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She's been given the chance to experience life outside of her community, away from the responsibility to care for her eight younger siblings, but Elizabeth Bontrager can't decide which road to take. Goshen has its charms and pressures, but Paradise, Pennsylvania, sounds . . . well, like paradise....
She's been given the chance to experience life outside of her community, away from the responsibility to care for her eight younger siblings, but Elizabeth Bontrager can't decide which road to take. Goshen has its charms and pressures, but Paradise, Pennsylvania, sounds . . . well, like paradise. And it's also home to her Englisch friend, Paula. Decision made. Elizabeth is Paradise bound.
But will the small town live up to its name? When Elizabeth meets Paula's friend, Bruce, she quickly learns he wants more than a friendship. And the same might be true of Saul Miller, her new boss at the country story that sells Amish products to the Englisch community. As the two compete for her attention, Elizabeth is surprised to realize she misses her family and becomes even more uncertain about where she belongs. She has a choice to make: return home or embrace this new life and possibly a new love?
Some people say if you look at a map of Goshen, Indiana, you'd see almost all Amish Country roads lead into the town.
But as Elizabeth stood waiting for her bus all she could think about was the road leading out of the town.
The big bus lumbered into the station. Under her watchful eye, the driver put her suitcase in the storage area. She didn't have much and wanted to make sure it made it to her next home.
She winced at the word. Home. She was leaving everything and everybody she knew to go to a place she'd never visited in her life. It was exciting. It was terrifying.
"You getting on?" the driver asked, studying her curiously as he waited for other passengers.
Elizabeth nodded and taking a deep breath, she climbed up the steps into the bus. She walked toward the back of the half-empty bus and found a seat. She hoped she'd get a chance to sit by herself and not make conversation with a stranger. Especially an Englisch stranger. So many of them were curious about the Amish. She didn't want to talk about why she was walking—riding?—away from a community many of them thought was idyllic.
Oh, they liked the idea of a simpler life, but in the next breath they would shake their heads and say they couldn't imagine living without electricity or television.
She settled into her seat and tucked her small shoulder purse to her left between the seat and the window of the bus. Most of her money was pinned in a little pouch inside her dress but there were so many important things in her purse: a little address book, the resumé the job coordinator at the women's center had helped her with—everything she'd need for this new town where she'd be making her home.
Feeling a little self-conscious, she smoothed the skirt of her dark blue dress over her knees. Paula had said they could go clothes shopping at some thrift stores when she got there. Elizabeth had saved some money from her part-time job in Goshen, but things would be tight until she found a job. Paula hadn't wanted to take any money from her for her share of the rent until she got a job but she really didn't have any choice. Things were tight for her as well since she was attending college.
Paula had sent her photos of the apartment she'd be sharing. Elizabeth drew them from her purse now and looked at them. So much space just for two people. Imagine. And imagine having a bedroom of her own. She hadn't had one for ... eight brothers and sisters. As the oldest of nine kinner in the family, she hadn't had a room of her own or any peace and quiet in years and years.
A baby cried at the back of the bus. It was a familiar sound to Elizabeth. Too familiar. She loved babies, but she became exhausted taking care of someone else's. She'd read once the average Amish family had seven children, but she guessed her parents hadn't heard it. Stop, she told herself. Children were a gift from God. But, oh, had He blessed her family.
Exhausted, she leaned back in her seat and closed her eyes. She'd worked extra hours at the fabric shop this week to help the owner who hadn't been happy she was leaving. Angela had said she thought she'd finally gotten someone dependable and now she was losing her. Someone else to make her feel guilty.
Lately, she'd begun to feel like everyone depended on her and it was all too much. She'd tried to talk about it with her best friend, but Lydia was getting engaged and didn't understand. With working during the day and spending so much time helping her mamm when she got home, Elizabeth didn't get to go to singings or other youth activities. She knew she was hardly an old maid at twenty but she was beginning to despair of ever being able to date and get married. And who would help her mother then? Fourteen-year-old Mary, the next oldest, didn't seem interested in helping as she should.
Now, she would have to, thought Elizabeth. She opened her eyes as a woman in the next row of seats complained loudly about the bus being a few minutes late leaving the station. Elizabeth found herself biting her thumbnail as she pondered the selfishness of leaving home now.
The driver climbed on board, closed the door, and started up the bus, but he didn't immediately pull out. The woman in the next row who had been complaining turned to Elizabeth and shook her head.
Elizabeth turned to stare out the window. Goshen was the only place she'd ever lived. She'd never left it. Never wanted to. Now she felt like the woman who complained. When were they going to leave?
A thought suddenly struck her. Maybe it was a sign. Maybe she wasn't supposed to leave. Maybe it wasn't a part of God's plan for her. Hadn't one of the ministers at church once cautioned his listeners about fighting God, swimming upstream against His plan?
Maybe He thought she was selfish, too. Maybe He thought she should stay here with her family.
The bus began moving. Relief washed over Elizabeth. Dilemma solved.
She turned away from the window. Everyone knew what had happened to Lot's wife when she looked back ...
Instead, she glanced around at fellow passengers, feeling a little curious about them. Were they making big life changes like her? Going on vacation?
She realized the woman who'd complained about the bus not leaving the station on time was watching her. Elizabeth pulled her gaze away and glanced out her window. She had always been shy. She didn't want to talk about herself, answer questions about why she was on the bus. It might have been a good idea to change into Englisch clothes before she left home, but she didn't have any, and she didn't want to upset her parents more.
"So where are you going?"
Elizabeth blinked at the sudden intrusion into her thoughts and looked over. The woman across the aisle was regarding her curiously.
The woman laughed and looked incredulous. "Paradise?"
"Oh, right, there is a city named that there. You know people there?"
"I was wondering if you were in your rum—rum—" the woman flapped one hand. "I can't remember what it's called."
"Yeah, that's it. When you get to be like a girl gone wild."
Elizabeth wondered where the Englisch got their ideas about rumschpringe. Like the mother of a friend had once said, "You think we suddenly let our kids run wild and don't know where they are?"
In reality, rumschpringe was something rather tame in her community. Oh, sure, she'd heard stories occasionally about some of the boys she'd gone to school with buying beer and having wild parties. But those stories were few and far between. And most Amish youth ended up becoming baptized into the church and stayed in the community.
"I'm just going there to visit," she said.
It wasn't the total truth, because she knew she was going to stay there longer than a visit. But she wasn't sure how long she'd be there and besides, she'd been cautioned not to talk to strangers.
A big yawn overcame her. She clapped her hand over her mouth. "I'm so sorry. I was up late last night getting packed. If you don't mind, I think I'll take a nap."
The woman nodded and didn't seem offended. "We can talk later."
Elizabeth smiled and nodded. What else was there to say? She leaned back against her seat and closed her eyes.
And when anxiety rolled over her like the tiredness in her body, she told herself to stop thinking about where she'd come from and instead forced herself to focus on where she was going.
* * *
Saul nodded at the driver, handing him his ticket before climbing onto the bus. He'd made the trip from Pennsylvania to Ohio and back many times and felt a little bored as he looked for a seat. Then he saw the attractive young Amish woman sitting with her eyes closed.
Indiana, he mused as he walked down the aisle. The man ahead of him stopped at the woman's row and leaned down.
"Hey, pretty lady, dreaming of me?"
Startled, she woke and stared at him. "Excuse me?"
"How about I sit next to you?" he asked.
Saul could tell from the way she recoiled from the man it was the last thing she wanted.
On impulse, he stepped closer. "Gut, you saved me a seat," he said loudly.
The man turned and gave him a once-over. "Oh, you two together?"
Saul looked at Elizabeth and lifted his brows.
"Yes," she said, her voice soft at first and then she said it louder: "Yes."
Shrugging, the man moved on and found a seat a few rows back.
"Did you decide I was the lesser of two evils?" he asked her as he sat down.
"Yes," she said honestly, but the shy smile she gave him took away any sting he might have felt.
He knew from a glance at her clothing, she was from Indiana. It was easy to distinguish one Amish community from another by the style of the kapp and the dress the women wore. The Lancaster County women wore prayer head coverings made of a thin material with a heart shape to the back of them. This woman wore a starched white kapp with pleats and a kind of barrel shape. The stark look of it suited her high cheekbones and delicate features.
He studied her while she looked out the window. Her skin seemed almost alabaster. Her figure was small and slender in the modest dark blue cape dress she wore. She'd looked away before he saw the color of her eyes; he wondered if her eyes were blue—sometimes women wore dresses the color of their eyes.
A baby cried at the back of the bus. Its mother tried to shush it, but it kept crying, its voice rising.
The woman turned away from the window and frowned slightly as she glanced back toward the rear of the bus. Then, when she sensed him watching her, she looked at him and he saw her eyes were indeed blue—the blue of a lake in late summer.
"Poor mother," she murmured. "The baby's been crying for hours."
"Poor us if it continues," he said, frowning at the thought of listening to a baby cry for hours. Surely, the kid was tiring and would sleep soon? "So, you're from Indiana?"
"You're from Indiana?"
"I'm from Pennsylvania. Paradise, Pennsylvania."
She turned those big blue eyes on him and he saw interest in them. "Really? How long have you lived there?"
"My whole life. Is it where you're going?"
Her eyes narrowed. "How did you know that?"
"The way you perked up when I said the name." He moved in his seat so he could study her better and smiled at her. "There's no need to be suspicious. My name's Saul Miller."
When she hesitated, he smiled. "Just tell me your first name."
"Are you called Beth? Liz? Lizzie?"
"Ever been to Pennsylvania?"
"Once. For a cousin's wedding."
"Ah, I see. So, you were there in the fall." When she just nodded, he tried not to smile. Getting her to talk was like pulling teeth.
"Well, can't be the reason this time. Not the season for weddings."
He watched her glance out the window at the passing scenery. There was a wistfulness in her expression.
"So are you going to Pennsylvania for vacation?"
"You know, the thing people do to relax."
Her mouth quirked in a reluctant smile. She glanced around her, then whispered, "Now how many Amish do you know who go on vacation?"
He shrugged. "There are some I know who go South for the winter for a few weeks."
"Daed would think you were crazy if you talked about a vacation," she scoffed. "Why, when I—"
"When you what?" he prompted when she didn't go on.
She frowned and shook her head. "Nothing."
Saul fell silent for a few minutes, waiting to see if she'd say anything else. It felt a little strange to be doing it all—to be carrying the conversational ball. But he'd had no trouble attracting the opposite sex. Usually, women let him know they were attracted, and then went out of their way to engage him in conversation.
Elizabeth was being no more than polite.
"So, Elizabeth, if you're not on vacation, are you on your rumschpringe?"
* * *
Elizabeth was beginning to think maybe it wasn't so bad back home—even if she'd seldom gotten out. But since she had now, it seemed everyone wanted to talk, talk, talk.
Really, whether Amish or Englisch, people certainly were a nosy bunch. First, the Englisch woman had asked questions, then Saul had picked up where she left off.
She immediately chided herself for being judgmental. People who judged others often were guilty of the same thing as the person they judged. And goodness knew, Elizabeth possessed a deep curiosity about other people. Her leaving home hadn't just been because she was tired of her confining, unsatisfying life. She'd wanted to know what was out there—trapped as she'd felt being stuck at home as a caretaker of her brothers and sisters, she'd loved her time working at the fabric shop where she could interact with others.
Personal decisions were just that ... she didn't want to discuss it with someone who was a stranger.
The bus ate up the miles and she blessed the fact Saul had fallen silent and appeared to be watching the road. The woman across the aisle now sat, nodding, a magazine unread in her hands. Even the crying baby at the back of the bus fell silent.
The weariness of body and mind, which caused her to drift off earlier, returned. Her eyelids felt weighted; her body seemed to melt into the comfort of the padded seat.
"Give in," Saul said softly. "You look exhausted."
She frowned at him. "How can I when you keep talking to me?" she asked and heard the tartness in her tone. When he chuckled, she glared at him. "You know, you're acting like I'm here to entertain you."
"No," he said, obviously trying not to smile. "I just find you refreshing."
Refreshing? Her? "Are you mocking me?"
His smile faded. "No, Elizabeth, I wouldn't do that. You're just not like any of the women I know back home."
"I'm different from the women of Paradise? How?"
"You're not talking a lot. You're not trying to impress me."
"So you're used to being ... pursued?"
He had the grace to redden. "I wouldn't say that."
Now it was her turn to try to hide a smile. There was no question he was attractive with mahogany-colored hair, strong, masculine features. And those dark brown eyes looking at her so intensely. She'd seldom gotten much interest from the young men in her community. It felt exhilarating. It felt a little scary. This was a very different experience for her, this enclosed, enforced intimacy of riding in a bus, conversing with a stranger and feeling he was expressing interest in her.
Maybe she was dreaming. After all, she was so very tired. She'd been sleeping and then woken up to see him looking at her. It was entirely possible she was dreaming.
So, when Saul wasn't looking, she pinched herself and found she wasn't dreaming.
No, she wasn't dreaming, but it was certain his interest was flattering. She drew herself up. Being Amish didn't mean you didn't know what went on in the world, you were aware of bad people, and knew bad things could happen.
It was entirely possible this Saul wasn't even Amish ...
She blinked. "Excuse me?"
"Suddenly you're looking at me like I'm the Big Bad Wolf."
"I don't know what you're talking about." But Elizabeth had never been able to hide what she was thinking.
"Schur," he drawled.
She focused on the billboards on the side of the road. They were quite entertaining to someone who mostly traveled in a buggy on roads not big and crowded like this highway. Most of the signs advertised restaurants and shopping, but there were a few to raise her eyebrows. It took her a moment to understand what an adult store was, but once she did she averted her eyes quickly at the next one they passed.
Her stomach growled. She reached for the lunch tote she'd carried on board, pulled out a sandwich and unwrapped it. She'd packed several sandwiches with her mother's grudging permission—her daed had been out—but she didn't know how long they would last and she had to be careful with her money.
As she did, she felt, rather than saw Saul come to attention. She glanced at him, saw he was looking at her sandwich and not at her. Well, she thought, I found a way to make him stop asking questions.
She took a bite and chewed and tried not to notice his attention then shifted to her mouth.
Manners kicked in. "Would you like half?"
Excerpted from A Road Unknown by Barbara Cameron. Copyright © 2014 Barbara Cameron. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted February 12, 2014
If she ever wants a future, she will have to return home to resolve the issues from her past. Elizabeth Bontrager had run away from home even though she was twenty-years-old. She needed a break from being the oldest of nine children and having all the responsibility of helping to care for her brothers and sister was simply more than could handle. It was rapidly changing her outlook on what marriage and having her own family should look like, and now it was the furthest thing from her mind. Even though she was still in her rumschpringe, a period of deciding whether she wanted to be baptized into the Amish faith or walk away, she figured out some distance is what is needed to help her decide.
Only she didn't plan on fate intervening on a bus headed for Paradise, Pennsylvania as Saul Miller took a seat beside her. She had no plans to have a conversation with him and simply wanted to be left alone with her thoughts, but Saul had other things in mind. He wanted to know what someone as beautiful as Elizabeth would leave home if she wasn't taking vacation or enjoying her rumschpringe the way most Amish do. It seemed to Saul that she was running away from something and he hoped he might convince her to let him help in any way he could. Even if it was simply sharing a Big Mac and fries on the bus to Paradise.
Elizabeth plans to stay with her English friend Paula who is attending college to become a nurse and has offered Elizabeth a place to stay. When Paula learns that Elizabeth can cook, the agree to deal where Elizabeth will do the cooking and Paula will pay for the groceries. Now all Elizabeth has to do is find a job in Paradise. But with limited skills working in a fabric store in Goshen, she isn't sure it will be that easy, until fate plays its hand again. She literally is given a job at a country store selling Amish products while Miriam goes on maternity leave for a couple months. Guess who her employer is? Yup Saul Miller. Now it seems God has more in store for Elizabeth and Saul as they realize that all roads to the future lie where God guides.
I received A Road Unknown by Barbara Cameron compliments of Abingdon Press and Litfuse Publicity. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed are strictly my own. This is the first novel in the Amish Roads Series, from Barbara Cameron and I LOVED it. I always wondered if the Amish oldest girls often got tired of the weight of helping raise children and what would they do, how would they act. I think Barbara captured this very essence in Elizabeth's character. In no way was she disrespectful to her parents but simply looked for a breather to gain the right perspective. I love how Saul enabled her to see things clearly in the end and can't wait for the next novel in this series. I think it's going to be a favorite of mine. There is a readers discussion guide at the end along with a sneak peek at Crossroads, the next novel in this series. I personally give this one a 5 out of 5 stars!
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Posted February 4, 2014
Caught at a Crossroads – Choices, Consequences, Conscience, and Self-Discovery
Award winning author Barbara Cameron introduces Elizabeth Bontrager in her book “A Road Unknown,” the first in the new “Amish Road” series of novels, based on the traditions of the Amish. Elizabeth is at a crossroad. The practices of her faith allow for a “rumschpringe” an opportunity to live outside of the protection of the community for a time before embracing the Amish way of life and joining the church.
Unsettled at home and responsible for the caring of her younger siblings, Elizabeth opts to join her friend Paula in Paradise, Pennsylvania. Elizabeth’s physical attractiveness, simple innocence, curious nature, polite manners, shyness, and spiritual inner beauty are quickly noticed by Paula’s friend Bruce, and by Saul Miller, the supervisor who helped her get a job at a store selling Amish products in the local community.
As the two young competitors vie for her attention Elizabeth is faced with uncertainty, and feelings of ambivalence; she realizes Bruce is looking for more than friendship while her feelings toward Saul are deepening. She is also experiencing an overwhelming sense of homesickness. She is again at a crossroads. She now has another choice to make; to pursue making a life for herself in Paradise with the possibility of romance or to return to the love and responsibility of the family and a commitment to the church.
Cameron brilliantly uses the dialog in the development a strong character driven plot. Her characters become three dimensional as they show growth in self-awareness, work through conflict resolution, and a commitment to deeply engrained spiritual convictions.
“A Road Unknown” is written for anyone who is working through the uncertainties of relationships, life’s circumstances, and the conflicts that arise while reexamining inner convictions and matters of faith, family, and destiny. Cameron’s writing is provocative, soul-searching, and inspirational without losing the heartwarming entertainment value of well written fiction.
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Posted August 8, 2014
The Amish are known for their large families and Elizabeth Bontrager’s family was no exception. She was the oldest of nine children! Her mother had trouble managing her supersize family so Elizabeth does the lion’s share of caring for the little ones and doing the housework, and that’s after returning home from a full day’s work! She loves her family deeply and strongly desires to honor her parents but at the age of 20, feels she is missing the chance to have a life and family of her own. An English pen pal she met opens the door of opportunity by asking her leave her home in Goshen, Indiana and come live with her in Paradise, Pennsylvania.
She’s never had a rumspringa. Her wish is not to go wild as some Amish youth do during their rumspringa, but to truly seek what God would have her do, not what the church tells her to do. Her question is not to leave the Amish church; her roots run deep. Her confusion comes as to whether she would be dishonoring her parents by leaving home to start a life of her own.
After she embarks on the bus to Paradise, she meets a handsome Amish man named Saul Miller. Little did she know he would become her boss when she gets a job working in his family’s store.
Elizabeth has many new experiences in the English world. I knew the Amish lived very simple lives without modern conveniences, but I never thought about the confusion and surprises they might have if they were exposed to them. Seeing the modern world through her eyes for the first time gave me a new perspective. While Elizabeth holds fast to the foundation of her Amish beliefs, she also embraces the new experiences her adventure offers. Her common sense and experience in caring for her family enables her to help several people in emergency situations.
I loved her innocence and integrity. Her love for her family, and her feeling of responsibility beckons her to go home, but her love for her new life and Saul make her want to stay. What should she do? She must make a choice.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and anxiously await book 2 of which there is an excerpt is included. I love recipes and was delighted to see some of the recipes from the story are shared. A wonderful book!
I received this book free from the Abingdon Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own
Posted June 27, 2014
I enjoyed going with Elizabeth on her journey. She basically jumped on a bus after some quick good-byes to family, and ventured into the unknown to start living her own life. She meets Saul in a sweet way, and they slowly build a friendship as a foundation for something more. Paula is one of my favorite characters- what a loyal and supportive friend through all of the transition Elizabeth goes through. The message that God watches over each of us was inspirational.
(Thank you to Abingdon Press for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review)
Posted May 21, 2014
I have read all of the books in the Quilts of Lancaster series, by Barbara Cameron and enjoyed them very much. A Road Unknown, the first book in the Amish Roads series was excellent as well.
While I really enjoy learning about Elizabeth Bontrager and her new life in Paradise, well named I thought, since she does find her own piece of paradise, I especially liked the back of the book that had recipes, glossary of Amish words, study guide, description of this series and a excerpt from the next book. This information made me hungry, was very helpful for me to understand the words I did not know, and to think about and understand the message Cameron was writing. I cannot wait to try some of the recipes.
This is a very good book. I hope you enjoy it as well.
Disclosure of Material Connection- I received A Road Unknown, by Barbara Cameron, for free from Abingdon Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
Posted March 16, 2014
In Barbara Cameron's new series, Amish Roads, we meet three young women during a coming-of-age time in their lives called rumschpringe, a time which becomes one of resistance and contemplation of staying - or leaving - the Amish community.
Book one's title, A Road Unknown, is descriptive of what Elizabeth faces as she leaves her home and community to room with her Englisch friend, Paula. While I have no idea what the responsibility of taking care of several younger siblings would feel like, a lot of us can surely identify with Elizabeth's frustration, that feeling of wanting to be independent, understand what God is calling her to, and freely use the talents and abilities He has given her. Barbara knows how to tell a sweet, entertaining story and I've always enjoyed her easily-flowing writing style.
Saul is such a likeable character, a young man who enjoyed working in the Amish craft store his father started. Saul cared about his parents, and he cared about his community - always searching for special products or crafts and helping to find a market for them. I enjoyed seeing the growing attraction, friendship and trust between Saul and Elizabeth.
The friendship between Elizabeth and the Englisch Paula is another delightful theme. "Sometimes family was made of those you were connected to through birth and sometimes, Elizabeth thought, it was made of people like Paula." Having a day off was a rarity to Elizabeth, and she hardly knew what to do with herself. Although Paula's apartment survived, the results are hilarious! Barbara did a great job at blending the Amish and Englisch worlds, and I found the honesty of Elizabeth's character refreshing - her feelings of being tired and wanting to escape responsibility of helping with younger siblings.
I loved how the symbolism of a sparrow was woven throughout the story, reminding Elizabeth about God's provision and the comfort that gave her . . . for "If He cared about little creatures like a sparrow, she felt He'd provide for her, too. Parents did it for their children and He was, after all, her Father." I couldn't help but think of the words of the beautiful hymn, His eyes are on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
Just as Elizabeth faced the struggles of growing up, her parents needed to learn to let go and allow her to find her own way - and this is something that all parents eventually have to deal with.
I would describe A Road Unknown as a cozy, comfortable read - not a lot of action or adventure - but one that I enjoyed very much. The ending felt abrupt, but I hope to see more of Saul and Elizabeth in the next book, Crossroads, which comes out in August 2014. Recommended to fans of Amish fiction.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Posted March 7, 2014
ght of how they will effect our siblings.
Together with Elizabeth, we can experience the frustration and joys of living away from a close knit family unit.
Barbara writes a delightful page turner and I learned a lot about myself, and some about others. There is no problem unique to myself!
I revieved this book free from Amy Lathrop at Litfuse Publicity Group and Abingdon Press in exchange for an honest review. A positive critique was not required. The opinions are my own.
Posted March 1, 2014
How many of us have felt weighed down by responsibilities of the home as young people? We may want our own home some day but not as a teen. We may want to run around and have fun like the Englisch friends we see, if we are an Amish teen who is expected to care for many younger siblings as well as household duties. Elizabeth feels this way and just can't take it anymore. She feels God leading her to leave Indiana and move to Paradise to stay with her Englisch friend, Paula. She hops on a bus and heads off to create her own destiny, her own world, without all the burdens her parents place on her. I loved this book. Elizabeth is refreshing in her honesty and desire to do what is right. I thoroughly enjoyed observing the workings of an Amish shop and the differences between the Indiana Amish and the Amish of Paradise, Pennsylvania. Read this delightful book to find out if Elizabeth succeeds in making her own way. Will she find love and happiness along the way? or will she be forced to return to Indiana? 5 Stars!!!!
I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Posted February 26, 2014
Barbara Cameron in her new book, “A Road Unknown” Book One in the Amish Road series published by Abingdon Press takes us into the life of Elizabeth Bontrager.
From the back cover: Elizabeth is at a crossroads.
She’s been given the chance to experience life outside of her community, away from the responsibility to care for her eight younger siblings, but Elizabeth Bontrager can’t decide which road to take. Goshen has its charms and pressures, but Paradise, Pennsylvania, sounds . . . well, like paradise. And it’s also home to her Englisch friend, Paula. Decision made. Elizabeth is Paradise bound.
But will the small town live up to its name? When Elizabeth meets Paula’s friend, Bruce, she quickly learns he wants more than a friendship. And the same might be true of Saul Miller, her new boss at the country story that sells Amish products to the Englisch community. As the two compete for her attention, Elizabeth is surprised to realize she misses her family and becomes even more uncertain about where she belongs. She has a choice to make: return home or embrace this new life and possibly a new love?
What would you do? If you lived in the land of Goshen, or plenty, all your life then had the opportunity to go live in Paradise would you go home to Goshen where your parents were or stay in Paradise where your friends and new life are? That is the problem that Elizabeth is facing. And she is meeting all kinds of adventures in her new life especially with two men who want a romance with her. I think we have all faced a situation where we don’t know which way to go, back to the life we lived or ahead to the new life we are trying to make. Ms. Cameron, in Elizabeth, has given us a character that as she grows and comes to understand just what she is doing and why we can identify with and root for to make the right decisions. All of the characters are interesting and we come to care for all of them. You wish they really existed outside of these pages so that we could go over to their homes and visit. This book is just a lot of fun and I look forward to the next book in this series.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Posted February 26, 2014
The bus trip to Paradise, Pennsylvania was long and terrifying to Elizabeth Bontrager who questioned her decision to run away from her large family. She was weary of her life as the eldest of eight siblings always “needed” by her mamm to care for them. Work, work, work, with no promise of a life of her own in Goshen, Indiana. She was uncomfortable with the strangers on the bus, especially the Englischers until a young Amish man Saul Miller comes to her rescue and soothes her fears, especially when she learns he is also traveling to his home in Paradise. WOW, what a hook! Author Barbara Cameron caught my attention immediately and I kept reading in fascination.
Ms. Cameron’s story of Elizabeth is so unlike other Amish stories I have read. She presented completely different aspects to the Amish/Englischer co-existence that were thought provoking, amusing, and complicated. Elizabeth was beginning a new life, learning astounding, perplexing, and comical details about the Englisch lifestyles living with roommate Paula, who is a harmonious helpmate for Elizabeth, aiding her to understand many things about the Englischer life in Paradise. Paula is waiting the return of her soldier boyfriend from Afghanistan.
Saul Miller is on the rebound from a serious romantic relationship, and Elizabeth has not known romantic love prior to meeting Saul. Will she realize genuine love when she is confronted with the emotion? Consequently, enters Bruce, an Englischer that showers Elizabeth with compliments and attention. Is Bruce a likely candidate for romance or is he really who he seems to be? Elizabeth’s first job came too easy when Saul employed her in his family’s business. We learn that Elizabeth is gifted with a talent for sewing. She dreams of a future working with fabrics and design. Saul is patient with Elizabeth, hoping she will return his romantic feelings toward her. Ms. Cameron’s story left a new impression of Amish romance with me, and one I like immensely with respect for the challenges 20 year old Elizabeth faced and overcame. There is no question that God was nearby through His Holy Spirit – always a present help.
A Road Unknown speaks of the many pathways in life that each individual follows. Skillfully written lexes specific in particulars about the Amish culture in today’s world embellishes Barbara Cameron’s lovely story of a young woman’s prayers being blessed with answers by God. Elizabeth discovers surprising findings of unknown family, new friends, and love in Paradise. Paradise is not lost and Elizabeth’s future is full of promise in Paradise. Ms. Cameron brilliantly ended the story at the perfect time, leaving this reader wanting more. At least I hope she intends a sequel to A Road Unknown so we can learn of God’s plans for the residents of Paradise….the one here on earth that is.
A Road Unknown by Barbara Cameron was provided for me free by Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.
Posted February 25, 2014
Elizabeth is an easy character to get to know and like. As the oldest child in a family of nine children she has been helping to care for her younger siblings and do chores for years and has felt like she is never going to get to live her own life. She has not had the time to go to singings or to meet a suitor. Her favorite time of the day is when she goes to work at a fabric store, and even then she has to hand her paycheck over to her parents. She wonders if she is being selfish or if it is normal to want to have a life of her own. Through corresponding with an Englisch friend she made over the summer, Elizabeth decides to move from Goshen, Indiana to Paradise, Pennsylvania to start living for herself. Her parents are shocked and her grandmother thinks she is the most ungrateful child, but she still boards a bus. While waiting on the bus she looks for signs from God as to whether she should stay or go and sees some birds outside the bus window. The birds don't worry about being selfish, they know that God will provide for them and she relaxes a bit more with her decision.
Living in Paradise is different from how she has lived before. Paula has a dishwasher! Elizabeth is a good roommate, sharing chores and being a friend and finds a job very quickly in a shop that sells Amish goods. She makes friends and finds joy in sewing herself a new dress on a borrowed sewing machine. Now she had four dresses to choose from!
Two men vie for her attention, on Englisch and one Amish. She has decisions to make and relies on her belief in God to guide her to the right path. Elizabeth has believed in the church teachings all along, she just wanted to freedom to make her own way within the church parameters and to have a say in her own life. the growing and changing she does by taking a stand and being her own person give her the personal growth she needs to make the right choice and be herself.
Posted February 21, 2014
What is there to do, when your growing up and life is passing you by? You cannot complain, you must honor your parents. You spend your time taking care of little ones, you are the oldest in the family of eight children.
This is the reality of the world that Elizabeth Bontrager lives in. So what does she do?? What you would expect anyone who is an adult and overwhelmed would do...she runs away!
We follower her and her experiences with freedom. She could go either way...wild, or keep her faith! You will love some of her experiences in the kitchen..need dishes washed?? Ha Ha!!
I loved her room mate, she wasn't what I was expecting. I thought she would be encouraging her to leave her faith. I also enjoyed Saul, and the community. Made me want to move there! There is sure a lot happening here, and Elizabeth does play a big part.
Will she give up and move back? Or will she leave and become English? Or is there something all together else in store for her. Enjoy being absorbed into this book, and hope you love your time here, as I did!
I received this book through Litfuse Publicity Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
Posted February 27, 2014
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Posted June 4, 2014
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Posted February 6, 2014
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