Amish

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The Christmas Admirer by Laura V. Hilton



MY REVIEW:

It seems like every time I decide I’m done with Amish fiction, I have the opportunity to read a book by one of the better Amish authors such as Laura V. Hilton and I have to rethink my decision. Yes there are plenty of Amish books out there that strike me as carbon copies with reworked characters and/or plots but I have also found a few authors whose novels are well worth my time. At this point, I won’t turn down a book by Laura V. Hilton.

Although her books are about the Amish, her characters are so full of life and they struggle with the same personal problems that the people I know experience. They may live a different lifestyle than I but I can easily identify with their doubts, their joy, and their pain. Not to mention that we all serve the same God. Another thing that keeps me reading Hilton’s books is that her romances have a certain “sizzle” yet retain their purity.

“The Christmas Admirer” features Benaiah Troyer and Susanna King who had planned to marry until tragedy struck his family. Because of added responsibilities, Benaiah decided that for her own good, it was best to break up with Susannah. Yes, he was one of those men who made decisions for another without getting their input. Then there was Susanna’s father who seemed to be good at doing the same thing to her. Everyone making decisions about her life without asking was enough to upset any woman.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit although there were a few times I did want to give Benaiah and Susannah’s dad a good shake or two to make them realize what they were doing to her. It was fun to read about Amish glassblowers but I would have loved to know a few more particulars about their craft. Nevertheless it was a great story and everything worked out to my satisfaction before it ended.

I would recommend “The Christmas Admirer” as well as other books by this author even if you don’t think you would enjoy Amish fiction.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Litfuse Publicity. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Click to purchase

Amish romance fans will love this heartwarming holiday story, perfect for gift-giving.

Benaiah Troyer has loved Susanna King for as long as he can remember, but when his parents died in an accident a year ago, he broke up with her—for her own good. After all, he was now the sole caregiver for his three younger sisters. What woman would want to put up with that? Still, against his better judgment, he can’t help leaving her a gift now and then, anonymously addressing her name in big block print, just to catch a smile. Roses one month, maple syrup candy another; and maybe this time, something special for Christmas.

Susanna has never gotten over losing Benaiah, but now the clock is ticking. Her father is selling his glass-blowing business, remarrying in January, and moving to Iowa with his bossy wife-to-be. Angry and frustrated, Susanna realizes she’s left with three options: one, go with Daed to his new home with a new mom; two, stay in Jamesport, Missouri, as an old maid; or, three, the best yet, flush out her mysterious secret admirer. But how could she be with anyone else when her heart is still with Benaiah?

Click here to purchase your copy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Amish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut novel, Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includes Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised of Healing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Amish of Jamesport includes The Snow Globe, The Postcard and The Birdhouse. In spring 2016 she released The Amish Firefighter with the setting in Jamesport, MO, the same as for The Amish Wanderer.

Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.

GUEST POST FROM LAURA V. HILTON:

Glass Blowing and The Christmas Admirer

Right before my youngest son joined the Coast Guard we went on a short mini-vacation to Springfield, Missouri, actually going farther north almost to Kansas City to see another Amish community near there in Osceola. There is a cheese factory there and my son wanted to try some of their cheeses – such as a ghost pepper cheese. Too spicy for me.

But upon the return to Springfield, Steve read about a glass blowers shop in the downtown area. We found the address and went to visit it. It is owned by an older gentleman and his son. They had a display area set up where people could see their wares and buy them and then a work area where the son mostly worked, and talked about how the fire needed to be so hot, and showed us how he worked and made things. As we watched, he made a lovely flower, a lily, in different colors of glass, green, white, pinks.

It was fascinating.

And I got to thinking what if…

So I did some more research. Asked questions. Probably drove them nuts. But when Whitaker House indicated they’d be interested in a Christmas novel, I proposed one about a glass blower.

The story is set in Jamesport, Missouri, and while completely stand alone, it does have some continuing characters from other books I’ve written set in Jamesport. If you are interested, the books set there are:

Amish Books set in Jamesport, Missouri:

The Snow Globe

The Postcard

The Birdhouse

The Amish Firefighter

The Amish Wanderer

The Kissing Bridge (part of Springs of Love collection)

The Christmas Admirer

Gingerbread Wishes (part of A Plain Thanksgiving collection–November 2018)

Love by the Numbers (February 2018)

I haven’t read any books about an Amish glass blower, but that’s not to say they aren’t out there. I haven’t read all the Amish books available. Jamesport is an area that is more tourist-oriented than the books set in Seymour / Webster County Missouri. They give buggy tours, have bed and breakfasts, open their homes for visitors to eat supper with them, and have businesses.

All Amish districts are different and the rules vary depending on the bishop and preachers. Some are more liberal and some more conservative. Some keep themselves distant and don’t welcome attention from non-Amish and some embrace it. While Jamesport is not as touristy as some districts in Lancaster Pennsylvania or in Ohio, it is much more so than others.

Susanna’s Cranberry Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
  • 1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 medium apple, chopped
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix the first six ingredients until blended. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
  2. In a large bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Just before serving, fold cream and walnuts into cranberry mixture.Makes 16 servings.

Susanna’s Cranberry Sauce

For on top of turkey sandwiches as Becca requested

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water or orange juice

Directions

In colander, rinse cranberries. In sauce pan, add water or orange juice and sugar, boil until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook about 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries had burst. Let cool.

Susanna’s “Love Portion” Gingerbread

Ingredients

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup shortening, melted slightly
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ c water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla

Directions

Shift together flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Set aside.

In mixing bowl, mix shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until they are absorbed. Divide dough into three pieces, pat down until about 1 ½ inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for three hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness. Cut in desired shapes. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes in preheated oven. Cool on wire racks. When cool, decorate as desired.

BLOG STOPS:

ASC Book Reviews, November 9

Books n Baubles, November 9

Janices book review, November 9

Avid Reader Book Reviews, November 10

Have A Wonderful Day, November 10

A Greater Yes, November 10

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 11

God’s Little Bookworm, November 11

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 11

Eat, Read, Teach, Blog, November 12

A Holland Reads, November 12

Simple Harvest Reads, November 12

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 13

Beck To Basics, November 13

Carpe Diem, November 13

Christian Bookaholic, November 14

Blossoms and Blessings, November 14

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, November 15

Reader’s cozy corner, November 15

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, November 15

Baker Kella, November 16

Quiet Quilter, November 16

Karen Sue Hadley, November 16

Pause for Tales, November 17

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

Pursuing Stacie, November 17

For The Love of Books, November 18

Blogging With Carol, November 18

Pink Granny’s Journey, November 18

Bigreadersite, November 19

Vicky Sluiter, November 19

SusanLovesBooks, November 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 20

Moments Dipped in Ink, November 20

New Horizon Reviews, November 20

The Fizzy Pop Collection, November 21

A Simply Enchanted Life, November 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 21

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 22

Daysong Reflections, November 22

Splashes of Joy, November 22

In honor of her tour, Laura is giving away

Grand Prize Package: The Christmas Admirer, “Unto Us a Child is Born” painting on decorative serving plate by Donna White, The Hearthside Collection, Inc., and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book (not in photo).

1st Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and The Very First Christmas by Juliet David with interactive illustrations by Pauline Siewert (children’s book).

2nd Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and “The Woman Who Honors The Lord Shall Be Praised” myrrh-scented candle from abba Jerusalem!

Click the link to enter! https://promosimple.com/ps/c16f

 

The Gift by Shelley Shepard Gray



MY REVIEW:

Once again Shelley Shepard Gray has written a book about the Amish that held my attention until the very end. The story gets started quickly with an accident (or was it?) that injures Susanna Schwartz and her rescuer just happens to be Neil Vance whose family had owned the farm that now belonged to Susanna’s family. Not only does the Vance family resent the new owners of their former home but it seems that the entire community blames the Schwartz family for the Vance family loss. As more accidents and vandalism take place, it becomes obvious that someone wants the Schwartz family to leave. The question is “Who would risk hurting someone because of an unfounded grudge?”

Although Neil seemed pretty unlikable at the beginning, it soon became evident that it was not his true nature. It didn’t take long for the sweet and forgiving Susanna to win him over as a friend. I enjoyed watching their relationship grow into something special and wondered right along with them what exactly was going on in their community.

This book has it all – a sweet romance and a dangerous mystery. Not only that but the reader will find a bonus romance in the works too. “The Gift” is a wonderful story laced with forgiveness and is perfect for the Christmas season. Once again I am pleased to recommend a book by Shelley Shepard Gray.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Litfuse Publicity. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

A special Christmas story about love and blessings in the next book in the Amish of Hart County series

The Schwartz family is happy to be spending Christmas on their new farm in Hart County. But when Susanna Schwartz hears gunshots that causes her buggy to overturn, and then her little sister falls through a wooden bridge into the icy creek, it becomes clear from these dangerous “accidents” that someone wants them gone.

Neil Vance has been heartbroken ever since his parents lost their family farm. He knows it’s not the Schwartz family’s fault, but he can’t help but be resentful. Until he meets Susanna. She is kind-hearted and bold, and Neil can’t stop thinking about her pretty green eyes.

Neil thinks the accidents are just that, but Susanna’s father is convinced the Vance family is responsible. Susanna refuses to believe Neil would do anything to harm her. She’s fallen in love with him and knows he is a good man. But her family is ready to pack up and move, and time is running out to uncover the truth before someone gets hurt . . . or worse.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a “New York Times” and “USA Today” bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Find out more about Shelley at http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.

Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall



MY REVIEW:

Third and final book in Cindy Woodsmall’s The Amish of Summer Grove series, “Gathering the Threads” left me satisfied yet wanting more. I would be quite happy to continue reading about Ariana, Quill, Skylar, and all the other fine characters from this series but all good things must end so I look forward to whatever new series this author has planned for her readers.

As the title suggests, in this powerful conclusion all the threads come together to present the completed story, including all the secrets and even a few surprises. I liked the way Ariana questioned her parents while remaining respectful of them. Quill continued to be a favorite as he has been from the very first book of the series. Needless to say, I have hoped he and Ariana would eventually find themselves to be more than friends. I also loved watching each of them mature in their faith despite (or because of) the difficulties they faced. It was also gratifying to see the effect certain revelations had on the community. In my opinion, “Gathering the Threads” turned out just right.

I hope you will pick up a copy for yourself soon but if you haven’t read the previous novels of this series, I would suggest reading them first. I loved this series and highly recommend it.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by the author, Cindy Woodsmall and Waterbrook/Multnomah. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves,
Will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together—
or completely rip them apart?

After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family?

Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart.

Gathering the Threads is the third and final novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author of numerous works of fiction and one of nonfiction. Her connection with the Amish community has been featured widely in national media. She lives in the Foothills of the North Georgia Mountains with her family.

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Gladden the Heart by Olivia Newport



MY REVIEW:

I have very mixed feelings about “Gladden the Heart”. It has an intriguing and unique plot that is filled with quite a few very interesting events. Unfortunately I did find it to move along at a snail’s pace and I had difficulty connecting with its many characters. I will also admit that my difficulty reading it may have just been a matter of timing and could have an entirely different opinion if I picked it up again at another time. The author’s skill is excellent and I found no real complaints with the book itself. As I said, it was probably just not the right time for me to read it.

I enjoyed reading this historical novel about an Amish community that lived in close proximity to evangelical Methodists who often held tent meetings. Knowing how strictly the Amish adhere to their own beliefs, it was a surprising twist when one of the Amish men suddenly began to have frequent “episodes” where he began preaching in his sleep in the style of the Methodists. As can be imagined, this caused no lack of controversy and curiosity within the Amish community. Was it really the Holy Spirit or was Noah trying to pull something over on them all?

This is one book that devoted Amish fiction lovers should enjoy. I personally learned a good bit about how many of the Amish were taught to dwell on their trials and suffering as what God expected from them and resisted the good news of His love of His people.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Click to purchase

“When you have experienced the Holy Ghost as I have, you would see that it is difficult to turn back.”

When the lively fervor of nineteenth century revivalism endangers the staid customs of the Amish community in the lush but rugged Kishacoquillas Valley of central Pennsylvania in 1847, the Amish church must deal with a divisive question: What is a genuine spiritual experience?

The question turns personal when Susanna’s beloved cousin Noah begins preaching while under trances and even though he is not a minister he gives long sermons that attract increasing attention. Curious, she helps to keep Noah safe during his trances. At the same time Adam, Susanna’s intended, feels pressure from the bishop to speak out against the ways of revivalism.

Susanna and Adam are pushed to opposite sides of a controversy that threatens their traditional Amish faith.. Now they must grapple with whether love is possible…even if they come to different conclusions.

When Noah goes missing at a time of day when he often preaches while asleep, circumstances thrust community members with divergent opinions into a crisis that demands they recognize the humanity they share regardless of beliefs. But can strong-held opinions be softened by the truths that shape their lives?

Click here to purchase your copy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to discover where faith and passions meet. She chases joy in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is. Her books include the Avenue of Dreams series set in 1890s Chicago; the Valley of Choice series, which intertwines contemporary and historical Amish stories; the historical Amish Turns of Time series; and Hidden Falls, a warm, contemporary, small-town novel.

GUEST POST FROM OLIVIA NEWPORT:

Sleepy Sundays

Now don’t laugh, but my guess is that if you looked around your church on any given Sunday morning, you’d see somebody sleeping. It might be an infant or toddler whose nap time collides with the worship time resting in a parent’s arms, or it might be a senior citizen who has perfected the art of dozing in an upright position.

What you don’t expect is that the person sleeping will be the preacher.

I’ve always been interested in church history. I even read a magazine called Christian History on a regular basis and consider it pleasure reading. In my ambling through church history, I came across a notation about “sleeping preachers” in the nineteenth century in various denominations, including the Amish. The accounts suggested that individuals who were not ministers would fall unconscious, wake up to preach for lengthy periods, sleep again, and have no recollection of their actions.

Could this possibly be true? Or a giant hoax? What’s a genuine spiritual experience, and what do we do when don’t agree on how to answer that question? Let’s face it, even now, 150 years later, we still don’t quite know what to do with our varying traditions when we don’t agree on how to answer that question.

I knew I had the makings of a story. Gladden the Heart travels back to 1847 and wrestles with these questions. When a divided community faces a life-or-death situation, they must respond to a crisis that challenges them to look past their differences. But can strong-held opinions be softened by the truths that shape their lives?

Gladden the Heart is the fifth story in Olivia Newport’s Amish Turns of Time series of historical Amish novels. Olivia chases joy in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.

BLOG STOPS:

July 4: Cafinated Reads

July 5: Book by Book

July 6: Genesis 5020

July 6: A Baker’s Perspective

July 7: Reading Is My SuperPower

July 7: Connie’s History Classroom

July 8: Daysong Reflections

July 9: God’s Little Bookworm

July 9: Inklings and Notions

July 10: A Reader’s Brain

July 10: Zerina Blossom’s Books

July 11: Bibliophile Reviews

July 11: Artistic Nobody

July 12: Karen Sue Hadley

July 12: Blogging With Carol

July 13: The Fizzy Pop Collection

July 14: Have A Wonderful Day

July 14: cherylbbookblog

July 15: Bigreadersite

July 15: Carpe Diem

July 16: Splashes of Joy

July 16: The Power of Words

July 17: His Grace is Sufficient

July 17: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away a Grand Prize that consists of:

All five books in the Amish Turns of Time series
(http://www.olivianewport.com/amish-turns-of-time/)
PLUS
Bonus: All three books in the Valley of Choice series
(http://www.olivianewport.com/valley-of-choice/)
PLUS
$25 Amazon Gift Card!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!
https://promosimple.com/ps/bc59

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