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Anna's Crossing

Anna's Crossing

4.7 41
by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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When Anna König first meets Bairn, the Scottish ship carpenter of the Charming Nancy, their encounter is anything but pleasant. Anna is on the ship only to ensure the safe arrival of her loved ones to the New World. Hardened by years of living at sea, Bairn resents toting these naïve farmers—dubbed "Peculiars" by


When Anna König first meets Bairn, the Scottish ship carpenter of the Charming Nancy, their encounter is anything but pleasant. Anna is on the ship only to ensure the safe arrival of her loved ones to the New World. Hardened by years of living at sea, Bairn resents toting these naïve farmers—dubbed "Peculiars" by deckhands—across the ocean. As delays, storms, illness, and diminishing provisions afflict crew and passengers alike, Bairn finds himself drawn to Anna's serene nature. For her part, Anna can't seem to stay below deck and far away from the aloof ship's carpenter, despite warnings.

When an act of sacrifice leaves Anna in a perilous situation, Bairn discovers he may not have left his faith as firmly in the past as he thought. But has the revelation come too late?

Amish fiction favorite Suzanne Woods Fisher brings her fans back to the beginning of Amish life in America with this fascinating glimpse into the first ocean crossing as seen through the eyes of a devout young woman and an irreverent man. Blending the worlds of Amish and historical fiction, Fisher is sure to delight her longtime fans even as she attracts new ones with her superb and always surprise-filled writing.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Veteran Amish romance novelist Fisher (Lancaster County Secrets series) sets the opener of the Amish Beginnings series in a very non-pastoral, non-peaceful location while still infusing it with distinct Amish flavor. In 1737, 19-year-old Anna Konig reluctantly accompanies her extended family and friends from their German village to a voyage across the Atlantic. The Amish community intends to settle part of William Pitt’s land in Pennsylvania, but first they must survive the harsh journey aboard the ship, the Charming Nancy. As she fends off matchmaking efforts from the matrons; attempts to corral the adventurous young Felix, the bishop’s son, whom Anna accompanies on his journey to join his father; and translates between her people and the ship’s crew, Anna befriends Bairn, the kind ship’s carpenter with an intriguing Scottish burr. Their burgeoning relationship faces seemingly impossible obstacles, her devout Amish faith not the least of them. Both must learn to trust God—Anna with the present, Bairn with his past. Faith plays an appropriately vital role in the characters’ development, buoying them through physical dangers and moral dilemmas. Based on true events, this novel is a winner, especially for Amish-fiction enthusiasts. Agent: Joyce Hart, Hartline Literary Agency. (Mar.)
VOYA, April 2015 (Vol. 38, No. 1) - Lindsey Dawson
Nineteen-year-old Anna König does not expect to fall in love when she embarks on a journey from her home of Ixheim, Germany, to America at the insistence of her church’s minister, Christian Muller. She dolefully leaves behind her grandparents and everything she has ever known as she boards the Charming Nancy, a merchant vessel turned into a passenger ship. Given the task of keeping an eye on Felix, a curious and snooping eight-year-old, Anna tries to keep him out of trouble with the ship’s crew. Bairn, the ship’s carpenter who has been hardened by years at sea, begins to take an interest in Felix and Anna. Throughout the voyage, Anna helps Bairn rediscover faith in God, something that he lost long ago. Fisher tells the story through the eyes of three different characters: Anna, Felix, and Bairn. Each character offers a different perspective to give the reader a deeper understanding of the dynamics between all of the ship’s passengers. The author draws from basic facts about the real Charming Nancy to give readers a sense of why immigrants left their homeland to make a transoceanic voyage the New World, and the troubles they withstood along the way. With this foundation of true events, Fisher expertly weaves a captivating fictional plot that leaves readers excited to read on. This novel is a great addition to any library collection as it provides a unique look at life at sea for early Amish immigrants. Just a small note of caution: some of the seamen’s dialect is a bit challenging at times, but necessary for authenticity of the voyage. Reviewer: Lindsey Dawson; Ages 12 to 18.

Product Details

Baker Publishing Group
Publication date:
Amish Beginnings Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

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Anna's Crossing

By Suzanne Woods Fisher


Copyright © 2015 Suzanne Woods Fisher
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2319-4


April 15th, 1737

It's a hard crossing, they'd been warned. Eight weeks in a wooden tub with no guarantee they'd ever get there. Anna König crouched beside a bed of roses, breathing deeply of the freshly turned loam. She had done all she could to avoid this treacherous sea journey, and yet here she was, digging up her rose to take along with her. She jabbed her shovel in the ground, mulling all the reasons this voyage was fraught with ill.

It meant leaving behind her grandparents, her home, her church in Ixheim, Germany. Her people. It would be the end of everything she'd ever known and loved.

"Some endings are really beginnings," her grandfather had said when she told him that Christian Müller, the minister, asked—no, insisted—she join the departing families. "If you don't remember anything I've ever tried to teach you, remember that."

Despite misgivings and forebodings, Anna relented. How do you say no to a minister? She was the only one who could speak and understand English. And that's why she was stabbing the earth with her shovel, digging up her most precious rose to take on the journey, hoping that the hard winter and late-to-come spring meant its roots would still be dormant. If she was going to go to this strange New World, she was going to bring this rose. And she was going. Tomorrow.

Tomorrow! The crack of doom in that one word.

Anna had begged her grandparents to join the emigrating group, but they wouldn't budge. "It's a young man's sport, that sea journey," her grandfather said, shaking his head, ending the discussion. She couldn't argue that point. The voyage was filled with risks and dangers and uncertainties, especially for the very young and very old.

Anna sat back on her heels and looked around. In a few years, who would be left in Ixheim? Who would care for her grandparents in their final days? Who would bury them and tend their graves? Tears welled, and she tried to will them away, squeezing her eyes shut.

This little valley that hugged the Rhine River was supposed to be their home, for good, for always. Here, they had tried to live in peace, keeping to themselves in secluded hills and valleys, where they could farm the land and their sheep could graze and they could go about their daily life of work and worship without worry or hassle. This valley was dear to her, peaceful and pastoral.

Yet beneath the surface, life had started to change. A new baron held the Amish in disdain; much of the old conviviality of the village was disappearing. It was time to leave, the bishop had decided, before tensions escalated as they had in Switzerland, years ago.

Carefully, Anna wrapped the root ball of the dug-up rose in burlap. She glanced around the garden filled with her grandmother's roses. Their survival was a testament to her people's story: roots that adapted to whatever soil they were transplanted into, thorns that bespoke of the pain they bore, blossoms each spring that declared God's power to bring new life from death. As long as the roses survived, her grandmother said, so would our people. Her grandfather would scoff and call her a superstitious old woman, but Anna understood what she meant. The roses were a living witness to survival.

The sounds of hooting and hollering boys stormed into her thoughtful moment. She caught sight first of eight-yearold Felix, galloping toward her, followed by his older brother Johann. Felix frightened the chickens that scratched at the dirt in the garden, scattering them in a squawking cloud of flapping wings and molting feathers.

"A letter from Papa!" Felix shouted.

Behind him came Johann, holding his father's letter in the air, red faced and breathing hard from the exertion of climbing the hill. His eyes, bright from anticipation, fastened on Anna's face. "My father wrote there are twice as many immigrants leaving for Port Philadelphia this year as last. And last year was three times as many as the year before. He said we must make haste to join him in Penn's Woods and settle the land."

"Just think, Anna. Deer, turkey, rabbits, all easy to obtain. And with a little more effort—" he pretended to aim and shoot a rifle at an imaginary beast—"elk and wild boar to put up for winter provisions." Naturally, Johann, at age thirteen, knew everything.

But Anna, practical and skeptical and older than Johann by six years, held a different point of view. "I hear that the New World is a land of poisonous snakes, lions, tigers. And black bears and mountain lions. Gray wolves sweep down from the mountains in packs." A wolf pack frightened her most of all. When the wolves here grew desperate for food, they would attack her woollies.

Johann wasn't listening. He never listened to her objections about America. "Good water springs, lumber for building cabins."

"I've heard stories that settlers have seen red men. Many times."

Johann shook his head as he came up to Anna in the rose garden. "Friendly Indians. Curious ones. Fascinated with shiny brass kitchen kettles and knickknacks. Papa said he has found a place for us to settle." His eyes took on a faraway look and she knew he was off in his head to America to join his father. Jacob Bauer, the bishop of their church, had gone ahead to the New World last spring, to claim land and purchase warrants for those who intended to join him this year.

Anna turned to Felix and couldn't hold back a grin. A riot of curly hair peeped from beneath a tattered black felt hat, blue eyes sparkled with excitement, and a big smile showed more spaces than teeth.

The Bauer boys were like brothers to her. Felix was round and sturdy, with carrot red hair that matched his temperament. Johann, blond and thin, had never been hale and was afflicted with severe asthma. His heart and body might not be strong, that Johann, but his mind made up for it. What he carried around in that head of his was what mattered.

Now Felix was another story. Two black crows cackled from a nearby tree and he stared at them with a distant look in his eyes. "There's a crow's nest on the ship that's so high, you can see the curve of the earth."

Smiling inside, Anna said to him, "It's really that high?"

"Even higher." With a sweep of his hand Felix showed the curve of the earth. "Johann told me so."

Anna didn't know where Johann got his information. He'd had no schooling and owned no books except the Bible, but he knew all sorts of things. Solid-gold facts, he called them. She delighted in each nugget, whether true or not.

Then the twinkle in Felix's eyes faded. "It's a great pity I won't be able to find out for myself."

"The Bakers changed their mind and aren't going, so Felix wants to stay behind too," Johann explained. "That means that Catrina Müller is the only one aboard close to Felix's age."

Felix's scowl deepened. "I'm not going if I have to be stuck on a ship with her. I'll stay here and live with the Bakers."

"I don't think you have much of a choice, Felix." Nor do I. Anna would never voice it aloud, but she dreaded the thought of spending the next few months in confined quarters with Catrina and her mother, Maria. Those two had a way of draining the very oxygen from the air. She set down her shovel. "Is your mother ready to go?"

Felix shrugged. "She's packing dishes into barrels."

"She must be eager to see your father."

He tilted his head. "She's humming. That's good. She wants to see Papa." Then he took off running along the narrow sheep's trail that led up the hill.

"I wish I could find a reason to go. Better yet, to stay."

"Change is coming, Anna," Johann said with annoying professorial patience. "It's in the air. We can't stay here and live like sheep in a pasture."

Anna looked up at the hillside. "I like sheep."

He crossed his arms in a stubborn pose. "I mean there is a whole new world out there. Just think of the mountains and valleys and unknown places we'll see."

"Filled with savages and the beasts. Your father has said as much in his letters."

"He also says there is land waiting for us which has never before been claimed, surveyed, or deeded. Land, Anna. We can live in safety. We can own land."

"Maybe there's no place that's truly safe for us."

He shook his head hard. "That's not what William Penn said. He offered a place where we can go and live in peace."

Johann didn't understand. He was moving toward someone—his father. His mother and brother would be traveling with him. Anna was moving away from those she loved. "My grandmother says it's wicked to want more than you have. She wants to just stay put and thank God."

Johann laughed. "Your grandmother is a frightened old lady who's had a hard life. Doesn't mean you should be scared of new things."

"I'm not." Yes, I am.

"Everything changes. That's the way of life. This Greek fellow Heraclitus said there is nothing permanent except change, and I think he was right." He leaned forward and whispered in a conspiratorial voice, "Your grandmother has made Maria promise to find you a husband in the New World. She said that Ixheim has only old toothless men and young toothless boys." He lifted his voice an octave or two, warbling, to mimic her grandmother. "Anna must have Her Chance! She is pushing twenty without a man in sight."

Anna laid the rose in her basket and stood, sobered by the thought. With each passing birthday, her grandmother grew increasingly distressed. The New World, she decided, was Anna's only hope to find a like-minded bachelor.

Johann was watching her carefully, and then his eyes took on that teasing look of his. "If there's no one in the New World who passes Maria's muster, and if you don't mind holding off a few years, I suppose I could marry you."

She laughed then, and her mood shifted instantly from solemn to lighthearted, as it always did when she was around Johann. "I'll keep such a heartwarming proposal in mind."

"With fair wind and God's favor," Johann said, with his usual abundance of optimism, "we'll reach Port Philadelphia by the end of July."

When Anna pointed out that he was basing that assumption on all conditions being ideal and how rarely things ever turned out that way, he rolled his eyes in exasperation. "It's God's will. Of that my father and Christian have no doubt."

And how does anyone object to that? How in the world?

He wiggled his eyebrows and winked at her, then hurried up the hillside to join Felix, who was already on the top, to reach the shortcut that took them back to their house. Midway up the hill, Johann stopped and bent over to catch his breath. When he topped the hill, he turned and doffed his hat at her, flourishing it before him as if he were going to sweep the floor. She grinned, and then her grin faded as he disappeared down the other side of the hill and she was left with only her worries for company.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow!

Like it or not, the journey would begin. They would travel down the Rhine River to Rotterdam, board the vessel a shipping agent had arranged as passage for them, and then they'd be off to the New World.

Anna stretched her back and moved out of the shade to feel the afternoon sun on her face. The muscles in her arms and shoulders ached from spearing the shovel into the cold earth, but it was a pleasant ache. She'd always loved working outside, much more than she did the washing and cooking and keeping up of the house, the woman's work. The drudgery, she thought, and quickly sent an apology to the Lord for her ungrateful heart.

A furious honking of geese in the sky disrupted her reverie. Heading north for summer, she presumed. Her gaze traveled up the green hillside dotted with ruffs of gray wool. Her woollies, each one known to her by name. Her heart was suddenly too full for words as she let her gaze roam lovingly over the land she knew as home: over the rounded haystacks, the neat lambing sheds, the creek that ran almost the year round. The steep hills that brought an early sunset in summer and broke the wind in winter. It grieved her that she wouldn't be here this year for spring, as the lambs came and the wool was sheared and the ewes were mated and then the lambs would come again. She gazed at the hills, trying to engrave it in her memory. Where would she be next spring? She wondered what home would look like, feel like, smell like. She glanced down at her basket and gripped the leather handle, hard. At least she had her rose. If it survived, so would she.

A few hours later, Anna heard the whinny of a horse and came out of the house to see who was driving up the path. She shielded her eyes from the sun and saw Christian Müller on a wagon seat, Felix beside him.

Why would Felix be riding with their minister?

She noticed the somber look on Christian's usually cheerful face, the way Felix's small head was bowed. She crossed her arms, gripping her elbows. The wind, raw and cold, twisted her skirts around her legs. Something's wrong.

There came a stillness as if the whole world were holding its breath.

Let it be nothing, she entreated silently, let it be another meeting tonight to talk about the journey, or to let her know that Johann stopped to visit a friend. Let it be something silly. With every squeak of the wheels, she felt the lump in her throat grow bigger, the apprehension build.

A gust of wind swirled up the hill, flapping Anna's dress like a sheet on a clothesline, whipping the strings of her prayer cap against her neck, and she shivered.

Christian hauled back on the reins and set the brake on the wagon. Slowly, he climbed down and waited beside the wagon, bearded chin on his chest. Felix jumped off the seat and threw his arms around Anna's waist, shuddering with sobs.

Anna's gaze moved over Christian's pale face. Behind him, in the back of the wagon, was the shape of a body, covered by a gray wool blanket.

"Christian, who is it?" An icy feeling started in Anna's stomach and traveled up her spine. "C-Christian?" she whispered again, her eyes wide, her throat hot and tight. It was then she saw tears running down Christian's cheeks. The awful reality started to hit her full force and she pressed a fist to her lips. Dear God, she thought. Dear God, how can this be?

Christian turned away with his chin tucked down, then, almost lovingly, gently folded back the top of the blanket. His eyes lifted to meet hers. "The Lord has seen fit to take our young Johann from us."


Excerpted from Anna's Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher. Copyright © 2015 Suzanne Woods Fisher. Excerpted by permission of Revell.
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.

Meet the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Lancaster County Secrets series, the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She is also the coauthor of an Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner for The Search, a Carol Award finalist for The Choice, and a Christy Award finalist for The Waiting. She is also a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

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Anna's Crossing 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this an intetesting read albeit a bit slow in parts. It is hard to comprehend, just what these people endured.
LucyMR1 29 days ago
I loved the historical facts mixed in with the fictional characters to create a vivid story of what life must have been like on an overcrowded ship sailing to a New World for religious freedom. The written word is almost magical in that you can taste the salt water and imagine the vile stench and relief when rain fell. The heartbreak makes you cry and the unexpected joy in the midst is amazing. The characters are real with scars both physical and mental, but with an undeniable faith in God. This is a book that pulls on your heartstrings and speaks to your heart at the same time. I give it five hearts instead of five stars. I won a copy of Anna's Crossing from the author in a giveaway. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
faithsnana 4 months ago
Suzanne Woods Fisher does a great job writing a historical account of members of the Amish church in Ixheim, Germany making their way to America in 1737. Ms Fisher keeps you captivated with the lives of Anna, who went reluctantly because she was the only one to speak English, and the other members, the antics of young Felix Bauer, and the crew of the Charming Nancy, especially Bairn the carpenter, during the long trip across the Atlantic in less than desirable conditions. There were also a couple of surprises along the way. One young wife failed to mention that she was expecting for fear she and her husband wouldn’t be allowed to make the trip. There wasn’t a doctor or midwife amongst them…Anna had to deliver the baby. She’d never done that before. How did mother and baby fare? Another surprise is the real identity of the ship’s carpenter Bairn. Read this well-written story of these brave Amish men, women, and children, and life on the Charming Nancy.
GrandaddyA 5 months ago
I believe this is the first story I have read about any of the early colonists crossing the Atlantic Ocean to start a new life in the New World. I studied the subject matter in school but the textbooks skimmed the surface. What little I knew about the subject dealt primarily with the Pilgrims and the first settlers to arrive in Jamestown. Very little was said about the settling of Pennsylvania although Philadelphia had a key role later in the eighteenth century. Aside from comments that the journey was challenging and many died, I don’t recall hearing details about what made it so difficult. This story is fiction but the author sought to make the details of what the passengers endured to make the voyage as authentic as possible. Suzanne Woods Fisher is a masterful author who writes in a way that draws the reader into the story with all five senses fully engaged. Frankly, I am glad that I was not really there even though I almost felt that I was. For one who so desperately wanted to stay in Germany, Anna showed far more strength of character than most of the other passengers and crew. She was not perfect but she had a goal and kept focused on surviving in order to fulfill that goal. Young Felix kept things lively with his constant meanderings all over the ship and his penchant for getting into mischief. Bairn seemed to be a mystery even to himself at times, but he seemed well-suited for his job. Several other characters helped to keep the story moving as key events unfolded. The strong faith of the Peculiars, as many called the early Amish and Mennonites, was the foundation that played a key role in the story. Even if you are not into romance stories, I recommend you read this book to get a better understanding of what many of our forefathers went through to come to this land we call home.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Moonpie72 More than 1 year ago
So many Amish fiction books are set in the present time. This one is unique in that it is historical Amish fiction. The Charming Nancy was a real ship that actually crossed the Atlantic in 1737 with a group of Amish and Mennonite believers coming to America. They sailed from Rotterdam in April and arrived in Philadelphia in October of the same year. A 7 month voyage! Traveling by ship during that time was no walk in the park! It was fraught with danger and suffering. Many ships and their occupants perished. A frightening fact that those who sailed knew was real possibility. There was lack of provisions, illness; great discomfort, and death, many of them children. The passengers rode beneath the ship with little fresh air or daylight. A walk on the deck was a rare treat, due to the hazards involved. With them in their tight quarters were all their belongings and animals. Vomiting from sea sickness and the stench of urine and feces was unbearable. Sickness and disease spread quickly in the unsanitary conditions. The Amish/ Mennonites faced even more hardships. They were ridiculed, discriminated against, and taken advantage of financially. Greedy captains charged outrageous prices for food, and passage. In addition they grossly overcrowded the ship with no thought of the safety or comfort of the passengers. Few were able to speak English. This is just a small part of what Anna, her family and fellow believers faced. Add to this these innocent, God fearing people had been in little contact with the world. Now they were thrown head first into it with unscrupulous people and bawdy sailors. A culture shock to say the least! Ms. Fisher does an incredible job of allowing the reader to join these pilgrims on their journey. Her descriptiveness is vivid. My chest tightened and I held my breath at times reading about their experiences. This was definitely and eye-opener! With all the history and detail the author weaves an exciting and personal story of the characters she has created. There are many surprises along the way. A must read! After reading an excerpt included at the end, of Ms. Fisher’s upcoming book, The Imposter, I anxiously await its publication. It will be a first in her new series, The Bishop’s Family. I received this book free from Revell Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have stated are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PatGMoore More than 1 year ago
This is a Christian Historical Romance with a twist. This book is about the hardships that the Amish and Mennonites go through as they travel to the New World. You will shed a few tears and this book will touch your heart. I felt like I was on the ship, cramped two families in one room, below deck where the ride is the roughest. Anna reluctantly sets sail on the Charming Nance along side other Amish and Mennonites. She wanted to stay behind with her grandparents in Germany. The Bishop degrees that she has to go with them as she is the only one in the village that can communicate in English and help everyone that is going. "Anna's Crossing" will touch your heart with the hardships, the tragedies, illnesses, deaths and learning about the problems they face as they head to a new country. Through out the journey the people cling to their faith and their hope for a new home and a new freedom to worship without fear. No one asked me to leave a review of this book. I bought it and whenever a book touches me in the way this one did, I have to leave a review. If you love reading about the Amish and Mennonites then you will love this about some of the first families that came to America to settle. There is a lot of history mixed in with the fiction. When a book brings tears to my eyes, I know its a good book. Suzanne Woods Fisher is one of my very favorite authors. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A young Amish girl leaves her country and grandparents behind to sail with her Amish community across the Atlantic Ocean to join her father in Pennsylvania.  It was an arduous trip that lasted 83 days and tested their faith and endurance.  A wonderfully descriptive novel of a young girl struggling to make a new life in a new country.
Baranski1987 More than 1 year ago
Anna’s Crossing (An Amish Beginnings Novel), By: Suzanne Woods Fisher Suzanne Woods Fisher has written an excellent book! This is her best book yet I think! Anna’s Crossing is a wonderful combination of both Amish and historical fiction. It is a very refreshing twist on both types of fiction. This is a book that grabbed hold of me from the start and didn’t let go until the very end. I felt as though I was experiencing what the characters were in the book. The description and details used in the story were so well written. A very moving story. I am so looking forward to reading more books like this. There was lots of action, adventure, mischievousness, trials, pain, and heartache in this breathtaking story. So be sure to set your sails and get ready to enjoy the captivating adventure through this wonderful story. Be sure that you get your copy of this book. Remember it also makes a great gift. 5 stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am sorry to say that I did not enjoy this book as much as I have her others. It was very hard for me to get pulled into this story. I guess I just prefer the more up to date, peaceful love stories that I have come to know and love. I've never been much of a history buff per se, and it's not that the book was bad, just not my taste. I was glad in the end I borrowed from a friend and didn't purchase.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
skappelman1 More than 1 year ago
Wonderful, wholesome story.  Very interesting read!
poochiepepper More than 1 year ago
Love the book!! The research Suzanne had to do on the crossing is amazing. I did not realize what the Amish and others had to go through on crossing the Atlantic Ocean. and I know this must be a very soft version. I wasn't sure how the story would unfold but really liked it. Several twists keeps everything interesting. I think this is the author's best book by far and I loved all the books.
Shay14 More than 1 year ago
"Their survival was a testament to her people's story: roots that adapted to whatever soil they were transplanted into, thorns that bespoke of the pain they bore, blossoms each spring that declared God's power to bring new life from death... The roses were a living witness to survival." Not having ever read a books by Suzanne Woods Fisher before, I really enjoyed this story. The ebb and flow of the plot kept me engaged. The description of life for the German "Peculiars" on the boat fascinated me. I cannot imagine being jammed into the lower hold of a ship for 83 days. The stench alone would have drowned me. Anna is such a strong, gentle woman. Her quiet, yet fiercely protective nature is what draws the reader to her. The way in which she views life holds me in awe. In fact, the way the Amish view life in general awes me. I know they are human just like us, but their humble spirits teach me a lot. Bairn, at first, seemed like a cold, scary kind of man. As the story progressed, though, we see a different side of him come out, one that I liked very much. The message of the story was the best part. As you can see from the quotes I've pulled, Suzanne is trying to get across the point of God's sustaining grace. No matter what the situation is, God can bring you through it if you just ask. "Even in the midst of great gales, they could know peace." "Broken expectations aren't meant to crush our hopes, but to free us to put our confidence in God alone. They aren't meant to make us give up, but look up." Overall, I really enjoyed this novel, and look forward to the next one in this series! *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the Revell Reads blogging program in exchange for my honest review.*
lindamoffitt02 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy reading Amish fiction books and this was one that I did enjoy. Well written with a good story. I don't normally like historical reads but this was still an interesting story. 
VicG More than 1 year ago
Suzanne Woods Fisher in her new book, “Anna’s Crossing” published by Revell introduces us to Anna König . From the back cover: Some endings are really beginnings . . . On a hot day in 1737 in Rotterdam, Anna König reluctantly sets foot on the Charming Nancy, a merchant ship that will carry her and her fellow Amish believers across the Atlantic to start a new life. As the only one in her community who can speak English, she feels compelled to go. But Anna is determined to complete this journey and return home–assuming she survives. She’s heard horrific tales of ocean crossings and worse ones of what lay ahead in the New World. But fearfulness is something Anna has never known. Ship’s carpenter Bairn resents the somber people–dubbed Peculiars by the deckhands–who fill the lower deck of the Charming Nancy. All Bairn wants to do is to put his lonely past behind him, but that irksome and lovely lass Anna and her people keep intruding on him. Delays, storms, illness, and diminishing provisions test the mettle and patience of everyone on board. When Anna is caught in a life-threatening situation, Bairn makes a discovery that shakes his entire foundation. But has the revelation come too late? Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the beginning of Amish life in America with this fascinating glimpse into the first ocean crossing–and the lives of two intrepid people who braved it. The Amish. Say what you will, good or bad, you do have to admit they are an interesting group. Now, for the first time, Ms. Fisher explores the beginnings of The Amish here in America. This is a fascinating study of a very determined group of people and the extreme hardships they had to endure. Ocean crossings, Life-threatening situations, illness and romance, these are all ingredients in this highly entertaining story. Suzanne Woods Fisher writes an interesting story that moves along at a remarkably brisk pace. Ms. Fisher has a lot of characters to work with and she provides an excellent story for them to grow in. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell. 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.”
WildflowerMom More than 1 year ago
Wow, what a great story! Christian historical fiction fans will not want to miss this well-written tale of a group of German immigrants and their perilous journey to the New World set in 1737, based on real events. Details of life on a ship, interactions between the crew and passengers, and many dangers along the way are vividly described, making it easy to imagine the scenes. The story is told through the experiences of Anna, Bairn and Felix, who see everything quite differently. Anna's sincere Christian faith blesses everyone around her, as she tries to lovingly help others, even her enemies. Lively young Felix thinks that the whole trip is one big adventure, sometimes too curious for his own good. Bairn, the ship's carpenter, gives the whole story the perspective of a noble character, one who has suffered through hardships, but still kind and reaching for truth. He's like a fair-haired Horatio Hornblower--very swoony. His struggle of faith and friendship with Anna were what drew me in the most. Interesting story, historical details, good characters, a little romance, and unexpected plot twists make this a great read, even for someone like me who doesn't read Amish fiction. One of my favorite reads so far this year. Recommend!
Charity_Andrews More than 1 year ago
I am going to be very honest here. I don’t usually read any books about the Amish people. It’s for a couple of reasons. First of all, I haven’t read one I ever liked before. Secondly, while I love the way they watch out for each other and live a simple life, it seems to me that they’re more concerned with works than they are the heart. I usually find it to be too harsh. So, when I was given this book to review, I really questioned whether or not I would like it. I was PLEASANTLY surprised to find that it is well written. This book held my attention, had a great storyline, and it was extremely researched. The history and knowledge that went into this book was phenomenal. I mean, really!! The story centers around Anna (and some Amish and Mennonite families) crossing the ocean to have religious freedom in America in 1737. It really is a story of redemption and shows 1 Peter 3:1,2 in a wonderful light. (Well, it wasn’t exactly a woman winning over her husband, but you get the idea.) Her innocent and passionate love for her Savior won the hardened heart of another. So, Suzanne! You have managed to win me over (: The kindness of Anna in this book won my heart. Also, the knowledge of you spending quite a bit of time with the Amish people, thus knowing their hearts, has given me a completely new perspective. Thank you, Revell, for giving me this book. As always, this is my honest review!! Here’s to many more!!!
PianoLady831 More than 1 year ago
Anna's Crossing, a story about the first Atlantic crossing for the Amish in 1737, is such an impressive novel on many levels - character driven with flowing prose and a moving storyline that engages the emotions. Fascinating historical depth forms the backdrop for a story that not only entertained and informed, but left me with much upon which to reflect.  One thing I've always admired about Suzanne's stories is the interaction between Amish and English as the Amish live out their faith, and that's exactly what she does here. Pulled away from the peaceful rural settings we've come to expect in Amish fiction, most of the action takes place on board the Charming Nancy as it sails for Port Philadelphia - but the ship's name is a little deceptive because there wasn't much "charm" about the situation on board. I appreciate Suzanne's desire to research this period of Amish history and flesh out a story around their sacrifice and commitment to reach an unknown land where they could worship in peace. Anna and Bairn are memorable characters that readers can't help but be drawn to. Anna is a wholesome and humble, yet with a spark of assertiveness that serves everyone around her well. With a faith that never wavered during rough times, she is an inspiration to us all. Bairn is a more complicated character - kind and tenderhearted toward Anna and young Felix, yet past experiences led to disillusionment with God and all that remained was a drive to work hard in order to grow rich. Roses play a beautiful and important part in Anna's Crossing, which is actually the back story to the recently-published Christmas at Rose Hill Farm that centers around a "lost" rose. Anna reflects that the survival of her grandmother's roses "was a testament to her people's story: roots that adapted to whatever soil they were transplanted into, thorns that bespoke of the pain they bore, blossoms each spring that declared God's power to bring new life from death. As long as the roses survived, her grandmother said, so would our people." One of the strengths of this story is that is shows how, while being out of their comfort zone and in an unfriendly environment, they were still effective witnesses through their sacrifice, putting needs of others ahead of themselves, and completely trusting in God's provision - and that has to speak to us today. Anna's Crossing vividly reminds me of the fact that our lives are but one thread in God's tapestry - and that, although we can't see the whole tapestry and might question why certain things are happening, God never leaves our side. As Anna so beautifully expressed, "Even in the midst of great gales, they could know peace." There's a lovely twist toward the end that gave me chills because it was such a beautiful visual of how God is always working to orchestrate things for our good - and it made me pause to reflect on the many things I've experienced for which there could be no explanation but God. To say I'm eager to read the next book in this series is putting it mildly! Anna's Crossing is a story that I believe will appeal to all readers. Highly recommended. Thank you to Revell for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ever wonder where the Amish came from? Before horse and buggies, bonnets and plows were anachronistic … Were the Amish still peculiar? In Anna’s Crossing, Suzanne Woods Fisher takes us back to a time very close to the beginnings of the Anabaptist sect, known as the Amish. As we cross the Atlantic with the reluctant Anna Konig on-board the Charming Nancy in 1737, Fisher exposes us to both the perils of their sea journey and the faith that still sets the Amish apart. I’m uncertain how to categorize this novel. While definitely historical, romantic and fiction about the Amish, it is not what is generally labelled Amish fiction. At least not in my mind. Lovers of Amish fiction will enjoy all they love about the genre in this title. Yet, historical fiction lovers get the ultimate surprise–well-researched detail seamlessly delivered in exquisite story-telling. And then, there’s the romance. If you don’t like a tender love story, be warned. This is a lovely romance indeed.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
Anna’s Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher is not your usual Amish story. This story takes place in 1737 where we find a group of Amish and Mennonite communities preparing to leave on a ship from Germany to the New World. They have decided to travel to Penn’s Woods so that they may have the freedom to worship as they see fit. I enjoy sea faring tales a great deal, and this one takes place for the most part on the ship known as the Charming Nancy. This was a very in depth story of their lives at sea, particularly that of Anna Konig and her community of Amish. This story is not for the faint of heart as it does mention some of man’s inhumanity to man, especially on slavers, and the hardships these emigrants braved to come to the New World. This story has a lovely romance, familial love, and shows a strong community. I was also quite surprised at some of the major revelations this story revealed for our characters. Ms. Fisher has done her homework with the historical detail she gives this story and includes some of the actual history of this ship and its voyage in her author’s notes. I really enjoyed this story and I hope that there might be a sequel. I received my copy for an honest review from Revell, and the opinions stated are my own.
MysM More than 1 year ago
I received a free ebook copy of this novel from the publisher Revell Reads at Baker Publishing in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour. Anna's Crossing was a delightfully compelling read. An historical fiction told in the form of a log or journal, this tells of the dangerous and thrilling sea journey from the old world to the new for a group of Amish Germans who are seeking to own their own land and to worship in peace. Leaving the persecution and vindictiveness of what amounts to a feudal system behind them (where the Baron overlord metes out his brand of "justice" as he sees fit), a group of about 28 families sets out for Rotterdam where they occupy the stinking lower deck of the Charming Nancy along with even more families of Mennonites. They suffer delays, sailors' superstitions, extortions and swindles due to their unworldliness, and illness and storms in their 28 days at sea as they seek to live their faith freely. Anna is travelling closely with two other families -- Dorothea Bauer whose children have been like brothers to Anna and whose husband has gone ahead to Port Philadelphia in order to purchase land for them, and Christian and Mary Müller, Christian being the group's minister and his wife, Mary, being the complaining, interfering busybody of their community. Just before they leave, one of the Bauer boys, Johann, is buried, having died from a whipping he received at the hands of the Baron for being caught trespassing. Anna is torn between the two worlds -- she doesn't want to leave her grandparents and the village where she has lived her whole life and she is afraid of what lies ahead -- but Christian needs her interpretation skills. And "how do you say no to a minister?" She carries with her the rose bush that Hans Bauer had given her before leaving for the new world with his father  -- with her grandmother's wisdom clearly in her mind -- "as long as the roses survived . . . so would our people". And also with her grandfather's more prosaic and enigmatic advice, "some endings are really beginnings". Felix Bauer is wildly enthusiastic about the ship. Despite warnings to stay below decks, the exuberant 8-year-old has very soon won allies among the crew and is allowed to wander the ship -- lending a hand, poking his nose in where it shouldn't go, and picking up English (some of which would definitely shock his mother), as well as other things found lying around, and even climbing the rigging. Because his mother is listless and grieving still for Johann, it is left to Anna to watch over Felix -- a trying task, to be sure. And, because Anna is needed to translate for Christian, she is finding herself often in the company of the young, handsome ship's carpenter, 3rd in command of the vessel, Bairn, who trusts and cares for no-one but himself. Or does he? Something from his past lies just beneath the surface, haunting and taunting him. And something about Anna both disturbs and intrigues him. The stories of shipboard conditions in the mid-1700s are familiar history to most of us (Roots, Amistad, history at school) but Fisher has created a vivid scene of scents and relationships, trials and circumstances that leap off the page and draw the reader in. One feels able to visualize the ship as well as Felix knows his way around it. You can taste the salt spray and hear the thunder, feel the wariness of the crew around the "peculiar people" at first, and sense the apprehension of Bairn about the sturdiness of the vessel, packed to the coaming and overdue for a refit. Added to the tension is Georg Schultz, the Neulander (recruiter) whose leering presence greatly disturbs Anna, and who holds some unknown claim over Bairn. When they encounter the deathly stench of a slave ship, their faith and unwavering adherence to doing God's will tests them and causes Bairn to question his denial of the existence of a loving God. He finds he must face his past, and find peace -- with himself and with God. I felt the same draw to the ship as Felix experienced and was happy to see the glossary of terms for historical ships. The author's note at the end explained what few facts there were to base this novel on and how certain decisions were made that I found added a lot to my appreciation of the novel, as did the book club discussion questions that I thought would really increase the enjoyment this well-thought-out story. Fisher has a true grasp of life at sea and a gift for dialogue and description that made this a very fast, enjoyable read.
LitWinner More than 1 year ago
I’ve always loved both fiction and non-fiction books detailing how America’s settlers arrived in this country. Anna’s Crossing offered just the sort of story I was hoping for, but also had the added bonus of Amish characters, which I always enjoy. Once the passengers were on their way, I was engrossed with whether these people would make it to the New World. I appreciate that the author kept it real, talking about some very painful losses that occurred across the voyage. While this story is fiction, I’m sure many other ships like the Charming Nancy held just as many sad stories. What was even more interesting was reading Bairn’s thoughts as he tried to understand how the Peculiars could believe so strongly in their God. I’ve often wondered the very same thing about similar extremist religions, so I could really identify with Bairn. I loved reading about life on the ship for both the crew and passengers. For those of us who have barely been on a boat, I really would have enjoyed having a basic layout of what the Charming Nancy would have looked like to refer to. It would have been helpful to know where the little boy Felix kept hiding. Another nice aspect in this particular book was the crisis. Usually it’s pretty painful to read and you wonder how the characters will continue on past whatever blow they’ve been dealt. I felt it wasn’t quite as harsh in this story. It’s not that the story was weak, more like it seemed the author gave us hope, even in the middle of the dilemma. I do wish I could know what happened as the passengers disembarked but I guess I’ll find out in the next book, which I will definitely be reading. I have read many of Suzanne Woods Fisher’s novels and they just keep getting better. I also probably keep saying that each one is my new favorite – Anna’s Crossing is no different. If you like reading about those who came to settle America and their voyage, I invite you to pick this up. If you have tried Amish fiction in the past and enjoyed it, I think you would also like this book. I received a copy of this book to review as part of the Revell Reads program but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.