother’s construction business. Rafe has no desire to stay in Wyoming. His goal is to get back to being a cop in Ohio as soon as possible.

But then he meets Daisy Riley . . . When he finds her stranded late at night with a flat tire, he’s impressed by her courage. Daisy is equally impressed by him, but as a former victim of violence, she treasures her secure life in Refuge. Together they navigate the road to love — one that’s complicated by Daisy’s troubled best friend, online dating, and the impossible obstacle of 1,600 miles between her home and his.

The House at The End of The Moor by Michelle Griep

What Can a London Opera Star and an Escaped Dartmoor Prisoner Have in Common?

Opera star Maggie Lee escapes her opulent lifestyle when threatened by a powerful politician who aims to ruin her life. She runs off to the wilds of the moors to live in anonymity. All that changes the day she discovers a half-dead man near her house. Escaped convict Oliver Ward is on the run to prove his innocence, until he gets hurt and is taken in by Maggie. He discovers some jewels in her possession—the very same jewels that got him convicted. Together they hatch a plan to return the jewels, clearing Oliver’s name and hopefully maintaining Maggie’s anonymity.

The Land Beneath Us by Sarah Sundin

In 1943, Private Clay Paxton trains hard with the US Army Rangers at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, determined to do his best in the upcoming Allied invasion of France. With his future stolen by his brothers’ betrayal, Clay has only one thing to live for–fulfilling the recurring dream of his death.

Leah Jones works as a librarian at Camp Forrest, longing to rise above her orphanage upbringing and belong to the community, even as she uses her spare time to search for her real family — the baby sisters she was separated from so long ago.

After Clay saves Leah’s life from a brutal attack, he saves her virtue with a marriage of convenience. When he ships out to train in England for D-day, their letters bind them together over the distance. But can a love strong enough to overcome death grow between them before Clay’s recurring dream comes true?

Star Rising by Janet Ferguson

Star Youngblood has always been a fighter–a necessity after her mother married a monster of a man. Now, she’s finally on the path to the stable life she’s always wanted. Her employer, Priscilla Kelly, is a sweet woman ravaged by rheumatoid arthritis, and Star will do anything to help her. Even if that means going toe to toe with Mrs. Kelly’s neglectful son.

After being betrayed on the mission field and devastated by the tragic death of his father, Paul Kelly gave up on God. He lives life on his own terms, biding his time as a corporate pilot until he can save enough money to begin his own flight school closer to home. His mother is all he has left, and he wants to be near her. He just didn’t expect her health to decline so quickly. When he discovers his mother has taken in a stray — a woman he’s not at all sure can be trusted — his protective instincts kick into high gear. Paul’s handled a lot of turbulence, but he’s never gone up against a force like Star.

As Paul and Star strive to protect his mother in their own ways, they soon find their own hearts are at the greatest risk.

Starfish Pier by Irene Hannon

A year ago, ex-Delta Force operator Steven Roark left the rigors of combat behind to run fishing charters in Hope Harbor, decompress, and talk some sense into his kid brother. Business is good — but making peace with his past is more challenging than he expected.

First-grade teacher Holly Miller leads a quiet, low-profile existence — until she’s recruited to advocate for a cause that’s dear to her heart. When she solicits Steven’s assistance, sparks fly — especially after they find themselves on opposite sides of an issue that disrupts their placid seaside community.

As these two seemingly incompatible souls search for common ground, might they discover a deeper connection — and find that love can banish darkness and light the way to a future filled with promise?

The Traitor’s Pawn by Lisa Harris

When FBI agent Jack Shannon arrives in Corpus Christi, Texas, he is focused on one thing: find the man who has been selling encrypted government secrets to the Chinese through online birding chat rooms. But when a senator is shot during a hunting trip and the woman he was with is abducted, Jack agrees to join the search — especially when he discovers that the kidnapping victim is Aubrey Grayson, a woman he was once in love with.

As the search continues, it becomes clear the senator may not have been the intended victim — and Aubrey may be connected to the other case Jack is supposed to be working on. Can Jack untangle the knots before it’s too late? And when he learns the truth, will it be too painful to get past?

Join the hunt for the truth — and a traitor — in this tension-laden story of secrets, betrayal, and second chances.

 

Book Review: Two Steps Forward

13 Feb

Back and broke in Stoney Ridge, Jimmy Fisher has coasted as long as he could through life on charm, good looks, and deep-set dimples. They always worked just fine for him — until they didn’t. His smile has no effect on the violet-eyed beauty he met at the Bent N’ Dent, the one with that stunning horse. She’s offered him a job, but nothing else.

The last thing Sylvie Schrock King needs around Rising Star Farm is a grown boy working for her, especially her neighbor Edith’s son. The woman holds a serious grudge against Sylvie and her son, and hiring Jimmy Fisher will only fan the flames of Edith’s rancor. But Sylvie is desperate for help on the farm, and Jimmy understands horses like no one else.

While Jimmy’s lazy smile and teasing ways steal Sylvie’s heart, Edith is working on a way to claim her land. Has Sylvie made another terrible mistake? Or is it too late to outfox the fox? More importantly . . . just who is the fox?

Writing with both wit and warmth, Fisher delivers a supremely satisfying conclusion to the popular Deacon’s Family series.

Carol-award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes untold stories about inspiring people. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction, ranging from Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World to the historical novel Anna’s Crossing.

 

My Impressions:

Two Steps Forward is the very satisfying conclusion to the Deacon’s Family series by Suzanne Woods Fisher. With her trademark easy style and wit, I enjoyed my return to the Stoney Ridge community and the characters I have grown very fond of throughout this series. There are a few newcomers in this book, but fans of Fisher’s other books will be glad to see the return of Jimmy Fisher who has in some ways grown up since he left the Amish community for Colorado years before. This book was just what I needed to read — sweet and gentle, yet with spiritual truths that spoke to my heart. Recommended!

The Deacon’s Family series has been a treat to read. I have enjoyed seeing Luke Schrock grow in his role as deacon, as well as husband. Several years have passed since the storyline in book 2, Stitches in Time, concluded. Luke’s cousin has moved to Stoney Ridge to find a place for herself and her young son. Jimmy Fisher’s return home impacts Sylvie’s life and future. Relationships are a strength in this novel, and I enjoyed seeing the interactions between husband and wife, family members, and friends. Like any community or family, there are plenty of squabbles, but the way the Amish in this book handled them was refreshing and a reminder of how Christ wants His people to interact. The theme of putting hands and feet to our convictions was also very moving, as the community steps out in faith to impact the world around them, even as they believe they should be set apart. I loved Fisher’s use of the Amish as a study of how all of God’s people can make a difference just one life at a time.

Although Two Steps Forward can be read as a standalone, I recommend starting this series with book 1. They character development and the story lines naturally flow from one book to another. And with 3 published, you’ll have plenty of good reading ahead!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Revell for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Anticipated Books of 2020 (a few months worth at least)

7 Jan

A new year means new books! And although I have shelves full, there is always room for more great books. My list contains novels that I am looking forward to in the next few months. I am an eclectic reader, so the fiction I have listed runs the gamut of genres — something for everyone!

What new book are you looking forward to in 2020?

For more bloggers’ highly anticipated lists, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Anticipated Books of Early 2020

 

Chasing The White Lion by James Hannibal (3/3)

Daughter of Rome by Tessa Afshar (2/4)

  • End Game by Rachel Dylan (released today! Woo hoo!)

 

The Englisch Daughter by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall (4/21)

Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck (2/4)

The Land Beneath Us by Sarah Sundin (2/4)

One Little Lie by Colleen Coble (3/3)

 

Promised Land by Robert Whitlow (1/14)

Starfish Pier by Irene Hannon (3/31)

The Thief of Lanwyn Manor by Sarah E. Ladd (released today!!)

 

Book Review: A Christmas Haven

2 Dec

Old Order Amish Ivy Zook is wrestling with her need to shed her community’s ways so she can grow the business of her dreams: planning parties. As long as she’s stuck living without modernization, she can barely get her business on its feet. But if she leaves too soon, she’d cause trouble for her sister, Holly, who is planning her wedding to Joshua Smucker. All of their plans become twice as complicated when an old car crashes into the storefront of Greene’s Pharmacy, carrying a Swartzentruber (ultra-conservative sect) Amish man, Arlan, and his very ill sister.

The Zooks take in Arlan and Madga, tending to the woman’s illness and Arlan begins helping around the family farm. Ivy and Arlan are on different tracks, one wanting to leave her community and the other to return to his. But both young people are trying to discover what God has in store for their futures and what miracles might lie around the corner this Christmas season.

Cindy Woodsmall is the “New York Times” and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction. She’s been featured in national media outlets such as ABC’s “Nightline” and the “Wall Street Journal”. Cindy has won numerous awards and has been finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in Flowery Branch, GA.

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book.

Find out more about Cindy and Erin at http://www.cindywoodsmall.com.

 

My Impressions:

Cindy and Erin Woodsmall return to Raysburg, Pennsylvania and the Zook family with A Christmas Haven. (The Christmas Remedy introduced readers to the quaint town and its Amish/English community.) This novella-length book features Ivy Zook, a young woman who identifies more with glitter and tulle than the Plain community in which she was born. But her plans to join the English world are put on hold when an unexpected crash into the Green Pharmacy front window brings new people and new perspectives into her life.

As always, Cindy and Erin Woodsmall created a community that resonates with all faith traditions. In A Christmas Haven the rules of the Old Order Amish actually seem pretty lenient against the extreme legalism that Arlan and Magda Keim experienced in their Swartzentruber Amish family. Readers may be surprised with the differences between Plain communities that the Woodsmalls describe. But the true message is that of mercy and grace and being true to what God has designed for your life. I liked the easy pace of this novel and the true-to-life characters. While the book is billed as a Christmas novella, most of the action takes place before the holiday season, so this book can be enjoyed at any time of the year.

Likable characters, charming setting, and a relevant faith message makes this a good choice for your Christmas reading.

Recommended.

Audience: YA to adults.

(Thanks to Waterbrook for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Book Review: Joshua’s Mission

31 Oct

Joshua’s Mission is a new standalone novel in the Plain and Simple Miracles collection from popular author Vannetta Chapman. These stories of love and family and Amish community in Oklahoma tell of the miracles that can happen when lives are lived in service to God and to one another.

Joshua Kline travels from his farm in Oklahoma to offer aid to an Englisch town on the gulf coast of Texas after a category 4 hurricane has ravaged the area. He brings his brother with him, who needs a change of environment. The last thing he wants for Alton is another brush with the law. He is pleasantly surprised when he hears that Becca Troyer, the bishop’s granddaughter, plans on joining their team.

What will Joshua find when he arrives in Texas? A lack of electricity, certainly, which poses little problem for the Amish volunteers as they help restore order from destruction. But a budding romance? A call from God? And a possible healing of his relationship with Alton?

Joshua’s Mission is a story of love, forgiveness, and the grace of God that carries us through even the worst situations.

Vannetta Chapman is the author of 30 published books. She has written for Abingdon Press and Harvest House Publishers, and she currently writes for Harper Collins Christian Publishing and Harlequin/Love Inspired. Her books have hit the CBD Bestseller list, the Amazon bestseller list, and her most recent release, A Widow’s Hope ,debuted at #17 on Publishers Weekly mass market list. She’s received numerous awards including the ACFW Carol Award for best mystery (Falling to Pieces), and she was a Christy Award finalist (Anna’s Healing). She recently signed a contract for an additional six books with Harelquin/Love Inspired.

Chapman has a BA and MA in English literature from the University of Texas at Arlington. She has taught for numerous writing groups and speaks around the country on writing, how to publish, and steps to finding an agent and landing a publishing contract. Chapman’s releases include Amish romance, cozy mystery, novellas, romantic suspense, and dystopian. She has tutored writers in these genres and more. She currently teaches English at Central Texas College and writes full time. She’s also the president for the Central Texas Chapter of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers).

For more information, visit her at
webpage — http://www.VannettaChapman.com
blog — http://vannettachapman.com/blog/
facebook — http://www.facebook.com/VannettaChapmanBooks
pinterest — http://pinterest.com/vannettachapman
instagram — https://instagram.com/vannettachapman
twitter — https://twitter.com/VannettaChapman

My Impressions:

Joshua’s Mission is not your typical Amish fiction. Oh, there are Plain values and examples of Plain living, but it shows a side of the Amish community many don’t think about — the outreach to those in need, even the English. 🙂 The result is a thought-provoking and heart-touching read that anyone would enjoy, regardless of genre preference. Recommended.

Two stories converge in this novel. Joshua Kline is his brother’s keeper, yet that task comes more from obligation than love and concern. Joshua’s mission is to keep Alton out of trouble, and so they both set out on a mission trip to Port Aransas, Texas. That’s where the Amish portion of the story intersects with the English and the community that has been devastated by a hurricane. Both Amish and English characters learn and grow from their interactions and their joint efforts to rebuild the Texas community. I loved all of the characters, main and secondary, Amish and English, and loved how Chapman explored the complexities of both worlds. There are plenty of differences, even among individual Plain communities, but through the story, it becomes clear that we all share a need for dignity, belonging, and connection. I especially liked that serious Joshua was able to hear God’s message through the sermon at a very un-Amish service. The coastal Texas setting came alive in the pages of Joshua’s Mission — through the harrowing storm and the rebirth out of the debris. The description of MDS (Mennonite Disaster Services) and its way of providing hope through tangible means was very informative.

I really enjoyed Joshua’s Mission, so much so that I plan to seek out more books from this author.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to the author and JustRead Blog Tours for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)