The Amish Wanderer by Laura Hilton



MY REVIEW:

If asked to describe Laura Hilton’s books, I might tell you that they are “gritty” Amish fiction. This author has chosen to write stories that reveal the fact that like in all other walks of life, at their core, the Amish are also human and not all are the perfectly upright people portrayed in many of the popular novels. In “The Amish Wanderer” the reader will find that each of the two primary protagonists have secrets and carry heavy burdens from their past.

Bethany longs to run away from the town that knows about her father’s disgrace but her pain goes even deeper and there is one man she wants to leave far behind. Silas has spent his entire life in a dysfunctional and violent family and probably carries the scars to prove it. He is one the road to what he hopes will be a new life away from his family and the man he believes wants him dead. When he takes shelter one night in the Weiss barn and agrees to stay and help out on their farm, he and Bethany will find their lives changed forever.

I have read only two of Laura Hilton’s books but if they are indicative of her others, I have found another author to add to my “Don’t Miss” list. “The Amish Wanderer” grabbed my attention from the very beginning and I found myself reading well into the night. I did not want to do anything other than read this book. The story is so compelling although it does contain at least one scene that may be offensive to some readers. I personally believe that the scene was necessary to fully make the point of the danger to Bethany and it was handled very tactfully.

I liked Bethany and Silas’s characters very much and enjoyed reading about their road to romance, forgiveness, faith, and restoration. A good amount of scripture was woven seamlessly into the plot and was all quite applicable to their situations. Some suspense, drama, humor, and of course romance were blended perfectly to make the perfect read. Several plot twists and surprises made it all the more enjoyable.

If you have not read any books by Laura Hilton, please do yourself a favor and give one or more a try soon. I do not think you will regret it.

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



ABOUT THE BOOK:

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Bethany Weiss is ready to leave town. Tongues haven’t stopped clacking in Jamesport, MO, since her daed, the bishop, was admitted to a mental hospital after hurting their small Amish community. But her sharpest wounds Bethany hides from prying eyes, quietly biding her time until she can take a chance at a new life—away from Jamesport and away from God.

Silas Beiler was kicked out of his own home. Dogged by a rough childhood and a family who blames him for each new disaster, he begins hitchhiking across the country, sleeping in barns where he can, working for food when possible—headed for Pennsylvania in the hope of some stability.

When Bethany spies a man asleep in the hayloft, she first fears the return of an unwelcome suitor. But when it is Silas who turns and speaks, the memories flood back: a happy summer six years ago full of lemonade, long walks, and budding courtship. Now, however, those months of bliss seem naïve and idyllic. Was their old love strong enough to overcome new pain? Or will hurt and rejection continue to haunt their path?

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 HILTON:

I didn’t intentionally set out to write an Amish story loosely based on a true story. If fact, when people asked me if I would write my maternal grandparents’ story, I told them no.

But when time came to write Bethany’s story, all I knew was a short paragraph blurb about it. Bethany and her once-upon-a-time boyfriend Silas who left that particular Amish district and her before their relationship became serious. I didn’t know their backstories, really, and had no idea how the story would proceed. And since I don’t plot, I spend a lot of time praying about the story, because really, I want to write what He says to write. He knows who He wants it to reach.

So I sat down to pray about it. And God gave me a verse. Which is unusual at the beginning of the story. Usually, for me, it’s at the middle when God reveals His theme for the book. But this time, it was at the beginning. The verse is:

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (KJV)

And the verses caused more prayer. What am I supposed to do with it?

I was driving to Melbourne (Arkansas, not Australia) to pay property taxes and get my vehicle tags renewed, listening to the radio as we (my three daughters and I) drove down Larkin Road (that’s not the real name, just what everyone calls it—we have a lot of those around here: Day Road, Moko Road, etc—because there are ghost towns on these roads so they are called by the name of the ghost town). A song came on the radio and I don’t remember the name of it, or even who the singer was, but when I arrived in Melbourne, I had the opening line to my story.

The sky is falling and I’m searching for somewhere to hide.

I’m sure the people at the county clerk’s office might have been a little concerned about the state of my mental health when they saw the words scribbled at the top of my bill. I did get a strange look. I didn’t offer an explanation. And they didn’t ask.

When I got home, I started writing and paying close attention to Bethany’s mental clues (and Silas’s) to figure out what their stories were. And how they tied into the verse God had given me.

And then, without even realizing it until it hit, I knew who’s story I was writing.

My grandmother’s. My grandfather’s.

Except they are different. My grandmother wasn’t date raped. It was a member of her own family. And she wasn’t in love with my grandfather. She just discovered he was leaving the Amish and she wanted—needed—to escape.

Neither were Christians at the time. My grandfather was saved on his death bed. My grandmother’s youngest child was a teenager when she was saved. My mother, her sister, and all their girlfriends went to a tent meeting for a United Brethren Church and my grandmother attended one of the meetings with her daughters and was saved as a result. And their testimonies ultimately led to the salvation of my uncle and my grandfather.

Both of my grandparents had a lot of issues to work through as to why God allowed the bad things in their lives to happen. That they eventually came to Christ is a miracle but I’m glad they did, as I was raised in a Christian home.

Why does God allow bad things to happen to people? The short, pat answer is: because sin entered the world. Yes, God could stop them. But what if He uses the bad thing to refine a person’s faith, to draw them closer to Him as a result?

How a person reacts to the bad things directly ties in to how they affect them. In my story, Silas chose to trust God even though he feared for his life. No, he didn’t like what had happened, but even though he didn’t see how, he trusted God was working behind the scenes to bring Silas to where he needed to be, spiritually and physically. On the other hand, Bethany believed God had rejected her. Pushed her away and didn’t care about her. If He didn’t care for her, why should she care about Him? So she went into a stand-off with God.

The lessons ultimately learned, for both my grandparents and my characters, brought them to their knees before the living and holy God who was, and is, and is to come. And I trust God will use this story to help a reader out there who might be questioning something terrible that happened in their life.

You might not see how now and may not know why until eternity, but God has this. Keep praying. Keep trusting. Keep believing.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (KJV)

BLOG STOPS:

February 14: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

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

February 14: inklings and notions

February 15: A Rup Life

February 15: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

February 15: Lane Hill House

February 16: Daysong Reflections

February 16: A Simple Life, really?!

February 16: Blogging With Carol

February 17: Reading Is My SuperPower

February 17: Bigreadersite

February 17: Rockin’ My Mom Jeans

February 18: Rhonda’s Doings

February 18: Jeanette’s Thoughts

February 19: A Greater Yes

February 19: A Holland Reads

February 20: Connie’s History Classroom

February 20: Blossoms and Blessings

February 21: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog

February 21: Mom Is Forever

February 22: A Baker’s Perspective

February 22: Splashes of Joy

February 23: Moments Dipped in Ink

February 23: Carpe Diem

February 24: Pause for Tales

February 24: Quiet Quilter

February 25: For The Love of Books

February 25: Donna’s BookShelf

February 26: Christian Bookaholic

February 26: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

February 27: Giveaway Lady

February 27: Autism Mom

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away  Amish Wanderer, Patchwork Dreams (Amish of Seymour #1), Snow Globe (Amish of Jamesport #1),
a 10 x 17” canvas banner: “Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly” (Micah 6:8), and
Abba Scripture Candle (3” natural, clean-burning wax, scented) – “With God All Things Are Possible”! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b0d8

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