Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"Shine Like The Dawn" by Carrie Turansky Book Tour and Give Away

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: Shine Like the Dawn  

Author: Carrie Turansky  

Genre: Historical

In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother’s millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible tragedy reshaped their family, shattering an idyllic life and their future prospects. But Maggie is resilient and will do what she must to protect her sister Violet. Still, the loss of her parents weighs heavily on her heart and she begins to wonder if what happened that day on the lake…might not have been an accident.

When wealthy inventor and industrialist William Harcourt dies, his son Nathaniel, who is Maggie’s estranged childhood friend, returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father’s vast estate, Morningside Manor. He also assumes partial control of his father’s engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend.

Can Maggie let go of the resentment that keeps her from forgiving Nate—and reconciling with God? Will their search for the truth about her parents’ death draw them closer or will it leave them both with broken hearts?

My Review: 
"Shine Like The Dawn" by Carrie Turansky is a book that kept me reading from the first paragraph to the end. Wish I could say it was all happy scenes but I can't. Maybe that fact is why the book was a really good book. It is a story that could happen, I know "Shine Like The Dawn" is fiction but this reader likes to imagine ( sometimes) that the stories she reads are somewhat true. 

I think "Shine Like The Dawn" is a mystery and a love story but it is classified Historical, which I guess it is because it talks about people not trusting motor cars.   The main story is about the friendship of Maggie and Nate who are old friends but when tragic strikes Nate isn't around to comfort Maggie so she thinks God and Nate have abandoned her.   

There are twists in this story that the reader really doesn't see coming until you read about them.

There are actually several love interests in "Shine Like The Dawn".

"Shine Like The Dawn" teaches life lessons such as love your family when you have them and forgiveness is a must for one that something was done too. Holding on to the forgiveness hurts the person who is holding on to it and not the one who needs to be forgiven.  Another lesson is that secrets always comes to the light and is found out.

  The little story about the pending strike was also interesting reading!

I know this is a short review but all I have left to say is read this book and your heart will be rejoicing that love wins again.

I am giving "Shine Like The Dawn" by Carrie Turansky five stars.

I was given a  complimentary copy of "Shine Like The Dawn" by the author and Celebrate Lit and these opinions are my own. 

About the Author

CARRIE TURANSKY is an award-winning author of more than a dozen novels and novellas. She has been the winner of the ACFW Carol Award, the Crystal Globe Award, and the International Digital Award, and a finalist for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award and the Maggie Award of Excellence. A prolific writer of contemporary and historical romance, women’s fiction, short stories, articles, and devotionals, Carrie lives in central New Jersey with her husband Scott. They have five adult children and four grandchildren.

Guest Post from Carrie Turansky

Hats, Glorious Hats!


By Carrie Turansky


One fun part of my research for Shine Like the Dawn was learning about hat making in the early 1900s. My heroine, Maggie Lounsbury is a milliner who designs women’s hats. She learned this skill from her grandmother who owns a small shop in the village of Heatherton. Maggie has an artistic eye and she enjoys making stylish hats, but she doesn’t like the overdone designs some of their customers request, so that creates some humorous conflict in the story.

Hats in the Edwardian era were large and often covered with feathers, flowers, lace, netting, berries and bows. The “bird nests,” as Coco Chanel called them, were held on with large hat pins stuck through piles of hair on the crown. These hats were called Gainsborough or Picture hats because of the way they framed a lady’s face. They often featured huge dried flower arrangements and sometimes included real leaves and twigs! No doubt the Garden hat was a fitting name. 1907 The Merry Window hat became very popular after the leading lady in the play by that same name wore a hat that was even taller and wider than usual. Some people complained these hats were too big and obtrusive in public places like the theater or picture shows. But English women loved them and wore them to all kinds of events.

The popularity of using large feathers and stuffed birds on hats caused concern for the welfare of birds. Many protective laws took effect and milliners had to use more ribbon and tulle and only large ostrich feathers to decorate hats. Those ostrich feathers came from birds that were raised on farms and their feathers were collected as they fell out naturally. The movement toward smaller hats began around 1913 when hats still had high crowns but smaller brims. Straw boaters, small top hats, and mini versions of picture hats were very common.

Motion pictures had the greatest influence on Edwardian hat fashion. After the release of The Three Musketeers many ladies wanted to wear tricorne and bicorne shaped hats. They were still very large but now had shapes other than just round. Hat brims were folded up on the side, at an angle, or all around to create drama. Veils disappeared in the early 1900s only to come back again as a long scarf that wrapped over the hat and under the chin for the new sport called motoring.

I’ve had fun dressing Edwardian style for book launch tea parties and other book events. It made me feel very special to wear these lovely hats. What do you think of Edwardian Hats? Would you like to wear one?

Thanks to friends at the Vintage Dancer website for some of this information.

Stop by Carrie’s Facebook author page and view her live videos February 21 – 25, 3:00 pm Eastern. She’ll be talking about the story behind Shine Like the Dawn and giving away a fun prize each day to one person who leaves a comment. Even if you can’t catch the live video you can still enter for 24 hours after it’s posted. She is also hosting a book launch celebration and giveaway on her blog February 25 – March 6.

Like to my Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/authorcarrieturansky/
Link to my Book Launch Blog Post: http://carrieturansky.com/index.php/blog/

Blog Stops

February 21: New Horizon Reviews
February 21: Bookworm Mama
February 22: Tell Tale Book Reviews
February 22: Book by Book
February 23: Bibliophile Reviews
February 23: Smiling Book Reviews
February 23: A Readers Brain
February 23: Faithfully Bookish
February 23: Lane Hill House
February 24: Back Porch Reads
February 24: The Scribbler
February 24: I Hope You Dance
February 25: Stuff & Nonsense
February 25: The Power of Words
February 25: A Greater Yes
February 26: cherylbbookblog
February 26: Moments Dipped in Ink
February 26: Splashes of Joy
February 27: Genesis 5020
February 27: inklings and notions
February 27: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
February 28: Karen Sue Hadley
February 28: Neverending Stories
March 3: Pause for Tales
March 3: Mary Hake
March 4: Radiant Light
March 6: Baker Kella


To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away all 4 books: Shine Like the Dawn, The Governess of Highland Hall, The Daughter of Highland Hall, and A Refuge at Highland Hall.! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b0fb

Monday, February 27, 2017

"Redeeming Grace" by Jill Eileen Smith

Book Info: 
When famine visits Bethlehem, Boaz holds out hope for rain while his relative Elimelech moves his wife Naomi and their sons to Moab. For a while, it appears the Lord is blessing Elimelech's family, and his sons marry two lovely Moabite women. But calamities strike, one after another, leaving Naomi alone in a foreign land with only her childless daughters-in-law for comfort. When news reaches Naomi that the famine in Bethlehem has lifted, only Ruth will hazard the journey to her mother-in-law's homeland. Destitute and downhearted, Naomi resigns herself to a life of bitter poverty, but Ruth holds out hope for a better future. And Boaz may be the one God has chosen to provide it.

Combining meticulous research with her endless imagination, Jill Eileen Smith gorgeously renders one of the most beautiful stories in Scripture. Readers will adore this third installment of the inspiring Daughters of the Promised Land series.

Link to purchase" https://www.amazon.com/Redeeming-Grace-Daughters-Promised-Land-ebook/dp/B01LZVLRLG/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Author Info: 

Jill Eileen Smith is the author of Desert Princess (ebook short) #1 Loves of King Solomon series, the Wives of the Patriarchs series, the upcoming Daughters of the Promised Land series, and the bestselling author of the Wives of King David series. When she isn't writing, she can often be found reading, biking, traveling, spending time with friends, or snugging her feline writing buddy Tiger. She especially enjoys spending time with her family. 

To learn more about Jill or for more information about her books, visit her website at www.jilleileensmith.com. You can also contact Jill at jill@jilleileensmith.com. She loves hearing from her readers.

My Review: 

"Redeeming Grace" by Jill Eileen Smith is the third book in the (Daughters Of the Promised Land) series. It is Ruth's Story. Just like all the other books written by Jill Eileen Smith, this book had my interest from beginning till end.     

"Redeeming Grace" is divided into three parts, Naomi's and her family's move into Moab because of the famine in Bethlehem and then Ruth's story and then the move back to Bethlehem.

This story is written so well that even though this reader knew the story of Ruth and Naomi and Boaz, I now understand the story with more understanding and sympathy for all the people involved .  Jill Eileen Smith's writing is written with well researched history and much thought out character development. 

This book had the tears falling in places, yes I knew sadness happened in the story in the Bible, but this book described the happenings so well that I could actually seen them in my mind. 

I don't need to say much but I am sure if you know the Biblical story of Ruth you know how the story ends and how the title fits the story but I  am gonna say you need to read "Redeeming Grace" by Jill Eileen Smith and really appreciate all that Ruth gave up when she said  “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me."

Jill Eileen Smith writes Biblical Fiction that really brings the Bible to life.

I am giving "Redeeming Grace" five stars. 

I was given a complementary copy by the author. 

These opinions are my mine.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"The Amish Wanderer" by Laura V. Hilton Book Tour and GiveAway

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: Amish Wanderer  

Author: Laura V. Hilton  

Genre: Amish Romance  

Release Date: February 14

Bethany Weiss is ready to leave town. Tongues haven’t stopped clacking in Jamesport, MO, since her daed, the bishop, was admitted to a mental hospital after hurting their small Amish community. But her sharpest wounds Bethany hides from prying eyes, quietly biding her time until she can take a chance at a new life—away from Jamesport and away from God.

Silas Beiler was kicked out of his own home. Dogged by a rough childhood and a family who blames him for each new disaster, he begins hitchhiking across the country, sleeping in barns where he can, working for food when possible—headed for Pennsylvania in the hope of some stability.

When Bethany spies a man asleep in the hayloft, she first fears the return of an unwelcome suitor. But when it is Silas who turns and speaks, the memories flood back: a happy summer six years ago full of lemonade, long walks, and budding courtship. Now, however, those months of bliss seem naïve and idyllic. Was their old love strong enough to overcome new pain? Or will hurt and rejection continue to haunt their path?


"The Amish Wanderer" by Laura V. Hilton is an Amish love story.  It is a clean read but it deals with a hard subject and I hope this isn't a spoiler alert but I feel I must warn that the subject is date rape.  I hope this doesn't stop or discourage readers of Amish genre and fans of Laura Hilton to read this story of what God's love does when it is accepted.  Yes, I admit it is hard to read these scenes but I think readers, (even though sometimes we read to escape real life) need to embrace the real ugly parts of life if it is done in a clean way and if it points us to God's love.

With all that I said in the first paragraph I must say I loved the book.  Why, because it wasn't a fake story, ( yes I know fiction is fake) and the characters learn that even if God seems far away and not listening or that He doesn't care, He is with them. 

Bethany Weiss has had more than her share of troubles and she thinks Gott doesn't listen to her prayers so she doesn't pray anymore and wants to leave town.  Silas Beiler is trying to escape his past always.  Bethany and Silas share memories of a happy summer six years ago. Can they build on that or will their secrets and what they perceive to be their faults keep their love from growing.

The theme of this story is "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (KJV). "  I really love two quotes in the story so I am going to share them in this review, 1)
"If a man speaks ill of you, live so that nobody will believe it." 2)   "We get so caught up in chasing chocolate we forget that the ultimate Problem-solver is only a prayer away". 

I really believe this is a story that spoke to me because of issues in my own life.

"The Amish Wanderer" is not a feel good novel from beginning to end but it does leave the reader believing in the power of love, both God's and man's.

Yes, there are characters in this story that had me thinking "Wow, why did you do that for and when I learned the reason I was liked well now I know but I still don't like it."  But that is a reader's life, right?

I am giving "The Amish Wanderer" five stars. 

I was given a complimentary copy by the author and Celebrate Lit. These opinions are my own.

About the Author

Laura V. Hilton

Amish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut novel, Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includes Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised of Healing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Amish of Jamesport includes The Snow Globe, The Postcard and The Birdhouse. In spring 2016 she released The Amish Firefighter with the setting in Jamesport, MO, the same as for The Amish Wanderer.

Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.

Guest Post from Laura Hilton

I didn’t intentionally set out to write an Amish story loosely based on a true story. If fact, when people asked me if I would write my maternal grandparents’ story, I told them no.

But when time came to write Bethany’s story, all I knew was a short paragraph blurb about it. Bethany and her once-upon-a-time boyfriend Silas who left that particular Amish district and her before their relationship became serious. I didn’t know their backstories, really, and had no idea how the story would proceed. And since I don’t plot, I spend a lot of time praying about the story, because really, I want to write what He says to write. He knows who He wants it to reach.

So I sat down to pray about it. And God gave me a verse. Which is unusual at the beginning of the story. Usually, for me, it’s at the middle when God reveals His theme for the book. But this time, it was at the beginning. The verse is:

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (KJV)

And the verses caused more prayer. What am I supposed to do with it?

I was driving to Melbourne (Arkansas, not Australia) to pay property taxes and get my vehicle tags renewed, listening to the radio as we (my three daughters and I) drove down Larkin Road (that’s not the real name, just what everyone calls it—we have a lot of those around here: Day Road, Moko Road, etc—because there are ghost towns on these roads so they are called by the name of the ghost town). A song came on the radio and I don’t remember the name of it, or even who the singer was, but when I arrived in Melbourne, I had the opening line to my story.  

The sky is falling and I’m searching for somewhere to hide.

I’m sure the people at the county clerk’s office might have been a little concerned about the state of my mental health when they saw the words scribbled at the top of my bill. I did get a strange look. I didn’t offer an explanation. And they didn’t ask.

When I got home, I started writing and paying close attention to Bethany’s mental clues (and Silas’s) to figure out what their stories were. And how they tied into the verse God had given me.

And then, without even realizing it until it hit, I knew who’s story I was writing.

My grandmother’s. My grandfather’s.

Except they are different. My grandmother wasn’t date raped. It was a member of her own family. And she wasn’t in love with my grandfather. She just discovered he was leaving the Amish and she wanted—needed—to escape.

Neither were Christians at the time. My grandfather was saved on his death bed. My grandmother’s youngest child was a teenager when she was saved. My mother, her sister, and all their girlfriends went to a tent meeting for a United Brethren Church and my grandmother attended one of the meetings with her daughters and was saved as a result. And their testimonies ultimately led to the salvation of my uncle and my grandfather.

Both of my grandparents had a lot of issues to work through as to why God allowed the bad things in their lives to happen. That they eventually came to Christ is a miracle but I’m glad they did, as I was raised in a Christian home.

Why does God allow bad things to happen to people? The short, pat answer is: because sin entered the world. Yes, God could stop them. But what if He uses the bad thing to refine a person’s faith, to draw them closer to Him as a result?

How a person reacts to the bad things directly ties in to how they affect them. In my story, Silas chose to trust God even though he feared for his life. No, he didn’t like what had happened, but even though he didn’t see how, he trusted God was working behind the scenes to bring Silas to where he needed to be, spiritually and physically. On the other hand, Bethany believed God had rejected her. Pushed her away and didn’t care about her. If He didn’t care for her, why should she care about Him? So she went into a stand-off with God.

The lessons ultimately learned, for both my grandparents and my characters, brought them to their knees before the living and holy God who was, and is, and is to come. And I trust God will use this story to help a reader out there who might be questioning something terrible that happened in their life.

You might not see how now and may not know why until eternity, but God has this. Keep praying. Keep trusting. Keep believing.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (KJV)

Blog Stops

February 14: inklings and notions
February 15: A Rup Life
February 15: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
February 15: Lane Hill House
February 16: Daysong Reflections
February 16: Blogging With Carol
February 17: Bigreadersite 
February 17: Rockin’ My Mom Jeans
February 18: Rhonda’s Doings
February 18: Jeanette’s Thoughts
February 19: A Greater Yes
February 19: A Holland Reads
February 20: Blossoms and Blessings
February 21: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog
February 21: Mom Is Forever
February 22: Splashes of Joy
February 23: Moments Dipped in Ink
February 23: Carpe Diem
February 24: Pause for Tales
February 24: Quiet Quilter
February 25: For The Love of Books
February 25: Donna’s BookShelf
February 26: Christian Bookaholic
February 27: Giveaway Lady
February 27: Autism Mom


To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away Amish Wanderer, Patchwork Dreams (Amish of Seymour #1), Snow Globe (Amish of Jamesport #1), a 10 x 17” canvas banner: “Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly” (Micah 6:8), and Abba Scripture Candle (3” natural, clean-burning wax, scented) – “With God All Things Are Possible”! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b0d8

Monday, February 13, 2017

"The Amish Princess" by Patrick . Craig

                                                      Book Info: 
Opahtuhwe, the White Deer, is the beautiful daughter of Wingenund, the most powerful chief of the Delaware tribe. She is revered by her people–a true Indian princess. Everything changes when the murderous Delaware renegade known as Scar brings three Amish prisoners to the Delaware camp. Jonathan and Joshua Hershberger are twin brothers that Scar has determined to adopt and teach the Indian way. The third prisoner is Jonas Hershberger, their father, who has been made a slave because he would not defend his family. White Deer is drawn to Jonathan but his hatred of the Indians makes him push her away. Joshua's gentle heart and steadfast refusal to abandon the Amish faith lead White Deer to a life-changing decision and rejection by her people. In the end, White Deer must choose between the ways of her people and her new-found faith. And complicating it all is her love for the man who can only hate her.

To buy : https://www.amazon.com/Amish-Princess-Paradise-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01N2PVJZZ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486996156&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Amish+Princess My Review: 
"The Amish Princess" by Patrick E.Craig is a unusual Amish story. But I loved it. It combines history and fiction, which makes the best story.

Readers of the Amish genre and readers who like Indian stories will enjoy this book.  This is the second book in the (The Paradise Chronicles) which is a spinoff of the (Apple Creek Dreams Series).  I will recommend reading the ( Apple Creek Dreams Series) first just because it is the background stories but I still think a reader will still enjoy and be able to follow the story line if you don't read the (Apple Creek Dreams) Series first.

I must warn you that this story is not a story that will make you smile all the way through the pages, in fact the tears might fall as it is about the time that Indians and white men were at war with others and scalping went on.  But don't let my warning stop you from reading this book. 

In this book you get to see how the Indians, as well as the White men feel about things that were happening in this time of history.   It is unusual to get both sides in a book. But I really think Patrick Craig did an excellent job. 

It was really interesting to read how an Indian Princess became an Amish Princess.

I am anxiously awaiting the next book in this series.

I am giving "The Amish Princess" by Patrick E.Craig five stars.

I was given a complimentary copy by the author. These opinions are my own.

Author Info: 

Best-selling author, Patrick E. Craig, is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next twenty-six years as a worship leader, seminar speaker and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the Western United States. After ministering for a number of years in music and worship to a circuit of small churches in Northern California, he is now concentrating on writing and publishing both fiction and non-fiction books. In November, 2011, Patrick signed a three book deal with Harvest House Publishers to publish his "Apple Creek Dreams" series. His Latest work, "The Amish Heiress" (Book One in The Paradise Chronicles series) has been on the best seller lists on Amazon since August. Patrick is represented by the Steve Laube Agency. 

Patrick has an extensive background as a writer. Throughout his school years he edited high school and college newspapers. In 1964 he won a national editorial contest sponsored by the Wall Street Journal for an editorial he wrote on the death of President Kennedy, and, in the same year, acted as Senior Editor for a special issue of the University of Washington Evergreen during a summer internship for High School Editors. After a year at Whitman College, where he was a journalism major, he moved to the San Francisco Bay area where he became a fixture on the local music scene.

As a professional songwriter, he wrote with and for such artists as Bill Champlin (Chicago), David Jenkins (Pablo Cruise), Buddy Miles, The Tazmanian Devils, and many others in the secular music industry. His songs were recorded by such artists and music groups as West Coast Natural Gas, Indian Pudding and Pipe, Joey Covington's Fat Fandango, The Sons of Champlin, The Tazmanian Devils, Buddy Miles, David Jenkins, Laura Allen, The Fairfax Street Choir and in Europe by the Swedish Band Seid. He had two music albums released on Warner Brothers records, and contributed to best selling albums by artists such as Chris Isaak and others. Recently a compilation of his early work was released in Switzerland as a specialty music album.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"The Newcomer" by Suzanne Woods Fisher Book Tour and Giveaway

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: The Newcomer

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher  

Genre: Historical; Amish  

Release Date: January 31

In 1737, Anna Konig and her fellow church members stagger off a small wooden ship after ten weeks at sea, eager to start a new life in the vibrant but raw Pennsylvania frontier. On the docks of Port Philadelphia waits bishop Jacob Bauer, founder of the settlement and father to ship carpenter Bairn. It’s a time of new beginnings for the reunited Bauer family, and for Anna and Bairn’s shipboard romance to blossom.

But this perfect moment cannot last. As Bairn grasps the reality of what it means to be Amish in the New World–isolated, rigid with expectations, under the thumb of his domineering father–his enthusiasm evaporates. When a sea captain offers the chance to cross the ocean one more time, Bairn grabs it. Just one more crossing, he promises Anna. But will she wait for him?

When Henrik Newman joins the church just as it makes its way to the frontier, Anna is torn. He seems to be everything Bairn is not–bold, devoted, and delighted to vie for her heart. And the most dramatic difference? He is here; Bairn is not.

Far from the frontier, an unexpected turn of events weaves together the lives of Bairn, Anna, and Henrik. When a secret is revealed, which true love will emerge?

"The  Newcomer" by Suzanne Woods Fisher is the second book in the "Amish Beginnings" series. I think a reader can enjoy it without reading the first book "Anna's Crossing". I know I said you could enjoy "The Newcomer" without reading "Anna"s Choice" but I am glad I read "Anna's Choice" first because it does make the story flow a little easier on some scenes in the story.

"The Newcomer" picks up where "Anna"s Choice" leaves off. 

Both "Anna"s Crossing" and "The Newcomer" have surprises I didn't see coming. 

I like the fact that even though these books are fiction, history does have a big part in the story line and plot.

I  don't think I have a favorite character in these stories because I found things that I liked and disliked in all of the characters.

Who is this newcomer that has come to join Anna church and did God send him to Anna?

"The Newcomer" really kept me guessing how the story was going to end right up till the end.

I am giving "The Newcomer" five stars.

I was given a complimentary copy by the author and Celebrate Lit. These opinions are my own. 

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher

Pennsylvania of 1737, the setting for The Newcomer, is like a foreign country. Parts of it might seem familiar—the same hills and creeks and blue sky, but we’d hardly recognize the settlers. People like Anna, or Bairn, or the mysterious Newcomer. We wouldn’t be able to understand their language, their customs and traditions. Their world was that different from our modern one.

The first group of Amish immigrants (first written about in Anna’s Crossing and followed up in The Newcomer) settled northwest of Philadelphia, then a vast wilderness, and relied on each other for safety, security, building projects, and church. In nearby Germantown, settlers were tradesmen, so they clustered houses together in small knots. The Amish farmers took out land warrants for sizeable properties and lived considerable distances from each other.

In The Newcomer, Anna cooked food in a cauldron over a large hearth. One-pot meals can trace their beginnings to open-hearth cooking when ingredients for a meal went into a large kettle suspended over the fire. Traditional dishes—ham and beans, pork and sauerkraut—used sturdy, available, and simple ingredients that improved with long, slow cooking. The dishes could be easily expanded when the need arose to set a few more places at the table. And it did, often. Large families and unannounced company inspired Amish cooks to find ways to “stretch the stew.”

Noodles (including dumplings and rivvels) could be tossed into a simmering broth to make a meal stretch. Most farms had a flock of chickens, so eggs were easily at hand. Today, homemade noodles are still a favorite dish.

Another “stew stretcher” was cornmeal mush, originally eaten as a bread substitute. Early German settlers who made their home in eastern Pennsylvania roasted the yellow field corn in a bake oven before it was shelled and ground at the mill. The roasting process gave a nutty rich flavor to the cornmeal. Mush is still part of the diet the Old Order Amish—cooked and fried, baked, added into scrapple, smothered in ketchup. Dress it up and you’ve got polenta.

Now here’s one thing we do have in common with 1737 Pennsylvania immigrants…a love of good food and a shortage of time! Here’s one of my favorite one-pot recipes—probably not the kind of stew Anna might have made for ship carpenter Bairn or the mysterious Newcomer (ah, which man one stole her heart?)…but definitely delicious. Enjoy!

Lentil Chili

Here’s one of my favorite “stew stretchers.” You can expand it even more by serving over rice.

1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 c. water
1 lb. dry lentils
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt (season to your taste)
½ tsp. pepper 2 c. salsa (your favorite variety)
29 oz. canned tomatoes, crushed

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