Seek Me with All Your Heart (Land of Canaan Series #1)

( 67 )

Overview

What would cause the Amish to move to Colorado, leaving family and friends behind?

Some Amish are making the trek to Colorado for cheaper land. Others are fleeing strict bishops with long memories.

For Emily Detweiler and her family, the move is more personal. Tragedy struck Emily in Ohio, shaking loose everything she believed was firm, including her faith. Her family took the bold step of leaving Ohio to ...

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Overview

What would cause the Amish to move to Colorado, leaving family and friends behind?

Some Amish are making the trek to Colorado for cheaper land. Others are fleeing strict bishops with long memories.

For Emily Detweiler and her family, the move is more personal. Tragedy struck Emily in Ohio, shaking loose everything she believed was firm, including her faith. Her family took the bold step of leaving Ohio to resettle in a small Amish community in Canaan, Colorado, where they hope the distance will help erase painful memories.

David Stoltzfus's family moved to Colorado for reasons he doesn't understand. But Canaan is turning out to be something other than the promised land they all anticipated. Fearing that a health condition will cut his life short, David plans to return home to Paradise, Pennsylvania, as soon as he can. But then he meets Emily, who stirs feelings in his heart despite his apprehension about the future.

Emily's growing love for David surprises her, but she fears that he will find out the truth about her past and reject her. But what if the truth is that they are made for each other? And that God longs to give them the desires of their hearts if only they will seek Him first?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Prolific Christian fiction author Wiseman (Plain Perfect) pens another Amish tale that has her characters relocating to Canaan, Colo. In this contemporary novel, Emily Detweiler and her Amish family move West a few months after she is brutally attacked in their Ohio town, but for Emily, the miles don’t erase nightmarish reminders of betrayal. Kidney transplant recipient David Stoltzfus and his family relocate from Pennsylvania in a move to start over and erase their growing financial debt. When these two meet, there isn’t anything like romance, but rather mutual distrust. Given their small community, Emily and David are forced to come to terms with their private pain and find measures of comfort in a fledgling friendship that seems destined to develop into a permanent marital bond. Wiseman’s voice is consistently compassionate and her words flow smoothly, yet the story of this Amish-set tale of love that overcomes all obstacles feels not exactly novel. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594462774
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/19/2010
  • Pages: 310
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Award-winning, best-selling author Beth Wiseman is best known for her Amish novels, but her most recent novels, Need You Now and The House that Love Built, are contemporariesset in small Texas towns.Both have received glowing reviews.Beth's highly-anticipated novel, The Promise, is inspired by a true story. Website: www.bethwiseman.com Twitter: @bethwiseman Facebook: Fans-of-Beth-Wiseman

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First Chapter

Seek Me With All Your Heart

A Land of Canaan Novel
By Beth Wiseman

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2010 Beth Wiseman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59554-824-5


Chapter One

Emily stood behind the counter of her family's country store, watching as the tall man walked down each aisle, the top of his black felt hat visible above the gray metal shelving. First thing that morning, he'd strolled in and shot her a slow, easy smile, white teeth dazzling against bronzed skin. He moved slowly, sometimes glimpsing in her direction.

Emily twisted the strings on her apron with both hands and tried to slow down her breathing. Her heart pulsed against her chest as she glanced out the window toward her family's farmhouse in the distance. Where is Jacob? Her brother knew she didn't like to be left alone in the store, and he'd promised to be right back.

Their community was small, and all the members in the district knew each other, which was the only reason Emily agreed to work in the shop. But this Amish man was a stranger. And Amish or not, he was still a man.

Emily jumped when the man rounded the bread aisle toting a box of noodles in one hand and a can in the other. With the back of one hand, he tipped back his hat so that sapphire blue eyes blazed down on her. As he approached the counter, Emily clung to her apron strings and took a step backward.

"How come everything in this store is messed up?" Tiny lines creased his forehead as he held up a can of green beans with a large dent in one side. Then he held up the box of noodles. "And this looks like it's been stepped on. It's mashed on one side." He dropped them on the counter, then folded his arms across his chest and waited for her to answer.

He towered over her. Emily stared straight ahead, not looking him in the eye. The outline of his shoulders strained against a black jacket that was too small. Her bottom lip trembled as she turned her head to look out the window again. When she didn't see any sign of Jacob, she turned back to face the stranger, who looked to be about her age-maybe nineteen or twenty-which didn't make him any less threatening. His handsome looks could be a convenient cover up for what lay beneath. She knew he was not a married man since he didn't have a beard covering his square jaw, and his dark hair was in need of a trim.

He arched his brows, waiting for her to respond, looking anything but amused. Emily felt goose bumps on her arms, and chills began to run the length of her spine, even though Jacob had fired up the propane heaters long before the shop opened that morning.

"This is-is a salvage store." Her fingers ached as she twisted the strings of her apron tighter. "We sell freight and warehouse damaged groceries." She bit her lip, but didn't take her eyes from him.

"I can't even find half the things on my list." He shook his head as he stared at a white piece of paper. "What about milk and cheese?"

"No, I'm sorry. We mostly have dry goods."

He threw his hands in the air. Emily thought his behavior was improper for an Amish man, but raw fear kept her mouth closed and her feet rooted to the floor.

"Where am I supposed to get all this?" He turned the piece of paper around so she could see the list.

Emily unwrapped the strings of her apron and slowly leaned her head forward. She tucked a loose strand of brown hair underneath her kapp.

"What'd you do to your hand?"

Emily glanced at her hand, and a blush filled her cheeks when she saw the red indentions around her fingers. She quickly dropped her hand to her side and ignored his comment. "You will have to go to Monte Vista for most of those things. People usually come here to save money, just to get a few things they know we'll have for a lesser price."

"That's a far drive by buggy in this snow." He put both hands on the counter and hung his head for a few moments, then looked up as his mouth pulled into a sour grin. With an unsettling calmness, he leaned forward and said, "Just one more thing I can't stand about this place."

Emily took two steps backward, which caused her to bump into the wall behind her. "Then leave," she whispered as she cast her eyes down on her black shoes. She couldn't believe she'd voiced the thought, and when she looked back up at him, the stranger's eyes were glassed with anger.

"Please don't hurt me." She clenched her eyes closed.

David couldn't believe what he'd heard. "What? Hurt you? What are you talkin' about?" He'd never hurt anyone in his life. He walked around the counter and reached his hand out to her, but she cowered against the wall.

"I'm sorry. Whatever I did, I'm sorry. Please, don't cry." He touched her arm, and she flinched as a tear rolled down her cheek. He pulled back and said softly, "Please. Don't cry. Look ..." He showed her his palms, then backed up and got on the other side of the counter. "I'm leaving. Don't cry."

He rubbed his forehead for a moment and watched her trying to catch her breath to stop the tears from flowing. She swiped at her eyes and sniffled, then looked up at him. He noticed a scar above her left brow. A deep indentation that ran nearly to her hairline.

The bell on the front door chimed, and David looked away from the woman and toward the sound. An Amish fellow around his own age stepped inside. He glanced at David, then took one look at the woman against the wall and hastily rushed over to her. He brushed past David, almost pushing him, and touched the woman on the arm.

"Are you all right?"

"I didn't do anything, I promise." David watched the young man wrap his arm around her and whisper something in her ear. "I mean, I guess I acted like a jerk, but I never meant to ..."

The fellow waved a hand at him and shook his head before turning his attention back to her. "Go on back to the haus."

David's eyes followed the young woman as she scurried out the door, her chin tucked. Through the window, he saw her trudge through the snow toward a white house on the other side of a picket fence, her brown dress slapping at her shins as she hugged herself tightly. David pointed to a black wrap hanging on a rack by the door. "She forgot her cape," he said and looked out of the window again. He wondered what exactly had just happened.

"I'm Jacob." The man walked closer and extended his hand to David, who forced a smile.

"I'm David, and I'm real sorry. I came in here in a bad mood, and I guess I must have scared her or something." He dropped his hand and shook his head. "But I sure didn't mean to. Really. I'm just real sorry."

Jacob peeled off a snow-speckled black coat, walked to the rack, and hung it beside the forgotten cape. He turned to face David. "It's not you. My sister just gets like that sometimes. I try not to leave her alone, but I heard one of the horses in the barn kicking at the stall, and I was gone longer than I should have been."

"Is she ..." David wasn't sure how to ask. "Ab im kopp?"

Jacob chuckled. "Nee, she ain't off in the head." His expression grew serious. "She's just ... I reckon she's just going through a hatt time right now."

The bell on the door chimed again, and David saw a small girl enter. She was bundled in a black bonnet and cape and was breathing hard. "Are you the one who made Emily cry?" She thrust her hands on her hips and drew her mouth into a frown. David opened his mouth to answer, but Jacob cut in.

"Betsy, what are you doing out here? You're supposed to be helping Mamm get those jams labeled so she can carry them to Abby's bakery later. Does she know you ran over here?"

The child untied the strings of her bonnet, pulled it off, then tucked loose strands of blonde hair beneath her kapp. "I reckon this is more important." She folded her small arms across her chest as her hazel eyes bored into David. "What did you do to Emily?"

"Betsy, he didn't do nothing. Now, get on back in the house." Jacob stacked papers on top of the counter, dismissing the child.

Betsy walked to David, her hands landing back on her tiny hips. She squinted her eyes and pursed her lips together. "I want you to know that if your behavior instigated this outpouring of emotion from my sister, it would be best for you not to visit us here again." She nodded her head once, but David was too stunned to say anything. The women in this family are crazy.

"Just pretend she's not here," Jacob said as he walked to the girl. He gently grabbed her by the arm and led her to the door. He pulled the door open. "Put your bonnet on and go home, Betsy."

Betsy stood in the doorway as snow powdered her black cape and the threshold of the shop. She plopped her bonnet back on her head, tied it, then lifted her chin. "I will be going back to tend to Emily, and I suspect you should be heading to your own haus." She spun around and slammed the door behind her.

David cocked his head to one side and watched Betsy from the window. "How old is she?"

"Seven." Jacob shrugged, then sighed. "And a handful."

David scratched his chin and finally pulled his gaze from the window. "I have a sister who is seven, but she doesn't talk like that." He paused. "I don't know many Amish folks who talk like that, even us older ones."

"Ya, Betsy is special. She's a real pain most of the time, but Mamm and Daed let some Englisch people give her some tests, and they said she's what they call gifted." Jacob pushed a button on the cash register, and the drawer swung open. He filled the slots with bills as they talked. "Betsy's been reading since way before other kinner her age. I reckon she thinks she knows everything." He chuckled. "Sometimes I think she does, too, using them big words and all. She does math real gut too."

David nodded. "Oh."

Jacob slammed the cash drawer shut, then smiled. "In case you were wondering, mei mamm is normal."

David laughed. "Gut to know. Are those your only siblings?"

"No. I got a younger bruder, Levi. But he works with mei daed doing construction and installing solar panels."

David had noticed that lots of the Amish homes in Canaan used solar panels, something you didn't see a lot of in Lancaster County. "How'd your daed and bruder get into that?"

"Daed knew he was going to need to find an outside job here since farming is going to be a challenge, at least in the beginning." Jacob shook his head. "Can't believe that there's only three months of frost-free weather here." He paused with a sigh. "Anyway, Daed planned ahead and learned about these solar panels before we moved here."

David nodded again as he considered whether or not his family might benefit from solar panels.

"And me and Emily take care of the shop, and 'course Mamm has the house to tend to ... and Betsy, which is a fulltime job when she ain't in school." Jacob scratched his forehead. "What 'bout you? Where'd you come from? I haven't seen you around here."

David sighed. "We moved here. Yesterday. We're not even unpacked, but my stepmother wanted me to pick up a few things."

"You don't sound happy about this move." Jacob sat down on a stool behind the counter and eyed David skeptically.

"I'm not, really. I mean, my whole family and everything I've ever known is in Lancaster County. In Pennsylvania. My great grandfather left us some land, so we moved." David shook his head. "Although ... I reckon I don't know why. This is nothing like Lancaster County. It's-" He stopped when he realized he might offend Jacob if he went on.

"It's all right." Jacob took off his hat and ran a hand through wavy brown hair. "You ain't tellin' me anything I don't know. We moved here from Middlefield, Ohio, three months ago. It's real different here for us too."

"What made your family move?"

Jacob shrugged. "Needed a change." He pulled his eyes from David's and his forehead wrinkled as he went on. "And Levi's got asthma. The weather is better here for him. Less mold, which seems to trigger it."

David suspected there was more to it than that, but he just nodded.

"Lillian, my stepmother, was wondering where the school is for my sister. I have two sisters, but only Anna is old enough to go to school. She's the one who's the same age as Betsy. Elizabeth is almost five, so she won't start until next year."

Jacob grunted. "There ain't no schoolhouse. Hoping to build one soon, though. Right now, the young ones are getting their schooling from Emma Miller, the widow around the corner." Jacob pointed to his right. "Big blue house on the next road to the right. She teaches them in the barn."

"In the barn?"

"Ya. She's got a gut setup out in her barn. All the young scholars have their own desk, and it's all heated with propane. It's just until we can get the school built. Widow Miller is sick; otherwise Betsy would be in school today." Jacob chuckled. "Bet Mamm is hoping she gets well real soon."

David had almost forgotten about his list from Lillian. "I better pay for these couple of things, then head to town for the other items." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a five dollar bill.

"There's a singing here on Sunday, if you're interested." Jacob handed David his change. "It won't be nothing like what you're used to, I'm sure, and there ain't a whole lot of people who attend, maybe only ten or fifteen, but you could meet some folks. There will even be a few single girls coming. How old are you, anyway?"

"I just turned twenty."

"And you ain't married yet?"

David forced a smile. Marriage wasn't in his plans. "No."

"I'm getting married in December." Jacob grinned again. "Adding another crazy woman to my life. Beth Ann's her name."

David watched Jacob's eyes light up when he said her name-his new friend was happy about this. "Congratulations."

"Danki."

David picked up his small bag with the noodles and green beans, and then extended his other hand to Jacob. "Nice to meet you, and please tell Emily that I'm not some psycho or anything." He chuckled, but stopped when he saw the color fade from Jacob's face. "Did I say something wrong? I just don't want her to think I'm-"

Jacob waved his hand. "Nah, it's okay. I can tell you're a normal guy." Then he stood up and headed toward the back of the shop. "See ya 'round," he said over his shoulder. "Come Sunday, if you feel like it."

David opened the front door of the shop and walked toward his buggy. The snow had stopped, and he glanced across the white terrain between the shop and the house. Movement on the front porch caught his eye. Emily. He stopped for a moment, then pivoted on his foot and headed in her direction. He'd never made a woman cry before today.

Emily's face flushed with embarrassment as she watched him walking toward her. When was she ever going to feel-and act-normal again? She reached up and touched the scar on her forehead. Never.

The screen door slammed behind her, and Vera Detweiler joined her daughter on the porch.

"Who is that handsome fellow comin' 'cross the yard?" Mamm smoothed the wrinkles in her brown apron. "I don't recognize him."

"I'm going in the haus." Emily started to step around her mother, but felt a hand on her arm.

"Emily. That's rude. Is this young man coming to see you? Did you meet him at the shop?"

Emily wiggled free of her mother's grasp. "Ya. But he's not very friendly, and I'd rather not talk to him."

Mamm's lips thinned. "Emily, how are you ever going to find a man and get married if you keep running away from everyone?" She softened her expression. "You must move past what happened."

The man was nearing earshot, so Emily didn't have a chance to respond.

"Guder mariye." Mamm waved from the front porch. Emily didn't think there was much good about this morning at all.

"Guder mariye to you." He stopped in the yard and looked up at Emily and her mother. "I just wanted to come apologize to Emily." He shoved his hands in his pockets, and with his shoulders hunched forward, his gaze landed on Emily. "I'm sorry for the way I acted back there." He nodded toward the shop. "I'm just having a really bad morning. I didn't mean to scare you."

With renewed humiliation about her behavior, Emily looked away from him. When she turned back to face him, his gaze was still on her. "It's all right," she mumbled, casting her eyes to the ground, wishing she'd never have to see him again. Not much chance of that if he lives here.

Her mamm carefully eased down the porch steps, then extended her hand to him. "I'm Vera Detweiler."

"David Stoltzfus. We just moved here yesterday from Lancaster County." He latched onto Mamm's hand, glanced at Mamm for a moment, then looked up at Emily.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Seek Me With All Your Heart by Beth Wiseman Copyright © 2010 by Beth Wiseman. Excerpted by permission.
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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 67 )
Rating Distribution

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(45)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

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1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 68 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great first book for the series

    Beth Wiseman has done it again. This book, the first in the Land of Canaan Series is a wonderful read. I found I didn't want to put it down. Beth has taken characters from the Daughters of Paradise series and moved then to Colorado to a fresh beginning. I love the fact that each books stands on its own, but also compliments each other. It is refreshing to read about a character and be able to follow that character throught out the series and into another series. Lillian and Samuel have moved to the property that Jonas bought online before he passed away. They are starting fresh in a strange new land. I love the new characters and only wish that Jonas was still around to carry on a conversation with Martha. That would be a book in itself. The characters are real and you find yourself engrossed in their lives and hoping that everything works out for each of them. Sometimes what starts out as sorrowful ends with a lesson of God's Love. When one door closes, there is always another that opens for us, if only we are willing to look for it. It is wonderfully written and I only wish that Beth wrote faster, I can hardly wait for the next in the series. What other trials await Lillian and Samuel?

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 24, 2011

    A Story of Healing and Finding God Even in the Hard Times

    Seek Me with all your Heart by Beth Wiseman is about the love, loss, pain, and healing from an Amish point of view. It is the first book in the Land of Canaan series. The main story centers around a young Amish woman named Emily, a young Amish man named David, and their families. The story is set in a fledgling Amish community in Colorado.

    Emily and David's families left their Amish communities and families in the East to move to Canaan, Colorado, in hopes of a new start. Emily wants to put her past behind her and her mother hopes she will find healing for the tragedies she suffered just before their move. David's family hopes to find financial freedom in this new frontier where the land is cheaper and their homestead is paid in full. Will they find what they are looking for?

    Along the journey we are introduced to many other characters. Each has a unique struggle of their own that they are dealing with. But the resounding theme is that God is telling them all to seek Him with all of their hearts. He is their to help them find what they need, be it strength or peace or healing, if they will only seek Him with all their hearts.

    Wiseman does an excellent job of weaving a story that will capture your heart and imagination. Seek Me with all of your Heart was so hard to put down. I just didn't want to stop reading it! It brings the Amish lifestyle and faith to life for us Englisch outsiders and it deals with real life issues that we all face no matter how we choose to practice our faith in God.

    The only difficulties I had in reading this book was getting used to some of the Amish terminology which comes from their Pennsylvania Dutch roots. However, Wiseman has provided a convenient glossary of Amish terms at the front of the book. This made it easy to familiarize myself with the terms and after looking up a few of the words I was able to recognize them when they occurred later in the book.

    I highly recommend Seek Me with all your Heart! If you are struggling with forgiveness or dealing with self-worth/self-image issues, this book may hold an especially strong message for you. Once you get started you won't want to put it down until you have read the very last page!

    A free copy of this book was provided to me by Thomas Nelson publishing for review purposes.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2010

    Sadly a very predictable story.

    While Ms. Wiseman books are nice easy read, they are very predictable in their plots. It is the same plot every time.... some one i ill, or in distress, they have lost their way with God, an as always they are suddenly well no longer in distress an have found God yet again.

    One new person in Ms Wiseman book is Martha the older woman that is cranky an rude, but also having a soft heart. She made the book endurable..... otherwise the book is flat. There is no suspense to her stories. She has become very predictable in her writing.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2010

    Great Read!

    This is the first book of Beth Wiseman I have read and truly enjoyed it! I believed in all the characters and loved the sense of humor of the characters. I will definetly read more from this author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2011

    A must read

    I finished this book in 3 days as I couldn't put it down. Very well written and not a dull moment. If you like amish fiction you will love this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An Exciting New amish series

    Seek Me With All Your Heart is the first book in what promises to be an exciting new Amish series title A Land of Canaan. What made this story unique for me was the fact that it is set in Colorado. Several amish families are headed west hoping for a new start. Some are moving because they are looking for cheap land, while others are leaving hurtful pasts behind hoping for a fresh start. The main story revolves around Emily Detweiler and David Stoltzfus. The two have issues from their past, each thinking that they are unworthy, but as their characters blossom and develop throughout the story, they realize God has a plan for them. This book was a quick easy read filled with plenty of secondary characters to keep you entertained. Fans of Amish fiction will definitely be drawn to this story, but I think that anyone looking for a good clean read with an uplifting message would enjoy it as well. I was provided a copy of this book by Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great read

    Beth has a way with words of making you think that the characters in the book are your friends. I have been addicted to Amish books for a along time now and can't get enough of them. I loved the daughters of the promise now this new series looks promising also.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    A must read

    Cried half the time. Plan to get next book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2013

    Great reading

    Beth once again write a great book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2012

    Wow. All i can say is wow

    I just started reading this book for the second time. It really makes you feel good. Its kind of sad what happens to Emily but in the end its so happy!
    Don't miss out

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  • Posted September 24, 2012

    a wonderful read

    This series is a great read. It warms your heart,

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2012

    Amy

    "Medium sized pastrue. Holds five horses."

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2012

    Incredible book!

    I began reading Amish romances a few months ago. I rate this book at the top alongside Cindy Smallwood's books. They are head and shoulder above the 20+ that I've read so far. The characters will become your friends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2012

    Read This Book

    Just got started reading this book. Can't wait to get back to it.

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  • Posted February 26, 2012

    Strongly recommend - enjoyable reading.

    This was first Beth Wiseman book I've read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well written and heartwarming. Looking forward to book 2.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    Awesome

    Easy to read with an unpredictable plot that holds the reader

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    Great Read

    I enjoy books based on the Amish way of life. Maybe because I lived in an Amish area in Indiana for years. This is a well written book which puts an all too human face to those people who dress and live so differently from most of us. Going to check #2 in this series

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2012

    A feel good story

    I loved this book and the characters in the story. It is a heartwarming story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    Comment

    The book appeared in my Nook Library but when I select the Read Now I get a message that I can't access it and to try later. Don't know what that means.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2012

    A surprise

    I have never been into so called Christian Roamces, but this is something different. The author skillfully takes you on a journey with two young people who have both been struck by tragedy and then God's grace. It is a lot more than smoldering kisses...it really answers the question...what exactly IS family. I can't wait for the second installment.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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