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Rebekah Yoder loves a good mystery?that is, until she becomes a part of one.
Rebekah Yoder has always been curious . . . or nosy depending on whom you ask. When a Yankee stranger moves into the house next door, she?s fascinated. Who is this strange old man who never waves or smiles? When Bekah sees him digging holes in his back yard, she?s sure there is a case to be solved.
Unfortunately, when her cousin blabs the story to the whole school, ...
Rebekah Yoder loves a good mystery—that is, until she becomes a part of one.
Rebekah Yoder has always been curious . . . or nosy depending on whom you ask. When a Yankee stranger moves into the house next door, she’s fascinated. Who is this strange old man who never waves or smiles? When Bekah sees him digging holes in his back yard, she’s sure there is a case to be solved.
Unfortunately, when her cousin blabs the story to the whole school, rumors fly. Is he hiding something? Treasure? Victims? And worst of all, annoying Caleb Mullet is now determined to solve the mystery with her. What they don’t realize is there’s not just secrecy lurking next door—there’s danger. Will Bekah take her curiosity too far?
Readers will love journeying with Bekah Yoder as they learn the danger of gossip, the importance of prayer, and the real story ofThe Secrets Beneath.
Rebekah Yoder rolled her eyes at the sound of a boy's voice. Caleb Mullet—otherwise known as the biggest pain in Middlefield—stood over her. But she refused to look at him. Instead, she calmly turned the page. "Maybe if you read a book sometime you'd understand."
Caleb snatched the book from Bekah's hands. "Maybe I should read this one."
"Hey!" Bekah popped up from beneath her favorite tree in the backyard and rushed toward Caleb. She wished his family had never stayed for lunch after church. Then maybe she would have a moment's peace. "Give it back!"
He held it up over her head, flashing an annoying grin. Although they had both just turned thirteen, he was taller than she. He wasn't wearing his usual weather-beaten straw hat, and a hot late-August breeze lifted a large lock of his light brown hair. Chocolate colored eyes, filled with teasing glee, gazed back at her. "You'll have to catch me first!" He spun around and ran off toward the sparkling pond that edged her parents' property and also spanned to the Mullets'. She could see his house from here, and wished he would just go home—she wasn't in the mood for Caleb's annoying games. But she wanted her book back. She'd come to the part where Nancy Drew solves the mystery, and she couldn't wait to find out how it ended.
"Bekah!" Caleb had reached the pond and held her book over the edge. "Say good-bye to Nancy Drew!"
Fists clenched, Bekah ran to the pond. "Don't you dare, Caleb Mullet! That's a library book. If you ruin it, you're gonna pay for it!"
Caleb dangled the book above the water. Grinding her teeth, she picked up speed and hurtled herself toward him, ready to grab the book out of his hands. But just as she reached up he tossed the book over her head and onto the grassy bank behind her.
Bekah dug her bare feet into the grass but couldn't slow down. She slipped on the wet bank surrounding the pond and tumbled forward headfirst into the murky water. Stunned, she drew water up her nose. She broke through the surface, coughing and sputtering, touching her toes to the soft bottom of the pond. Her nose burned as she tried to steady herself. Then she heard Caleb's laughter. Wiping the water from her eyes, his guffaws battered her ears as he rolled on the grass, clutching his stomach.
"Woo hoo!" He gasped for breath. "That was the funniest thing I ever saw! You went like this"—he jumped to his feet and imitated the way she'd tripped on the bank, windmilling his arms before pretending to tip into the pond—"and then you did this ..." He cupped his hands around his mouth and let out a high-pitched shriek, which turned into a hiccup.
Soaked completely through, the ribbons of her kapp lying limply against her dress, Bekah wished she could yank Caleb into the pond and dunk him underwater. It would serve him right, especially if he got water up his nose like she just had. A fly flew around her head, but she didn't bother to wave it away. She glared at Caleb. "Shut. Up." When he kept laughing and hiccupping, she shouted, "Shut up!"
That seemed to get his attention. At least it quieted him for a moment. His lip lifted in a sneer. "What's your problem?"
"You're my problem!" She slammed her fist against the waist-deep water. Droplets splashed in her eyes. She wiped them away. "Look what you did to me."
He shook his head and hunkered down, his forearms resting casually over his knees, his face the picture of calm. "Don't blame me." He hiccupped. "You're the one who slipped."
"I wouldn't have slipped if you hadn't stolen my book."
"I didn't steal anything. It's lying over there on the grass. I just wanted to look at it for a minute." His lips curved into a mischievous grin.
"Oooh!" she exclaimed. He always had an answer for everything.
"What's going on here?"
Bekah shifted her gaze to the left to see her older sister Katherine and Caleb's older brother Johnny hurrying toward them. Caleb immediately leapt to his feet, casually shoving his hands in his pockets. He looked at the ground, kicking at a tuft of grass while whistling off-key.
Katherine put her hands on her slender hips, her red-gold eyebrows forming a V shape above her blue eyes. "Bekah, what are you doing in the pond?"
Bekah gritted her teeth. "I was bored, so I decided to jump in the pond and catch some fish with my bare hands." The sarcastic words were out of her mouth before she could stop them.
Katherine frowned, her left eyebrow lifting as it usually did when she was confused. "But, Bekah, why would you do something like that? There aren't any fish in the pond."
Bekah rolled her eyes and made her way out of the water. "I know." There hadn't been fish in the pond for years. Bekah felt a pang of guilt. Katherine wasn't exactly the sharpest person around, but she was one of the nicest. She didn't deserve sarcasm. That she should reserve for Caleb. She turned her gaze to him and glared.
"You had something to do with this, didn't you?" Johnny moved to stand in front of his brother. He was sixteen years old, the same age as Katherine. Unlike Caleb, he had his black, wide-brimmed hat on and still wore his black pants and white shirt from the church service earlier that morning, the sleeves rolled up above his elbows. His bluish-gray eyes narrowed. "What happened?"
Caleb glanced away from his brother's accusing gaze. "Uh, it was an accident."
Her dress dripping, Bekah shook her head, water droplets flying from her wet kapp. "Nee. It wasn't an accident. You did that on purpose because you wanted me to fall in."
"Did what?" Katherine went to stand next to Johnny. But she wasn't looking at Bekah or even Caleb. Her sister had been chasing after Johnny ever since Bekah could remember. Even with Bekah dripping wet and Caleb finally looking slightly guilty, she still had her attention on Johnny.
Johnny turned to Bekah. "I know you'll tell me the truth. What really happened?" He shot a skeptical glance at Caleb.
Bekah relayed what Caleb had done. "And when I went to get my book, I slipped and fell into the pond."
"See?" Caleb held out his hands. "I told you it was an accident. She admitted it herself."
"An accident you caused," Johnny said. "Tell her you're sorry."
Caleb shook his head, crossing his arms. "Nee. I don't have to apologize to her."
"You will apologize." Johnny moved closer to Caleb until he was almost in his face. "Now."
Caleb looked up at his brother, as if he wanted to challenge him. Then his shoulders slumped a little, and he stepped away. He looked at the ground and kicked at another clod of grass. "Sorry."
"I don't think she heard you."
"I'm sorry!" Caleb looked at his brother. "There, satisfied?"
Bekah didn't accept his poor excuse of an apology, but she kept quiet. It wouldn't matter what she said, Caleb would manage to defend himself. He always did. She watched as Johnny shoved Caleb toward the house, with Katherine close behind. She couldn't hear what he was saying, but from Caleb's grimace she could tell he was getting an earful. Gut.
Although the day was hot, she started to shiver a little bit. She looked down to see her dress clinging to her skin, water droplets dangling from the hem. She reached up and touched her kapp, which was soaking wet. Her mother would be mad when she found out about this. Bekah sighed. All she wanted to do was spend a peaceful Sunday afternoon reading her book. Leave it to Caleb Mullet to ruin it.
* * *
"Caleb likes you, you know."
Bekah gaped at Katherine as she sat on the edge of her bed later that evening. Just as she'd suspected, her mother hadn't been happy when she found out what happened at the pond. But at least she understood it was Caleb's fault. Katherine must be ab im kopp to think Caleb liked Bekah. "Nee, Katherine, he doesn't like me at all. Look what he did to me this afternoon." She ran a brush through her waist-length hair, which had finally finished drying. "And that's not the first time he's embarrassed me. Last year in school he stuck gum in my chair before I sat down. He's always yanking on my kapp strings. And right before summer break, he hit me in the head with a volleyball."
"I'm sure it was an accident," Katherine said.
"It wasn't, but he pretended it was, just like he did today. You haven't seen him play. He's very gut, and he knows exactly how to hit the ball and make it land where he wants it to."
"Usually when a bu treats you like that, it means he likes you." Katherine went to the mirror on Bekah's dresser and checked her kapp, adjusting one of the bobby pins holding it in place.
Bekah loved her sister, but she should have known not to expect her to make sense. "If Caleb likes me, he should be nice to me. You don't see Daed hitting Mami with a volleyball."
"Well, of course not, they're adults." Katherine giggled, and turned around. "Buwe are different. The weirder they act around you, the more they like you."
Shaking her head, Bekah said, "The last thing I want is Caleb Mullet liking me. And just because you've liked his bruder forever doesn't mean you know anything about buwe. If you did, maybe Johnny would start liking you." Bekah bit her bottom lip. That wasn't very nice. For the second time that day she wished she could take back her words. "I'm sorry."
Katherine joined Bekah on her bed. Fortunately she didn't look angry. "It's okay. I know Johnny doesn't pay attention to me. But that doesn't mean I'm giving up on him. He's the bu for me. I can wait until he realizes it too." She tilted her head and looked at Bekah. "If it makes you feel any better about Caleb, his daed was very upset with him."
"Gut. I hope he gets grounded. He deserves it."
"Don't be so hard on him, Bekah. Buwe are strange."
Bekah smirked. "So you're saying Johnny is strange?"
Katherine shook her head. A dreamy look appeared on her face and her pale cheeks flushed, making her freckles disappear. "Johnny is perfect."
Of course Katherine would think that. "Is he taking you to the singing tonight?"
The dreamy expression disappeared, and she looked away. "Um, nee. Not tonight."
As far as Bekah knew, Johnny had never taken her sister to a singing, although Katherine desperately wanted him to. She thought Katherine was wasting her time on Johnny. Sure, they had walked over to the pond together after Bekah had fallen in, but Bekah suspected her sister had followed him over there. There were plenty of other boys in their church district, and Bekah thought a couple of them might be interested in her sister. But Katherine only had eyes for Johnny. One thing was for sure, Bekah would never be that silly when it came to boys. "So who are you going to the singing with?"
"Mary Beth and some other friends." Katherine looked at the battery-operated clock on Bekah's nightstand. "Oh, I'm running late. See you later."
Bekah watched Katherine leave, wondering how her sister could be so excited about a dumm singing. She couldn't think of anything more boring than sitting around and practicing hymns all evening. But that was what young adults did, and a lot of them seemed to enjoy it. As for Bekah, she'd rather curl up with a good book instead.
She continued to brush her hair, picking up a lock and untangling a small knot out of the ends. She had the same blue eyes and fair skin as Katherine and their older sister, Leah, who had married and moved with her husband to Pierpont two years ago. The only difference was that Bekah's hair was closer to light brown than red. Still, all three of them looked similar. "Like triplets, but spaced out a few years," one of her aunts said. That same aunt also saw fit to give them labels: "Leah's the practical one, Katherine's the sweet one, and Bekah's the nosy one."
Bekah didn't know if she should be insulted by the description or not. She considered herself more curious than nosy. People who were nosy were usually gossipy, and she didn't want any part of that.
Bekah finished brushing her hair, then stood up and went to the window. She liked leaning against the sill of the open window, feeling the warm fresh air and contemplating the light blue haus next door. It had been abandoned for three years—after the Harpers, an older couple with grown children, moved to Florida—and its forlorn and faded black shutters seemed to proclaim its emptiness. She often imagined the type of family that would move in someday. Maybe they would have a daughter her age. But not a boy who was anything like Caleb, she hoped. That would be awful.
Bekah didn't know how long she stood there, her chin resting on her cupped hand, her imagination carrying her away. The sun had started to dip below the horizon, shining a hazy light on the side of the haus. Then she remembered her book. Nancy Drew had a mystery to solve. She grabbed it off her dresser and bounded into bed. It was so warm in her room she didn't bother with a blanket or sheet.
She had just opened the book when she heard the sound of a car engine outside. That was strange. They rarely had cars driving down their quiet country road. She set down the book and went back to the window. A maroon minivan pulled to a stop in the driveway next door. A few seconds later an old man stepped out of the vehicle. His bald head shone in the fading sunlight, a few inches of white hair rimming the back of his head. He wore a short-sleeved red-and-white shirt tucked into his pants, which were belted tight and high around his thin waist.
Bekah leaned forward to get a better view. This was the first time she'd seen someone at the Harpers' place. The man put his hands on his hips and rubbed his chin as he surveyed the front of the house. After a while, he disappeared around the back. She expected him to quickly reappear, but he didn't. Finally she saw him walking through the high grass in the backyard, the part she could see from her window. Usually her father kept the grass mowed or else it would get out of control, but he hadn't had a chance to do that lately. The old man didn't seem to mind the length of the grass, though. He just paced around the yard, staring at the ground. Then he walked back around front, got in his minivan, and left.
How strange. Why was he so interested in the Harpers' house? Maybe he wanted to buy it. If so, why didn't he go inside? If Bekah were buying a house, she'd at least want to see how the inside looked. But he only seemed concerned with the outside.
Maybe he wasn't buying the house at all. Maybe he was checking to see if anyone lived there. Her mouth dropped open. Maybe he was thinking about robbing it.
She shook her head. That couldn't be the reason. He looked too old to be a thief. Still, she should probably go downstairs to the living room and tell her parents that someone had been snooping around the house. But her father was probably asleep on the couch by now; he usually took an early evening nap on Sundays, waking up later on to take care of the animals. Bekah didn't want to disturb him.
Besides, what if the man returned? She didn't want to miss him if he did.
She waited for almost half an hour and then gave up. If he were coming back it wouldn't be soon, and her legs ached from standing up so long. She thought again about telling her parents, but decided not to. There was nothing they could do about it now. She'd tell them in the morning.
Bekah picked up her book and lay down on her bed. She opened the cover and started to read. Nancy had solved the mystery, but Bekah wasn't all that interested anymore. Her thoughts were filled with the mysterious man next door.
On a Saturday morning after breakfast, Bekah went outside to weed the garden in the backyard. She saw her father walk out of the barn with the push mower. She waved to him as he headed toward her. Snapping a long, tender green bean off one of the plants, she handed it to him when he reached her. He broke it in half and ate one part. "Danki, Bekah."
Excerpted from The Secrets Beneath by Kathleen Fuller Copyright © 2010 by Kathleen Fuller. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted November 24, 2010
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Becky Yoder lives in Middlefield, Ohio; a community inhabited by both the Amish and the "Yankees." She is thirteen and very inquisitive. The house next door to her home had been empty for some time, when suddenly odd things start happening. First, there is an old man with a van and then a scary looking man with lots of tattoos. Becky's curiosity is peeked when she sees the old man digging in the backyard at night. What is he doing? Is he burying something or looking for something? Another mystery drops into Becky's lap as her cousin Amanda arrives from Paradise, PA. Becky is very surprised to learn that Amanda may stay with her for the entire school year. She knows she shouldn't spy or but into another person's business, but questions pop into her head anyway. What has happened to Amanda's mother? Will she be able to make Amanda feel welcome and safe? Throughout the story, Becky learns that secrets are secret for a reason. Sometimes you just need to pray for a good outcome even when you don't know everything. Kathleen Fuller writes about the Amish with knowledge and skill. Her research and love for the people is evident. I have read "adult" books by Ms. Fuller, and was pleased to have the opportunity to read this YA novel, which is the second in her "Mysteries of Middlefield" series. The characters are realistic and the mysteries will keep you guessing until the end. This book will make a great gift for any teenager, and is a wonderful read for adults as well. I received my free copy through the Book Sneeze program and am very happy to write a review for the book. I also recommend any books by Kathleen Fuller to you.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 21, 2010
The Secrets Beneath is a story about a curious Amish girl named Rebekah Yoder, but everyone called her Bekah. Bekah lived with her father, Thomas Yoder and her mother, Margaret Yoder. Also living with her were her sister Katherine Yoder and a cousin named Amanda, who was staying with them temporarily. Her father had brought her down from Paradise, Pennsylvania. He was having problems with his wife, and he was trying to get them straightened out, and he couldn't do that with Amanda around.
Bekah is very curious about the property known as the Harper's property. She has seen a strange man in a minivan coming and going from the Harper's place. She didn't know if he had purchased the property or what he was doing. She had also seen him digging holes and burying something in the backyard.
She had made a few trips to the Harper's backyard to try to find out what it was the old man was burying. She had also seen a tattooed man entering and leaving the backyard.
What were they doing? What did it all mean?
Then, there was her cousin, Amanda, who was always moody, depressed. She had to help get her cousin in a better mood. She knew she was missing her mother and father, she just didn't know how to help her adjust to life with her and her family.
Why is Amanda really here?
What is the tattooed man looking for in the Harper's backyard?
Who is the tattooed man?
Who is the old man who is digging in the Harper's backyard and what is he burying?
Find the answers to these questions.
Read The Secrets Beneath.
Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.
Posted November 14, 2010
I had the opportunity to review The Secrets Beneath by Kathleen Fuller, courtesy of BookSneeze. It's the second in her The Mysteries of Middlefield series for the tween set. I was intrigued by the book because I have a huge interest in the Amish culture and my daughter is a big mystery buff. It seemed like the perfect thing to check out for my book-aholic daughter. The story is about Bekah, a curious, young Amish girl who often gets accused of being noisy. Add in a mysterious new neighbor and a moody cousin who suddenly moves in with the family and you've got an interesting tale. The girls, who struggle to get along, find themselves bonding over the strange goings-on at the neighbors house. They learn about the power of prayer and the importance of obedience when Bekah's curiosity lands them in a dangerous situation. During the first couple of chapters I wasn't sure if I was going to like the book. I was having a problem with the language. The really modern English mixed with the Amish terminology seemed really random. I've read a lot of Beverly Lewis' books and the language in this book just didn't seem to flow as well. However, as the story picked up, the language didn't bother me as much. Looking back, I think the more modern English was meant to make the book more readable for the intended audience. Overall, as an adult reading a book meant for tweens, I enjoyed the book. The characters were likable and the storyline was interesting and engaging. The suspense made you want to keep reading. It gives the reader a glimpse into the Amish culture and provides some good lessons regarding obedience, gossip, and the power of prayer. I'm excited for my daughter to read it as I know she will enjoy it and want to read the whole series. This was the first book that I've read by Kathleen Fuller and I'm looking forward to checking out some of her adult fiction for myself.
I was given an advanced copy of the book by BookSneeze. All opinions are my own.
Posted November 15, 2010
This is the second book in the series "The Mysteries of Middlefield". I was loved the book because I love to read about the Amish. The story is about Bekah, a nosy, young Amish girl who often gets into a lot of trouble by wanting to know everything. When a new neighbor moves in next door and her cousin Amanda suddenly moves in with the family she is really trying to figure it all out. Amanda did not want to be there, but as her mom has left and her day was trying to get her to come home, he thought she should so live with her aunt and uncle for awhile. But she does not try to get along with the family, and this left Beckah trying to figure out what the new neighbor was burring in his yard in the middle of the night.
The girls learn about the power of prayer and the importance of doing what the adults told them to do. Bekah's curiosity lands them in a dangerous situation when her parents went to town and left the girls at home by them self and the neighbor left also. As Amanda had started to fit more into the family she went into the neighbor's yard also but had went to find a shovel, that is when things begin to get dangerous for Bekah.
I enjoyed the book. The suspense made you want to keep reading as I wanted to know also what was Mr Harvey "the neighbor" was burring, I am nosy also and could imagine all types of things. I read the first book in this series and have read others by Kathleen Fuller, she is a great author.
I received this copy of the book from BookSneeze. All opinions are my own.
Posted November 14, 2010
This book is written for young teen females. It is a very charming book that opens the doors to the Amish culture. Bekah is an Amish girl, growing up in the countryside of Ohio with her family, when her cousin comes to live with her without explanation, and a mysterious man moves next door. Bekah tries to solve two mysteries:
1) Why is her cousin living with them?
2) Why is her new neighbor in his backyard in the middle of night digging holes?
Even though the plot/mysteries aren't too captivating, the characters are charming. At first, I found the use of the Amish terms distracting, but after getting further into the book, I enjoyed the use of the Amish terms. The book did not focus heavily on Christian beliefs except in two small paragraphs. The book does take time to talk about God answering prayers and how God's answers looks in different situations.
Even though the series of this book is called "The Mysteries of Middlefield", this book was far from the Nancy Drew Mystery classics.
This would be a great book for a young teen girl who was interested in learning more about the Amish community or going through some family difficulties, such as dealing with parents with depression, separation, divorce, etc (which are all addressed very lightly in this book).
Posted July 8, 2011
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Posted April 16, 2011
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