Haunted by personal tragedy, Lucy Wilson arrives in Rowan County, Kentucky, in the spring of 1911 to assist her cousin, Cora Wilson Stewart, superintendent of schools. A fish out of water, Lucy is appalled by the primitive conditions and intellectual poverty she encounters.
Born in those very hills, Cora knows the twin plagues of illiteracy and poverty. So does Brother Wyatt, a singing school master who travels through the hills. Involving Lucy and Wyatt, Cora hatches a plan to open the schoolhouses to adults on moonlit nights. The best way to combat poverty, she believes, is to eliminate illiteracy. But will the people come?
As Lucy emerges from a life in the shadows, she finds purpose, along with something else she hadn’t expected: love.
Inspired by true events, this novel from bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings to life the story that shocked the nation into taking adult literacy seriously.
This was a very good story. Suzanne did a great job laying the foundation for this book and the characters. I was interesting to be in the different point of views we got to be in.
It’s so hard to imagine not knowing how to read and how easily we take it for granted, but it really is a gift.
Lucy is a wonderful character so watch grow through her encounters with the mountain people.
I was also curious how things would work out for many of the characters and the romance that may or may not have been brewing.
Phoebe Starbuck has always taken care of her father–worrying enough for both of them, as he chases one whim after another. Now, for the first time, she’s doing what she wants to do: marrying Captain Phineas Foulger and sailing far away from Nantucket. As she leaves on her grand adventure, she takes two gifts from her father, but desires only one: her great-grandmother’s journal. The second gift? A “minder” in the form of cooper Matthew Mitchell, a man she loathes.
Phoebe soon discovers that life at sea is no easier than life on land. Lonely, seasick, and disillusioned, she turns the pages of Great Mary’s journal and finds a secret that carries repercussions for everyone aboard the ship, especially the captain and the cooper.
Sail away with expert navigator Suzanne Woods Fisher, who confidently explores the sometimes treacherous shores of Quaker life on the storied Nantucket Island.
I am fast becoming a Suzanne Woods Fisher fan. Her books are very engaging and I love the research she puts into to each book. The taste of history we get as we read feels very real.
It’s interesting to learn about the Quaker faith and the persecution they came under.
Phoebe has a lot of hope and ideas and she doesn’t seem to see things as they really are, except when it comes to her father. But she really wants Captain Foulger to be the one but I didn’t really trust at all.
Overall, I really enjoyed this read. If you like this time period and setting I am sure you would enjoy this book.
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.
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
The Amish life is all she’s ever known–but will it satisfy her soul?
Restless and adventurous, Ruthie Stoltzfus is right on the cusp of leaving her Amish home. Secretly, she’s earned her GED, saved her money–but she can’t quite set her journey into motion. Just as everything falls into place, along comes Patrick Kelly.
Patrick is a young man on a journey of his own. He’s come to Stoney Ridge to convert to the Amish and has given himself thirty days to learn the language, drive a buggy, and adapt to “everything Plain.” Time is of the essence and every moment is to be cherished–especially the hours he spends with Ruthie, his Penn Dutch tutor.
Ruthie’s next-door neighbor and cunning ex-boyfriend, Luke Schrock, is drawn to trouble like a moth to a flame. Rebellious, headstrong, defiant, Luke will do anything to win Ruthie back–and Patrick Kelly is in his way.
Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Stoney Ridge for a story of dreams deferred–and the promise of hopes fulfilled.
This book open with a scene that will draw you in. And I was. I was very excited to read more and see what would happen with these characters.
Suzanne does a great job of bringing this environment to life and introducing many characters. If you have read this series I supposed you won’t be introduced to them, you will already know them. But I hadn’t read any of the books before. And there might be my problem.
I didn’t really know the characters and there were so many that I felt what was promised on the back didn’t show itself soon enough. I began to wonder if Patrick was really a main character or not, or if he was just a secondary character. Even by page seventy I was wondering these things. His role in the book didn’t seem too important.
So much more focused seemed to be on the other characters and I felt a bit let down because I didn’t feel the back cover promised me what I had hoped.
This isn’t a bad book at all, as I said I was drawn in immediately, but I did find it very easy to put down and walk away. I think, for me, there was just too much going on that some things got lost along the way.
Join bestselling, award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher for an Amish Christmas to remember.
Billy Lapp is far away from his Amish roots working as a rose rustler for Penn State and wants nothing to do with Stoney Ridge. And that suits Bess Riehl just fine. Why should she think twice about a man who left without a word of explanation? It’s time she moved on with her life, and that meant saying yes when Billy’s cousin Amos proposed–for the third time–and beginning to plan for her Christmas wedding.
When a “lost” rose is discovered in a forgotten corner of the greenhouse at Rose Hill Farm, Billy is sent to track down its origins. His plan is to get in, identify the rose, and get out. The only catch is that he’s having a hard time narrowing down the identity of the lost rose–and he can’t get Bess Riehl out of his mind.
As the history of the lost rose is pieced together, it reminds Bess and Billy–and Amos too–that Christmas truly is the season of miracles.
What a wonderful story, full of tension and hope, roses and Christmas.
I learned so much about roses in this book. But Suzanne did it in a such a way that I wasn’t bored as the characters talked about what was going on, or reflected on the roses they were caring for.
Then there’s the romance. Bess is engaged to be married soon. By the time Billy shows up her wedding is just around the corner. Bess’s thoughts are not what they should be toward a man she isn’t marrying. I kept wondering how Suzanne would write Bess out of the marriage if she was going to be with Billy, it seemed impossible.
Billy is quit cold toward Bess and doesn’t give her much hope that he still cares. But the reader knows he’s struggling. Yet, he has chosen the English life. So even if Bess got out of her engagement what then?
So many questions and the only way you will find the answers is to pick a copy of the book yourself and enjoy this Amish Christmas treat!