Revenge of the Red Knight by Marianne Hering and Paul McCusker ~ Review

Revenge of the Red Knight
My Review: Medieval adventure awaits through the Imagination Station!

Patrick and Beth take an adventure into Medieval times when they are in the midst of a series of adventures they are accused of being theives and cast into the dungeon! Will they escape and be able to safe the day?

I think this one was my favorite mostly because I really like books set in the time of knights and kings. These books are just fun, filled with great interwoven historical details, (though keep in mind that these books are aimed at beginning readers.

I love how these books are easy to read and understand without too many big words, perfect for the child who has just graduated from I-can-read books. The print is big and the adventure is high. Kids who like Adventures in Odyssey will like them even more!

Overall a great kid's read, not something I would typically read, but being a church library assistant I like knowing what the kids are reading. And I think that this series is a winner :)

No review required.

Unplanned by Abby Johnson with Cindy Lambert ~ Review

Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader's Eye-Opening Journey Across the Life Line
My Review: The incredible story of a brave woman who switched sides in one of the most controversial debate in America.

It all started one day when Ms. Johnson was asked to assist with the ultrasound part of an abortion. What she saw in that handfull of time convinced her to walk away from her job at Planned Parenthood and join the pro-life movement. And that transition was far from easy...

This was an utterly inspiring story from a woman who has been on both sides of the debate, and I was inspired by her bravery to do something, instead of sitting back like she could have. The book was well written and was well paced. It told of how Ms. Johnson became involved with Planned Parenthood, quite innocently and as time came to realize the truth of what she was involved in, and was even brought to court by Planned Parenthood.

I was very inspired by this read, and I think it would be very hard not to be inspired by Ms. Johnson's strength and bravery. This is a well written read that I highly recommend, because it shows both sides and how a woman who was heavily involved did a 180 and embraced the pro-life movement. I highly recommend this book!

No review required.


Love Isn't Supposed to Hurt by Christi Paul ~ Review

Love Isn't Supposed to Hurt
My Review: A brutally honest book about the triumph and hardships of overcoming emotional abuse.

Christi Paul tells her personal story of suffering and overcoming emotional abuse, that came in the form of someone she loved.

Love Isn't Supposed to Hurt was a well written read that was engaging, yet hard to read for me personally because of the nature of the content. As I read my heart was breaking for Christi, and it reminded me of how hard it is to stand up for yourself when you are being hurt. The book follows Christi through the tumultuous times of her first marriage, and the long process of healing.

I think this was a very inspiring read, not only for others who have suffered abuse from a spouse but also for people who have experienced bullying or any other kind of hurt caused by another's words.

Overall this was a well written book, that was encouraging and inspiring. I loved how it was deeply personal, even though she never revealed her ex's full name. There were some scenes that were depicted that had implied curse words, they weren't there, but I could figure out what they were originally. I didn't have a problem with that though because it it what truly happened in Ms. Paul's life and she did job of writing from the heart, I could feel the emotion in each page. She had a strong inspiring faith, and there were many times when she got back up when I thought she was at the end of her rope. Very well done.
 Though this is a book that I am not likely to read again, but would recommend to people who want to read a heartfelt book of overcoming a haunting hurt.

No review required.

The Diamond Secret by Lenora Worth ~ Review

The Diamond Secret

Lucie's Review:

Esther doesn't know what to do when a handsome Irish Indiana Jones shows up at her antique shop, asking her for a thought to be levitical chocolate diamond.
Cullen Murphey is being persued by goons who want something from him, that might just be the diamond.
Will Cullen and Esther find the diamond before it's too late?
This is my first time reading a book by Ms. Lenora Worth and I must say that I enjoyed it! For me, it really reminded me of an Indiana Jones adventure, with the missing artifact and Indy-like hero. I loved how there was never a dull moment, things kept happening. I liked the quick pace, and the colorful characters.
Esther's father was a huge part of the story even though he was deceased.

This book had some surprise twists that kept me guessing. The twists didn't end up going the way that I thought they would, that's for sure!

Overall, this was an entertaining read that I found both engaging and unpredictable. And I loved how the romance elements were well developed and weren't overshadowed by the suspense elements. An entertaining read!

I received this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review. Thanks!


Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day by Garry R. Morgan ~ Review

Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day: Learn the Basics Of: Islam Buddhism Hinduism Mormonism Christianity and Many More
My Review: A concise history and explanation of major, minor, and sub-branches of religions.

Mr. Garry R. Morgan presents and tells the difference between 40 different religions in concise chapters.

Mr. Morgan did a terrific job of taking information that is totally overwhelming and cutting it down into chapters that take around 15 mintues to read. And presenting the beliefs and history of each religion and standing and comparing them with one another. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to take all that information and cut it down in short chapters.

While I thought that the writing concisely was done well, I wasn't particularly totally engaged by the book either. I found my mind wandering a bit, though I admit I was a bit stressed when I read the book.

Overall, this wasn't my favorite book on the topic, but it was helpful. I liked how there were religions in there that I never really thought about or knew about before. And I did learn some great stuff. So I would recommend this book to people who are looking for a concise overview of a variety of religions.

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


Showdown with the Shepherd by Marianne Hering and Brock D. Eastman ~ Review

Showdown with the Shepherd
My review: A Biblical adventure in the Imagination Station.

Patrick and Beth are on a mission to find the ring stolen by Hugh and return him to his proper time. When they step out of the Imagination Station Beth and Patrick are flung into a full blown adventure!

I think that this particular novel in the series was especially cool because Beth and Patrick traveled back to Bible times, during the time when David faced the giant. What I love about these books is that they are so children friendly with big print and managable words, that are easy for young readers to understand. But not only that, they contain historic facts interwoven with the storyline, plus a great lesson about courage and faith.

There's plenty of action in these short books, so don't let the size fool you. These books are perfect for kids who are just starting to read on their own, that age when it's hard to find a book that will engage and is at the appropriate reading level.

Overall a series that I highly recommend to children to read on their own or to have their parents read to them :)

No review required.

Over the Edge by Mary Connealy ~ Litfuse Blog Tour & Review

Over the Edge

Review: An explosive conclusion to a thrilling saga.

A fast-paced Western read with plenty of action and laughs. I loved how the plot was just chock full of twists to keep the pages turning at break-neck speed.

The characters were all so well built and I loved how the brothers from the first book, as well as their wives, were still a big part of the story. I really liked Seth, because he was just a great guy who had his struggles and his flaws, but he was had such a refreshingly thankful spirit despite his past. Definitely the kind of hero to cheer for the whole way through!
Callie was full of fire, and I could totally understand why she would want Seth to prove himself to her after everything that she had been through!

This is the kind of series that while you could read the last book by itself (but that would totally be cheating!) I think you will find as I did that I didn't want to miss any of the action! I also felt that I was able to appreciate this book to it's full capacity because I had read the earlier installments.

Overall, this book was the perfect conclusion to a terrific series, as well as my favorite by Ms. Connealy! I loved the characters and the twisting plot, this book was just brimming with good old fashioned action!
A book that I HIGHLY recommend!

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

About the Book:
Seth Kincaid survived a fire in a cave, but he's never been the same. He was always a reckless youth, but now he's gone over the edge. He ran off to the Civil War and came back crazier than ever.

After the war, nearly dead from his injuries, it appears Seth got married. Oh, he's got a lot of excuses, but his wife isn't happy to find out Seth doesn't remember her. Callie has searched, prayed, and worried. Now she's come to the Kincaid family's ranch in Colorado to find her lost husband.

Callie isn't a long-suffering woman. Once she knows her husband is alive, she wants to kill him. She's not even close to forgiving him for abandoning her.

Then more trouble shows up in the form of a secret Seth's pa kept for years. The Kincaid brothers might lose their ranch if they can't sort things out. It's enough to drive a man insane--but somehow it's all making Seth see things more clearly. And now that he knows what he wants, no one better stand in his way.

Buy the Book Here: http://ow.ly/cPxuv

About the Author:
Mary Connealy writes fun and lively "romantic comedy with cowboys" for the inspirational market. She is the author of the successful Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages, and Sophie's Daughters series, and her novel Calico Canyon was nominated for a Christy Award. She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her husband, Ivan, and has four grown daughters.

Visit her on her Web site maryconnealy.com

Celebrate with Mary by entering to win a Nook Color with GlowLight!
See what folks are saying about Over the Edge!

One winner will receive:
  • A Nook Color with GlowLight
  • The entire set of Mary Connealy's The Kincaid Brides series

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 28th. Winner will be announced at the "Over the Edge" Author Chat Facebook Party on 8/29. Meet Mary, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at a trivia contest, and more. There will also be gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group.)!
So grab your copy of Over the Edge and join Mary on the evening of the August 29th for a chance to connect with her 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 today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 29th!

And don't forget to check out all the other great stops on this tour: http://litfusegroup.com/


House of Mercy by Erin Healy ~ Review

House of Mercy
My Review: An intricately woven story of family and relying on God for true strength and power.

Bethesda Borzoi is the daughter of a noble rancher, and her world is turned on its end by one horrible mistake with devestating repercussions. As things unravel one by one Beth must lean on her faith to trust her future to God no matter how bleak it seems.

Riveting from the very beginning to the last page, House of Mercy was the kind of book that just sucked me into it's depths. The many well-rounded characters took me on a trip through every emotion, from disgust and heartbreak, to happiness and satisfaction.

I loved how diverse the cast of characters were. There were some that I loathed from the beginning and others who slowly stole my heart. I absolutely loved the character of Wally, the warm-hearted, but forgetful cowhand.

The story was a wonderfullythought provoking read, with emotions going in all directions, switching from one point of view to another. Beth grew in so many ways over the course of the book, spiritually and otherwise. Also, I just loved the theme of relying on God's power and not on your own.

Overall,  a different kind of book for me, but I enjoyed it nontheless. The ranch setting was one of the things that I loved most about this book, as I was visiting my cousins on my grandma's ranch at the time I read this book and could relate to many of the descriptions. The characters were so well-built that I felt as if I had met real people, though to be honest some of the "meetings" were not that pleasant! This was a book I thoroughly enjoyed, and I know that I will be reading more from Erin Healy in the future!

I received this book from the publisher through B&B Media in return for an honest review. Thank you!

Instant Prairie Family by Bonnie Navarro ~ Review

Instant Prairie Family
Lucie's Review: Endearing children and love on the prairie.

Running ink and a first name that could go either way are what bring Abby and Will together in this charming romance.

I loved the way this story began with a meeting of misunderstandings, that was quite funny. (You're going to have to read this book to know what I'm talkign about!)

The children were just adorable, especially Tommy, who was just too cute for his britches. The story was well-paced, and the characters were endearing. One of my favorite characters was the preacher, Collin, who in my opinion is in need of a wife. Collin was just such a great encourager, and mentor to both Will and Abby. A terrific man who was a big part of the story.

Overall, this was a charming read in which I liked the interactions between the characters, with Abby and Will as well as her interaction with the children.  An engaging read about trusting that God doesn't make mistakes.

No review required.



Voyage with the Vikings by Marianne Hering and Paul McCusker ~ Review

Voyage with the Vikings
My Review: A perfect read for your young Adventures in Odyssey fan!

Patrick and Beth stumble across a letter in Mr. Whattaker's Imagination Station threatening to imprision a mysteryious Albert if the sunstone is not found and delievered. Beth and Patrick embark on a rescue mission to find the sunstone and save Albert!

As a church library assistant, I like to keep my eyes out for great children's books with both a sound message and lots of adventure, and these books make the cut. I love how they learn lessons about God while going back in history and learning about the past. In this one they even meet Leif Eriksson!

This series is targeted more toward children who have recently graduated from the I-can-read chapter books, to "real books" with an easy to read style, without alot of big words, and large print your young reader will be racing through this book. This series has it all, action adventure and a solid lesson behind it with some of your favorite characters from the radio series :)

No review required.

Winning Balance: What I've Learned So Far About Love, Faith, and Living Your Dreams by Shawn Johnson ~ Review

Winning Balance: What I've Learned So Far about Love, Faith, and Living Your Dreams

My Review: A winning read, indeed!

Shawn Johnson tells her story from birth and adventurous youngster to top gymnast and finding a balance when some of the drama died down. Shawn opens up her life and her heart to her readers, as well as inspiring and encouraging along the way.

I immensely enjoyed reading Shawn's storyas she shared from her heart the trials she'd been through as well as the joys. I liked how she shared about her faith and how she had grown in a variety of ways during different parts of her life.

The book had an engaging conversational tone to it, that made it feel more personal.

I think that my favorite parts of the books were the ones about the struggles she faced and overcame after the 2008 Beijing Olympics were over and how she found her sense of joy again.

Overall an inspiring read about faith, determination, love, and dreaming big. This is a book that shows the world the true Shawn Johnson. A book I enjoyed the whole way through, I highly recommend!

No review required.

Night Mare by Dandi Daley Mackall ~ Review

Night Mare

Leo's Review:

Ellie James' world comes crashing down when Dream's original owner shows up, wanting Dream back!
Ellie's hears is broken But life lessons are in store for her as she learns to trust God, because all things are possible with him.

A quick charming read about a girl and her backyard horse. I liked how it was a fast read and while it was written for younger readers I found myself entertained, and engaged. The characters were well developed and I loved Ellie's family. This is a charming series that is sure to enchant young horse-lovers.

Overall, a cute read. I just loved how Ellie was able to keep her best friend, Dream, in her backyard. I wish I could do that with my pony! A series that I can happily say that I recommend!

No review required.

Chasing Dream by Dandi Daley Mackall ~ Review

 Chasing Dream
My Review: A cute read for young horse-lovers.

Ellie James is determined to prove that her horse, Dream, is the best horse in the area after an incident at school where Dream mysteriously was found in the school library.
Ellie divises a plan  to show everyone how great Dream is by setting up a race, but along the way near tragedy takes place and Ellie learns valuable lessons about faith and trusting in God.

This is a well written novel printed in an easy to read format for young readers.
I believe that young horse-lovers will be especially drawn to this story. They may even be a bit jealous of Ellie's "backyard horse" I know I wish I could keep my horse in the backyard!
The characters were well done, and I liked how relate-able Ellie was as a character and how great and supportive her family was.
This book carried a solid message, about knowing God is there through the hard times and through the good, which only adds to it's appeal.

Overall, this is a book that will charm and delight young horse-loving readers, full of heart and real-life lessons. A book that I happily recommend!

No review was required.


What I am Reading ~ Weekend 8/23-25/12

Be Still My Soul: A Novel

I am on my way home with a bunch of books just waiting to be blogged about! I had a great time, riding horses and hanging out. Plus the other day my brother had fun killing a bothersome rattlesnake. Bue enough about that and more about the books!

I am so excited to be digging into Joanne Bischof's debut Be Still My Soul. It should be fantastic for a long car trip home.

Here's the blurb:

Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent, used to fading into the background within her family, and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills. Though her family is poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet faith. But when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon O’Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate.
Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows and does not love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob.
Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life. What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?
Gideon only ever cared about himself. Now that Lonnie is his wife, will he ever be worthy of her heart?

I might be the only person on planet earth (OK I am being overdramatic) who has not read a book by Karen Kingsbury. A friend recommended that I started with Unlocked, so I am.

Here's the blurb:

Holden Harris is an autistic 18-year-old who is bullied at school. Laura Reynolds, the head cheerleader who befriends Holden, has problems of her own at home. In her trademark way, Kingsbury tackles real-life issues of high school bullying, autism, adultery, and ultimately acceptance.

So now I want to ask you, what are you reading this weekend?
I hope y'all have a blessed weekend.



A Path Toward Love by Cara Lynn James ~ Review

A Path Toward Love
Lucie's Review: Tribulations and troubles abound, will Katherine triumph over them?

Katherine is a young widow trying to make a go of her late husband's Orange Grove, the only thing of value that he left to her name. But despite her efforts she just can't make end meet, and in order to get a loan from her prosperous parents, she must do what her mother requires. Which include marrying the son of her mother's best friend. Meanwhile her friendship with her childhood friend, Andrew, is rekindled. Will Katherine be forced to marry a man she doesn't love?

This was a tough book to read, because bad things just kept on happening to poor Katherine! I felt so bad for her! Everything just seemed to stand in her way.
There were some characters that frustrated me to no end, mostly Katherine's manipulative mother, who was just awful! And Randy who was a shallow rich kid who would do anything, including marrying a girl he didn't love, to avoid actually having to do real work.
For me personally, this book moved rather slowly, mostly because I was tough to read about how horrible her parents were. But I liked how Katherine really grew spiritually, and I could relate to how she had a tough time looking past the present problems to a way out.
My favorite character had to be Andrew, who was the perfect hero, with a noble heart that was honorable to the core. He had a strong faith, and he was not only a good guy, but an encourager in Katherine's faith.
Aunt Letty was fun too. She was a spry older woman, who had led a full life, had strong faith and knew her mind.

Overall this tale was one of triumph over seemingly overwhelming odds. The characters were well delveloped, there were ones I loved and ones I strongly disliked. Katherine reallly grew through this testing of her faith, and Andrew was a constant friend who was the soul of honor. I guess for me I just have to say that I had the hardest time reading about all the bad things that were happening, so for me it was tough for me to be fully engaged. So I would recommend this book to fans of the Guilded Age and who like novels where faith is tested.

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


The New Recruit is Coming Soon!

Book Blurb:

Forced to choose between military school and a Christian spy organization, skeptic Spencer Garmond signs on with the Bible geeks. But before he even boards the plane for Moscow, Spencer realizes this is no Bible club.
These guys mean business.
Stumbling onto a case involving a gang of homeless boys, a chilling tattoo, and the always beautiful Anya Vseveloda, Spencer struggles to find the faith needed to save the Mission League from enemy infiltration.

Check out the trailer!

This book is coming soon!


Eye of the Sword by Karyn Henley~ CSFF Blog Tour and Review

Eye of the Sword: A Novel (The Angeleon Circle, #2)

My Review: This is a hard review for me to write, because there were so many things that I loved about this book yet there were other elements that bothered me greatly. But hopefully my review is helpful :)

Trevin is a Comain (Captain) in the service of King Laetham of Camrithia. Trevin also happens to be in love with the King's daughter, Melaia. To prove himself he takes on two difficult quests, one to find the lost Comains of Camrithia, and the other to find the two remaining harps of a mystical threesome. Will Trevin be able to succeed against the many odds?

While I haven't read the first book and was unfamiliar with what was going on, I found myself rapidly caught up in the story.
Ms. Henley did an outstanding job of creating engaging characters and the lush world in which they dwelled. I thought the plot was engaging and fast moving, making the book difficult to put down.

Now comes the tough part. While I thought that this book was well written and engaging, there were elements that I had trouble with, and dangerous ground was tread upon with the use of angels. This is my personal opinion, but I feel that it is dangerous to portray angels as walking the earth and intermarrying with humans. Also I had an especially hard time with the book's constant messages or reminders, if you will, to "Trust yourself" or to look inward to find your true identity. Those things made me take a step back.

So overall while this book was well written, with great characters--I really thought that Trevin was an excellent main character because he was noble, yet was flawed and knew it--and a well paced plot, there were things that I struggled with. I guess that for me, I would not classify this book as Christian. So as you can see I have rather mixed feelings about this book. But what really struck me about this book was how I could never see what was up ahead, definitely unpredictable! So in closing I would say that this book should be read with a healthy dose of discretion.

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

You can buy the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Eye-Sword-Novel-Angelaeon-Circle/dp/030773014X/

And don't forget to check out all the other great stops on this tour!

Julie Bihn
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Jackie Castle
Brenda Castro
Jeff Chapman
Theresa Dunlap
Cynthia Dyer
Victor Gentile
Ryan Heart
Janeen Ippolito
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Emileigh Latham
Rebekah Loper
Shannon McDermott
Karen McSpadden
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Anna Mittower
Mirriam Neal
Faye Oygard
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler


Dying to Read by Lorena McCourtney ~ Revell Blog Tour & Review

Dying to Read (Cate Kinkaid Files, #1)

Lucie's Review: Intricate plot, with many twists.

Cate Kincaid is a private-eye-in-training, who stumbles upon the body of  a who-done-it mystery bookclub member. Cate finds clues and escapes numerous perils in this cozy mystery novel.

I've never read a book classified as a true mystery before, I've read suspense and action, but never a true mystery. And to my surprise I found that I enjoyed it--alot!
This book had a wonderfully, full cast of characters with multiple suspects that kept me guessing till the end. I loved how the characters were well developed and I really liked the friendship that was developing between Mitch and Cate. I really liked seeing them together, I thought that they intereacted very well. Mitch was a really great guy, who made a great side-kick!
I really liked how Cate wasn't a perfect main character in that she was far from perfect and she realized it. There were a few times when I questioned her actions but I came to see latere why she acted the way that she did.

Overall I loved how there was alot of action and things were always happening so that there was never a dull moment, the story was engaging with a intricate plotine, and there were tons of characters that were all very full and developed. I haven't read a ton of mysteries like this one before, but after reading this one, I'm thinking that I'll have to read some more!

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

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


Angel of the Cove by Sandra Robbins ~ First Wild Card Blog Tour and Review

Angel of the Cove

My Review: A sweet mountain romance.

This was a sweet relaxing read. I enjoyed the author's gentle style of writing, which was perfect for such a sweet tale.
My favorite character was Simon, because I thought that he was very well written, from the very first time he popped onto the scene I felt that I understood him.
I admired Anna's determination to prove herself to her brother, especially since she chose a remote mountain community to do it!
I thought that this story had a great message about trusting your future to God--something that we all know is hard to do!

Overall, this was a book with many characters and a nice community feel to it. There were times when I felt that the book moved a bit slow for my taste, but I thought that it was very well written. I liked the way that Simon and Anna's relationship moved along, and a loved how looks weren't the only thing that made the first impression :) I book that is great for lovers of sweet romance, who like a few things to think about :)

I received this book from the publisher 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 author is:

Sandra Robbins

and the book:

Angel of the Cove

Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2012)

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


Sandra Robbins and her husband live in the small college town in Tennessee where she grew up. They count their four children and five grandchildren as the greatest blessings in their lives. Her published books include stories in historical romance and romantic suspense. When not writing or spending time with her family, Sandra enjoys reading, collecting flow blue china, and playing the piano.

Visit the author's website.


Anna Prentiss wants to be a nurse, but first she has to spend a summer in Cades Cove apprenticing to the local midwife. Anna is determined to prove herself…but she never expected to fall in love with the Cove. Has God’s plan for Anna changed? Or is she just starting to hear Him clearly?

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736948848

ISBN-13: 978-0736948845


Mountain air was supposed to be cool. At least that’s what she’d always heard.

Anna Prentiss couldn’t be sure because she’d never been this far into the mountains before. But if truth be told, they still had a fair piece to go before they reached the hills that rolled off into the distance.

The narrow dirt road that led them closer to those hills twisted and bumped its way along. The June heat had dried out the winter mud in this part of Tennessee and produced a dust that threatened to choke her, roiling up and around the buggy. Anna covered her mouth with the lace handkerchief her mother had tucked in her dress pocket and sneezed. The smudge left on the cloth made her wonder what her face must look like.

She glanced at Uncle Charles, her father’s brother, who sat beside her on the leather seat of the buggy. Perspiration had cut meandering, dusty trails down his cheeks, but he didn’t appear to notice. His attention was focused on trying to avoid the holes that dotted the road.

She wiped at her face once more before stuffing the handkerchief back in her pocket. It really didn’t matter what she looked like. There was no one to see her. The only living creatures she’d seen all day were some white-tailed deer that had run across the road in front of them and a fox that had peered at her from his dusky hiding place beside the road. In front of them trees lined the long roadway that twisted and turned like a lazy snake slithering deeper into the mountain wilderness. She’d come a long way from the farm in Strawberry Plains.

A twinge of homesickness washed over her. She closed her eyes and gritted her teeth. The uneasy feeling lingered a moment, but with a determination she’d only recently acquired, she banished thoughts of those she’d left behind to the spot in her heart where her grief lay buried.

Just then the buggy hit a hole, and Anna grabbed the seat to keep from bouncing onto the floorboard. Uncle Charles flicked the reins across the horse’s back and glanced at her, his spectacles resting on the bridge of his nose. Wispy gray hair stuck out from underneath a black hat.

“Hold on. These roads can be a little rough. We had a hard winter up here.”

Anna nodded, straightening herself on the buggy seat and studying her uncle’s profile. How many times had he ridden this way to take care of the mountain people he loved? He looked every bit the country doctor. His smooth hands, so unlike her father’s work-roughened ones, gripped the reins tighter as he grinned at her.

The corner of his mouth curled downward when he smiled, just as her father’s had always done. That was the only similarity she’d ever seen in them, though. Uncle Charles used to say he got the brains and Poppa got the brawn. When she was a little girl, she wondered what he meant. But she knew no matter what it implied, the two brothers shared a bond like few she’d ever seen. And they were the only ones who’d ever encouraged her to follow her dream of becoming a nurse.

Anna took a deep breath and inhaled the heavy, sweet smell that drifted from the forests on either side of the road. She turned to Uncle Charles. “I’ve been noticing those white flowers that look like shrubs growing along the road. What are they?”

“Those are our mountain rhododendron,” said Uncle Charles. “There are also pink and purple ones. Sometimes in the summer you can stand on a ridge and look across the mountains at the rhododendrons blooming, and it looks like somebody took a paintbrush and colored the world. It’s a mighty beautiful sight.”

Anna swiveled in her seat again and looked at Uncle Charles. “Thank you for working out this trip for me.”

A grin tugged at his mouth. “How many times would you say you’ve thanked me today?”

“Not enough yet.”

A sudden breeze ruffled the straw hat her mother had given her, and Anna grabbed the wide brim. After a moment she released it and pulled the handkerchief from her pocket again. Grasping it with both hands, she twisted the cloth until it stretched taut between her fingers. “I hope I don’t disappoint Mrs. Lawson.”

He didn’t take his eyes off the road but shrugged. “I wouldn’t worry about that. She’s been delivering babies in Cades Cove for a long time, and she’s glad to have an extra pair of hands. It’ll be good experience before you leave for nursing school in the fall.”

The old anger rose in Anna’s throat. “Only if Robert agrees.” She spit out the barbed words as if they pierced the inside of her mouth. “Why does he have to be so selfish?” She clenched her fists tight together. Ever since their father’s death Robert had assumed the role as head of the family, and he took his responsibilities seriously. Too seriously, if you asked Anna. He never missed an opportunity to tell her how their father wasn’t around anymore to cater to her every whim. The first time he’d said that she felt as if he’d shattered her heart. The pieces had never mended as far as her relationship with him was concerned. But if things went as planned, she would soon be free of his authority.

“I don’t want you to be angry with your brother, Anna. You may not understand his reasons, but he’s trying his best to be the head of your family. He’s still young and has a lot to learn, but he loves you and wants what’s best for you.”

Anna crossed her arms and scowled. “All he wants is for me to stay on the farm and marry somebody he thinks will make a good husband.” Anna shook her head. “Well, that’s not what I want. Poppa promised me I’d be able to go. Robert has no right to keep that money hostage.”

“I know. Your father would have been so proud to know you’ve been accepted.” Uncle Charles’s shoulders drooped with the sigh that drifted from his mouth. “Try to see it from his perspective. You’ve led a sheltered life on the farm, and Robert feels like you aren’t ready for what you’ll see and have to deal with in a big hospital in New York. You think you’ll be able to assist injured and dying people, but it’s different when you’re right there with somebody’s life in your hands. If you find you can’t do it, then Robert is out the money for your tuition, not to mention travel and living expenses.” He cocked a bushy eyebrow at Anna. “And he doesn’t need to be wasting money that can be put to good use on the farm.”

“I know. He’s told me often enough.” Anna smoothed out her skirt and straightened in her seat. “I’m just thankful you came up with a plan that Robert agreed to. Spending the summer with Mrs. Lawson ought to prove I have the grit to handle New York.”

“Remember you’ll need a good report from Granny Lawson.”

Anna smiled. “You don’t have to worry about that. I’m going to listen to her and do everything she tells me, no matter how distasteful I think the task is.” She clenched her fists in her lap. “When I board that train for New York in the fall, it will all be worth it.”

Uncle Charles shook his head and chuckled. “I’ll leave New York and all its hustle and bustle to you. I prefer to spend my time right here in these mountains.”

Anna let her gaze rove over the trees on either side of the road. “Still, maybe you’ll come visit me someday. I can show off the maternity ward!”

He flicked the reins across the horse’s back. “I’ve read a lot about that ward. First one in the country. You’ll be fortunate to work there. But don’t forget you may see a lot of babies born this summer while you’re at Granny’s cabin. And there’s not a better place in the world to learn about nursing. She can teach you things you would never learn at Bellevue. Listen to her and do what she says and you’ll be fine.”

Anna nodded. “I will.” Her hat slipped to the side, and she reached up and straightened it. “I really can’t thank you enough, Uncle Charles. Everything’s coming together just the way I planned it, and nothing—not even Robert—is going to stand in my way.”

Uncle Charles sucked in his breath and directed a frown at her. “Nothing? We can only follow the plan God has for us, Anna.”

She settled back on the seat and cast her eyes over the hazy hills in front of them. “But that is God’s plan for me.”

“And how do you know?”

“Because it’s what I’ve dreamed about all my life. God’s never tried to change my mind.”

“Maybe you’ve never listened to Him.” Uncle Charles stared at her a moment. “Like I said, pay attention to what Granny says. She’ll teach you how God uses those He’s chosen to take care of the sick. It isn’t all done with medicine, Anna. A lot of my medical successes—and Granny’s as well—have come about after a lot of prayer.”

The buggy hit another bump, and Anna bounced straight up. As far as she could see, the rippling Smoky Mountains stretched out toward the horizon. A plume of wispy fog hung over the valleys. A strange world awaited her out there.

Mrs. Johnson, the owner of the inn where they’d stayed in Pigeon Forge last night, had taken great pleasure in warning her of what she might face in Cades Cove this summer. Anna clasped her hands in her lap and glanced at Uncle Charles. “Mrs. Johnson said the folks who live in Cades Cove don’t take to strangers.”

Uncle Charles nodded. “That doesn’t surprise me. What else did she say?”

Anna took a deep breath and brushed at the new layer of dust on her skirt. “Oh, not much. Just that everybody knows it’s a closed society in the Cove, but it doesn’t matter because no sensible person would want to live there anyway. She called the people there a strange lot.”

Uncle Charles cocked an eyebrow and chuckled. “Is that right? I hope you didn’t believe her. I know every family in the Cove, and some of them are my good friends.” He hesitated a moment. “Of course you’re going to find some who cause problems—just like you would anywhere else.”

“Like the moonshiners?”

He turned to stare at her with wide eyes. “What did Mrs. Johnson tell you about moonshiners?”

“She said all the men were moonshiners. Are they?”

Uncle Charles threw back his head and laughed as if he’d just heard the funniest joke of his life. After a few seconds he shook his head. “Nothing could be further from the truth. There may be a few who give the Cove people a bad reputation, but most of the men work too hard to waste their time on such nonsense.” He reached over and patted her hand. “I wouldn’t leave you in a place where you weren’t safe. Mrs. Johnson may run a good inn, but she’s the worst gossip in these mountains.”

Anna heaved a sigh of relief. “I guess I’m just a little nervous. I want everybody to like me.”

“They will. Just be yourself and they’ll all love you.”

Uncle Charles meant well, but doubt still lingered in her mind. Would the people of the Cove accept a stranger into their small community? And if they didn’t, what good could she possibly do in this place?

She had to succeed. Her future depended on it. She squared her shoulders. There was no turning back.

As the day wore on, they found themselves deeper in the hills. As they did, a slow awakening began to dawn in the deepest corner of her soul. She’d never seen anything as beautiful as the lush growth that covered the vast mountain range. The air now grew cooler, just as she’d expected it to be, and the sweet smell of mountain laurel mingled with the rhododendrons. As her uncle’s horse, Toby, plodded along the rocky trail that grew steeper with each step, she saw the world through new eyes and stared in awe at the wonders of nature unfolding before her.

For the last hour she’d sat silent and watched the shallow river that flowed beside the road. The water bubbled over rocks like huge stepping-stones scattered across its bed, and the rippling sound had a lulling effect. She wished they could stop so she could pull off her shoes and wade in the cold mountain stream, but there was no time for such fun today. She turned her attention back to the steep hillside on the other side of the road.

“It’s beautiful here.”

Uncle Charles glanced at her. “We’re just about to Wear’s Valley. When we get there, we’ll be close to Cades Cove.”

Anna wondered if Uncle Charles was tired of her questions about the Cove. She hoped not. She settled in her seat and said, “Tell me more about Cades Cove, Uncle Charles.”

He pushed his hat back on his head and stared straight ahead. “Well, if you’ve noticed, we’ve been following that stream as the road’s climbed. Pretty soon now we’re gonna reach a place where we turn away from it and head into a flat valley right in the middle of the mountains. That’s Cades Cove. It’s almost like God just took His giant hand and tucked a little piece of heaven right down in the Smokies. The land’s fertile—not so many rocks you can’t farm—and completely surrounded by mountains. You’re gonna love it when you see it, Anna.”

“How many people live there?”

He pursed his lips and squinted into the distance. “I’d say there are about two hundred fifty scattered throughout the Cove nowadays. Some left for town life—better work there, you know—but they’ll never find a place that’s as beautiful as these mountains.”

“How far is it from Mrs. Lawson’s house to where you live?”

He thought for a moment. “It’s not that far as the crow flies, but it takes me almost three hours going around these roads.”

A lump formed in her throat. Now that they were closer, she didn’t want him to leave. She scooted a little closer to him on the bench of the buggy. “Will you stay at Mrs. Lawson’s tonight?”

He shook his head. “No, I’ll have enough daylight left to get home. But don’t worry, I’ll come to the Cove from time to time to check on you. Granny does a good job of taking care of the folks there, but she knows when it’s serious enough to send for me.”

Anna clasped her hands in her lap to keep him from seeing them tremble. The time had come to begin the test. She couldn’t fail. She squared her shoulders and lifted her chin. She dredged up all the determination she could muster. No, she wouldn’t fail.

“How long before we get there, Uncle Charles?”

“Not much longer. The entrance is up ahead.”


The Haven by Suzanne Woods Fisher ~ Revell Blog Tour & Review

The Haven
My Review: An Amish tale of family and heart.

Quiet Sadie Lapp bring home a baby from her trip to Ohio, sending more than a few tongues wagging. Along the way Sadie finds herself caught between the affections of two very different young men.

After reading The Keeper I just knew that I had to read its sequel and I was not disappointed!
I loved so many of the characters and even though I missed Menno terribly, I appreciated how he was remembered and still remained a part of the story. Because he was one of my favorites from the first book.
This is one of those books that I believe that I was better able to appreciate because I had read the first book, because it picks up not too much after the last book ended.
I loved how each of the characters had their own distinct personality, M.K. hadn't changed much, that's for sure!
I loved the relaxing but engaging pace, which I believe is perfect for an Amish novel, because it captures the gentleness of their way of life. I believe that Ms. Woods Fisher gets that perfectly :)

Uncle Hank is still one of my favorites, because his jovial spirit never failed to bring a smile to my face.

Overall I loved this book and how there were so many lovable, diverse characters within a close knit family. This is a charming, engaging, heart-filled read that I highly recommend!

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

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

Celebrate the newest book in the Stoney Ridge Seasons series with Suzanne by entering her 4 eReader Giveaway and Facebook Party and RSVPing for the Live Video Chat on 8/30! 

See what folks are saying about The Haven!

Four grand prize winners will receive:

  • A Brand new Kindle Fire or Nook Color 
  • $25 Amazon.com or Barnes&Noble.com Gift certificate 

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 29th. Winner will be announced at Suzanne's Live Author Chat Party on 8/30. Suzanne will be hosting an author chat (party will start on Facebook AND then be Live from her website) and giving away books, gift certificates and several Burt's Bees® Nourishing Radiance Kits!!

So grab your copy of The Haven and join Suzanne on the evening of the August 30th for a fun chat (both on Facebook and via Live Video), trivia contest and lots of giveaways. 

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 30th!


Your Guide to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks: A Different Perspective by John Hergenrather, Tom Vail, Mike Oard and Dennis Bokovoy ~ Review

Your Guide to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks: A Different Perspective

My Review:
Looking to make a trip to Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons? Or maybe you can't make the trip but you've always wanted to go, well then here's a book for you!

I loved how this book was bursting with amazing glossy photographs, and fun facts. Decked out with tons of fold-out pages for more learning, but what I loved most was how this book was written with a Christian Creationist prespective!

This book is well written and fun to read when you have a spare moment or two, and it made me want to go to Yellowstone again!

I loved learning fun facts and serious ones about the first National Park, I found the book readable for all ages and it  could even be used as a homeschool resource!

Overall this is a book that I would highly recommend for those who have an interest in National Parks and for those who are looking into taking a trip to Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons!

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

Healing Love by Laura V. Hilton ~ First Wild Card Blog Tour & Review

Healing Love

My Review: A story about the choices we are willing to make for love.
Kristi Lapp's takes a sharp turn, when she is hit by a car, that ends up breaking her leg so that it is hard for her to take care of her Siberian Husky, Chinook.
Shane is a war veteran and veterinarian, and an Englisher, who offers to help Kristi with her dog.
As their friendship grows Kristi and Shane struggle to keep their feelings in check.

I really liked Ms. Hilton's writing voice, this is the first time for me actually reading something by this author after hearing some great things about her :)
I think that the characters were well developed and I liked how they both tried to keep their feelings in check, and to respect that they were from different worlds. I also thought that they interacted well, and I liked how they always seemed to run into each other even though they were sort of avoiding each other to some extent.

I think that there were many details in the book's setting that were really realistic to what Amish is like, and I like how it showed the Amish doing normal things like going to McDonalds :)

Overall, I think that this was a sweet Amish romance, that was well written, and had some great leading characters. A book that I would recommend to fans of Amish fiction :)

I received this book from the publisher 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 author is:

and the book:

Whitaker House (September 3, 2012)

***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling of Whitaker House for sending me a review copy.***


Laura V. Hilton, of Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas, is a pastor’s wife, mother of five, author LVHilton1210and book lover. She’s got a degree in business but her passion has long been the mission of Christian fiction. Her first series, The Amish of Seymour from Whitaker House (Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another) earned praise from critics and fans for originality and authenticity, thanks in part to Laura’s Amish grandmother who taught her Amish culture at a young age, and her husband Steve’s family ties to the Amish community in Webster County, Missouri, which has been helpful in her research. Laura is the author of two novels for Treble Heart Books and a contributor to Zondervan’s It’s The Year Life Verse Devotional. She’s a member of ACFW for whom she writes Amish reviews for the magazine, Afictionado, and a long time reviewer for the Christian Suspense Zone. Laura is a stay-at-home mom, homeschooler, breast cancer survivor and avid blogger who posts reviews at: www.lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com.

Visit the author's website.


Shane Zimmerman, a young veterinarian and widower, is first person on the scene of a serious buggy accident buggy in Webster County, Missouri. He rushes Amish midwife Kristi Lapp, been badly injured in the crash, to the nearest hospital. The two discover they’re next door neighbors and a friendship develops as Shane helps Kristi with her high-energy Siberian husky, Chinook, for whom she can’t properly care because of her leg injuries. Shane hopes to further develop their relationship, but Kristi is leery and discourages him at first -- Shane isn’t Amish (although his grandparents were) and Kristi’s father would prefer she marry any aged Amish widower rather than an Englischer – even one with ties to the community who is close to her age. Despite the forces that would keep them apart, the strong attraction Kristi and Shane have for one another grows stronger. As their on-again, off-again relationship persists, Shane must come to grips with his identity and reevaluates why he’s Englisch.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.99

Paperback: 336 pages

Publisher: Whitaker House (September 3, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1603745068

ISBN-13: 978-1603745062


Chapter 1


Kristi Lapp flicked the reins impatiently. “Kum on, Samson. ‘Slow’ isn’t the only speed you’re capable of, ain’t so?” She needed him to pick up the pace. Silas Troyer had banged on her door earlier to alert her that his frau, Susie, was going into labor, and then he’d raced down the lane in his horse-and-buggy to notify their family members of the imminent birth.

Kristi was especially excited about this boppli. Susie had four girls, all of them a year apart, and she’d been expecting to have a boy this time, based on how different it had felt carrying him. Mamms usually sensed these things. And Kristi predicted she was right.

Several deer stepped onto the road right in front of Kristi, none of them even glancing her way. Smiling, she pulled the reins slightly to the right to direct Samson away from them, over to the side of the road. A similarly sized herd had meandered its way through her family’s backyard the other day, and she’d always admired the animals for sticking together as they did.

She tightened her grip on the reins and gave them another flick, hoping to encourage Samson to move more quickly.

As the deer were crossing the center line into the other lane, the powerful roar of an engine broke the serenity of the setting. A red sports car crested the hill up ahead, barreling in Kristi’s direction at a speed she’d never witnessed on this road. She heaved a breath of exasperation. Any idiot would have noticed one of the several signs that read, “Watch for Buggies.” They were impossible to miss, and Kristi had passed four of them in the last mile alone.

As the car whizzed toward her, the herd of deer scattered, darting in different directions. The driver swerved sharply into Kristi’s lane to avoid them, and she gasped, frantically trying to steer the buggy over toward the shoulder. A chill ran up her spine at the sight of the steep embankment and deep ditch below.

One of the spooked deer pivoted. Made a mad dash straight toward her horse. Samson reared and immediately took off at a run, straight toward the ditch.

“Whoa, Samson!” Kristi planted her feet against the front of the buggy and pulled back on the reins with all her might. Leave it to Samson to shift into high gear at the worst time.

The car sped past, but Samson wouldn’t slow down. He was heading straight for the side of the road. Panic surged through Kristi, constricting her breath. Should she try to jump out? She dropped the reins and scooted to the edge of the seat.

She was too late. The buggy lurched as Samson ran headlong over the embankment. As the vehicle tipped, she was propelled out the side. Hours seemed to pass before her body collided with the ground and pain engulfed her.

Teetering on the edge of consciousness, she thought briefly of Susie. How desperately she wanted to be there to assist with the birth of her boppli! Especially considering the problems she’d had with her first delivery…. And then she blacked out.


Shane Zimmerman flipped on his fog lights to illuminate the low-lying clouds, which created interesting shapes and shadows against the dark backdrop of woods lining the rural Missouri highway. He scanned the area for deer ousted from their natural habitats by hunters. Of course, rutting season also brought them out of hiding. Not that he hunted. He did treat many a pet that had been injured accidentally by a hunter, such as the Great Dane boarding at his clinic while she recovered from the surgical removal of an errant bullet.

Shane reached inside the console for a CD—the latest release from LordSong—and slid it into the player. As the uplifting music filled the car, he flexed his shoulders in an effort to relieve the tension of the busy day behind him. He looked forward to getting home and kicking back to read his Bible and watch the evening news.

As his Jeep crowned the hill, he tapped the brakes at the sight of a wrecked Amish buggy. He scanned the area, but there was no sign of horse or driver. The animal must have been released and carted home. Or put down, if its injuries had been severe enough.

Returning his gaze to the highway, he slowed. A young buck lay on the road, still alive yet struggling.

Shane pulled his Jeep to the shoulder, put it in park, and clicked on the hazard lights. Leaving the keys in the ignition, he got out, his heart pounding in time with the obnoxious dinging sound of the car. Cautiously, he approached the deer. Its brown eyes fixed on him, wild with fear. The animal lurched to a standing position for a second but quickly collapsed again on the hard pavement, where it remained. Its labored breaths intensified. Whoever had hit it had driven off, leaving it to die. Was the same person to blame for the buggy accident? He’d probably never know.

“It’s okay,” Shane spoke softly.

The deer flicked its ears and struggled to its feet again.

“I’m here to help you.” Shane stepped closer, keeping a wary eye on the rack of antlers. It was hardly the biggest he’d seen, but even small antlers could do hefty damage.

With another flick of its ears, the buck struggled to a semi-standing position and limped off to the edge of the road and into the forest. It would surely die, but Shane couldn’t do anything about that. He wasn’t about to chase an injured wild animal through the woods. He didn’t carry much medical gear in his Jeep, anyway, aside from a few larger tools used for treating farm animals.

He started back toward his vehicle, but a glance at the buggy lying on its side gave him a strong urge to check it out. No point in hurrying. He rubbed his eyes, weary after a long day at the clinic, and surveyed the scene. The buggy appeared to be abandoned.

Then, he moved to the edge of the embankment and gazed down the leaf-covered slope. Something caught his eye. A woman? Shane squinted. Sure enough, there was an Amish woman, wearing a maroon dress and a black apron. Gold hair peeked out from underneath her white prayer kapp, and a black bonnet hung loosely around her shoulders. “Hello?”

No answer. His breath hitched. Had she hit the deer? Or had the deer hit her? He frowned. Accidents caused by deer affected more cars than buggies, by far. Where was the horse?

Heart pounding, he scrambled down through the brush into the ditch. As he crouched beside the woman, his nose caught the metallic odor of blood. The brilliant red on her dress wasn’t part of the fabric. He lifted the hem just enough to spot the injury. Her left leg lay at a weird angle, with a bone protruding from the skin. Definitely broken.

His heart sank. He couldn’t help her. His expertise was limited to animals.

But he was the only one there. And she needed help—urgently.

“Hey.” He touched her left hand. It felt warm. He noted the shallow rise and fall of her chest. His fingers moved down to her wrist, feeling for her pulse. Alive but unresponsive. He reached into his pocket, pulled out his cell phone, and dialed 9-1-1. When the dispatcher answered, he said, “I’d like to report a buggy accident. We need an ambulance. The woman is unconscious and bleeding with a badly broken leg. Looks like a serious injury.” He added their approximate location.

Glancing again at the bone sticking out of her skin, Shane shuddered. Animals, he could handle. Humans were too easy to identify with; their injuries hit too close to home. He leaned down and gently pushed her hair away from her neck. Her pulse was extremely rapid and weak. He breathed a prayer that help would arrive quickly.

As he studied her face for the first time, recognition nearly knocked him off balance. This woman lived right next door to him. What were the odds of that? Her backyard was overrun with weeds, a stark contrast to her meticulously maintained garden in the side yard. He’d seen her working there many a time. She had the most beautiful dog he’d ever seen, a Siberian husky. And the thought had dawned on him, more than once, that the dog’s owner was more than usually beautiful, as well.

She wasn’t married, as far as he knew. The only other people he’d spotted next door were an older couple, presumably her parents. Their last name was Lapp, if the stenciling on their mailbox was current.

Shane would have to stop by the house to let her family know about the accident. They would probably be worried sick when she didn’t return.

The young woman moaned, drawing Shane’s attention. He saw her eyelids flutter slightly, and then her eyes opened.

“It’s okay,” he said, gazing as calmly as he could into her grayish-green eyes. “Help is coming.”

“The pain…my head…my leg….” She winced as tears filled her eyes. “Who are you? I’ve seen you before.”

“I’m Shane Zimmerman. Your next-door neighbor.” He reached for her hand, hesitated, then folded his fingers gently around hers. As their skin connected, he was startled by the jolt that shot through his fingertips and gained intensity as it traveled through his hand and up his arm. He had no explanation, other than his being overly tired. “You’ll be fine,” he assured her.

She only moaned again and closed her eyes.

Shane stared down at her bloodstained skirt and saw that the fabric was saturated. He grimaced. She needed help fast, or she’d bleed out. Animal or human, he didn’t want death on his hands tonight.

God, help me. Shane let go of her hand and yanked his sweatshirt up and over her head. He lifted her skirt again and pressed the garment against her wound, knowing he could be introducing harmful germs. But there wasn’t a choice. He tried to make her as comfortable as he could without letting up the pressure. Even though she didn’t rouse again, he explained every measure he took, from applying pressure to strapping his belt as a tourniquet around her leg. Then, he sang a couple of Amish songs, the ones he remembered learning from his grandparents. His father had left the Amish as young man, choosing to marry Shane’s mom, who wasn’t Amish. But Shane had often spent entire summers with his grandparents.

Time hung in the air as he waited for help to arrive.

Finally, there was a screech of brakes and a rumble of gravel on the road above, followed by the sound of a vehicle door opening.

“Down here!” Shane called.

Seconds later, an EMT carrying a medical bag peeked over the embankment. “Ambulance is right behind me. You didn’t move her, did you?”

“No. But she’s bleeding profusely. I did what I could to slow it down.”

The man half climbed, half slid, down the slope toward Shane. “I’ve got some emergency flares in the back of my truck. Mind setting them out while I take a look at her?”

“Not at all.”

Shane did as he’d been asked, then walked over to the buggy to inspect it more closely. The leather harness straps dangled with frayed ends, indicating that the horse had broken free, possibly when the buggy tipped. He checked the immediate area and even wandered a ways into the woods for signs of a wounded animal, but no clues turned up. The roar of sirens in the distance beckoned him back to the site of the wreck.

In his Jeep, he found a rag and wiped off his bloody hands while he thought out the statement he’d make to the police.

An ambulance screeched to a stop beside the pickup, lights flashing, and a police cruiser pulled up alongside. It wasn’t long before the ambulance wailed away again, spiriting its nameless passenger toward the hospital in Springfield.

After Shane had finished answering the police officer’s questions, he started the two-mile trip home, keeping his eyes peeled for an injured horse. He passed his own small plot of land without any sign of the animal.

He pulled into the driveway next door, hurried up to the house, and pounded on the front door. No response. After several moments, he knocked again. He knew that the Amish generally kept their doors unlocked, but he didn’t feel comfortable opening the door and hollering into the hallway of a stranger’s house. He rapped one more time, just to be sure.


Shane turned around and saw a man on the front porch of the house across the street.

The man started down the steps. “Can I help you?”

“I’m looking for Ms. Lapp’s family. She was in a buggy accident.”

The man came closer. “She hurt bad?”

Shane nodded. “Bad.” Would she survive the trip to the hospital? His heart clenched.

“Donald Jackson. Me an’ the wife live here.”

Shane stretched his mouth into a tight smile. “Shane Zimmerman. Neighbor on the other side.”

“Oh, the new guy. Vet, right? Welcome to Seymour.”

“Thanks.” It hardly seemed appropriate to exchange pleasantries when someone’s life was hanging in the balance. Shane shifted his weight. “Does she have any family?”

Donald shrugged. “Everyone has some. See her parents and other people around from time to time. Sometimes lots of buggies over there. Besides, ain’t the Amish all related? Heard that somewhere.”

“Seems that way sometimes.” Okay, this man was no help. A howl from the backyard reminded Shane about the Siberian husky. “I’m going to check on the dog.” He strode down the porch steps and made his way around the side of the house.

Donald trailed him. “Barn’s always unlocked, I’m pretty sure, so you could get the dog’s food. I never see her lock it, anyway. But then, I don’t watch her twenty-four-seven or anything.”

Shane raised an eyebrow. This Donald apparently watched her often enough to know about the barn door and the dog food. “Nice meeting you, Donald. I’ll just make sure the dog has fresh water, and then I’ll go.” He needed to find someone Amish to notify.

Seeing the red and white Siberian husky in a large kennel in the backyard, Shane opened the gate and went in, shutting it behind him. The dog whined and jumped up, wrapping him in a sort of canine embrace. Shane hugged her back. This breed was so affectionate. He rubbed her neck, then stepped back, picked up her metal water dish, and headed for the outside spigot, which he’d spotted on his way to the backyard. The dog followed closely at his feet, growling in a friendly way, as if she carried on a one-sided conversation. At the spigot, Shane filled the dish with cold water, then checked the barn door. It was unlocked, as Donald had said it’d be.

Shane stopped and scratched the dog behind her ears. “I’ll be back later to get you some food.” He hesitated. “No, I’ll do it now.” He turned back to the barn and slid both wobbly doors open, going into the darkness. He paused, wishing for his flashlight, then remembered that his Amish grandfather had always kept a lantern near the door. He turned back and groped along a shelf, finally feeling the familiar metal base of a lantern. Next to it was a book of matches, one of which he used to light the wick. It didn’t seem right, being in a stranger’s barn, but the dog would be hungry.

He found the dog food and bent down to scoop some into the dish. Then, he straightened and looked around. This was an Amish farm. There’d be other animals to bed down. Cows. Chickens. Horses. He sighed.

A nicker sounded, and Shane turned to the door. Ah, the prodigal buggy horse, dragging the frayed strands of a harness. Shane spoke softly to the animal as he grabbed hold of one of the harness straps, and then he led it back to an empty stall. The dog followed, whining all the way. Shane gave the sweaty horse a rubdown, checking it for injuries. Nothing seemed amiss, other than the wild look in its eyes and the way it kept tossing its head, probably responses to the trauma of the accident.

When Shane had calmed the horse as best he could, he glanced around again. He knew the basics of managing an Amish farm, thanks to the years he’d spent helping his grandparents, but it was more than one person could handle alone. Another Amish family would probably take on the rest of the chores.

Still, he wanted to go to the hospital to check on Ms. Lapp. Why did she still weigh so heavily on his mind? He’d done his duty to her, a stranger.

His decision made, he returned the dog to her kennel. Before closing the door, he gave her another rub behind the ears. “I’ll be back.”

The dog flopped down on the ground with a reproachful whimper, as if he were abandoning her in her time of greatest need.

“Your master was in an accident, but she’ll be okay,” Shane explained. “I hope.” He crouched down to the dog’s level. “I’m going to the hospital right now to check on her.”

With another whine, the dog lowered her head to rest on her front paws. Apparently, she had resigned herself to his departing.

Shane drove home for a quick shower, then got back in his Jeep to head to the hospital. First, though, he stopped by the farm on the other side of his property. The mailbox there also said “Lapp,” and he figured the residents had to be relatives of the injured woman.

Seconds after he pulled into the driveway, a man came out into the yard. Shane introduced himself and asked for confirmation that this family was related to the other Lapps, specifically the young woman with the Siberian husky.

The man frowned. “Jah, we’re family. I’m Kristi’s onkel. Timothy. I’m caring for their livestock while her parents are visiting family in Sarasota. I was getting ready to head over there.”

Shane proceeded to tell Timothy about the accident. For a relative of Kristi’s, he processed the information rather stoically, Shane thought.

“Can I give you a lift to the hospital?”

Timothy took a step back. “Nein, I’ll contact the bishop, and he’ll get the word out. And I’ll make a call down to Florida to tell her parents.”

Timothy headed back to the barn, and Shane drove away, wondering why was he was taking the time to go to the hospital and check on a woman he didn’t even know. He probably wouldn’t find out anything, thanks to the strict privacy policy. But still, something drew him.

At the hospital, Shane went directly to the emergency wing and approached the front desk. “Kristi Lapp, please.”

The receptionist nodded and checked something on her computer. Then, she looked up with a sympathetic smile. “If you’ll take a seat in the waiting room, a doctor will be out to talk with you in just a few minutes.”

She must be in more serious condition than he’d thought. Shane went down the hall to the waiting area, where he was relieved to find a coffeemaker. He poured himself a coffee and watched several minutes of the sitcom playing on the TV mounted on the wall overhead.

As the only person in the room, he had his choice of seats. He selected a chair in a corner and picked up a magazine from the end table next to it. However, the contents didn’t appear to be any more interesting than the drama he was caught up in, so he put it back. Instead of reading, he prayed for Kristi and for the doctors working on her. It felt strange praying for a woman he didn’t know and waiting for an update from the doctor, as if she meant something special to him. But it seemed she did, even though he’d just met her. Did their brief interaction even count as a meeting? He wasn’t sure. All he knew was that he hadn’t felt this strong a connection with a woman since Becca. Immediately he dismissed the thought.

He was glad he’d found out her name. Calling her “Ms. Lapp” seemed so wrong. Plus, he probably wouldn’t have been permitted to see her if the hospital staff thought he was a stranger.

Several people came into the waiting room and exited again during a period of time that felt like hours.

At last, a doctor came into the room. “Family for Kristi Lapp.”

Shane blew out a breath. Family he wasn’t, but he was the only person there for her. Hopefully, the doctor wouldn’t ask how he was related. He got up, feeling a twinge of guilt at his act of impersonation.

The doctor led him into a private conference room and gestured for him to sit down. “She’s in recovery. We’ve given her a blood transfusion, and we’ll be monitoring her hemoglobin and hematocrit—that is, blood values. As soon as we’re sure they are in the normal range, she’ll be referred to an orthopedic surgeon for a procedure we abbreviate as ORIF: open reduction internal fixation.”

Shane nodded. He was familiar with the procedure, but the doctor was probably accustomed to having to explain it, so he continued.

“Open reduction—that’s how we put the bone back in the position it’s supposed to be. And internal fixation is how we stabilize it—with a rod down the center of the bone and plates on either side, to keep it in the position it’s supposed to be in until nature takes her course and it heals completely. The plates may be removed later, as long as the bone heals well. Also, her femoral artery was nicked, but she’ll be fine. Lost a lot of blood. We had to give her three units. She’s going to have substantial bruising and probably be in considerable pain.”

“Has she regained consciousness?”

“Not yet. But brain activity is normal, and we expect no complications.”

“Thank you.” Shane stood up and started for the door.

“If you want to wait, I’ll have a nurse come and show you to her room.”

Shane stopped in the doorway. “I’ll come in tomorrow.”

The doctor frowned. “I’m sure your wife will want to see you when she wakes up.”


Kristi woke up in an unfamiliar room filled with odd beeping noises. Straight ahead, a television was mounted on the celery-green wall. To her right was a beige-colored curtain; to her left, a big, dark window. The hospital. How did she get here? Someone must have found her. What about Samson? What had happened to him?

Had Susie birthed her boppli? Kristi groaned and shifted on the bed, noticing the bedside table with a plastic pitcher of water and an empty tumbler. And…flowers? She smiled at the vase holding six pink rosebuds, a cluster of baby’s breath, and some other greenery. Who would have sent a bouquet? Maybe the person who’d found her.

With great effort, she reached with her right arm toward the table, pain washing over her anew. It seemed every part of her body ached. Despite the discomfort, she extended her arm just far enough to snatch the white envelope from the plastic forklike thing tucked into the bouquet.

Her left hand had an IV needle stuck in it, taped down. She grimaced at the sight. She’d have a bruise there, probably, but that would be the least of her injuries. Even with her pain-blurred vision, which made it seem as if the room was spinning, she could tell from the shape of the blanket that covered her legs how swollen they were. Her left leg, in particular—that’s where most of the pain radiated from. Wincing with effort, she tore open the envelope and pulled out a plain white card. The message written inside was simple:

You’re in my prayers.

Shane Zimmerman

Sweet, but it must have been intended for another patient. She didn’t know anybody by the name of Shane Zimmerman. Or did she? Her head pounded as she tried to figure it out. No one came to mind.

Maybe this mystery man would come to the hospital to see her.

She pressed the card to her chest and closed her eyes, imagining a tall, handsome Amish man. Hopefully, when she fell asleep, he would visit her in her dreams.