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Katie has lived through tragedy and heartache. But with the angel Elias by her side, the best years of her life are just ahead.
A Heaven on Earth Novel, #3
When Katie Bender’s fiancé died in a tragic accident, so did her hope of finding love. Though heartbroken, Katie is also practical. In the years since the accident she has discovered her gift for teaching. But when a tornado destroys her small Amish ...
Katie has lived through tragedy and heartache. But with the angel Elias by her side, the best years of her life are just ahead.
A Heaven on Earth Novel, #3
When Katie Bender’s fiancé died in a tragic accident, so did her hope of finding love. Though heartbroken, Katie is also practical. In the years since the accident she has discovered her gift for teaching. But when a tornado destroys her small Amish settlement, including the schoolhouse, Katie doesn’t know how she will provide for herself.
Seth Stutzman arrived in Hope Falls days before the storm. And when he helps usher Katie and the children to safety, sparks fly. But Seth is only in town to help his brother, Amos, get back on his feet following the death of his wife. He can’t afford to have feelings for Katie.
Rebuilding the community is a huge task, and soon, Katie and Seth are working side by side. As they privately wrestle with their feelings for each other, another silent—and ultimate—battle for their hearts rages unseen.
Sworn to protect what God has ordained, the mighty angel Elias appears to them as a mysterious visitor. And with his guidance, Katie and Seth find the courage to take the first small steps toward the life, and love, they were destined for.
"Keep working on your math problems, children," Katie Bender said without looking up from her desk. Another burst of air lifted the paper she was trying to grade. Katie tossed her pen on her desk and stood. The initial breeze was welcoming, especially after the past week of unseasonably sultry weather, but she couldn't have the classroom disrupted by children chasing their papers across the room.
Katie crossed the room to the window. She pushed down on the window casement, but the wood was still swollen from the prolonged rain last month, and the casement wouldn't budge.
In the distance, dark clouds rolled rapidly over the Masts' nearby field of winter wheat. The little town of Hope Falls didn't need more rain, not after the ten straight days of it in late April nearly ruined Katie's garden. Amos Mast's winter wheat field looked as though it still needed drying out yet too.
The shifting direction of the wind pushed another fitful gust through the window. Katie shivered from the noticeable temperature drop. Her prayer kapp ties flapped over her shoulder as she worked to jiggle the casing loose. She pressed harder, and finally, after using all the brute force she could muster, she freed the jammed window. It slammed closed, vibrating the plate glass.
Katie brushed the peeled-paint chips from her hands and moved to the next window. She was all for recycling, but installing old, refurbished windows hadn't made sense five years ago when the schoolhouse was built, and it certainly produced frustration when the casings swelled on humid days like today.
The sunlight disappeared behind the clouds, and the room darkened.
"The sky is green," one child said.
Several other children murmured while they shifted in their seats to look out the windows.
"Children, please continue your studies."
She scooted in front of the next window. It slid down with ease and she paused to inspect the sky. The children were right. The sky had turned an eerie pea-soup shade. A shudder crawled down her spine. In her five years of teaching, it had never been so dark at noon that she had to light the oil lamps.
She craned her head toward the pasture. During one storm last growing season, her frightened mare snapped her harness and trampled the Masts' wheat field. Amos Mast voiced his complaint to the bishop, which prompted the men to fence an area for Peaches to graze while school was in session. Her buggy mare wasn't grazing now. The pending storm had the horse on edge. With her ears perked and nostrils flared, Peaches paced the barbed wire fence.
Katie squared her shoulders, not wanting the children to notice the razor of panic cutting through her, and returned to her desk. Raindrops pinged against the tin roof. She disregarded the noisy distraction and continued correcting the stack of papers before her, until the thrumming annoyance changed into a heavy barrage of what sounded like mothballs beating down on the roof. That wasn't easily ignored. She clenched her pen.
Noah Zook, seated in the back of the room, raised his hand. "Teetshah?"
"Jah, Noah." She cleared her throat to settle the quiver and hoped his question wouldn't require a lengthy reply.
He pointed to the window. "That's hail kumming down."
She pushed off her chair just as a cast-iron bell clanged in the distance. The faint sound didn't register until she reached the window and looked outside. Hailstones littered the lawn.
Katie whirled around to face the children. "Everyone"—she took a calming breath before continuing—"please hold hands and form a line at the door." She motioned to two of the oldest boys, Noah and Eli. They hurried to her, and she pulled them aside. "once we're outside, I'll need your help to open the cellar doors."
The boys nodded as the two youngest students sidled up to Katie.
"I'm scared." Ella Sue's lips trembled.
Mary Lapp whimpered, "Me too," and clutched Katie's dress.
When a low rumble of thunder vibrated the glass in the windows, even some of the older students echoed their fear.
Katie squatted to the five-year-olds' level and put her arms around them. "god is watching over us. Do you know that?" When they nodded solemnly, she stood to address the others. "Everyone hold hands." She made a quick scan of the group, then headed for the door. "We're going straight to the cellar. Do not let go of each other." She touched Eli's shoulder, and he and Noah opened the schoolhouse door.
Short bursts of whirling wind kicked up gravel from the driveway and pushed them a few steps backward. She wasn't sure which stung worse, being pelted by gravel or hailstones. Katie tucked her chin against her chest and pressed forward, leading the way. The boys lost their straw hats in the wind as they ran ahead to the side of the building.
Noah and Eli worked in unison, yanking on the cellar's wooden door. Once it flapped open on its hinges, the children filed into the underground storage area. Katie entered last and tugged on the door.
"It's stuck," she yelled over the boisterous wind. "give me a hand, boys."
Her muscles quivered, fighting against the wind's forceful pull. Finally, with the boys' help, she managed to get the door closed. The storage area went black except for a few pinholes of light surrounding the door frame. They were safe for the moment, but with only a flimsy inside latch, she wasn't sure how long the hinges would hold under the wind's force.
Katie hunched over to avoid hitting her head on a beam and inched away from the door. "Is everyone sitting?" Her voice cracked, and she silently chided herself to control it. For the sake of the children she must remain strong.
"Jah," they replied in unison.
"I'm kalt," said one girl.
"We all are, Sarah," one of the boys replied sharply.
"This isn't the time to get lippy nau." Katie blindly followed the foundation's stone wall and, finding an empty space, lowered herself to the cold, dirt floor. She inhaled deeply, trying to calm herself, but instead gagged on the musty odor.
The cramped space wasn't meant to house a classroom of children. Rather, the old dug-out root cellar offered a dry storage area for the wood under the school. At least the diminished winter's supply meant more space. A blessing for sure.
"As I say your name, I want you to answer." Katie called out the first names that came to mind, pausing between each one to listen for their reply. "Rebecca Fischer? Sarah Plank? Emily Trombly? Peter Wyse? Esther Miller? James Yoder?" She stopped. "James?"
"He stayed home sick today, remember?"
"Jah, denki, Eli, for reminding me." Between the thrashing wind and whimpering youngsters, her concentration waffled. "Sarah Plank?"
"Jah, but you already called me," Sarah replied.
"Sorry." She needed to calm herself before everyone panicked. Think. Who hadn't been called? "Have I called Daniel Hershberger?"
"I'm here," he said.
Inside the classroom, she knew immediately who was absent by what desk was unoccupied. Now in the dark and under stress, she didn't want to rely on her memory. She rattled off several more names. "Did I miss anyone?"
"You didn't call me, Mary Lapp."
Katie squeezed the child's hand. "That's because I'm sitting next to you."
Five-year-old Ella Sue squirmed on her other side. Katie tapped the girl's knobby knee. "And I know this is Ella Sue King on mei right, ain't so?"
"Jah," she said faintly, then poked Katie's rib and whispered, "I have to use the outhaus."
"Nett nau, we must stay—" Katie's breath caught. "Samuel Fischer, are you in here?"
"Samuel?" But even as she repeated his name, she remembered giving him permission to use the outhouse. He hadn't returned to the classroom. Her stomach knotted.
"He's nett answering, teetshah," Ella Sue cried.
Ach, nay. Bile burned the back of Katie's throat. "Everyone stay put," she said, pushing off the floor. Then, tangled in a web of sticky threads, she flailed her arms, batting the spider's clinging web away from her face, and stifled a scream. Don't panic. But she was panicking and she'd run into plenty of spiderwebs in the barn before.
"Don't leave us." Mary pulled Katie's dress hem.
"I have to find Samuel. I'll be back." Katie eased her way to the entrance and nudged the door with her shoulder. At the same time, the wind caught the door and slammed it against the building, jetting her outside. The boys scrambled to pull it closed while Katie leaned into the wind and tromped toward the school. A nearby tree cracked under the wind's force, then shed one of its limbs. It hit the ground with a thud.
"Samuel?" She swiftly panned the area and stopped on the overturned outhouse.
Oh, Lord, please don't let him be harmed.
Pressing forward, she ran to the site. As she searched the area, the flailing branches of a weeping willow whipped against her, stinging her face and entangling her with their ever-bending rod-like shoots.
No answer. No sign of him at all. She broke loose from the willow and ran toward the schoolhouse. She barged inside the abandoned building. The windowpanes rattled against their casings as though someone were knocking.
"Samuel!" She rushed toward the front of the room and called again.
A movement under a desk caught her eye. Crouched beneath the wooden desk with his arms hugging his chest and his head buried between his knees, the eighth grader rocked on his haunches. Samuel lifted his head, his reddened eyes vacant and wide.
"Kumm on, we have to get to safety."
The pale-faced boy continued to stare at nothing in particular.
"Samuel," she said strongly, "we must hurry. Nau, you kumm out from under that desk." When her words didn't seem to register, she grasped his hand firmly. "You must listen to me, Samuel," she said, tugging his arm.
Samuel stood. He looked about the room, still dazed. "Where did he go?"
"Who are you talking about? All of the students are waiting in the cellar."
"The man with white hair." Again, Samuel canvassed the classroom with his eyes. "He led me in here and said I'd be safe until you came for me."
The building groaned, and Katie steered Samuel toward the door. "We have to get out of here nau." She looked over her shoulder but didn't see anyone else in the room.
They sprang outside into an eerie calm. Although the wind had died down and the hail had stopped, in the distance, a dense wall of ash gray with a low-hanging funnel cloud moved toward them. Thankfully, she needed only to point at the approaching tornado for Samuel to regain his senses. Even with his childhood limp from falling off a barn roof, he kept stride with her as they raced for cover.
She gripped the cellar's handle and, with a jolt of adrenaline that burned her veins, yanked the door open. The two of them tumbled into the makeshift shelter, wrestled the door closed, and collapsed against the wall, unable to catch their breath.
The floor joist above them vibrated and dirt sifted through the cracks. "Everyone, crouch down and cover your head." Katie braced for impact.
The door burst open again, flooding the area with light. Katie lifted her head as a man entered, then pulled the door closed behind him. The cellar darkened once more.
"I hope you don't mind if I seek shelter with you. I saw you and the boy take cover in here," the man said.
A rumbling noise similar to the sound of a train filled her ears and the ground rippled with tremors. Katie's eyes burned with tears. "god have mercy on us all."
"You okay?" He rubbed his forehead.
"What was that?" she said through panting breaths.
He almost said his head, but he knew she meant the noise outside. "I'm pretty sure that was the roof." He'd worked in construction and easily recognized the flailing sound of distressed roofing tin. More flapping noise carried into the distance.
"Ach." Her gasps feathered his face with warm air.
Assuming the roof was gone, the walls would collapse next, but he couldn't tell her that. At the rapid rate she breathed, he expected any moment for her to faint from hyperventilating. The full impact of the storm hadn't even hit yet. But as his thoughts rambled, the structure gave off a high-pitched screech as boards pulled away from their nails. Daylight seeped through the cracks where a moment ago it was dark.
"Get down!" he yelled.
It seemed as though time stood still before the howling wind passed. When it did, an unnatural silence loomed.
"Is it over?" A child's frail voice broke the silence.
"I ..." The woman cleared her throat. "I think we're safe nau, children."
Children? He'd only seen one running with her for cover.
More whimpers came from the opposite direction. Seth shifted his eyes, but without more light than what penetrated through the cracks, he couldn't decipher anything but shadows in the dark.
"How many children do you have?" His thoughts escaped aloud.
"Twelve," she replied. Then added, "Is everyone all right?"
The children might have thought she sounded composed, but he heard the tremor in her voice. He sat quietly and listened as the children's faint responses rang out.
A small hand tapped his arm. "Where did you kumm from, mister?"
"Mary, don't be so bold," the woman corrected.
"I'm sorry," said the child in a weakened voice.
"I'm Seth Stutzman." His hands gritty, he wiped the dirt on his pant leg. "I'm from the Saint Joseph County settlement in Centreville." With his district 135 miles south of Hope Falls, he didn't expect the child to know where he was from, but he said his district for the woman's benefit.
"Seth from Centreville, would you mind opening the door for us?"
Good idea. He lunged off the dirt floor, banging his head on the overhead beam.
"What was that?" asked one child.
"Only me." He rubbed the sore spot.
"Are you okay?"
Hearing the woman's motherly concern, he smiled. "Jah, at least we know one beam is intact. My thick head didn't seem to shift the structure any."
"That's a blessing," she said.
"Having a thick head?"
Several children laughed, and the woman hushed them immediately.
"I meant the sound structure is a blessing," she clarified, her voice a mix of authority and jitters.
He chuckled as he moved cautiously to the door. Maybe his thick head would figure out a way out of here. He patted the wooden door, searching in the dark for the handle. Gripping it firmly, he nudged the door with his shoulder. It didn't open. He tried again, using more force. Still, the door wouldn't release. "It's jammed."
"That doesn't make sense. It must be latched," the woman said.
"Nay. I heard something slam against it just after I entered." The noise was loud enough that she should've heard the same racket outside the door. Then again, firsthand experience had taught him how fear paralyzed one's senses.
"Are we going to have to stay in here forever?" a small voice squeaked. Several of the children sniffled.
He wasn't thinking straight. He should've held his last comment and not riled the children.
"We'll be rescued soon." The woman's soothing voice settled most of the whimpering.
Seth rammed the door harder and vibrations rippled throughout his body. The hinges rattled, but the door wouldn't give. Whatever had struck the door during the storm was solid and somehow had lodged itself against the entry. He drew a deep breath. As a builder, he'd belly-crawled through several narrow crawl spaces and never felt claustrophobic, but now, trapped with a woman and her frightened children, he expected the walls to close in.
"I'm hungry," one child said.
"Me too," another one added.
The woman shushed the children as he barreled his shoulder against the door again. The force dislodged debris from overhead, causing an echo of shrill cries in the darkness behind him. He readied for another shove, but a hand grasped his arm and he stopped.
"Are you sure forcing the door open is safe?" the woman whispered.
"Do you have a better idea, Mrs....?"
"Katie." She dropped her hand from his arm. "And nay, I don't have a better idea."
He plowed his weight against the door once again. This time the structure groaned. Beside him Katie let out a similar noise under her breath. He peered up at the new pinholes of light. What was he thinking? He couldn't risk a cave-in.
"You're right. Let's sit down," he told her.
Her shadowy figure shuffled away from the door.
Excerpted from An Angel by Her Side by Ruth Reid Copyright © 2012 by Ruth Reid. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted November 10, 2013
I have to admit, I am disappointed in this book. I’ve had this series on my radar for months and was so excited to start reading, but the book just didn’t live up to what I was hoping for.
Let’s start with the characters. Katie is adorable and sweet. She talks about how much she gave up with her fiancé died years before and how she replaced the possibility of marriage and children with learning to be a teacher for the community. All well and good – except this is all told to the reader. Nothing in her actions really speaks of the battle between what she has come to accepts and what she truly wishes she could have. Side characters call her meddlesome but really she just seems blunt and a bit too opinionated.
I wanted to like Seth, I really did, but his character simply fell flat. There were moments of adorableness and swoon, moments of really understanding his inner battle and his fear. Yet those were overridden by the sometimes downright mean way he treated Katie. He was inconsistent – one second being cruel and insulting, the next throwing her a wink and a grin. I couldn’t quite figure him out, and by the end, I didn’t even want to.
I give An Angel By Her Side two stars. The plot was slow, the drama kept going back and forth as the characters just repeated their slip-ups and apologies, and the overall feel of the book was not what I had hoped for.
Posted April 26, 2013
An Angel by Her Side caught me by surprise, literally. Okay, I knew that according to the synopsis, there’s an angel in the story. What I didn’t expect was the supernatural play out – demon vs. angel – in the story. I usually steer away from such books, but this one? It was good. Never mind that this could be included in the paranormal genre and I don’t read paranormal. The good vs. bad scenarios were just too interesting. I found myself cheering for Elias as he battled the evil demon.
I gotta admit that the reason I requested for this book was because it’s an Amish stories. Although I enjoy reading Amish stories, I sometimes feel disgruntled with certain portrayal of the characters. However, I was completely satisfied with the portrayal of the characters. They weren’t super-holy people just because they are Amish. The protagonist, Katie, had her flaws aka attitude problems and so did Amos and the other characters.
The “would-they-or-would-they-not-get-together” kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the book. The author certainly did well in keeping the suspense about the relationship until the end. There was definitely no moment to get bored with the story, especially when I *needed* to know the outcome of Katie and Seth’s relationship! Even though I got impatient and was sorely tempted to skip to the end of the book to find the answer to my question, I patiently read, read some more, waited, and waited.
Besides the main characters, the supporting characters were interesting as well. Yes, the story is mainly a love story, but the drama involving the other characters made the story exciting. There wasn’t only love, there was also bitterness, hatred, being lost, and finding God’s purpose in life.
In conclusion, I loved reading An Angel by Her Side. This is the 3rd book in the A Heaven On Earth series. I don’t know if there will be other new books in the series, but will definitely read them if there are. It would be especially interesting if there’s a story about Amos’ teenaged daughter.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author through the Booksneeze book review bloggers program. 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 March 27, 2013
Katie still feels responsible for the death of her fiancé and does not plan to marry. She works as a teacher in her community and feels like she has found her calling. Yet a tornado destroys her school and leaves her wondering what she will do next. Seth just happened to be in the right place at the right time and helped Katie and the school children to safety during the storm. He is visiting his brother to help him and does not plan to stay in the area. Elias the angel is watching over them both and as love blossoms so does a new understanding of God.
I have really enjoyed this series and this book lived up to my expectations. I really like how this book incorporates angels and evil spirits into the story. It may not be realistic but its so well written you can’t help but imagine a angle whispering God’s messages into your ear.
What I liked: I really liked Katie and Seth. Both where dealing with past issues that required them to listen to God for guidance. I love the good vs. evil that went on in this book. Not a lot of Christian fiction will write of a different realm like this author does and I really enjoy it. I also liked how characters from the first two books pop up from time to time. I liked how the story also dealt with Seth’s brother and how he was lost and slowly with the help of his family and spiritual guidance he found his way back. Very well written.
What I did not like: As much as I liked this book I thought the angel might have gotten to involved in the lives of the characters in the book. There is only one thing that really bothered me and it had to do with the little girl but I also have to remember its fiction and not real.
Over all this was a great book and I really enjoyed it. Both Katie and Seth had to let go and let God and it’s a good lesson for all of us. Adding the angel into the story made it interesting. I highly recommend this book.
Posted January 29, 2013
Katie Bender is a character we have met before, earlier in this series. But we are now several years down the road and Katie has made her way as a teacher after the death of her fiance. Now however her whole world has been shaken, literally as a tornado destroys the school house. Her quick thinking had saved all the children and the community was binding together to help one another in this time of trouble, but Katie is not sure what is going to happen, because rebuilding the school is not at the top of the list of priorities. The community has to rebuild the homes and farms of those damaged by the tornado, it is their very livelihood at stake. Seth Stutzman was in Hope Falls helping his brother-in-law Amos Mast. It it a very dark period in the lives of the Mast family, the loss of Amos' wife Erma to cancer had hardened his heart and he was reacting poorly, walking away from God and his community. He and Katie have clashed repeatedly over her teaching of his children and her objections to the beehives, he plans on putting near the school house.
A community finding their way after tragedy, a family nearing irreparable fracture after a death in the family, and a young woman trying to find her way in the midst of the storms of life. I enjoyed this book, more than I did the others in this series. It was like a culmination of the stories all melded together. We have key characters from the other stories here, in a different period of life for them. All in all it was an enjoyable story. Reading Group Guide included. 344 pages US $15.99 4 stars. This book was provided for review purposes only no payment was received for this review.
Posted January 22, 2013
An Angel by Her Side is Ruth Reid's latest Amish novel. It is the third book in the Heaven on Earth series. It is the story of Katie Bender, a single Amish schoolteacher, and Seth Stultzman, an Amish man who is visiting family in crisis. A freak tornado wreaks havoc in the town of Hope Falls, and the two are thrust together during efforts to repair. Both Katie and Seth have had their hearts broken in the past, and are reluctant to open themselves up again.
What I found interesting in this story is the focus on good versus evil, with the angel Elias and his enemy Razzen. Also inspiring was the character of Seth's uncle Amos, who after the death of his wife has closed his heart to his faith and community. This is a good book, and it was easy to read quickly. If you are interested in reading the first two in the series (but you could just read An Angel by Her Side alone), they are titled The Promise of an Angel and Brush of Angel's Wings. Also included at the end of the book is a Reading Group Guide.
Posted January 6, 2013
I enjoy Amish fiction, and for me this one did not disappoint. For those unfamiliar with some of the Amish words, there is a glossary at the beginning of the book to refer back to, but if you've read a few Amish stories you'll probably have no issues understanding. I liked Katie's character, and while the story may seem slow at moments, it's all just setting the stage for the story. The hidden battle in the background rears it's ugly head at times throughout the story, but it's not just what the book is about, of course. It also discusses learning disabilities, as Seth's character struggles with dyslexia.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 4, 2013
After losing her fiance in a tragic accident, Katie Bender found solace as well as a vocation in teaching. But when the school is destroyed by a tornado and the community doesn't want to rebuild, Katie's future is questionable. Fortunately, she has an angel by her side.
Upon first picking up this novel, I wasn't sure regarding the combination of Amish and angels. It sounded as though it might be a bit too "Touched by an Angel" for my liking. However, I have to admit that I enjoyed it. The battles between Elias and Razzen added a new depth to the typical Amish novel. And although the ending was predictable, the story made it worthwhile.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. 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 December 23, 2012
A different Amish story, and yet a lot about living your life as Amish. The separation of their Community, and yet the being there for those who are not members.
We experience a lot of good and evil. Katie Bender has suffered a lot of loss in her young life. She has resigned herself to being a teacher, instead of a wife and mother. Then the a tornado destroys her school, along with a lot of their Community.
Seth Stutzman is visiting Hope Falls, he is trying to help his brother-in-law Amos. Seth builds bee hives, but he is also dealing with his demons. Amos is actually shunning his community, and is so bitter.
We find their are evil forces involved, whispering in their ears! Makes you realize where some of those thoughts you personally don't want come from! Especially if you love the Lord.
This book paints these pictures in your mind so that you actually feel like you are part of the battles. We look for Elias, the mighty angel. How lucky they are to have him, he seems to be there when needed.
Will the evil Razzen win? I vote for Elias, but will those hear him and pray?
Loved this book, if you enjoy reading Amish stories, this is a must read.
I received this book through the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze reviewer program, and was not required to give a positive review.
Posted December 20, 2012
I never got the chance to read the first two books in the ‘A Heaven on Earth’ series, but I will definitely pick them up now after reading An Angel by Her Side the 3rd book in the series. Katie Bender and Seth Stutzman are the main characters in the book. Katie has faced allot of heartbreak and tragedy in her short time on this earth, that she felt she never would never recover from, she is also a schoolteacher in the Amish community of Hope Falls.
The day began like any other day for Katie as she was grading papers and the children worked at their desks quietly, than strong winds began to come through the windows and blow her and the children’s papers around so she worked hard at trying to get the windows shut. As they all looked out the windows the children mentioned to Katie that the sky just did not look right, and Katie watched as the sky turned a color unlike she had never seen.
Then a tornado came through and destroyed their community including the schoolhouse in which she worked. Seth arrives in town just days before the tornado hit the small Amish community to offer healing and support to his brother-in-law who is struggling since the recent death of his wife. Katie and Seth end up working side by side to restore their small community when a stranger comes to town that no one knows. In addition, unknown to anyone, he is actually an Angel there to help Katie restore her faith while he watches over Seth as well.
This is a very heartwarming story that you will not want to miss reading. It will make you look at your own heartbreak and faith in a different way; at least it did this for me. I would recommend this book to everyone.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishing via Booksneeze for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.
Posted December 17, 2012
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I couldn't wait to pick up this book! I really enjoyed the first two books in the Heaven on Earth series by Ruth Reid and I knew that this one would be another fantastic read! This author keeps getting better. She perfectly blends the Amish genre in seamlessly with angel fiction and the result is amazing. The second and third book really shows that the author is finding her niche. If you're looking for a great series to read this year then I strongly suggest these books.
About the Story:
Katie Bender is a twenty-nine year old school teacher and borders on "old maid" status in her Amish culture. After the death of her fiancée--Katie accepts that it may not be God's will for her to marry and have children and teaching becomes a passion for her. That is--until the school and her community is hit by a devastating storm that destroys everything in its path.
Seth Stutzman arrived in the community before the storm and as fate would have it--he is the one who helps Katie and her school children escape from the school's storm cellar. His presence in Hope Falls is a mission as well. He is there to help his brother-in-law who is still grieving the loss of his wife. The situation that Seth finds in the home is an emotionally charged train wreck. Amos has become bitter and depressed and his children are also suffering.
Amos has stopped going to church and refuses to help with rebuilding the community. Despite struggling with a hidden learning disability and a dark secret that has destroyed his confidence--Seth is determined to do his part. He jumps in on the relief efforts and finds encouragement in an old man that no one seems to know. Perhaps he is from a neighboring community?
What is unknown to Katie and Seth is that the friendly and helpful old man named Elias is actually an angel. He is watching over Katie and Seth and even Amos--protecting them from the fallen angel, Razzen who is bent on destroying lives and turning this family away from God and away from each other. I particularly enjoyed the struggle and the battle scenes that raged between Razzen and Elias. It is a very interesting and unique concept taking place within the story.
This book was a smashing hit. Once again I was pulled into the community of Hope Falls and hung on every bit of dialogue between the characters and also between the angel and demon. I thought it very interesting that these characters were not your run-of-the-mill-perfect characters that are often presented in books and rather had very real issues. Amos had his depression, Katie was often overbearing and Seth struggles with dyslexia. Very real characters that you can relate to! If you're looking for new Amish fiction to read that is unique--Ruth Reid's Heaven on Earth series is well worth the read!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. 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