The Newcomer by Suzanne Woods Fisher



MY REVIEW:

Although there is a wealth of Amish fiction available, few cover the early history of the Amish in the New World. In “The Newcomer”, Suzanne Woods Fisher’s second book in her Amish Beginnings series, readers join Anna, Bairn, the Bauer family, and their fellow church members during their first months in Port Philadelphia and their subsequent journey to the settlement Jacob has chosen for them. However, not all goes as planned.

With Bairn deciding to make “just one more” voyage before joining the group and other members who for one reason or another are missing, a newcomer joins the group and makes a strong impact on them all. Multiple plot twists and surprises kept me turning the pages until the very end.  I enjoyed the strong cast of characters with their vivid personality traits. It was especially fun reading about Felix and all his mishaps. Many of the characters held a strong faith but not all of them were what they seemed.

Learning more about the beginnings of the Amish people in the U.S. was both informative and interesting – made more enjoyable by such an engaging story. This series is a must read for all fans of Amish fiction.

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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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?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Suzanne 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 www.suzannewoodsfisher.com 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 immigrants…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.

Ingredients:

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

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GIVEAWAY:

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!https://promosimple.com/ps/b0d1

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An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter


MY REVIEW:

I found “An Uncommon Courtship” to be a thoroughly delightful read. It was fun reading about a couple who were more-or-less strangers who were forced to marry to protect her reputation because of an innocent situation. I thought Trent was very thoughtful when he decided that Adelaide deserved her introduction into society and a proper courtship. Rife with misunderstandings and awkward situations, this often amusing tale was a sweet romance that found the couple eventually falling in love.

Some readers have found a certain scene well into the narrative to be a bit too honest for their taste so be warned of this. However, there were no explicit descriptions but more the couple’s reactions to what happened. To me this just confirmed their total innocence of such things and their embarrassed reactions were so very natural.

I thoroughly enjoyed “An Uncommon Courtship” and adored its characters. I can’t wait for Kristi Hunter’s next novel!

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that was provided by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn’t be happier he is not the duke in the family. Free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, he has grand plans of someday wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice. When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he barely knows, his dream of a loving marriage like his parents’ seems lost forever.

Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier when she hid in her older sister’s shadow–which worked until her sister got married. But even with her socially ambitious mother’s focus entirely on her, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience before she’s been introduced to society.

With nothing going as expected, can Trent and Adelaide’s marriage of obligation survive their own missteps and the pressures of London society to grow into a true meeting of hearts and minds?

READ AN EXCERPT HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in computer science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is the author of the Hawthorne House series and a 2016 RITA Award winner and Christy Award finalist. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Find her online at www.kristiannhunter.com.

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In the Shadow of Denali by Tracie Peterson & Kimberly Woodhouse



MY REVIEW:

I don’t think I’ve read a book by Tracie Peterson that I didn’t like and I have also learned that she and Kimberly Woodhouse make a dynamite writing team. “In the Shadow of Denali” is a historical romantic suspense that beautifully showcases their teamwork.

With a setting in the beautiful yet untamed wilderness at the base of the majestic Alaskan mountain Denali, the authors have brought their readers another thrilling and suspense filled tale. Their characters are down-to-earth and must depend on each other and their faith in order to survive the sinister plans of a depraved man. Historical facts and vivid descriptions provide a believable backdrop for this story of forgiveness and courage – a story that illustrates the old saying “the truth will set you free”.

I thoroughly enjoyed “In the Shadow of Denali” and will eagerly watch for the next book in The Heart of Alaska series.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that was provided by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Their Future Depends on Unlocking the Secrets the Mountain Holds From the Past

Cassidy Ivanoff and her father, John, work at the new and prestigious Curry Hotel near the foot of Mount McKinley–Denali as it’s still called by the natives. John is the wilderness and exploration guide for the wealthy tourists while Cassidy works in the kitchen as Cook’s assistant. The entire staff buzzes with excitement during the busy days preparing for the President’s imminent visit. His historic trip to dedicate the new national park on his way to driving in the golden spike to officially complete the Alaska Railroad will be the beginning of a new era for all of them and place The Curry at the heart of Alaska.

Allan Brennan travels to the Curry Hotel to be an apprentice to the seasoned Alaska mountain guide, with hopes of discovering the truth about his father’s death on the mountain years earlier. His father’s business partner blames the guide for Henry Brennan’s untimely death, but Allan cannot be at peace until he knows for sure. He finds an unlikely ally in Cassidy, and as the two begin to look into the mystery, they suddenly find that things are much less clear, and much more dangerous, than either could ever imagine.

READ AN EXCERPT HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Photo Credit: ©Lissa Barber Photography

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana. Learn more at www.traciepeterson.com.

Photo Credit: © Pauline Fortuna

Kimberley Woodhouse is a multipublished author of fiction and nonfiction. A popular speaker/teacher, she’s shared her theme of Joy Through Trials with over 150,000 people at more than a thousand venues across the country. She lives, writes, and homeschools with her husband of twenty-plus years and their two awesome teens live in Colorado. Connect with Kim at www.kimberleywoodhouse.com.

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Some Small Magic by Billy Coffey



MY REVIEW:

One thing I have learned from reading most of Billy Coffey’s books is that when I open one I can expect the unexpected. Not only does this author have a brilliant mastery of words but his imagination is extraordinary.

I am finding it somewhat difficult to know what to say about this amazing novel without spoilers. “Some Small Magic” is about what might be called a journey of faith with three unlikely characters. This journey takes them through some very dark places as well as danger. As the reader gets to know these characters and their circumstances, the unbelievable somehow becomes plausible and anything is possible. Although a bit confusing at times, all the loose threads are woven together for a satisfying ending.

This poignant story is filled with quotable lines and left me with much to ponder about life and death and how we live our lives. I hope other readers will give this fine author a chance and read “Some Small Magic”.

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



ABOUT THE BOOK:

She whispers, I’m supposed to take you home. Not yet, Abel says. Please, just not yet.
All Abel wants is a little bit of magic in his life. Enough money so his mom doesn’t cry at night. Healing for his broken body. And maybe a few answers about his past.
When Abel discovers letters to him from the dad he believed dead, he wonders if magic has come to the hills of Mattingly, Virginia, after all. But not everything is as it seems.
With a lot of questions and a little bit of hope, Abel decides to run away to find the truth. But danger follows him from the moment he jumps his first boxcar, forcing Abel to rely upon his simpleminded friend Willie a man wanted for murder who knows more about truth than most and a beautiful young woman who was already on the train. From Appalachia to the Tennessee wilds and through the Carolina mountains, the name of a single small town beckons: Fairhope. That is where Abel believes his magic lays. But will it be the sort that will bring a broken boy healing? And is that the magic that will one day lead him home?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

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