Living in Harmony

( 15 )

Overview

Living in Harmony is the first book in bestselling author Mary Ellis's New Beginnings series. It's about fresh starts and love...and how faith in God and His perfect plan for our lives provides us with the peace and joy we desire.

Amy King?young, engaged, and Amish?faces difficult challenges in her life when she suddenly loses both of her parents in a house fire. Her fiance? John Detweiler, persuades her and her sister Nora to leave Lancaster County and make a new beginning with...

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Living in Harmony

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Overview

Living in Harmony is the first book in bestselling author Mary Ellis's New Beginnings series. It's about fresh starts and love...and how faith in God and His perfect plan for our lives provides us with the peace and joy we desire.

Amy King—young, engaged, and Amish—faces difficult challenges in her life when she suddenly loses both of her parents in a house fire. Her fianceé John Detweiler, persuades her and her sister Nora to leave Lancaster County and make a new beginning with him in Harmony, Maine, where he has relatives who can help the women in their time of need.

John's brother Thomas and sister-in-law Sally readily open their home to the three newcomers. Wise beyond his years, Thomas, a minister in the district, refuses to marry Amy and John upon their arrival, suggesting instead a period of adjustment and counseling. During this time Amy discovers an aunt who was shunned. She wishes to reconnect with her, but this puts a strain on her relationship with John.

Can John and Amy find a way to live in happily in Harmony before making a lifetime commitment to one another?

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  • Living in Harmony
    Living in Harmony  

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Amy and Nora King lose both of their parents in a fire. Amy's fiancé, John Detweiler, convinces the sisters to travel with him to Harmony, ME. They are welcomed by John's brother and sister-in-law, who belong to a strict Amish sect. When the sisters learn of an aunt who was shunned, they want to get to know her, but John and his family don't think it's a good idea. VERDICT Ellis is known for her Amish fiction, particularly her Miller family series. The series debut doesn't quite live up to her previous works. The plot moves slowly, even for Amish fiction, and not all of the characters are entirely likable. Still, Ellis's fans will want to pick it up, so libraries with strong Amish collections should purchase.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780736938662
  • Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/1/2012
  • Series: New Beginnings Series , #1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 379,337
  • Product dimensions: 12.90 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Ellis is the bestselling author of many books, including A Widow's Hope, An Amish Family Reunion, and Living in Harmony. She and her husband live in central Ohio, where they try to live a simpler style of life.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

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(12)

4 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2012

    Highly Recommended ! You must check it out !

    This was my first time reading any Mary Ellis novels and I have to say it was terrific ! I could not put it down. It's a beautifully written story about an Amish family. Ms. Ellis' research was very informative. I would also highly recommend it to book clubs ! Discussion questions could center around the Amish way of life, the similarities and differences between the main characters..... the 2 sisters and the sister-in-law, and the 2 brothers,choices made by each of them in the story, etc. Am looking forward to reading more of Ms. Ellis' books !

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2013

    Wonderful book

    I loved this book. Great story and the people are so real. I am going to read the 2nd book soon. It also looks good. Enjoy

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  • Posted September 11, 2012

    I recently had the privilege of reading Living in Harmony, by Ma

    I recently had the privilege of reading Living in Harmony, by Mary Ellis. What a great book. I highly recommend it to people who love a great women’s fiction read. It is an Amish book, but the elements of Amish living are secondary compared to the Biblical truths that Mary so lovingly and sweetly weaves throughout the story. It is one of those books that makes you think not just about the characters, but also the main message that the author wants to teach through fiction.

    It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the heroine, Amy, in this story. However, I have to say that I equally loved the secondary characters as well. I was rooting for the entire family from the time I was introduced to them. The only person I had a hard time connecting with was Amy’s fiancee and I definitely was not as quick to forgive him as she was, which says more to me about my character than it does about John.

    As I was reading the book, I kept thinking about John’s brother and his wife, Thomas and Sally. I couldn’t believe that Thomas could have that much patience not only for his wayward brother, Elam, but for his wife, their children Jeremiah and Aden, John and Amy, as well as Amy’s sister, Nora. Usually in Amish books, a minister in the district is seen as rigid, strict, and overbearing and Thomas was none of those characteristics. He was loving, kind, gentle, and oh-so patient with others as they found their way in life. He didn’t push his beliefs on others and even though it was his duty to lead them in the right direction, toward God’s way according to the Bible, he did so while earning their respect and love.

    As I was reading it, I thought to myself, “Wow - How realistic is this character and why am I drawn to him so much?” Then I realized that my husband displays the exact same kind of gentle strength that Thomas showed with as much, or more, patience for me and our children. I think that’s why I fell in love with him. And, I realized that even though unfortunately there aren’t as many men in life that fit that description as I would like, I’m blessed to be married to one of them.

    Not only did Mary Ellis do such a great job of demonstrating what a strong, gentle leader of a godly household should look like, the other main theme that she talked about was forgiveness. It definitely takes maturity and a growth in our spiritual life to be able to forgive others who have wronged us. Mary Ellis did a great job interweaving that truth throughout the story, leaving the reader with a sense of hope that true forgiveness is possible in all circumstances.

    I’m so glad that this book is the first in a series. I can’t wait to read more about Thomas and Sally, John, Amy, Nora, and Elam, and am excited that we are introduced to even more members of the community and extended family in her next book, Love Comes to Paradise. Mary Ellis is kind enough to provide the first chapter of her next book after Living in Harmony and so I eagerly read it. It definitely whet my appetite for the next stage in this wonderful family’s life.

    Thank you, Mary, for delivering not only such a great Biblical message but for creating characters that I couldn’t help but fall in love with. I can’t wait to read more.

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  • Posted August 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Harmony, Maine. As wonderful as the name sounds, it hasn't been

    Harmony, Maine. As wonderful as the name sounds, it hasn't been the
    ideal picture of a perfect life since moving here from Lancaster,
    Pennsylvania for Amy and Nora King. Since a tragic fire that claimed the
    lives of their parents, Amy and Nora have decided to head north with
    John Detweiler, Amy's fiance in search of a new opportunities and a
    future with another Amish community just being established. However
    when they arrive, Amy and John soon learn that their plans to marry may
    have to wait until their Bishop in Maine declares that they have met all
    the requirements of this new more strict Amish Order. Since they have
    both been baptized since moving to Maine it makes it a little easier,
    but not much. In addition, Amy was hoping to get a job to help them save
    enough money to purchase land and a home but soon finds out that is
    forbidden. So they will need to stay with John's brother, Thomas and his
    wife, Sally a little bit longer. They also learn that there is no
    opportunities for singings, social outings or rides in a courting buggy
    because that, too is forbidden. The hardest challenge is for Nora, who
    is twenty and was in the midst of her rumspringa in Lancaster, soon
    finds out there rumspringa is forbidden in the new community of Harmony.
    Not only that but she has to make all new clothes to wear because the
    bright colors of her dresses are forbidden. So she must now wear black,
    brown or a dark navy blue instead. She also learns that since there
    isn't any social gatherings her prospects of finding a husband in this
    new community are going to be pretty limited. She wonders if perhaps she
    shouldn't reconsider about moving back home to Lancaster to stay with
    her grandparents like her other two sisters. Is there a way to find true
    harmony in Harmony? I received Living in Harmony be Mary Ellis
    compliments of Harvest House Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog
    Alliance for my honest review and found this to be a surprising twist to
    most Amish stories. Normally it's difficult for an English reader to
    understand the harsh restrictions placed on Amish people based on their
    religious beliefs but in this novel, it is the Amish from one community
    that soon realize how difficult it is sometimes to make changes and live
    by more strict requirements. I found this novel refreshing in that it
    offered that unique perspective and as the character of Amy King grows
    in her awareness of just what this move has meant to not only her
    sister, but to her as well, will she realize that perhaps John may not
    be the man she believed he was before leaving Lancaster. I rate this one
    a 5 out of 5 stars. For those of you that love Amish romantic fiction,
    you'll want to pick this one up. This is the first book in the New
    Beginnings Series and I can't wait for more!

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  • Posted August 17, 2012

    As I read this story I kept thinking...they should leave, go bac

    As I read this story I kept thinking...they should leave, go back home.
    But author Mary Ellis made John, Amy and Nora stick it out and in the
    end everything comes together. The story was well written and I enjoyed
    it a great deal. If you are a fan of Amish romance, I suggest reading
    Living in Harmony. ***I received this copy free for the purpose of
    review. The above is my honest opinion.***

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2012

    I just finished this latest story. I loved it. This story takes

    I just finished this latest story. I loved it. This story takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster and will keep you turning the page. Insights into the differences within the communities of the Amish orders and the impact of shunning on the families are revealed in quite a personal way. What an interesting and exciting easy read! Mary Ellis never disappoints. She is still my number one author to read. But, I have learned one thing when it comes to her books, I never begin one until I have enough time to savor every scene from start to finish. I just cannot stop once I begin the story and always find myself wanting the next story right away.

    I really liked having the first chapter of the next book in the New Beginnings Series at the end of Living in Harmony. I'm ready for the next installment.

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  • Posted August 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Character-Driven Story

    Moving with John, her fiancé, to a more conservative Amish district, Amy faces unexpected challenges. Because her parents are dead, Amy is pleased to locate an aunt who was shunned by the Amish. Amy travels to visit her aunt against John’s wishes. Her trip and finding that she cannot trust John causes Amy to doubt the wisdom of marrying John. An accomplished writer, Mary Ellis gives the reader strong, distinct characters. Her descriptions of the ways of the Amish bring the reader into the community, the household, and mindset of the characters.

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  • Posted July 31, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I really LOVED the story and I cant wait to read "Love Comes to Paradise" out.

    In the bestselling author Mary Ellis’s New Beginnings series Living in Harmony is the first book. Mary Ellis has written another great book. Living in Harmony is about fresh starts and love and how faith in God and His perfect plan for our lives provides us with the peace and joy we desire.


    Amy King plans to marry her fiancé, John Detweiler in November, when she is faced with difficult challenges in her life. She suddenly loses both of her parents in a house fire. John Detweiler has relatives who lives in Harmony, Maine. He persuades Amy and her sister Nora to leave Lancaster County and make a new beginning with him in Harmony.

    John’s brother Thomas and sister-in-law Sally readily open their home to the three newcomers. Thomas, a minister in the district, refuses to marry Amy and John upon their arrival. He is suggesting instead a period of adjustment and counseling. During this time, Amy discovers an aunt who was shunned. She wishes to reconnect with her, but this puts a strain on her relationship with John.

    Can John and Amy find a way to live in happily in Harmony before making a lifetime commitment to one another?


    I really LOVED the story and I cant wait to read "Love Comes to Paradise" in January 2013. 5 stars out of 5 is the rating for the book. It was an honor to read the book sent to me by Mary Ellis from Harvest House Publishers. Thank you, Harvest House Publishers for the size font used in printing the book.

    **I received this book from Harvest House Publishers by request of Jerry Eicher. I am not required to give a positive review, just an honest one. This review will be posted to Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and my personal run FB page. The opinions expressed are mine alone.**

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 27, 2012

    The Amish in Maine are nothing like their brethren in Lancaster,

    The Amish in Maine are nothing like their brethren in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Amy and her sister Nora are stunned when they arrive with Amy's fiancé John. Amy embraces the ultraconservative lifestyle, and is further pleased to discover a long-lost shunned aunt is nearby.
    John is anxious to get married and start his own farm. He is harshly critical of his young sister-in-law Sally, who is having a hard time adjusting to her role as minister's wife. He is also judgmental of Amy's aunt, and connives to prevent their reunion.
    John’s brother Thomas is a joy for his support and encouragement of Sally through all her kitchen disasters, and his compassionate ministering.
    Pride leads to John’s downfall when Amy learns of his interference regarding her aunt. Surprisingly, Nora, who rebels against the district’s strictness, urges caution when Amy decides to break her engagement.
    An intriguing look at the Amish beyond the familiar Lancaster group.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 19, 2012

    FANTASTIC

    Living in Harmony is a wonderful book it is about fresh starts for a family who lost there parents in fire, once you start this book you will laugh and you will also cry, you will love how 2 sisters can be so alike but yet so different it is also about love and determination and how the Good Lord helps them through it all, I also loved the recipes at the end of the book. Once you start this book you will not want to put it sown then you will want it to go on and on I can hardly wait for the next book in this series, you will also love all the wonderful Bible passages.
    Mary Ellis has a winner in this book I am sure she will receive awards for this book.
    I would recommend this book to everyone who loves Amish fiction

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  • Posted July 11, 2012

    I love a new Mary Ellis Book, and I particularly love getting on

    I love a new Mary Ellis Book, and I particularly love getting one that is the first of a new series. Mary’s newest Amish novel, Living in Harmony, contains all the elements I value so highly in her previous books. She writes about the Amish community with solid understanding, yet she doesn’t make the members sound perfect. In fact, some of the characters in Harmony, such as Nora and Elam, struggle with being Amish believers at all. They don’t like the restriction of the lifestyle or the lost opportunities to belong to a wider world. I’m sure that happens in real life as well.

    As usual, too, Living in Harmony deals with some serious, culture-crossing issues. Can a woman retain her independence within her marriage? Should she do so? What does it mean to truly love your neighbor? How can you be sure when you’ve found the right role for yourself in life, or the right home, or even the right husband? Harmony’s characters wrestle with these and other real and thorny questions.

    Living in Harmony reveals the wide disparity of societal and family rules common to the various Amish communities around the US. Many of us Englishers may have thought that there is complete uniformity among such communities. Mary shows us some of the differences and also, how those differences might impact newcomers to one of the communities. When Amy King and her sister Nora come to Harmony, Maine, they are faced with changes in customs that pinch like uncomfortable shoes: clothing colors and styles, restrictions on the freedom of young people, treatment of family members who have displeased the community, and even different holiday observances. Can they learn to live with joy in the face of what seems like unnecessary repression? And what will happen to them if they cannot? How the girls choose their lives amid this new community is at the heart of the book—and it makes for a fascinating novel. If you haven’t read one of Mary’s books before, you’ll find this one a great place to begin. And if you have, you should know that Living in Harmony is just as well-written and interesting as you’ve come to expect from this author’s work.

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    Posted April 8, 2014

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    Posted September 23, 2012

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    Posted January 3, 2013

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    Posted June 20, 2013

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