7.31.2012

Mariah's Quest by Sally Laity & Dianna Crawford ~ Review


Mariah's Quest
Lucie's Review: A tough beginning leads to a poignant ending.

Mariah Harwood is purchased as an indentured servant by the handsome Colin Barclay. Mariah and Colin go through many trials, will they find that authentic love can prevail?

I'm gonna be honest this book did not get off to a great start for me, and Mariah was very hard to love, or even like. Because while Colin was surprisingly honorable, despite one fleeting thought, Mariah had a tough time committing to Colin.

I really loved the setting, and how well done it was done. There aren't alot of books written in this era so I loved learning more about the time during the French and Indian War.

I think that this book was good but the characters were hard to cheer for at first. I kind of felt like Mariah and Colin didn't have a lot of time to get to know each other. But if you hang in there with them till the end, I think the ending is well worth the wait.
I received this ebook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks.

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell ~ Review


The Messenger

My Review: A masterful Revolutionary War tale, well written with stellar main characters.

Hannah Sunderland's world is changing fast, and not for the better. Her family's house is taken over by a British officer, her brother is imprisoned. Hannah is determined to do anything to help her brother, but what if it means becoming a spy?

I was amazed at how much I liked this novel. The depth made it riveting and I really appreciated the historical details. The characters were well written and I enjoyed the way they interacted with each other.

Both of the characters were written in first-person so it really helped me understand the characters to be able to "see" their thoughts. I think Ms. Mitchell did a really good job with the details, that really made this book pop. And I liked how this book realistically portrayed what was going on with the soldiers taking over their house and how the Quakers tried to stay neutral.

Overall, this was a skillfully written read with well built characters, and a vivid setting. There were times that I felt that there wasn't a whole lot going on, but those parts had some great dialogue going on. So I would recommend this book for someone who is looking for a heavier read, and enjoys historic details :)

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

7.30.2012

Two Testaments by Elizabeth Musser ~ Review


Two Testaments: A Novel

My Review: A skillfully interwoven tale that though set many years past is more than relevant in today's world.

Political unrest between France and Algeria spark unrest and plenty of danger, Gabriella Madison finds herself caught in the middle. Gabriella courageously fights to protect the orphans under her care. Things only get tougher when her beau's former love and mother of his child arrives, to work along side Gabriella.

I loved how intricate the storyline was, and I will tell you now that it would be most helpful to read this series in order because reading this one without the first (Two Crosses) might be more than  a bit confusing. I loved how relevant this series is, though set in the 60's with everything that is happening  it is almost like it was happening today!

This book is also emotionally strong, with main characters having to make tough choices, and deal with the unrest around them. The characters were well done, and they were so realistically written that they felt like genuinely real people. I loved how deep each of them ran.

Overall this is not a lightly written book that will take you to another time and place, not too much unlike the world we live in today. I loved how there was so much going on and how it all came together, there were so many characters and I liked the complexity of this book. A book and series that I heartily recommend.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

7.29.2012

The Search Committee by Tim Owens ~ Review


The Search Committee

My Review: A plethora of personalities!

Seven church members are on a mission, to find a preacher for their small Presbyterian congregation. A van of personalities could not be more mixed, come along with The Search Committee as they look for their next pastor and reminisce about days gone past.
Will they find the pastor of their dreams?

I loved the character diversity, and how each person had their own stand-out personality. I really liked getting to know the characters and when it went back to revive some of their memories was really great because through their memories I got to see another side of them or perhaps a bit of buried hurt.
There were many humorous parts, or even just the way that certain characters handled themselves in certain situations. This book felt like a small town read, even though the actual town wasn't really in the book, through the characters we could see the sense of community and diversity just through the few in the van.

Overall this was a highly enjoyable read, that was fun and really focused on the characters, we got to see how they each had different expectations for what they wanted to shepherd their congregation.
A relaxing read, that is also highly engaging.

No review required :)

7.27.2012

As One Devil to Another by Richard Platt ~ Review


As One Devil to Another

My Review: This book is pretty far removed from what I usually read, yet I found myself truly engaged. I *blush* have never actually read C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, so I didn't know what to expect at all. But I was happily surprised that I liked it.

As One Devil to Another tells the tale of two demons the older and more experienced Slashreap, writes letters to his young inexperienced nephew Scardagger, giving him lessons on how to lure away souls from their Adversary.

I thought that this book was so well done, because it told an engaging story through onesided letters, yet it had so many biblical and spiritual truths about spiritual warfare, and it encouraged me to think of things in ways I had never thought of them before. And I think that Mr. Platt did a splendid job of representing spiritual warfare and how the devil uses tactics to lure us away from God.

Overall, I really liked how I was able to enjoy this book, and learn at the same time. I think this book is sure to be a classic! I would highly recommend this book, I think others would be surprised at how much they like it!

No review required. I checked this out at my local library. Thanks!

Switched! by Bill Myers ~ Review


Cover: Switched!

My Review: And T.J. thought things couldn't get any worse...she was wrong.

As if being being accidentally shaved bald wasn't bad enough, Tuna and Herby manage to switch Hesper Breakaheart, (T.J.'s archenemy) and T.J.'s bodies causing a series of hilarious and calamitous events to occur. But then, you probably know by now that it's never a dull moment with T.J. Finkelstein!

The laughs never stop in the 5th installment of T.J. and the Time Stumblers. A great middle grade book that can be enjoyed by multiple ages, I'm thinking of recommending these books to my younger friends :) I love how the humor is clean and a bit sarcastic, but not snarky.
The characters were perfectly overdone cliches that allowed me to laugh with them and the situations.

There's tons of action and lots of laughs. This book did a great job of representing everyday forgiveness for children and how we just have to let things go, and we can't hold on to the wrongdoing forever, because it will only make one bitter. A fun  series that was very entertaining to me :)

No review required, I checked this book out at the local library. Thanks!

Lily by Diane T. Ashley and Aaron McCarver ~ Review


Lily

Lucie's Review: Slow and scattered to start, turned into a surprisingly fulfilling read.

Lily Anderson is faced with marrying the brattish Jean Luc, so she take matters into her own hands. She buys 51% of a riverboat and goes into business with a riverboat gambler. But she won't allow gambling or drink on the ship. Lily is determined to make things work so that she can give her sisters a home. Lily has big choices ahead of her if she wants to make a go of the river boating business, who knows love might even be in the mix?

This book started out slow and scrambled, and I wasn't sure how I would feel about the book by the end. But then it really picked up, and I became invested in the story, and the characters and plots all came together on the riverboat.

I loved how Lily when faced with so many tough questions and moral decisions, she thoughtfully considered and turned to her faith. She was also very firm in her convictions. But she had her faults and she struggled to forgive.
I also loved the setting of the story on the river, and learned so much about their way of life.

The other characters were really great too, especially Lily's younger sister, Jasmine who really brought a huge cute factor into play. I really came to like Blake too, even though I really didn't care for him in the beginning, but he really grew as a character and as a man over the course of the book.

Overall, this was a book that I wasn't sure about, but then was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it and the depth that it had deep within. There were moral dilemmas and hard choices, and really strong faith elements. So if you can get past the slow start, I heartily recommend this read!

I received this ebook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

7.26.2012

Ho-ho-nooo! by Bill Myers ~ Review


Ho-Ho-Nooo! (T.J. and the Time Stumblers, #4)

My Review: A quirky Christmas with T.J. and the Time Stumblers.

In the wake of T.J.'s father being laid off, T.J. and her sister, Violet are in competition to see who can give their father the better gift to cheer him up. Come along on this wild Christmas adventure as T.J. learns through a series of mishaps the true meaning of Christmas.

A wacky Christmas themed adventure lacking non of Bill Myers typical humor. I love the humor because to me it's to the point where it's so over exaggerated that it works, because Mr. Myers "goes there" and yet he totally keeps it clean.

Overall, I loved this fun and quirky adventure. Perfect for the Christmas season or anytime, for instance a Christmas in July reading :) A book I would happily recommend to anyone who wants to put a smile on their face!

No review required. I checked this book out at my local library :)

OOPS! by Bill Myers ~ Review


OOPS! (T.J. and the Time Stumblers, #3)

My Review: Good for a great time!

T.J. and her invisable 23rd Century friends, Tuna and Herby, are back in another rip-roaring hilarious adventure. T.J. struggles with thinking good thoughts about others, so when Tuna and Herby accidently make it so that everyone can hear each other's thoughts, you can only guess what will happen next...

These books are totally growing on me, which each book I have become more and more invested in the characters, and the hijinks only get funnier! I love how Mr. Myers writes his humor clean, miles away from the rude and insulting flavor displayed on the children's shows of today. A quick read that will keep a constant twitching smile on your face.

Overall, I enjoyed this third installment. The overblown cliches of the Queen Bee and School Bully are great! I would highly recommend this hilarious and wholesome series.

No review required, I checked it out at the local library. Thanks.

7.25.2012

Back to Resolution by Rose Dee ~ Review


Back to Resolution
My Review: Easy paced read.

Bay is a young woman full of promise, but the death of her mother sends her tumbling over the edge into the hard partying life of a rich socialite. After a drunken argument with her step father, Bay agrees to his wishes that she leave for Australia.
In Australia Bay searches for her long lost father, and meets the mysterious hermit Flynn McKenna. Will Bay find what she is looking for on the island of Resolution?

This book caught my attention right away with it's easy to read style and vivid descriptions of the settings. I even liked that there was a touch of mystery to the tale! Yet, there were times when I felt that the story moved slowly for my personal taste, but I liked how the pace was probably more realistic than in most books. There were brief instances of implied cursing, and mild cursing, that I feel I should mention, as well.

There were alot of things to like about this book, yet at the same time I had difficulty relating to any of the characters, or sympathizing with them. I think the reason was that I felt that the plot asked for the characters to have a bit more emotional depth than they did. Though I did like how the characters weren't perfect at all and they had their flaws that made them human. As you can see I'm a bit mixed up about the characters.

Overall, Back to Resolution  was a book that was well written, but was rough around the edges. The descriptions were wonderful especially the ones about Australia. I think there are many readers out there who would whole-heartedly enjoy this pleasant, but tumultuous read.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookCrash.com
book review program

7.23.2012

Perfectly Ridiculous by Kristin Billerbeck ~ Revell Blog Tour & Review


Perfectly Ridiculous (A Universally Misunderstood Novel #3)
My Review: All too realistic.

Daisy Crispin's life is changing, in just a few months she will be on her way to college on a full ride scholarship. So for the Summer she is planning to go on a relaxing vacation to Argentina, but there's just one teeny, tiny -- HUGE problem. In order to get the full scholarship, Daisy has to complete 2 weeks of missions work. But her big Summer vacation plans don't have any room for missions. And what about her old Argentine boyfriend? What's a girl to do?

I liked how this book had a realistic feel to it and I could honestly see the things happening in real life. But I had a tough time getting into this book, and honestly I never really did. Because this book was the third in a series where I had not read the other two, it was difficult to catch up on what had happened in the last books. And there were parts that to me, were slow going. There were parts that I liked, and I really liked the conclusion, (but I can't tell you about that!).

This book was well written with a  upbeat first person present tense narrative.  Because the book had a great realness to it was an totally teenage over-dramatic touch, but in the end I have concluded that the book didn't relate to me, personally. And overall, I guess I'm just sorry that I couldn't appreciate this book as much as it deserves, and as much as a I wanted to.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!


“Available July 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”


Aaaargh!!! by Bill Myers ~ Review


Aaaargh!!! (T.J. and the Time Stumblers, #2)

My Review: What a fun new series!

I remember reading Mr. Myers' book way back when "The Bloodhounds" series was new, so it was a treat for me to be able to read one of his newer series, T.J. and the Time Stumblers.

T.J. is just your average teenage girl trying to survive Middle School, and being visited by time traveling teens from the 23rd Century doesn't make things any easier. Join T.J., Herby and Tuna and their hilarious adventures as they learn valuable life lessons.

The second book in this series (I haven't read the first, but I was able to follow just fine) dealt with the consequences of cheating and how you might not see the consequences right away, but they are there nontheless. This is the kind of series that is fun to read, and kids are sure to love! This series was recommended to me by a friend and she was right they are funny! I especially thought that when the characters made mental lists inside their heads was just laugh out loud funny!

T.J.'s life is filled with stereotypical teenage types, but that doesn't detract from the charm, my guess is that if your kids like watching the Disney Channel or whatever they will find much more wholesome entertainment inside the pages of this book!

No review required. I checked this one out at my local library!

7.20.2012

The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer ~ Please Rank My Review :)


The Orphan King
My Review: A favorite re-vamped.

Thomas is a young man, living in an unproductive abbey, in the possession of ancient secrets that could change the world in the wrong hands. A fight between good evil rages, who can Thomas trust?

The Orphan King is the re-vamped edition of one of my long time favorites that has been published under many different titles (Magnus, The Winds of Light Series, Wings of Dawn), and I was happy to see it yet again return to print. But when I opened the pages I found to my pleasure and surprise that it was slightly different! While the same premise and basic plot remains,  little things have been changed here and there, as well as an added tidbit into the bad guy's view.

Slow to start, it quickly accelerated  in pace with many twists, and unexpected turns. It is probably just me but I found it a little harder to get into this one than the past editions, but maybe it's just because I have read the other version about 6 times! I also noticed that there were added scenes and that this first volume is longer than volume one of the children's edition of Magnus,(Wings of Dawn) which was titled Wings of an Angel, though it was basically the same book. But one thing that I can say is that the next (what I presume will be) five books will be ever better than this one! Another thing is that they come right after one another making reading the first book necessary.

Thomas is a likable character who is unreadable on the outside, with quick-thinking, whirring brain on the inside, and under that a seeking heart.

Overall, I guess I can honestly tell you that personally this first book is my least favorite part of the story, but it gets much better later on, with non-stop action, and chase scenes spanning from Old England to the Holy Land and the Crusade. Romantic tension and tests of trust, all the while God is drawing Thomas ever closer to Him. I highly recommend the tale as a whole, and this part as well. Perfect for guys too, this is one of my brother's favorite stories.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!




7.19.2012

Horse Dreams by Dandi Daley Mackall ~ Review


Horse Dreams (Backyard Horses)
My Review: Ellie James wants a horse. It's all she dreams about. When a horse suddenly appears, will Ellie realize that this is her horse ?

Backyard Horses is a wonderful little series for horse lovin' girls ages 6-9. It is written in first person present tense, which was a bit hard to decipher at first.

Sometimes I thought that Ellie was a rather over confident girl by the way that she talked, but I think that's partially due to the tense and first person point of view. I liked the side characters and her brother Ethan who was deaf, I thought it was a nice touch to have Ellie, her friend and her family all using sign language as part of their natural communication.

Overall I would say that is a cute series that I wish I had around when I was much younger. I could relate to Ellie and how she didn't have a horse and all her other friend had tons of horses. A rather sweet book.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

Inescapable by Nancy Mehl ~ Litfuse Blog Tour & Review


Inescapable

My Review: Well written characters stand out in Nancy Mehl's Inescapable.


I really liked how this book had a strong main character in Lizzie Engel. She wasn't just strong, she was vulnerable to and I really admired her drive to protect her young daughter at all costs.

All of the characters in this book were so well developed, it's impossible not to notice how much attention the author paid to making the characters so real, with a rawness to them that made them all the deeper.

I liked how this book was written in first person from Lizzie's point of view, because she struck me as a character that would be hard to figure out if we couldn't get such an intimate view of her.

The story was slow for me in a few parts, and the suspense side of it didn't really come to play till around the end. But that didn't bother me, because I'm not the biggest suspense fan any way and I liked the romance and the way that the many characters interacted with each other. I could see so much from just how they interacted.

Overall this was a well written read that had it's lulls, but was for the most part a pretty good read. With many interesting characters. Plus a mystery! For this book was mostly about the characters and their ineractions, which were very well done!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

About the Book: Lizzie Engel is used to running away. At eighteen, she left her Mennonite hometown, Kingdom, Kansas, with plans never to return.

But five years later, the new life she built is falling apart. Lizzie knows she's being followed, and she's certain the same mysterious stranger is behind the threatening letters she's received. Realizing she'll have to run again, the only escape Lizzie can manage is a return to the last place she wants to go.

Once she arrives in Kingdom, Lizzie is confident she'll be safe until she comes up with a new plan. In reacquainting herself with the town and its people--especially her old friend, Noah Housler--she wonders if she judged her hometown and her Mennonite faith too harshly. However, just as she begins to come to terms with her roots, Lizzie is horrified to discover the danger she ran from is closer than ever.

No longer sure who to trust and fearful for her life and the lives of those around her, Lizzie finds she has only one place left to run--to the Father whose love is inescapable.

Nancy Mehl

About the Author: Nancy Mehl, the author of 12 books, received an ACFW Carol Award in 2009 for her novel For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Wichita, Kansas, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their puggle, Watson. Visit her website at www.nancymehl.com.

Celebrate with Nancy by entering her "Inescapable" Giveaway and connecting with her during the Author Chat Party on 7/26!
Find out what readers are saying here.





One winner will receive:
  • A Handmade Mennonite Quilt
  • A copy of Inescapable by Nancy Mehl

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 25th. Winner will be announced at the "Inescapable" Author Chat Facebook Party on 7/26. Nancy will be hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills (how much do you know about the Mennonites?) and giving away some great prizes!


So grab your copy of Inescapable and join Nancy on the evening of the July 26th for a chance to connect with Nancy and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter


Don't miss a moment of the RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 26th!



Book Trailer:

Check out all the other great stops on this tour here: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/13514299/inescapable

7.18.2012

A Duke's Promise by Jamie Carie ~ Review


A Duke's Promise: A Forgotten Castles Novel
Lucie's Review: The conclusion--finally!

More drama and adventure awaits Alex and Gabe, newly married as they continue their search for her parents.

I found this book to be darker in content, and I would issue a PG-13 warning as well, ther were also what I consider to be more fantastical themes (more seeing colors and so on). Not a book that I would let younger teens read.

I loved how this book had so much action in it, balloon transportation, narrow escapes and more! Fast paced, I believe I read this book in less than a day.

It was so great to finally know what had happened to Alexandria's parents, and their backstory. And how because of everything Alex was finally able to have a better relatioship with her parents.

This book's "fantastical themes" were even more pronounced and I'm still not honestly sure what to make of Gabe's seeing colored lights when there are sounds.

Overall, I will say that it was great to finally finish this saga, and find out what was going on. But on the other hand, this book was darker and had PG-13 explicit scenes. Yet there was tons of actions, and I couldn't put this book down. I'm not sure that I can totally pin down my feelings for this book, but I do think that people should at least be warned about some of the elements in this book. And in some ways this book felt a bit steam-punk, so it wasn't exactly what I normally would read. But I found that I enjoyed the adventure, and was hanging onto the edge of my seat :)

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

7.17.2012

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble ~ Review


Tidewater Inn
Lucie's Review: Trouble can be found in the most beautiful places.

When Libby find that she has inherited the pictureque Tidewater Inn from the deceased father she never knew, she is shocked to find that his death is recent. Rather than him having died when she was five like her mother had told her. On Hope Beach Libby meets a whole other part of her family that she never knew existed. But trouble comes bursting forth like a hurricane, will Libby be able to convince those around that she isn't the source?

Another great book from Colleen Coble! I loved how I could read this book quickly, at a fast pace. There was alot going on and definitely some suspense that made me turn the pages even faster!
I liked how the characters interacted with each other, very believably. Though there were times when I was like, "Why isn't he doing something by now!"

The characters were well rounded, and I liked how there wasn't only action and suspense, but there was also an emotional side to the drama. Oh, and don't let me forget that there was also a romanic air to the wind :)

Overall, this was another wonderful read from Colleen Coble, so if you have read her books before or you haven't, Tidewater Inn is a satisfying journey that have you turning the pages rapidly!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

My Dearest Naomi by Jerry S. Eicher ~ FIRST Wild Card Blog Tour & Review


My Dearest Naomi

My Review: A series of sweet correspondences.

Naomi & Eugene are a couple who become separated when Eugene accepts a job teaching a Mennonite school for 2 years. They stay connected by writing many letters to each other, encouraging and sharing  stories from their everyday lives. A love story told through letters.

While well written and detailed, with a special sweetness to it, I found that this book was hard for me, personally, to dive into. I liked the humor and how this tale was uniquely told through letters, but there were more than a few times when my attention waned, which might have been due to how I wasn't used to the unique style this book was written in.

To me the book felt sort of slower than I would liked, but I do believe that this book had so much to offer to the person who is much more  patient than I am! And there is much to be said for the sweet romance :)

Overall, I will say that this book just wasn't for me personally, but I think others would enjoy it. I think it helps immensely to know what it is about before reading it, and maybe that would have helped me to enjoy it more. A sweet book that wasn't for me.

I received this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!




You never know when I might play a wild card on you!








Today's Wild Card authors are:




and the book:


Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***



ABOUT THE AUTHORS:




 Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies.



Tina Eicher was born and married in the Amish faith, surrounded by a mother and sisters who were great Amish cooks. At fellowship meals and family gatherings, Tina’s dishes receive high praise and usually return empty. She and her husband, Jerry Eicher, author of several bestselling Amish fiction titles, are the parents of four children and live in Virginia.





Visit the author's website.




SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:




Jerry Eicher's many devoted fans will be enthralled by this endearing novel in letters based on Jerry's letters to and from his future wife, Tina, and their discovery that, indeed, absence does make the heart grow fonder.



When Eugene Mast leaves his Amish community in Worthington, Indiana, to teach in faraway Kalona, Iowa, he also must leave the love of his life, Naomi Miller.



For the next nine months of the school term, Eugene and Naomi keep their romance alive through love letters from his heart to hers, and from hers back to his.



Eugene writes of his concern that in his absence Naomi may find the attractions of another suitor to her liking.  Naomi worries that Eugene may fall prey to the "liberal" Mennonite beliefs in the community where he now lives.  Both can hardly wait until the school year is up and they're finally reunited.



A poignant and tender love story that will warm the hearts of readers everywhere.







Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Paperback: 336 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736939423

ISBN-13: 978-0736939423




AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:







Naomi Miller stood beside the buggy, the corner of the front wheel inches from her side. Eugene Mast’s fingers were wrapped around hers. She looked up at him, the shadows from the moonlight hiding his blue eyes, leaving only the sides of his face visible.
“Do you really have to go?” Naomi whispered.
Yah,” Eugene said. “It’s something I need to do. But I’ll be back before you know it, and things will be like they always were.”
“Nine months is an awfully long time.”
Yah, but Da Hah will be with us. He will help us bear the pain of absence. And we are promised, you know.”
“But what will Bishop Enos say about this? We are both members of the church.” Naomi’s hands shifted in his. “What if there is trouble?”
Eugene laughed. “I don’t think there will be trouble. Bishop Enos knows I have no plans to forsake the church.”
“Even though you are running off to Iowa to teach at a Mennonite church school? It’s a terribly long way from Indiana.”
Eugene leaned forward, kissing her cheek. “I will write often, and that will help with the loneliness.”
Naomi pulled away. “Will you miss me? Perhaps a little?”
Eugene laughed again, causing his horse to turn his head to look at him. “I will miss you terribly, Naomi. I just believe this has to be done. If I don’t take the chance now, I’ll always look back and wonder.”
She sighed. “But it’s so dangerous out there. And the Mennonites can put all kinds of ideas in your head. Then you’ll never come back.”
He shook his head. “Please, Naomi, don’t make this harder than it is. I’ll come back. I promise.” He glanced at the envelope she had given him earlier. “Thank you for the card. I’m going to save it to open when I get to Iowa.”
“Okay. I think you’d better go,” she said. “I can’t stand this much longer.”
“I’m not much at goodbyes anyway,” he said. “I will always love you, Naomi. Goodbye…for now.”
“Goodbye,” she said, stepping back as Eugene climbed into the buggy. He slapped the reins against his horse’s back, waving once on the turnaround in the lane, his hand a brief movement from the dark interior. Watching the buggy lights move down the road and fade out of sight, Naomi stared long into the darkness. She then turned to walk back toward the house, pausing to look over her shoulder once more.


AUGUST
Monday evening, August 30
My dearest Naomi,
Greetings from Iowa. This finds me installed in the upstairs bedroom of my new home. The time was a little past eleven o’clock the last I looked. We pulled into the driveway of this little farm around nine, but I couldn’t see much in the darkness. We were met at the front porch by Lonnie and Luella Hershberger, the older Mennonite couple I’m staying with. The school board members who brought me out said their goodbyes and drove off in their van. I was shown around the house by Lonnie and Luella. After the tour, we ended up in the living room talking.
They seem like very nice people even though I’ve only just met them. Their house is a white bungalow with everything inside neatly arranged and in order. The kitchen is by the front door, with the living room in the back. I’m in the front bedroom, upstairs, overlooking the lawn. They said I could see the schoolhouse from my bedroom window, but it’s dark right now.
I feel strange and a little frightened to be out here alone. I’m missing you, of course, and the community. This awful sensation is wrapped around me, as if all the familiar props are knocked out from under me. In the meantime, I have to act as if everything is okay and be full of smiles. I can imagine right now you’re saying “I told you so,” but then maybe not, being the nice person you are.
I can’t thank you enough for the card you gave me before I left. It means so much to me. If I didn’t have your love to fall back on, I don’t think I could stand it right now. I know part of my problem is that I’m just so dead tired I could fall off the chair. The trip was long and more tiresome than I expected.
I suppose I’d better be off to bed. I won’t even start unpacking tonight. The suitcase is still open on the floor with only the things taken out that I need immediately. And that’s good enough for now.
Tuesday morning…
Good morning. I awoke to Luella hollering up the stairs. We had decided last night she would be my alarm clock since I didn’t bring one along. There is an electric alarm clock sitting on the desk, but I told Luella I didn’t know how to run one. And I sure wasn’t going to take the time to figure it out last night. She laughed and said hollering would be the Amish method anyway, and that it should make me feel right at home.
I smiled and said yah, but I didn’t mention that any reminder of home causes more pain than comfort right now.
I came downstairs to a breakfast of eggs and bacon, which I ate quickly. Then I stepped outside for a look around. The weather is nice, and I can indeed see the schoolhouse down the road. It’s a large, white, wooden structure with tall windows on the side. There’s a bell tower on top, placed toward the front. There’s a single tree in the yard.
Back upstairs, I started to unpack until I saw your second card. That brought a halt to the unpacking for a while. Who would have thought being away from you would be this hard?
As of now, the plans are that I will take the rest of the week to settle in at the schoolhouse. They only have a half-day scheduled for school on the first day, Friday. Then no school on Monday, since it’s Labor Day. Beats me how I’m supposed to keep myself occupied all that time with so little work to do.
The chairman of the school board told me the teacher who taught last year will be at the schoolhouse today by 10:00. She will give me details on the lesson plans and other pointers she might have on how to do things around here. I’ve been told it shouldn’t be that different from the year I taught at our Amish school, but I shall see.
While I think to mention it, I forgot to give you the other dove from my farewell cake at our families’ going-away supper. Somewhere in all the goodbyes it slipped my mind. I have the one, and you were supposed to get its mate. My sisters have it now and are supposed to pass it on to you. Hopefully we can match them up when the school year is over.
Luella said the mailman goes past at quarter till nine, so I’d better get this letter out. Here’s my address and a little rhyme. I know it’s not much, but it lets you know how much I’m missing you.
When the new moon hangs in the starry sky

I think of love, of ours, of you and I.
With all my heart,

Eugene

7.16.2012

The Forgiven Duke by Jamie Carie ~ Review


The Forgiven Duke: A Forgotten Castles Novel
Lucie's Review: Another cliffhanger of a read.

The saga continues!  As Alexandria follows the trail her missing parents left, with Gabriel on her. Gabe is taken captive by the King's men who are convince that he holds the special information for a weapon of war. What will happen next in this novel of many twists and turns? Will Alexandria escape the clutches of her fiance, John?

Do not pick up this series unless you plan on reading them all! Loads of drama, that really keeps that pages turning. I liked how the book moved at a fast pace, and how the characters were well developed, though there were times that I thought they acted differently than I would have expected.

I really liked how in this second book it focus more on Gabe's spiritual growth and his faith grew so much in this book. I also was so glad that Alex finally realized that in the way she was acting she wasn't fully trusting God as she should, so she really grew too.

I don't really know what to make of how in the book Gabe was able to "see" music as colorful lights. I don't really know much about it or if it could happen or not, but it did strike me as a bit intriguing and strange.

Overall a great follow up to The Guardian Duke, I will note that this is the kind of the series where you kind of have to read them in order and you have to read them all, or I think the experience would be a bit maddening! Though I thought that this book ended much better than the first, which I will honestly say drove me a little crazy ;) A page turner for sure!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

The Shadow Catcher's Daughter by Carla Olson Gade ~ Review


The Shadow Catcher's Daughter
Lucie's Review: Wow! What an adventure!

Eliana Van Horn and her father embark on a journey to mark the point of Four Corners, which contains, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. Eliana talks her father into letting her accompany him, and he finally relents if she dresses as a boy. Eliana wants to use this experience to make a name for herself, and gain photography experience. Along the way they meet the talented guide, Yiska, who quickly becomes Eliana's friend, and perhaps more?

High adventure and well developed romance, two of my favorite things, and this book has 'em both! Don't let the size of this book fool you, The Sun Catcher's Daughter is a full blown adventure that will leave you eager for more. This book has tons of action, and I thought that Yiska and Eliana had a really well built relationship.
For me the pages raced past and I was hesitant to put it down.
I also thought that the spiritual side of this book was well woven and entwined naturally with the story. I loved how Yiska came to see that God had been there working in his life all along, and how he came to faith in little nudges.

Overall this was a terrific read, from the numerous action sequences to the wonderfully developed characters and side characters. The main characters were very likable, and I loved how the side characters were so well done and made the book so much fuller as a whole. This book has alot between it's pages and there's plenty of action. I HIGHLY recommend this amazing debut from Carla Olson Gade. 5 stars!

I won this book, so a review was not required. I just reviewed it because I loved it so much!

7.15.2012

Love in Disguise by Carol Cox ~ Review


Love in Disguise

My Review: Every bit as wonderful as I hoped it would be!

Ellie Moore is an aspiring actress on the verge of poverty, so when she overhears two Pinkerton agents talking about their need for a woman to do a job in Arizona, Ellie knows that this might be the chance of a lifetime.
Stephen Pierce is the owner of a potential rich silver mine, in Arizona. He would be well on his way to success if only robbers wouldn't take every shipment...
Can Ellie catch the theives without blowing her cover?

Snagging my full attention from the first page, I knew from the first sentence that I was going to love this book. And boy, did I ever!
I really liked Ellie as a leading lady, she was determined, and likable who had a resourcefulness about her. The perfect heroine, who had me cheering for her from the first. In fact all of the characters were well written, and very full. And I loved "observing" them and trying to figure out who were the bad guys. I really liked how when Ms. Cox wrote bits about the bad guys, that she kept their identities secret, which I believe is totally the way to do it.  I have never liked knowing who was evil before the heroes did. So bravo, Ms. Cox, for keeping me in suspense!

The story moved rapidly, and I was easily engaged, even when my brother was blaring rap music in the car on the way home. I loved how the pages turned rapidly by, and how I was quickly consumed in the tale. This book had it all, a good mystery, romance, and some great humor!

Overall, I loved this book and it was every bit as wonderful as I had been hearing from all of my wonderful friends :) I loved the plot the characters...Everything! A book that I heartily recommend :)


I got this book at the public library so no review required here :)

7.14.2012

The Midwife's Legacy by Rhonda Gibson, Pamela Griffin, Jane Kirkpatrick, & Trish Perry ~ Review


The Midwife's Legacy

My Review: A lovely collection of novellas, with a midwife theme.

This collection as the cover and title implies is about midwives in the west, mid-1800's. Each story is a about a strong woman, with a certain grit about her, and a will to persevere.

Novellas are fun because you can pick them up, and read 'em in one sitting, and this set is no different. I really enjoyed how this set used snippets of a journal so that we could get a peek into what was going on in the main character's head.

As with other novellas, I wished that the stories had been longer, and that some of the characters had been fleshed out. I really liked the first story because it was different in that the heroine was a little older than most. Yet she got another chance at love with a sweet man.

I also liked getting a peek into what it might have been like for midwives of that time period. Well researched!

Overall, if you are a fan of novellas you will like this collection. I will be honest and say that I am not the hugest novella reader, but that they are very nice every one and a while :)

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

7.13.2012

What I'm Reading ~ Weekend 7/13-15/12


Love in Disguise

Well, tomorrow I head home after a wonderful 2-week long adventure! I got to help drive cattle, put out hot spots at a wildfire burnsite (a.k.a. babysitting the fire to make sure it didn't blow up), and of course I read a ton, I even decided to join a Read the Bible in a Summer program, which as you can imagine with me starting late, will be quite...I will have to play catch up, but I am sure it will be beneficial non-the-less!

But onward!

Ok, so if you are like me you have probably heard buckets about Carol Cox's Love in Disguise, and since I didn't get it review I decided to check it out from my local library and read it anyway! And it started out running, and I just know that I am going to love it already!

Here's the blurb:
When costume-maker Ellie Moore suddenly finds herself out of a job in the middle of a bleak Chicago winter, she uses her knowledge of theatrical disguise to secure a position as an undercover operative with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Her assignment: find the culprit behind the theft of silver shipped from the mines near Pickford, Arizona. Disguised as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, Ellie begins her investigation. Soon she finds she must also pose as the dazzling young Jessie Monroe, whose vivacious personality encourages people to talk.
Mine owner Steven Pierce is about to lose his business after the theft of several bullion shipments--until hope arrives in the unlikely form of Lavinia Stewart, who offers to invest in Steven's mine. In his wildest dreams, Steven never expected to be rescued by an inquisitive gray-haired widow . . . or to fall head over heels for Lavinia's captivating niece, Jessie. But then the thieves come after both Lavinia and Jessie. Ellie isn't safe no matter which character she plays! Will she be forced to reveal her true identity before the criminals are caught? What will Steven do when he discovers the woman he loves doesn't exist?

Well, that's what I'm reading :)
Now it's your turn, what are you reading this weekend?

God Bless!

7.12.2012

A Promise for Miriam by Vanetta Chapman ~ FIRST Wild Card Blog Tour & Review

FIRST WILD
A Promise for Miriam

My Review: A completely enjoyable read, with wonderfully realistic and believable situations, and characters.

Wow! This was in my mind the perfect vacation read, charming, with a touch of humor, yet with a realness to it that drew me in. I absolutely loved the characters, and thought that they were well built. I especially liked how in this Amish Romance I got to see things from Gabe's daughter, Grace's prospective too! Which was different in an enjoyably refreshing way. This is the kind of book that I was able to relax with, yet couldn't put down for too long, thus the perfect vacation read :)

I liked how in this novel the relationship between Gabe and Miriam developed naturally and at its own pace, out of a friendship. And how all of the characters had a good head on their shoulders.

There were also other elements to the story that added a sense of realness to it, like how the Amish might feel about all the tourists dropping by and such. The setting was well developed as well.

Overall, this was a completely lovely book, that was highly enjoyable, with lovely characters and setting. I also loved the author's sense of humor, which was easy, like not trying too hard, yet there were a few moments that were laugh-out-loud hilarious :D A book that I happily highly recommend.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!




You never know when I might play a wild card on you!








Today's Wild Card author is:




and the book:


Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Vannetta Chapman has published more than 100 articles in Christian family magazines. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace in Albion, Pennsylvania. Vannetta is a multi-award-winning member of Romance Writers of America. She was a teacher for 15 years and currently resides in the Texas Hill country. Her first two inspirational novels—A Simple Amish Christmas and Falling to Pieces—were Christian Book Distributors bestsellers.





Visit the author's website.




SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:










Amish schoolteacher Miriam King loves her students. At 26, she hasn’t yet met anyone who can convince her to give up the Plain school at Pebble Creek. Then newcomer Gabriel Yoder steps into her life, bringing his daughter, an air of mystery, and challenges Miriam has never faced before.













Product Details:

List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736946128

ISBN-13: 978-0736946124






AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:






Pebble Creek, southwestern Wisconsin
Three years later
Miriam King glanced over the schoolroom with satisfaction.
Lessons chalked on the board.
Pencils sharpened and in the cup.
Tablets, erasers, and chalk sat on each desk.
Even the woodstove was cooperating this morning. Thank the Lord for Efram Hochstetler, who stopped by early Mondays on his way to work and started the fire. If not for him, the inside of the windows would be covered with ice when she stepped in the room.
Now, where was Esther?
As if Miriam’s thoughts could produce the girl, the back door to the schoolhouse opened and Esther burst through, bringing with her a flurry of snowflakes and a gust of the cold December wind. Her blonde hair was tucked neatly into her kapp, and the winter morning had colored her cheeks a bright red.
Esther wore a light-gray dress with a dark apron covering it. At five and a half feet and weighing no more than a hundred and twenty pounds, Miriam often had the unsettling feeling of looking into a mirror—a mirror into the past—when she looked at the young woman who taught with her at the one-room schoolhouse.
In truth, the teachers had often been mistaken for family. They were similar in temperament as well as appearance. Other than their hair, Esther could have been Miriam’s younger sister. Esther’s was the color of ripe wheat, while Miriam’s was black as coal.
Why did that so often surprise both Plain people and Englischers? If Miriam’s black hair wasn’t completely covered by her kapp, she received the oddest stares.
“Am I late?” Esther’s shoes echoed against the wooden floor as she hurried toward the front of the room. Pulling off her coat, scarf, and gloves, she dropped them on her desk.
“No, but nearly.”
“I told Joseph we had no time to check on his cattle, but he insisted.”
“Worried about the gate again?”
Ya. I told him they wouldn’t work it loose, but he said—”
“Cows are stupid.” They uttered the words at the same time, both mimicking Joseph’s serious voice, and then broke into laughter. The laughter eased the tension from Esther’s near tardiness and set the morning back on an even keel.
“Joseph has all the makings of a fine husband and a gut provider,” Miriam said. “Once you’re married, you’ll be glad he’s so careful about the animals.”
Ya, but when we’re married I won’t be having to leave in time to make it to school.” Esther’s cheeks reddened a bit more as she seemed to realize how the words must sound.
Why did everyone think Miriam was embarrassed that she still remained unmarried? Did it never occur to them that it was her own choice to be single?
“Efram had the room nice and warm before I even arrived,” she said gently. “And I put out your tablets.”
Wunderbaar. I’ll write my lessons on the board, and we’ll be ready.” As Esther reached to pull chalk from her desk drawer, Miriam noticed that she froze and then stood up straighter. When she reached up and touched her kapp as if to make sure she was presentable, Miriam realized someone else was in the room.
She turned to see who had surprised the younger teacher. It was still a few minutes before classes were due to start, and few of their students arrived early.
Standing in the doorway to the schoolroom was an Amish man. Pebble Creek was a small community, technically a part of the village of Cashton. Old-timers and Plain folk alike still referred to the area where the creek went through by its historic name.
Miriam was quite sure she’d never seen the man standing in her classroom before. He was extremely tall, and she had the absurd notion he’d taken his hat off to fit through their entryway. Even standing beneath the door arch, waiting for them to speak, he seemed to barely fit. He was thin and sported a long beard, indicating he was married.
In addition to clutching his black hat, he wore a heavy winter coat, though not the type worn by most Wisconsin residents. The tops of his shoulders, his arms, and even parts of his beard were covered with snow. More important than how he looked standing in her classroom was the fact that he held the hand of a small girl.
Gudemariye,” Miriam said, stepping forward and moving past her desk.
The man still didn’t speak, but as she drew closer, he bent and said something to the girl.
When Miriam had halved the distance between them, he returned her greeting as his somber brown eyes assessed her.
The young girl next to him had dark-brown hair like her father. It had been combed neatly and pulled back into a braid, all tucked inside her kapp. What was striking about her wasn’t her hair or her traditional Plain clothing—it was her eyes. She had the most solemn, beautiful brown eyes Miriam had ever seen on a child.
They seemed to take in everything.
Miriam noticed she clutched her father’s hand tightly with one hand and held a lunch box with the other.
“I’m the teacher of the younger grades here, grades one through four. My name is Miriam King.” The girl’s eyes widened, and the father nodded again. “Esther Schrocks teaches grades five through eight.”
He looked to the girl to see if she understood, but neither replied.
“And your daughter is—”
“Grace is eight years old, just this summer.” Almost as an afterthought, he added, “I’m Gabriel Miller.”
“Pleased to meet you.” Miriam offered her best smile, which still did not seem to put the father at ease. She’d seen nervous parents before, and obviously this was one. “You must be new to our community.”
Ya. I purchased the place on Dawson Road.”
“Dawson Road? Do you mean the Kline farm?”
Ya.” Not quite rude, but curt and to the point.
Miriam tried to hide any concern she felt as images of Kline’s dilapidated spread popped into her mind. It was no business of hers where this family chose to live. “I know exactly where you mean. My parents live a few miles past that.”
“It’s a fair piece from here,” he noted.
“That it is. Esther and I live here at the schoolhouse during the week. The district built accommodations on the floor above, as is the custom in most of our schoolhouses here in Wisconsin. We both spend weekends at home with our families.”
“I don’t know I’ll be able to bring Grace in every day.” Gabriel Miller reached up and ran his finger under the collar of his shirt, which peeked through the gap at the top of his coat.
Miriam noticed then that it looked stiff and freshly laundered. Had he put on his Sunday best to bring his daughter to school on her first day? It said something about him if he had.
“A man has to put his farm first,” he added defensively.
“Some children live close enough that their parents can bring them in the winter, and, of course, most everyone walks when the weather permits.” Miriam paused to smile in greeting as a few students began arriving and walking around them. “Others ride together. Eli Stutzman lives past Dawson road, and he would be happy to give your dochder a ride to school.”
“It would be a help.” Mr. Miller still didn’t move, and Miriam waited, wondering what else the man needed to say.
She looked up and saw one of the older girls, Hannah, walking in the door. “Hannah, this is Grace Miller. She’s new at our school. Would you mind sitting with her and helping her this week?”
“Sure thing, Miriam.” Hannah squatted down to Grace’s level and said something to the girl Miriam couldn’t hear.
Whatever it was, Grace released her dat’s hand and took Hannah’s. She’d walked halfway down the aisle when she turned, rushed back to where they stood, and threw her arms around her father’s legs.
One squeeze and she was gone again.
Though it was fleeting, Miriam saw a look of anguish pass over the man’s face. What could be going through his mind? She’d seen many fathers leave their children for the first time over the last eight years, but something more was going on here.
“She’ll be fine, Mr. Miller. We’re a small school, and the children look after one another.”
“It’s that…” he twirled his hat in his hands once, twice, three times. “Before we moved here, Grace was…that is to say, we…well, her grossmammi homeschooled her.”
“I understand. How about if I write a note letting you know how Grace is doing? I’ll put it in her lunch box at the end of the day.”
Something like relief washed over his face.
Danki,” he mumbled. Then he rammed his hat on his head and hurried out the door.
Esther caught her attention from the front of the room and sent a questioning look toward the man’s retreating back, but Miriam shook her head. She’d explain later, at lunch perhaps. For now they had nearly forty children between them to teach. As usual, it would be a busy morning.

Gabe did stop to talk to Eli Stutzman. He wanted to make sure he trusted the man.
It helped when three girls and a boy who were the last to climb out of the long buggy stopped to wish their father a good day. The littlest girl, probably the same age as his Gracie, wrapped her arms around her daddy’s neck, whispered something in his ear, and then tumbled down the steps into the chilly morning.
“That one is my youngest—Sadie. Always full of energy, but she’s a worrier. This morning it’s about a pup she left at home in the barn.” Covering the distance between them, the older man removed his glove and offered his right hand. “Name’s Eli Stutzman. I take it you’re new here, which must mean you bought the Kline place.”
“I am, and I did. Gabriel Miller.” Gabe stood still in the cold, wishing he could be done with this and back on his farm.
“Have children in the school?”
“One, a girl—about your youngest one’s age.”
Eli nodded, and then he seemed to choose his words carefully. “I suspect you’ll be busy putting your place in order. It will be no problem giving your dochder a ride back and forth each day.”
“I would appreciate it.”
Stutzman told him the approximate time he passed the Kline place, and Gabe promised he’d have Gracie ready at the end of the lane.
He turned to go and was headed to his own buggy when the man called out to him.
“The Kline place has been empty quite a while.”
Gabe didn’t answer. Instead, he glanced out at the surrounding fields, covered in snow and desolate looking on this Monday morning.
“If you need help, or find something that’s worse than what you expected, you holler. We help each other in Pebble Creek.”
Gabe ran his hand along the back of his neck but didn’t answer. Merely nodding, he moved on to his buggy.
He was accustomed to people offering help. Actually delivering on it? That was often another story, though he wouldn’t be judging the people here before he knew them.
Still, it was in his nature to do things on his own if at all possible.
Was his new home worse than he had expected?
Ya, it was much worse.
The barn was falling in on itself, and the house was not a lot better, but he knew carpentry. He could make them right. At least the woodstove worked. He’d been somewhat surprised to find no gas refrigerator, but he had found out who sold blocks of ice carved from the river. The icebox in the mudroom would do.
Gracie would be warm and fed. She’d have a safe place to sleep and to do the drawing she loved so much.
He didn’t think he’d be calling on Eli for help.
He’d see that Grace Ann made it to school and church—he’d promised her grossmammis as much. But other than that he wasn’t looking to make freinden in Pebble Creek. He wanted to be left alone. It was the reason he’d left their community in Indiana.
He could do without any help.
His parting words to his parents echoed back to him.
“I can do it on my own.”
As he drove the buggy toward home, Gabe looked out over high ridges and low valleys. Dairy farms dotted the snowcapped view. Running through it all was Pebble Creek, no doubt a prime place for trout fishing most of the year. He’d heard the call of wild turkeys and seen deer. It was a rich, blessed area.
Pebble Creek ran through the heart of Cashton, the closest town. It also touched the border of the school grounds and meandered through his own property. It bound them together.
As he approached home, Gabe’s mind was filled with thoughts of the day’s work ahead of him. He wondered where he’d find the energy to do it all, but somehow he would.
For Gracie he would.
His parents had offered to send his youngest brother along for the first year, but Andrew was needed on the family place. And, truthfully, Gabe preferred to be alone—just he and Grace.
“I can do it on my own.”
“Just because you can doesn’t mean you should,” his mother said. She had reminded him as he was packing their things that pride was his worst shortcoming, though the Lord knew he had many to choose from when it came to faults.
Was it pride that scraped against his heart each day? He couldn’t say.
He only knew he preferred solitude to company, especially since Hope died.
Hope.
That seemed ironic, even to him. She had been his hope, his life, his all, and now she was gone. Her death had happened so quickly—it reminded him of one of the Englisch freight trains barreling around the corner of some bend.
A big black iron thing he hadn’t seen coming. A monstrosity with the power to destroy his life.
Which wasn’t what the bishop had said, or his parents, or his brothers and sisters.
He slapped the reins and allowed his new horse, Chance, to move a bit faster over the snow-covered road. He’d left Indiana because he needed to be free of the looks of sympathy, the well-intentioned words, the interfering.
So he now had what he’d wished for—a new beginning with Grace.
If it meant days of backbreaking work, so much the better. Perhaps when he was exhausted, he would begin to sleep at night.