The Promise of an Angel (Heaven On Earth Series #1)

The Promise of an Angel (Heaven On Earth Series #1)

4.4 51
by Ruth Reid
     
 

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Interrupting the ordered routine of the Mecosta County Amish settlement, an angelic visitor awakens Judith to a new faith.

All Judith Fischer ever wanted is to marry within her community and raise a family. She longs for the day when her parents will allow Levi Plank to officially court her.

But on the day Judith suspects Levi will

Overview

Interrupting the ordered routine of the Mecosta County Amish settlement, an angelic visitor awakens Judith to a new faith.

All Judith Fischer ever wanted is to marry within her community and raise a family. She longs for the day when her parents will allow Levi Plank to officially court her.

But on the day Judith suspects Levi will ask her parent's permission, her younger brother Samuel has an accident under her charge. Rushing to Samuel's aid, Judith spies a strange man helping him; a man she later believes was an angel.

When she shares her conviction with her family and close friends, she is shocked to find that no one believes her, including Levi. In the days following the accident, the angel visits Judith with information that may guide her down the path of faith, should she choose to follow.

As her community slowly distances themselves, only one person is willing to stand up for her?the bishop's son, Andrew Lapp. But can he convince the settlement to listen to her? With a show of faith that flies in the face of her conservative upbringing, can Judith hold strong to the promise that there are even greater things in store for those who believe in God's miracles?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
First-time novelist Reid taps into two fan bases—Amish fiction and angel tales—in this lovely story that seamlessly blends both worlds. Judith Fischer is the first to reach her brother, Samuel, after a dramatic fall, and she sees a tall Englischer kneeling near him. The stranger disappears, but Judith later meets him repeatedly, coming to understand he's an angel. The Amish community doesn't believe, as Judith does, that Samuel will walk again; instead, they turn on her for her talk of angels. Only Andrew Lapp befriends her as Judith struggles with her faith, her wayward sister, Martha, and the chaos of her feelings for Levi Plank. Judith's dreams reveal the choices she must make, but can she face the ire of her Old Order Amish community in light of what the angel reveals? Will she leave her Michigan home, and perhaps her dreams for the future, and so avoid shaming her family? Reid has written a fine novel that provides, as its series title claims, a bit of "heaven on earth." (June)
Christian Manifesto
“If The Promise of an Angel is anything to judge by, it looks like she’s going to become a favourite amongst Amish fans.”
Library Journal
Judith Fischer belongs to an Old Order Amish community in Michigan. Following an accident at a barn raising, she tries to convince the other members of her community that she has been visited by an angel. Most, including her fiancé Levi Plank, demand that she stop spinning tales. Only one man believes her. As Andrew Lapp listens to Judith talk about the visitation and the dreams she is having, romantic feelings grow. Meanwhile, Judith's younger sister takes advantage of Judith's new oddball status to pursue Levi Plank. VERDICT This first novel is an odd mix of Amish fiction and the angel novels that have recently flooded the market. The characters are well-drawn and the romance is enjoyable, but the premise may put off traditional readers of Amish fiction. Readers interested in angel stories might be better served by Jill Marie Landis's "Irish Angel" series.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595549815
Publisher:
Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date:
05/30/2011
Series:
Heaven On Earth Series , #1
Sold by:
THOMAS NELSON
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
114,924
File size:
564 KB

Read an Excerpt

The Promise of an Angel


By Ruth Reid

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 Ruth Reid
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59554-981-5


Chapter One

Mecosta County, Michigan

The maple tree's crimson canopy offered shade for the children in Judith Fischer's charge, and a perfect place to stitch her quilt while viewing Levi Plank as he worked with the men building the barn. With the structure nearly complete, soon the supper bell would ring. Judith glanced toward the house. Her friend Deborah was busy preparing the outdoor tables for the meal. Judith enjoyed helping with the food preparations, but she loved sitting with the children and entertaining them with stories more.

Six-year-old Rebecca pulled on her sister's sleeve. "Tell us another story."

Judith turned back and eyed the tight circle of smiling children. "What color dress will the maydel wear?"

"Yellow," said Rebecca.

Little Emily looked down at her own dark dress. "Not black or blue?"

A leaf fluttered from the branch above them and landed on Judith's lap. She picked it up and twirled it by the stem. "In stories, people wear bright colors." She tucked the red leaf into her tightly wound hair, leaving it to dangle from under the head covering. "Storybook characters can also wear wildflowers and colorful ribbons in their hair."

Rebecca raised her hand to shield the late afternoon sun from her eyes as she looked up into the branches. "What's her name?"

Judith repositioned the younger girl's bonnet, then removed the leaf from her own hair and tucked the stem under Rebecca's head covering. Feeling a tug on her other arm, she looked down at her five-year-old brother's gap-toothed smile. "Jah, Samuel?"

"Name her Judith."

The girls chimed in their agreement.

Emily's eyes widened. "I'll name the boy in the story."

Judith glanced toward the barn and spotted Levi on the roof. She watched as he removed a nail he'd been holding between his teeth and hammered it into the wood. Judith couldn't help but smile. Levi would make a perfect storybook hero.

"Let's call him Andrew," Emily blurted.

"Andrew?" Judith echoed louder than she intended. She followed the child's gaze to Levi's cousin, Andrew Lapp, and watched as he measured a piece of lumber. He paused, holding the pencil in place against the wood, and smiling, turned toward the children. As his eyes met Judith's, he lifted his hand from the board and touched the brim of his straw hat.

Rebecca scrunched her freckled nose as she looked at Judith. "Why is your face red?"

Judith touched her warm cheeks. Before she could think of how to answer, she heard her sister Martha giggling behind her.

"Supper's ready," she said. "That is, if the daydreamer is ready to eat?"

Judith set the quilt section beside her and stood. Since Martha turned seventeen last month, her entire demeanor had changed. Judith hoped her father would notice the way Martha sashayed to the barn. He'd have something to say about that.

Judith lined up the children to brush the grass off their dresses, meanwhile watching Levi climb down the ladder out of the corner of her eye.

"Am I done?" Emily asked.

She looked at the girl's dress. "Jah, run to your mamm."

Martha had managed to be at the foot of the ladder as Levi reached the ground.

Sarah, Emily's older sister, fanned her dress by pulling on both sides, then twirled in place. "What about me?"

After a few swipes, Judith sent her on her way. Her jaw tightened as she heard Martha and Levi laugh. She should be the one exchanging pleasantries with him, not Martha. She was the one turning nineteen tomorrow. She shooed the other children toward the house without inspecting their clothing, but held back Rebecca and Samuel.

"Samuel, you stay with Rebecca and me. Mamm doesn't need to chase after you today."

He pointed to the supper tables. "I'm hungry."

Judith could see Martha, Levi, and some other girls their age moving in her direction. She pretended to brush grass off Samuel's clothing. "Mamm wouldn't want you to kumm to the table covered with grass. Nau hold still."

"Hello, Judith." Levi paused near the tree, Martha and the others clustered around him. "You sounded happy being surrounded by children all day."

Judith blushed. He had noticed her under the tree. She thought she'd seen him gaze in their direction a few times.

Martha sighed. "She was filling their heads with nonsense again."

Judith gritted her teeth and didn't comment.

"She's going to lead the children astray. They'll all want to wear lacy gowns and ribbons in their hair." Martha pointed to Rebecca. "See, she has our sister wearing colorful adornments."

Rebecca's lips puckered, and Judith quickly patted the girl's slumped shoulders. "It's okay. Martha used to listen to stories too."

"Before I turned seventeen."

Judith crossed her arms. "And you think seventeen makes you grown?"

Martha planted her hand on her hiked hip and shot her nose into the air. "At least I don't dream of fairy tales. I—"

Judith hadn't noticed Andrew joining their group until he cleared his throat and stepped forward. He reached into his pants pocket and knelt in front of Samuel. "I have something for you."

"For me?" The little boy beamed.

Andrew handed him a galvanized nail. "After supper, I'll help you pound that into a piece of wood."

"Really?" Samuel rolled the nail over his palm, eyeing it as if he held a fistful of candy.

Andrew stood and dusted the dirt from his patched knees. "Sure. You want to build barns someday, don't you?"

Samuel nodded. "And furniture too."

Rebecca peeked around Judith's dress. "Andrew was the name of the boy in Judith's story."

Judith's breath caught as she glimpsed Andrew's raised eyebrows. She sent a furtive glance in Levi's direction, but he and the others were heading toward the house.

Andrew squatted and picked up the quilt Judith had been sewing. "Ouch!" He shook his hand. "I guess I stabbed myself with your needle." He handed her the fabric, taking care to point out where the needle was stuck. "I hope I didn't dirty your work."

Judith looked down at the squares. "It'll come out in the wash." She hoped. When she married, she wouldn't want her wedding quilt marred.

She reached for Samuel's hand and caught Rebecca before she darted away. "You two need to wash for supper." Avoiding eye contact with Andrew, she hustled the children toward the house.

As was the custom, the men stood on one side of the table, the women and children on the opposite side. While Bishop Lapp thanked God for the meal, the completed barn, and the day's fair weather, Judith glanced across the table at Levi.

His thick broad shoulders gave him a towering build. Hat in hand and head bowed, his sandy-brown hair, damp with sweat, curled into ringlets and fell forward, covering his eyes.

She stifled the sigh that threatened to escape. If her father caught her staring at a boy instead of giving thanks to God for their new barn, she would hear about it. She tried to keep her eyes closed, but as the bishop's prayer droned on and on, she couldn't keep from peering at Levi again.

His eyes opened. He tipped his head enough to look between his coiled locks.

Her heart quickened. Tomorrow she'd be nineteen. In her dreams, she had already accepted his courtship invitation.

His glance passed over her toward the opposite end of the table.

She leaned forward on her tiptoes and craned her neck to see what he was looking at. His gaze had stopped on Martha. Her long, batting lashes and perfect, rose-glowing cheeks stole his undivided attention.

Judith looked again at Levi. He shook his head as a broad grin spread across his face. She wondered what her sister had asked him, and snapped her head in Martha's direction to see her sister's lips form an exaggerated pout. Disgusted at her inappropriate behavior, Judith turned her attention back to Levi to see him shrug at Martha.

Judith squeezed her eyes shut and bit her bottom lip.

This wasn't how she dreamed things would be when she turned nineteen. While a few of her friends dared to speak of what it would be like to live outside the Amish community, Judith valued household duties, knowing they prepared her for marriage. She performed each task with vigor, even unpleasant chores like scrubbing barn-soiled clothes against the washboard, while pretending to be Levi Plank's fraa.

Now his playful gestures toward her sister were unbearable. He'd talked about courting her once she turned nineteen. She had expected he would ask to take her home after the next singing.

Judith felt a tug on her dress and looked down at Rebecca.

"Where's Samuel?" the little girl whispered.

Judith brought her finger to her lips. Even at age six, children knew not to interrupt the blessing.

She glanced to her other side, where her brother was supposed to be. Samuel was gone. She scanned the immediate area. He wasn't with her parents or with the other children. He wasn't—anywhere. She drew a deep breath. Once the prayer ended, she would search for him. He wouldn't go far. She looked again at Levi, but a blur of blue in the distance caught her attention.

Samuel was squatting on the barn roof with hammer in hand, tapping a board.

Judith moved away from the table and ran toward the barn, prayer or no prayer.

"Samuel!" Her voice boomed in the near silence.

Samuel jerked upright, arms flailing. In the time it took to blink, he disappeared from view.

Judith sprinted to the other side of the barn. Please, God, let him be okay. He's just a child. She pushed herself to run faster.

She rounded the corner of the barn and skidded to a halt. A man, an Englisch man, was kneeling next to her brother.

The man lifted his head away from Samuel's face. "The boy's alive."

Judith collapsed to her knees as she stretched her hand to Samuel's pale face. "Samuel."

Her brother didn't respond or open his eyes.

The Englisch man rose to his feet. "Have faith. Samuel's steps are ordered by God."

When she looked up at the man, his eyes flickered with a bright, wavering light. Her throat tightened, and she was unable to speak.

Then the sound of the others approaching pulled her attention away. Her older brother, David, reached them first.

"Samuel, wake up. Please." Judith wrapped her arms around Samuel and clung to his limp, unresponsive body. "God, please," she murmured.

David's strong hands lifted Judith and set her aside as others swarmed around Samuel.

"No, please don't—" Judith felt herself being pushed aside.

"Don't cause problems," David warned.

She drew in a hitched breath and wiped the tears from her eyes to clear her vision. From somewhere nearby, a voice resonated in a language she'd never heard. While everyone's focus remained fixed on Samuel, she turned a complete circle in search of the source. The voice sounded like that of the stranger she'd found next to Samuel. How had he known her brother's name? And where had he gone?

Filled with an urgent need to find him, she followed the sound of the harmonious chant and spotted the man crossing the pasture, heading into the apple orchard without looking back.

She moved cautiously at first, then with a surge of determination she lifted her skirt and broke into a full run. She lost sight of him, cloaked as he was in the undergrowth of the dense branches and an emerging thick haze that seemed to seep up from the ground. The fog turned solid at her feet, preventing her from following his tracks. He had disappeared.

She shivered at the memory of his penetrating stare. As though she'd looked at the sky through an icicle, his frosty-blue eyes etched her senses. Oddly, her core warmed with an inner peace.

A whoosh of wind, followed by a sound like sheets flapping on a clothesline, startled her. The murky vapor had cleared, and now shadows from the low-hanging branches filled the empty void. Somehow she knew it was pointless to follow, and she turned back.

Once clear of the grove, she sprinted across the pasture, hoping that no one had noticed her absence. Her heart still pounding hard, she steadied her breathing before she edged back into the crowd.

Her father was raising the rear wooden panel off the market wagon as the men lifted a board that held Samuel. They carried his limp body like pallbearers carrying a pine box.

Judith raced to catch her mother before she climbed into the buggy. "Where are they taking him?"

Mamm lowered a handkerchief from her face. "He needs a doctor. You'll stay with your sisters."

Judith saw Rebecca clinging to Martha. Both stared blankly as they looked on in silence.

Then she glanced at Samuel's white complexion. Eyes closed, unresponsive. The vivid impression embedded itself into her mind.

"Judith."

She looked up at her father.

"Keep your eye on the girls."

His stony expression drove a nail through her heart. It was her failure to supervise Samuel that had caused the accident. Her eyes welled up at the thought of her brother dying on her watch. As the buggy pulled away, her vision blurred again with tears.

Chapter Two

Judith cupped her hands over her mouth, muting any outward emotional display. She understood the scriptures; God's will for Samuel would prevail regardless of what bartering she offered on his behalf. Yet with her mind swirling with what-ifs, she had to offer. Take my life in exchange. I'm to blame.

Aenti Lilly tugged Judith's sleeve. "Kumm, we'll redd-up."

She drew in a snagged breath and nodded. Perhaps if her hands had work, she'd ward off the temptation to question God's ways.

Judith followed the women back to the food-laden tables. Surely after the men had labored all day they would wish to eat. At the moment they were still hovering near the barn, no doubt discussing chore duties. In their tight community, all hands pulled together in times of crisis. She'd spent several days herself helping with household chores for the Trombleys when all five of the children came down with chicken pox. Judith smiled, recalling how little Emily had begged for stories to take her mind off the itching.

Martha elbowed Judith's ribs. "Samuel almost died and you're smiling?"

"My mind wandered briefly, is all." Judith picked up a pan of beef casserole. The cheesy top layer was stiff. Much of the food would require reheating.

Martha came along beside her, carrying a crock of baked beans. "We know what happens when your mind wanders, don't we?"

David's wife, Ellen, stopped midway up the porch steps and spun around. "Leave the finger pointing be, Martha. What has happened cannot be undone." Her gaze switched to Judith, and her eyes were warm with sympathy. "Once I make up some plates of food to take along, I'll take Rebecca and Martha home with me for the night."

"Denki," Judith replied. She certainly had no energy to hold her tongue while Martha barraged her with insults all evening.

Martha let loose a wayward sigh and stormed into the house.

"I'll ask your brother to speak to her," Ellen said.

Despite her sister's poor behavior, Judith didn't wish David's discipline to fall on her. He used to be mild-natured, and Judith had loved his sense of humor. But after he became a church deacon, he held his siblings to a sometimes unreachably high standard of obedience. Working with the bishop to keep the sheep from straying and the fold intact meant he kept a watchful eye over his immediate family.

Judith stepped inside the crowded kitchen, where the women were quickly bringing order out of kitchen chaos. Dishes were passed hand to hand in an assembly-line style, making plates available to take home and reheat.

Judith found a place to work next to Deborah.

"So what did he say?" Deborah's head bobbed at the window facing the barn's direction. "Levi," she mouthed. "Under the tree?"

Judith wrapped up two plates of food and handed them to Deborah, then picked up two more. "Ellen, we're taking these out to your buggy." She motioned for her friend to follow.

The screen door hadn't snapped closed before Deborah asked, "Did he say anything about you turning nineteen meiya?"

Judith shook her head. "I thought he might later, but—"

Deborah's eyes widened. "Ach, poor Samuel."

"Jah, I feel awful."

Deborah gently elbowed Judith's arm. "You're not to blame."

"He was under my watch." The strain in her voice made it barely audible, but she forced herself to continue. "I was more interested in watching Levi." Silence fell between them until they reached the buggy. "And guess who Levi was watching." Judith opened the back hatch and set the plates on the floorboard.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Promise of an Angel by Ruth Reid Copyright © 2011 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.

Meet the Author

Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA bestselling author of the Heaven on Earth series. She’s a full-time pharmacist who lives in Florida with her husband and three children. When attending Ferris State University School of Pharmacy in Big Rapids, Michigan, she lived on the outskirts of an Amish community and had several occasions to visit the Amish farms. Her interest grew into love as she saw the beauty in living a simple life. Visit Ruth online at ruthreid.com Facebook: Author-Ruth-Reid Twitter: @authorruthreid

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The Promise of an Angel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I collect many Amish books and have several different authors. This story incorporates a new plot, not just the simple love story so often found. It makes you think about your faith and if you could have a leap of faith and beleive another person or if you would be too afraid to step out of the crowd and stay safely secluded. I am awaiting to read the next book by this author!
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I loved how trusting in the Lord above all else is the message. You will wonder how things can possibly work out with all the problems that come up. A wonderful insight into the Amish Culture, a glimpse at their everyday life. You will be wondering who will be planting the celery for the following fall weddings.
ReenaJacobs More than 1 year ago
With my paranormal kick, I haven’t spent much time reading Christian fiction these days… well, at least not before I got my hands on The Promise of an Angel. Now, I can’t help but look forward to my next Christian read (Amish preferably). This work had less of a paranormal aspect to it and more of a spiritual intervention flavor. This was a feel good book. I couldn’t help but imagine living in a world as simplistic as the Amish community, an environment where the rat race is a thing of the past. I’m not saying the life presented in the book was perfect. It just seemed so… free. Judith was the main protagonist in this story. I was a bit apprehensive about her in the beginning. She seemed a bit complacent and willfully blind to the happenings around her. I was afraid she’d be too stupid for me to care about. Let’s just say I was wrong. Though she tried to temper her anger, my gal still had quite a bit of spice in her. In fact, it turned into a balancing act at times: Judith trying to be mild-mannered and loving versus trying to stand up for what was right without offending her Amish community. Andrew played the secondary protagonist. Okay, flowers aren’t considered manly… but truly, Andrew was like a blossom opening. In terms of character growth, his journey was the longest. He was a beautiful person. Faithful, loving, generous. A good man. I only wanted the best for him. Then we have the antagonists, Levi and Martha. Though The Promise of an Angel was excellent (4.5-5.0 stars out of 5), I have to say the antagonists were the weakest aspect of the book. For the most part, they were rather 2 dimensional. I think if the antagonist hadn’t been so selfish and mean without an apparent reason, this would have landed a solid 5/5. Still, Ruth Reid brought the entire work together in the end and created a satisfying conclusion to the story. Well done! I read The Promise of an Angel in a 24 hour period and finished it refreshed and uplifted. I recommend this work to anyone who just needs a break from the stresses of life. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review
meowth2011 More than 1 year ago
I have often heard about the Amish community and have seen a number of books written about their lives. This is, however, the first time I have actually read a novel that's aimed at familiarizing people with just how solid the Amish people's principles and beliefs are. Judith Fischer is one brave Amish girl, indeed. The fact that she stuck to what she knew as the truth will inspire women young and old to take each belief ingrained by their experiences with a little more courage and faith. This is about believing in yourself and sticking up for your own values, which is hard enough in itself to do in an Amish community. Judith is a likable character, as well as her companion Andrew. It doesn't seem all that hard to fall in love with Amish men, does it? Well, maybe except for the likes of Levi, that is. Aside from teaching its readers some essential core values in life, this story also entertains with the kind of writing that's easy to grasp and appreciate. It's a definite light read that's sure to fill your evenings with something good and warm to take to your sleep. I think I will be reading more books from this author. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I got a free copy of this book to review from booksneeze.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good read. I believe that faith is what guides your path.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book and purchased the other two in the series to start reading. We sometimes forget God still performs miracles.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it. It always surprises me when believers refuse to believe people who have experienced a miracle or have had visions or seen angels. I know we should be a little skeptical at first, to seek God in order to know whether or not such an event is from him or from Satan. ---so many have been mislead--for example, thoose who claim that God told them to kill someone. Or those who felt God told them something that goes against scripture. But in the case of this book, the people in her community knew her and knew she was a person of strong faith who wouldn't lie. Yet they treated her horribly-- her own family refused to believe her!!! How frustrating... anyway... I just really liked this story. It was a good illustration of how following God can be a difficult choice. Especially when those around you ridicule you for your faith. It shows a difference between simply accepting a circumstance a God's will, and believing deep down that God can perform miracles if we only have faith. It was a really good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy read,refreshingly sweet
MSAGA More than 1 year ago
Amish background well done and characters developed nicely. A quick and easy book to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the plot to be predictable; however, itwas interesting to learn about Amish culture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
great book!
honybea More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book. I wish it was longer
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Judith, living in a closed Amish society, must decide whether to conform to the directives given her by her religious authorities, or to follow the path she believes God is showing her, regardless of the consequences. The underlying message is one that applies to all of us. A good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just could not lay this book down. I enjoy reading Amish type books anyway, but this one was phenomenal. It's a must read!
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