This heartwarming prequel to The Shunningis a tender story of love, belonging, and the courage to move forward.
After her widowed father remarries, nineteen-year-old Clara Bender is no longer needed to help run his household. Marriage seems like her best hope of moving out, but there are few young men in her tiny Indiana Amish community. When she comes across letters from her mother's aunt, she sets off to Lancaster County's Hickory Hollow to decide where her future lies.
Her mothers aunt Ella Mae is not ready to move from the farmhouse where she and her recently deceased husband spent over fifty happy years, but her children are eager to resettle her, making Clara's visit seem like an answer to prayer. The two women form a warm bond while restoring an heirloom wedding quilt and sharing their lives, with Ella Mae confiding about a tragedy from her courting years. Eventually, Ella Mae suggests Clara extends her stay giving Clara an opportunity to meet the area's eligible young men. But when the unexpected happens, will Clara find where her heart truly belongs?
“She realized there was peace right here in the midst of this heavenly sort of place, despite the unpredictable storm churning around her family.”
For generations, Ellie Hostetler's family has tended their Lancaster County orchard, a tradition her twin brother, Evan, will someday continue. Yet when Evan's draft number is called up for the Vietnam War, the family learns he has not sought conscientious objector status, despite their Amish belief in non-resistance.
As Evan departs for boot camp, Ellie confides her disappointment to Sol Bontrager, the brother of her best friend and cousin to her new beau, Menno. In contrast to Evan, Sol is a conscientious objector. Despite Ellie's attraction to Menno, she finds herself drawn to Sol as they work together in the orchard. Suddenly everything in Ellie's world is shifting, and the plans she held so dear seem increasingly uncertain. Can she and her family find the courage to face a future unlike any they could have imagined?
"I wish there was something I could do," Cousin Verena said, her voice cracking. "But what?" Susie whispered, wiping her eyes. "The boy I've always loved thinks of me as his sister . . . and always has."
Shaped by tragedy and events beyond her control, Susie Mast remains unmarried despite her longtime affection for friend Obie Yoder.
Her concerns are unforunaltly multiplied due to her mother's declining health and her younger sister's urgent desire for answers about her adoption. Susie once again faces the possibility of tragic loss. Will long-held family secrets and missed opportunities dim Susie's hopes for the future? Or is what seems like the end only the beginning?
Anna Beachy eagerly begins a new chapter in her life as a Lancaster County tour guide in the picturesque area where her grandmother once stayed. Anna wishes she could talk with her about those long-ago days, but the elderly woman suffers from Alzheimer's. Beyond a vague comment about an old stone wall, much about her grandmother's time there is a mystery.
Anna finds herself unexpectedly befriended by a handsome Mennonite and a young Old Order widower who manages a local horse retreat serving Amish children with special needs. As Anna grows closer to both men, she's faced with a difficult choice--one in potential conflict with the expectations of her parents. Will Anna discover true love and the truth about her grandmother's past or find only heartbreak?
Sylvia Miller has always held a special place in her Old Order family, one Adeline Pelham jeopardizes when she unexpectedly shows up in Hickory Hollow. Adeline's very existence is a reminder of the painful secret that has so recently upended the Miller household, making this a challenging time to welcome an Englisher--especially this Englisher--into their midst. Does Adeline's arrival mark one too many surprises for the Millers and their Amish community? Or can God bring something good out of the mistakes of the past?
After five years as an Englisher, Amanda Dienner is shocked to learn her mother has passed away and left her Lancaster County’s most popular Amish bed-and-breakfast. What’s more, the inn will only truly be hers if Mandy can successfully run it for twelve months. Reluctantly, Mandy accepts the challenge, no matter that it means facing the family she left behind—or that the inn’s clientele expect an Amish hostess! Can Mandy ful ll the terms of her inheritance? Or will this prove a dreadful mistake?
Sallie Riehl has dreamed of traveling at least once before settling down to join church, so she is thrilled at an unexpected summer opportunity to nanny in Cape May for a well-to-do family. However, saying even a temporary good-bye to Paradise Township means forgoing baptism another year, as well as leaving behind a would-be beau. Yet the weeks in Cape May soon prove unforgettable as Sallie meets a Mennonite young man whose friendship she quickly begins to cherish. Has she been too hasty with her promises, or will she only find what her heart is longing for back home?
Leona Speicher got the "sister" she always dreamed of the day Gloria Gingerich and her family moved to Lancaster County. The Arkansas newcomers seem to be the answer to Leona's prayers--until Gloria's father is expelled from their Old Order Amish church for reasons no one will discuss. Much to Leona's dismay, the Gingeriches suddenly pack up and disappear. Then, after a silence of several years, Gloria unexpectedly contacts Leona, who makes up her mind to go after her friend. Yet Leona's fiancé--the deacon's son--is alarmed. Will Leona's dearest wish lead to her own undoing?
He studied the picture more closely, finding it curious that the young woman looked so boldly into the camera while wearing a white prayer Kapp shaped like a heart--the characteristic head covering for the Lancaster County Old Order Amish. Why would a devout girl have her picture taken?
Flight instructor Jack Livingston has been raising his eight-year-old adopted niece, Natalie, since the accident that took her parents' lives. When he travels, Natalie is tenderly cared for by her Amish nanny, Laura Mast, who loves the little girl as her own.
Eight excruciating years ago, Kelly Maines's baby was kidnapped. Determined to find her child, Kelly has tirelessly pursued every lead to its bitter end. And now, with the clock ticking, one last clue from a private investigator ignites a tiny flame of hope: Just a few miles away lives a young girl who matches the profile.
Can this be, at long last, Kelly's beloved daughter?
She looked once more at the dreaded river. Since Anna's death, it had been such a barrier . . . a place and a moment she could not seem to move past.
A line I can't move beyond...
Tilly and Ruth, two formerly Amish sisters, are plagued by unresolved relationships when they reluctantly return to Lancaster County for their parents' landmark wedding anniversary. Since departing their Plain upbringing, Tilly has married an Englisher, but Ruth remains single and hasn't entirely forgotten her failed courtship with her Amish beau. Past meets present as Tilly and Ruth yearn for acceptance and redemption. Can they face the future in the light of a past they can't undo?