Twenty-four-year-old Joanna Kurtz is so far proving the adage “always the bridesmaid, never the bride.” Yet despite appearances, she has a beau who is secretly courting her from afar.
Eben Troyer hopes to make Joanna his bride--if he can ever leave his parents' farm in Shipshewana, Indiana. Yet Eben's hopes to build a life with Joanna hinge on his brother's return from the English world. Will her hidden passion for writing and his responsibilities to his family keep them forever apart?
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Beverly Marie Jones (Lewis) was born in the heart of Amish country—Lancaster, Pennsylvania. At the tender age of nine, she began writing short stories and poetry. Prior to that, she made up lyrics to the "little fingers" piano pieces she learned, at the age of five.
"My mother saved everything I wrote, even the stories I dreamed up during my grade school years," Beverly says.
One such tale is semi-autobiographical, about a young girl whose parents can no longer afford to give her piano lessons. The manuscript was 77 pages long and titled "She Shall Have Music," penned under the shade of a lone willow tree. "Reading, writing, and playing piano have been top three on my list of favorite things," she says.
Not until her own children were well into middle school did Beverly seek to publish her work, first in magazines such as Highlights for Children, Dolphin Log, and Guideposts for Kids. Her first book followed in 1993—Mountain Bikes and Garbanzo Beans—presently retitled Big Bad Beans (book #22 in the popular Cul-de-Sac Kids series of chapter books—see list of Bev's children's books).
Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, The Heritage of Lancaster County, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life."
Asked if she is surprised by the popularity of her work, Lewis says, "The sales response for my work is astonishing, but even more heartwarming are thousands of letters a year pouring in from readers." Fans describe how her books have "touched a nerve, creating a curiosity about the Old Ways of the Amish... a yearning for a simpler life and return to traditional values in the mainstream society, where an impersonal, high-tech lifestyle reigns paramount," she explains. Beverly still takes time out of her busy schedule to answer her readers' letters.
Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Beverly's tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, "Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time."
A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and spending time with their family. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."
Author's website: http://www.beverlylewis.com/
Joanna Kurtz wonders if she will always be a bridesmaid at a wedding. She prays that is not to be her fate. She does not want to be a Maidel, she would love to have a husband and children. But wants to marry for love not for the sake of marriage alone.
While attending a funeral out of town she meets Eben Troyer, a young Amish man close to her age. They spent time together visiting, sharing and talking. There was definitely a strong attraction between the two of them. Then it was time for each to go home to their own towns. They wrote letters and once a week they would talk on the phone. Eben wanted to court Joanna but he had commitments to his parents and their farm. Joanne had also committed to her church and was sure she would not get permission to transfer her membership. Even her sister was fast to point this out.
How will this young couple overcome the barriers they face to church and family? So many obligations and restrictions.
The book brought out the importance of family and church. Prayer and reading scripture in search of God's will and His plan was foremost for this young couple. They definitely had to endured with patience.
This author always has a life's lesson in her writings. As long as you are open to the Word it can be applied to your daily life.
I highly recommend this book.
I rated this book a 4 out of 5.
I received a free copy of this book from Baker Publishing/Bethany House for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. It is my own opinion.
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