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.
This series has been a journey. So many of the characters have undergone major changes, things that will never be the same again.
Ariana is by far my favorite character, although Quill is a close second. Ariana broke my heart with not knowing really where she belonged anymore. I’ll be honest I wanted her to leave the Amish community. It just seemed so stifling, too many rules. But something seemed really amiss in her community and she sensed it too. That added a bit of mystery to this book.
Skylar was a bit harder to like but I could see the goodness in her, there was hope for her.
This was a wonderful ending to the series. You could read this as a stand-alone but honestly because of all the history and everything that has happened I believe it’s important to read the first two books to fully grasp all that is taking place in this one.
In a wild country, the true cost of love may be more than they can bear
Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family’s rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans—but then she never had to. Not until the night she’s taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. Facing brutality and hardship, Betsy finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the feelings she’s developing for a native man who encourages her to see God in all circumstances.
Greatly anguished by Betsy’s captivity, Hans turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. She responds eagerly, overlooking troubling signs of Hans’s hunger for revenge. But if Betsy is ever restored to the Amish, will things between Hans and Tessa have gone too far?
Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.
About the Author
Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing and The Newcomer in the Amish Beginnings series, 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
The Three Sisters’ Garden: Corn, Squash & Beans!
Corn was a new food to the immigrants to the New World, introduced to them by Native Americans. Soon, it became an essential part of their daily diet, in one form or another. Growing it brought yet another new discovery: companion planting in the form of the Three Sisters’ Garden.
According to Iroquois legend, corn, squash and beans were three inseparable sisters who only grew and thrived together. 18th century Native Americans wouldn’t have understood the science behind why companion planting worked, but they knew it did. Beans, like all legumes, have bacteria living on their roots that help them absorb nitrogen from the air and convert it to a form that plants can use. Corn, which requires a lot of nitrogen to grow, benefits from the legumes and provides a pole support for the beans to climb. Low growing squash leaves shade the soil and prevent weed growth. Their sharp and prickly leaves deter pests. This tradition, of planting corn, beans and squash in the same mounds, became a sustainable system to provide long-term soil fertility among Native American tribes that farmed.
The wisdom of planting Three Sisters’ Garden was adopted by the immigrants, including our own Betsy Zook from The Return. Betsy learned of the technique while a captive among a tribe of Indians and later, after she had been returned to the Amish, shared her knowledge with Anna and Bairn.
Have you ever considered growing a Three Sisters’ garden? All you need is the right kind of seeds, a mound of dirt in a sunny spot, and to not forget to water. Mother Nature will do the rest.
Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling, award-winning author of novels about the Old Order Amish. Her interest in the Plain People began with her grandfather, who was raised as a Dunkard (German Baptist) on a farm in Pennsylvania. Suzanne loves to connect with readers! You can find her on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.
*Images courtesy of Dream Home Improvement and Technology Exchange Lab
Wow. What a great book. This was one of the books that towards the end I didn’t want to put down but it was 12:30 am. I forced myself with only a little over an hour left to read. Ugh.
At first I was kind of thinking there was a lot of jumping around but honestly, it kept the book moving at a nice pace and you never had a chance to get bored. And every storyline tied together eventually.
I loved the actual history woven into the book. We get to have an encounter with Benjamin Franklin and hear mention of George Washington, pretty cool. I also enjoyed having a glimpse at our country in the beginning. This country really was founded on believers, different believers, but believers in God non-the-less. We have strayed.
I don’t have time to talk about each character that plays an important role in this book, there are so many and I feel they are all equally vital to the story.
If you haven’t read this whole series, no worries. I really feel you could read this as a stand alone and thoroughly enjoy it. I highly recommend this one.
“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?
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
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.
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
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 http://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!
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
A Beautiful Young Woman Banished from Home Abigail Stutzman thought it was bad enough being dropped at the nearest bus station and sent to live several states away with some relatives she’d never heard about, much less met. But now, just a week after her arrival in Jamesport, Missouri, she finds herself at the scene of a barn fire. An intentional barn fire. And all fingers are pointed at her. She’s desperate to prove her innocence and protect her reputation, but nobody’s making that easy to do. And God certainly doesn’t seem willing to help. A Brave Firefighter with an Agenda of His Own
Sam Miller is in the process of turning over a new leaf. Determined to atone for the follies of his past, he is a volunteer firefighter, an EMT, and a doctor–in–training. When local barn fires escalate, everyone suspects arson. And since the Miller family are among the victims, no one is more determined to see the perpetrators brought to justice than Sam.
A Kindled Flame Neither One Could Have Anticipated When their paths first cross, at the site of a barn burning, the emotional intensity rivals the warmth of the flames. Soon, they must decide whether this fire is one they should feed or extinguish. And they’ll discover that the truth can prove more dangerous than a blazing inferno.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Laura Hiltongraduated with a business degree from Ozarka Technical College in Melbourne, Arkansas. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, she is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with more than a thousand reviews published on the Web. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Arkansas. To learn more about Laura, read her reviews, and find out about her upcoming releases, readers may visit her blog at http://lighthouse–academy.blogspot.com/.
This is the first book I have read by Laura. The book captured my interest from the first few pages. You are thrown into Abigail’s trouble right away and hope for a way out for her. I kept hoping she would get a chance to tell her side of the story otherwise she looked very guilty.
But something happened for me after the first initial chapters. I felt like things were kind of being forced to happen to the characters. I wasn’t really feeling this strong attraction between Sam and Abigail. This could just be me, of course, but it wasn’t working for me. I felt like they kept rehashing the same thoughts over and over.
Like I said the first few chapters really sucked me in but then I found myself not too interested in what was happening. As always, this is my opinion only and my perspective.
Amish widow Mattie vows never to love again . . . until a suspicious outsider with a shadowy past comes crashing into her fragile world.
Mattie Diener can barely keep it together. A young Amish widow and mother of two young children, she faces the lingering heartbreak of lost love, her son’s mysterious illness, and a torrent of accusations that threaten to undo her.
Bo Lambright is a fast-rising social services investigator whose high-society mother won’t rest until she finds his Mrs. Right. Despite Bo’s worldly success, the raw ache of a shadowy past and a series of unsettling dreams have left him reeling.
When Mattie and Bo cross paths, all signs point to disaster. Yet as they face a crucible of trials and tragedies together, longings begin to stir that seem destined only to end in more heartbreak. Is a miracle possible—not only of healing but of forbidden love? What secrets lie in Bo’s dreams? And will Mattie find the courage to face her uncertain future . . . or will she simply run away?
My thoughts and giveaway:
I haven’t had the chance to read anything by Ruth but I have heard good things about her work. I can tell you it’s all true.
She has crafted a story that will grab you from the opening page and then she keeps upping the tension with each page turn.
Mattie is a hurting widow trying to do the best she can raising her children but she is overwhelmed and the odds seem stacked against her. Nothing is going right for her.
Bo is looking for something more and with his mother pulling him in one direction and his heart in another which way will he turn? I was very anxious to see how God would work in his life and ultimately pull these two unlikely people together.
A very good read, whether you like Amish fiction or not.
One night four lives entered the world by the hands of an Amish midwife, just outside North Star, Pennsylvania.
Rebekah’s Babies, as they are called, are now grown adults and in four heartwarming novellas each young person experiences a journey of discovery, a possibility of love, and the wonder of Christmas.
Guiding Star by Katie Ganshert
Curiosity gets the best of Englischer Chase Wellington when he investigates the twenty-five-year-old disappearance of an Amish baby. When he finds adventurous Elle McAllister in Iowa will his discoveries upend her world?
Mourning Star by Amanda Flower
Eden Hochstetler slips from her parents’ fudge shop to investigate the death of her friend Isaac. Who is guilty? Isaac’s handsome great nephew Jesse, an angry Englischer, or someone else?
In the Stars by Cindy Woodsmall
Heartbroken Kore Detweiler avoids North Star after Savilla Beiler rejects his love. But when he is unexpectedly called to return home, he and Savilla must join forces to keep a family together.
Star of Grace by Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark
Andy Danner left North Star to join a new Amish settlement in Mississippi. His little brother devises a scheme to bring Andy home for Christmas and unwittingly unleashes the power of forgiveness in a reclusive widower’s life.
This is a wonderful collection of stories by great authors.
The neat thing about this book is that all the novellas are connected by a prologue in the beginning. It begins with the birth of four babies and then we catch up with them almost twenty-five years later.
I am a fan of Katie Ganshert so I was interested in how she would write an Amish story. Well, her main characters aren’t Amish so it had the feel of her other books,which are fabulous.
The only author I had never read anything by before was Amanda Flower. I found her story to be just as good as the rest with a bit of mystery thrown in.
If you are looking for some Christmas stories this season this book is a must read.