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In the Mysteries of Middlefield series, readers will be immersed into exciting mysteries and authentic Amish culture.
With a twin brother and five younger brothers, Mary Beth Mullet’s house is in constant chaos. Her parents don’t seem to mind the noise,
but she needs a break from all the pestering and babysitting.
It’s the summer before eighth grade, and Mary Beth plans to escape to her secret place as much as...
In the Mysteries of Middlefield series, readers will be immersed into exciting mysteries and authentic Amish culture.
With a twin brother and five younger brothers, Mary Beth Mullet’s house is in constant chaos. Her parents don’t seem to mind the noise,
but she needs a break from all the pestering and babysitting.
It’s the summer before eighth grade, and Mary Beth plans to escape to her secret place as much as possible. The old barn in the neighboring field is dangerous, and her parents have forbidden her to go there, but she escapes to it as often as she can.
Mary Beth soon discovers she is not alone in the barn.
Someone is living there; someone who needs help. Can Mary Beth help the stranger without losing her secret place? And what if the barn is as dangerous as her parents say it is?
Readers will identify with Mary Beth’s struggles for peace and independence and be engrossed in the excitement and danger of A Summer Secret.
It's not fair. Nothing in my life is fair.
Mary Beth Mullet stared at the words in her journal. She took a deep breath, inhaled the faint scent of pig on her skin, and let out a long sigh. She'd probably have to take two baths tonight. Maybe after that the stench would go away. Mary Beth had never realized how bad the pigs smelled until she had fallen into that gross mud in their pen. She wasn't even supposed to feed them this morning. That was usually her twin brother Johnny's job, but he had been helping hitch up Crackerjack to the buggy. She flipped over a couple of pages until she found a clean sheet of paper and began to draw, an activity that always settled her down. There were still a few parts of the barn that she hadn't sketched in her journal over the past several weeks.
Hearing the tweeting of a swallow, she looked up in the corner of the barn, noticing for the first time the nest tucked in the rafters. Applying pencil to paper, she quickly outlined the corner of the barn before adding the swallow and the nest. Were there eggs in the nest? She didn't know and couldn't find out since the ceiling of the barn was so high. She added three tiny eggs to her drawing anyway, carefully coloring little bitty dots on each one. She had no idea if swallows had speckled eggs, but she liked the extra detail.
When she finished her drawing, she closed her journal, placed it on the matted straw beside her, and stood up. She had started coming here when school let out in April, mostly as an escape from Johnny and her younger brothers, Caleb and Micah. Now it was the second week in June, and she hated to think this might be the last summer she spent here. After finishing eighth grade next year, she would probably be expected to get a job outside the house. But she didn't want to think about that right now. She was thirteen and still had one more year to enjoy her freedom. She planned to spend as much time here as she possibly could.
But right now she needed to get home before she was missed. As she always did before she left, she picked up her blanket, shook out the strands of straw clinging to it, then neatly folded it. Tucking her journal underneath the blanket, she checked her stash of supplies-several small boxes of juice, a few granola bars, a packet of graham crackers, and one apple in a plastic baggie. Glancing around, she remembered what her father had said about the barn: he had told her not to go near it. "That old thing is on its last legs," her daed had said. If her parents knew she was here, she would be in big trouble.
Still, Mary Beth didn't think it was so bad. Sure, the wood was black with rot, and the entire barn leaned to the left. Huge gaps were in the wall where slats used to be, and the whole place smelled kind of musty, especially on really hot days. But there were enough holes in the walls to let in plenty of light, yet keep her dry when it rained. Anyone could see this barn had character-and it was her place. The one spot where she could be alone to read, to draw, to dream. Here she didn't have to worry about her brothers bugging her or her parents asking her to do something she didn't want to do. She snuck away to her special place whenever she had a chance.
The sunbeams had shifted from the east side of the barn to the west, and she knew her mother would be calling for her to help with supper. After making one last check of her supplies, she started to head for home when she noticed something glinting on the dirt floor. She knelt down and brushed away the dirt. A button. She picked it up. It was small and round, had four holes, and was made of a brass-colored metal.
Mary Beth frowned. The Amish didn't wear buttons. They used straight pins to fasten their clothes. Buttons were considered too fancy. How did this get here?
Mary Beth tucked the button in her fist and left the barn running. She ran across the field of thick grass that reached almost to her waist. The blades tickled her legs and bare feet as she made her way through them. The long strings of her black prayer kapp trailing behind her, she made it home in record time. But as she got close to the door, she saw something move out of the corner of her eye. Turning, she saw a black-and-white dog sitting near the back step, looking at her with big brown eyes.
"Where did you come from?" The dog was cute, but she didn't approach it. Stray dogs could be dangerous, and she had never seen this one before. The animal looked well kept, though. Its fur shone in the early evening sunlight, and it had a stout body, as if it hadn't missed a meal.
The dog didn't move, just wagged its tail and continued to look at her. Mary Beth grinned and then went inside. Soon enough the dog would get bored and move on, probably back to its owner.
"There you are, Mary Beth," Mami said as Mary Beth burst into the kitchen. Her mother shut off the sink and shook the water from her hands. "I was just about to call you. The potatoes need peeling."
"What's for nachtesse?" she asked, walking toward the stove.
Mary Beth made a face. She hated shepherd's pie. Plus this was the third time in two weeks they'd had it. Why couldn't they have pizza every once in a while? Or McDonald's? But she didn't dare ask her mother for take-out food. More than once she had overheard her parents talking about money, their voices worried and hushed. Mary Beth didn't understand, because both her parents worked. Her mother made jackets and coats and sold them to a woman who owned a small shop in Parkman. Just last week she had started on a quilt she said she hoped would bring a good price. Yet one glance at her mami's worn work dress, with the hole in the frayed bottom hem, told her that money was tight, despite her mother and father working hard every day.
So shepherd's pie it would be, made with potatoes, green beans, and tomato sauce canned from their garden, plus hamburger from the cow they raised last year. Since there were no pockets in her dress, Mary Beth ran upstairs and put the button under her pillow, then dashed down to the basement to get the ingredients for supper.
She emerged a few moments later to chaos.
"Caleb, halt!" Her mother put her hand up in front of Mary Beth's ten-year-old brother. "How many times have I told you to leave your muddy shoes by the back door? You're tracking dirt all over my kitchen floor!"
Caleb shrugged. "Sorry, Mami."
But Mary Beth didn't think he looked sorry at all. She caught the smirk on his face as he passed by her on his way out of the kitchen.
"Micah, nee!" Mami rushed over to eighteen-month-old Micah, who was climbing on the kitchen cabinet nearest to the stove. She grabbed him around the waist and pulled him down. "You know you're not allowed to climb on the counters!"
"Dink." He held out his hands and repeatedly opened and closed them.
"Then you ask for a drink. Mary Beth, will you get your brother some water?"
Her hands were still filled with dinner ingredients, so she set the canned goods down, then went to the sink. After filling a cup with water from the tap, she turned to Micah.
Caleb entered the kitchen again, this time in his bare feet. "When are we gonna eat?" he asked.
"Caleb, get a broom and sweep the dirt you tracked in," Mami ordered.
"Why can't Mary Beth do it?"
"Because I told you to!" Mami leaned against the counter and wiped her shiny forehead. "Lord, give me strength," she whispered.
At that moment Johnny burst into the kitchen. "The pigs are loose!"
Mary Beth surveyed the scene in front of her-Micah shaking his sippy cup upside down and fussing, Caleb standing behind their mother and making faces, Johnny yelling one more time that the pigs had escaped their pen. The racket echoed in Mary Beth's ears.
Mami looked at Mary Beth and at the water dripping down the sides of the cabinet. "Don't just stand there-go help your brother find the pigs! I have to clean up this mess."
Mary Beth wanted to protest, but she remained silent. She knew better than to sass her mother. Although Caleb was a faster runner and had more experience chasing stray animals, she kept her mouth shut. Instead she whirled around and joined Johnny outside. After today, she never wanted to see another pig again.
She rushed outside to see one of the fat, white pigs amble over to the back of the yard, covered in stinky pig mud, its snout scraping against the ground as it snuffled for food. Any appetite she'd had for dinner disappeared as her nostrils filled with the smell.
"Mary Beth!" Johnny shouted as he appeared from the back of the barn. "I got all of them but this ornery one. Help me get him."
"What do you want me to do?"
"You get on one side, I'll get on the other. When he tries to get away, one of us will run in front of him and guide him toward the barn." He waved his arms at the hog. "C'mon, Hambone."
"Hambone? Since when did you start naming the pigs?"
"I've always named the pigs." He held his finger up to his lips. "Shh. Let him get gut and comfortable before we sneak up on him."
As Johnny took his position near the snorting pig, Mary Beth came up behind and walked slowly toward it. She knew from experience chasing a pig was useless. They were fat, but they were also fast. The best way was to sneak up behind them. Carefully she crept toward him. Hambone kept his head down, not suspecting a thing. But when she came within three feet of him, his head shot up and he bolted off toward the field.
"What did you do that for?" Johnny shouted, running past her.
"I did what you told me to do!"
"Well, next time, don't listen to me!" he called over his shoulder.
Mary Beth ran after Johnny and Hambone, but she couldn't keep up. Just as Johnny got close, the pig ran farther and faster, squealing and snorting into the open field toward the old abandoned barn. Johnny fell farther behind as Mary Beth came to a stop, her chest heaving. If Johnny couldn't catch up to Hambone, how would they ever get him back home?
Suddenly she heard a dog bark. The black-and-white dog she'd seen by the house appeared from the nearby grove of trees and started chasing the pig. Terrified, Hambone squealed and skidded to a stop before doing a one-eighty and running back toward his pen. Unlike Johnny and Mary Beth, the dog had no problem keeping up with Hambone, and each time the pig tried to change direction, the dog was there to herd him.
As the animals neared, Johnny whistled at the dog. "C'mon, boy! Bring Hambone over here." He waved his arm in the air, then rushed over to the back of the barn where the pig pen was.
Mary Beth watched as the dog herded Hambone right back in the pen. She saw Johnny latch the gate in place and take off his hat, leaning over the gate and gasping for breath. He glanced down at the dog sitting next to his feet, panting, its pink tongue hanging out of its mouth.
"Well, whaddya know?" Johnny sounded breathless. "A dog that herds pigs. Didn't know they could do that." He looked up at Mary Beth. "Whose dog is this, anyway?"
She shrugged, staring at the pooch. He-or she-had big brown eyes, black ears that stood up like two triangles on top of its head, and a long white muzzle. "I don't know. It must belong to someone."
"Probably." Johnny put his hat on his head, leaned down, and stroked the dog's head. "Glad he was here."
Johnny glanced up and gave her a pointed look. "Definitely a he." He patted the dog a few more times, which caused the dog's tail to thump against the ground. "Maybe if you're around after supper, bu, I'll sneak you a bone."
Mary Beth smirked. "We don't have any bones."
"Okay, maybe a piece of bread. He deserves a reward, ya?"
"Ya. He sure does."
As they walked to the house, the dog continued to follow them, stopping just short of the bottom step of the back deck. Instead of trying to get inside, he sat down and looked at them.
"Wish he could come inside," Johnny said, squatting in front of the dog.
"Ya, but you know what Mami said about animals in the house."
"But look at him, Mary Beth. He wants to come in."
She looked at the dog. He was still panting, but didn't look distressed. "I don't think so. He hasn't moved. Or whined. I think he's happy being right here."
"Maybe. But I'd still like him to come in. I'll ask Daed after supper. He likes dogs. I'll have a better chance with him than with Mami."
"I think he belongs to someone, Johnny."
"He doesn't have a collar." Johnny rose. "And if he did have an owner, what's he doing over here?"
"Visiting? I don't know." She opened the screen door. "We better get inside."
Johnny nodded. "Bye, bu," he said, then walked into the house behind her.
* * *
At last the shepherd's pie was out of the oven. Mary Beth washed up Micah and settled him in his high chair. Then she took her place and Johnny slid in beside her at the table. Everyone bowed their heads in silent prayer for a few moments, then started eating.
Daed picked up his fork with his left hand and shoved it into a pile of potatoes and meat, the movement still slightly awkward. It had been a year since his buggy had been clipped by a car on Nauvoo Road and his right hand had been crushed beneath one of the wheels. The healing process had been long, and he didn't have complete use of his hand yet. Still, he managed fine and only needed help with a few things, like hitching up Crackerjack when he was in a hurry to get to work in the morning. She'd overheard him say more than once that he was lucky to still have a job, and that he'd lost a good amount of earnings when he had to stay home and heal from the accident.
"Pass the salt," Caleb said, elbowing Mary Beth in the side. She glared at him. He arched his eyebrows in return, his chocolate brown eyes daring her to tattle on him. She wouldn't give him the satisfaction and handed him the salt without a word. Johnny slurped down his milk, which made Micah laugh. Grinning, Johnny took another drink, slurping even louder. Mary Beth frowned, annoyed.
"That's enough, Johnny." Daed took another forkful of food and shoved it in his mouth. "Mind your manners." "Ya, Daed."
But when Johnny stopped slurping, Micah started banging his cup against his chair, wanting him to continue. Finally their mother snatched the cup from him, putting it out of reach. Micah started to whimper.
Just a typical evening meal.
Mary Beth picked at her food. She was tired of her brothers always making a racket and causing trouble, tired of shepherd's pie, and tired of seeing the strain on her mami's face and the worried frown on her daed's. But there was nothing she could do about any of it. After supper Mary Beth helped her mother wash and dry the dishes. When she was finished, she peeked out the back door to see if the dog was still there. He wasn't. She sighed and walked back to the kitchen.
"We're going to sit outside for a little while, Mary Beth." Her mother put the last dish away in the cabinet by the sink. "It's a beautiful evening. Don't you want to join us?"
"Nee." Mary Beth shook her head. She didn't really feel like being outside tonight.
"All right, but if you change your mind, come on out. It's too beautiful an evening to be cooped up in the house." She smiled and touched Mary Beth's cheek.
While her family was outside, she ran upstairs to her room and flopped on the bed and looked up at the ceiling. She heard Caleb and Johnny shouting at each other while they played in the backyard. Suddenly remembering the button, she pulled it out from underneath her pillow. She stared at it again, her fingers sliding over the tiny holes. Maybe the button was old and had been left by the people who had owned the barn. Her daed said Yankees owned the property next door, but they hadn't taken care of it, and that's why the barn was in such bad shape. Perhaps the button had fallen off a Yankee's shirt a long time ago.
Mary Beth turned onto her side and closed her eyes, the barn's image forming in her mind. Only instead of a rotting shell of a building, it was a brand-new structure-freshly coated in white paint on the outside and filled with hay and animals on the inside. She could practically hear the nickering of a horse in a stall and smell the scent of clean hay. Her imagination journeyed on as she saw a man walk into the barn, wearing Yankee clothes and heading to the back corner of the barn where the cows were kept.
Excerpted from A Summer Secret by Kathleen Fuller Copyright © 2010 by Kathleen Fuller. 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.
Posted March 20, 2013
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Posted October 2, 2011
I was given a copy of A Summer Secret (The Mysteries of Middlefield Series) from BookSneeze in exchange for writing a review. This books, as titled, is a light read. The book starts out with thirteen-year-old Mary Beth, who is the main character. She is Amish and lives in a small Amish community with her family. She spends her time in a neighboring abandoned barn, where she gets away from her chores and taking care of siblings. After a while she finds a couple things in the barn that she did not leave. In-between her chores she finds time to look for more clues about the mystery. After a few chapters she meets Sawyer, who is a run away who has been living in the barn. Through out the story Mary Beth and her brother, Johnny, make friends with Sawyer and try to figure out what they should do. A Summer Secret is great for a 12-14 year-old, adults might like it, but it is not written for an older audience. I felt like it just barely kept you hanging on. It didn't draw you in as much that you couldn't stop reading it, but just enough to keep reading. It is a mystery but some things were really easy to guess and not many things surprised you, I really like suspenseful books and this wasn't one of them. Overall this book was fine as a very light read but it would definitely not be one of my favorites.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 2, 2011
A Summer Secret tells the story of Mary Beth and Johnny Mullet, teenage Amish siblings. Between her twin brother, Johnny, and their two younger brothers, Mary Beth feels like she cannot get a moment to herself. Against her parents wishes, she repeatedly sneaks away to a dilapidated old barn for some peace and quiet. But then Mary Beth discovers evidence that she's not the only person using the barn as a refuge. The discovery leads her into danger as she tries to help the young boy she finds there. A Summer Secret was a well-written, entertaining book. However, while the story itself was entertaining, I was uncomfortable with the way in which the plot-line played out. The plot is based around Mary Beth's, and later Johnny's, disobedience in going to the barn. While their disobedience is not portrayed as correct, I felt like the book still gave the idea that disobedience is fine, as long as it's done for a good reason. I would recommend the book to others to read, but when children, who have not yet developed discernment, read it, I recommend that their parents take a few moments to explain that disobedience is not acceptable, no matter what the outcome. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 11, 2011
Posted January 7, 2011
My husband Tim has been making fun of me for years for alternating between reading smut and books about the Amish. Lately, with all of my reading about birth and midwifery, both my smut reading and my reading about the Amish have suffered. Luckily, I was given a copy of A Summer Secret from BookSneeze in exchange for writing about the book.
The book starts out with a note about the Middlefield, Ohio Amish, on whom the book is based. That is followed by a "Glossary of Amish Terms," so that the reader can understand the Dutch words that pepper the story.
Thirteen year old Mary Beth, the main character, finds herself in the middle of a mystery when she finds a button in the borner of their barn. This raises flags, as the Amish don't use buttons on their clothes. Between doing chores on the family farm, spending time with her Ma and Da and fighting with her brothers, she continues to find more clues that point to something strange happening.
A few chapters into the book, we meet Sawyer, a runaway who has been hiding out in her family's barn. Throughout the story, Mary Beth and her brother, Johnny, spend time with Sawyer and wrestle with what to tell the adults in their lives.
Just like other books of the genre, A Summer Secret is a wholesome read, a book where people grapple with issues and come out of it ok. Though they have things going on in their lives that may feel challenging, they have a strong support system to fall back on when things get tough. Eventually, when the parents step in to help, everyone is kind and supportive.
Patrick, my oldest son, is reading A Summer Secret now.
I had the opportunity to read A Summer Secret (The Mysteries of Middlefield Series) by Kathleen Fuller. It is a book geared towards young adults which I normally don't read but having a preteen I'm always looking for good books for her so I thought I would give it a chance.
The story is set in an Amish community in Ohio. There you will find 13 year old Mary Beth hiding out in an abandoned barn on the outskirts of her family's property. There at the barn she trys to find some much needed privacy while sketching. Her parents have told her to stay out of the barn as it's old and not safe, but it's the only privacy she can find.
As she spends more and more time there she starts to notice things out of the ordinary such as buttons, her private diary she has hidden in the barn has been
gone through. She soon finds out that her twin brother has also been using the barn as a hideaway at night, and they see a foot print that doesn't belong. They learn that it belongs to Sawyer who is a run-away. They soon become friends with Sawyer and try to help him. After helping their new friend for a few months, an accident
to the barn and the secrets they've been hididng are out.
I found the book a little hard to get into and kind of boring. Also the story made it seem as if disobedience was okay if it all helped out for the better good in the end.
Thomas Nelson Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book as part of their BookSneeze bloggers book review program, all reviews are my own honest review of the book
Posted September 14, 2010
Although this is a teen book I believe that both teens and adults will adore this book. I have read numerous Amish themed books but I have found that Kathleen Fuller always offers readers a bit more than other authors. If you are searching for the perfect weekend read, this is it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 3, 2010
Contrary to the impression given in the book description, the mystery mentioned was actually no great mystery. It is easily and quickly solved early on in the book. There is a mystery which remains unsolved but it is not the one you expected. Still, I enjoyed Mary Beth and her twin brother, Johnny's attempts to identify the person who has encroached on their secret place. It was almost like taking a trip down memory lane to those first childhood detective stories I'd read before.
The real story of A Summer Secret is how Mary Beth and Johnny handle what happens after discovering Sawyer, the orphaned runaway they find hiding in the old barn. True to their upbringing, the twins try their best to help Sawyer without frightening him off but soon realize they may have bitten off more than they can chew. I found this part of the story engrossing; Sawyer's fears of being dragged back to the foster home and the twins dilemma on how to get help for Sawyer while keeping him hidden engaged both my sympathy and interest.
Best of all is the depiction of the main protagonist's character. Mary Beth is a very real 13-year old. She's responsible and wants more than anything to be thought of as dependable by her parents but she also isn't averse to disobeying them when she believes she can away with it. Of course, she does learn the importance of adhering to her parents' injunctions at the end of the story but she wouldn't be a believable person without these moments of defiance.
As a plus, I got a glimpse into the lives of the Amish. At first, there is a sense of incredulity. It was as if these people had been displaced by time. Once you get used to it however, it is just a different way to live.
The only negative for me was the resolution of Sawyer's problem at the end. I find it very hard to believe that things could be so easily solved. I love happy endings but I just find the answer to Sawyer's situation a bit hard to swallow.
Still, A Summer Secret is an enjoyable enough read. I wouldn't purposefully search out the next book in the series but I wouldn't reject it either if I came across the book.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I am not required to write a positive review; the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.
Posted June 23, 2010
This book was good. It is worth a read. It was a different type of book for me to read because it was Amish fiction and I have not read any Amish books before (but Ive been to the Amish area many times), this book was actually a mystery but most of the book didnt feel like it was a mystery. I think this is a good book for teens or adults to read I mean there was nothing fantastic about it but like I said before its worth a read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 12, 2010
This book is about a 13 year old Amish girl named Mary Beth. Having younger brothers she must find a place of her own. She decides on a old abandoned barn. Although she thinks it is her own secret - it turns out others also share in the same secret. There seems to be some growing up to do!
This book deserves 5 stars. I would allow my children to read it and learn more about the unknown culture of the Amish. It was clean and very easy to read.
I loved the story and the encouragement through out the book. It was nice to see a good story for younger readers with a wholesome meaning.
I would definitely recommend this book to adults as well, although it is meant for young readers!
Blessings to you! You are loved!
Note: I was sent complimentary copy for review purposes only. This review has not been monetarily compensated. The review was my honest opinion and views and not influenced by the sponsor in any way.
Posted June 9, 2010
Mary Beth is a thirteen year old Amish girl living in Ohio. Having three brothers to look after and being the only girl is a challenge especially when she adds babysitting to her already long list of chores she is responsible for. The only time she has any privacy is when she finds time to sneak away to the condemned barn across the field even though her parents have forbidden her from going there but its the only place she has peace and quiet. I absolutely loved this book! It was so heartfelt; tears were brought to my eyes. In the beginning I was very skeptical about reading a book about the Amish being that I didn't know very much about them, I prepared myself for the worst. It broke my heart to read about the Yankee boy's young life story and even though he is a fictional character I know that many children today are going through the same things. Being a children's book I was surprised at how inspiring " A Summer Secret" was. It made me realize how grateful I am for my family. The generosity Marybeth and her twin brother showed towards the Yankee gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. I was expecting a cute little romance to blossom between Mary Beth and the boy. Kathleen Fuller did an excellent job with "A Summer Secret", it definitely stirred some deep emotions and I recommend this book to everyone regardless of age or religion.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 7, 2010
I have no idea why this book is labeled as "mystery." Only the first 50 or so pages were even remotely considered mystery. Just when Mary and Johnny were trying to figure out who was in the barn and eating their food, and even then it wasn't a mystery to the reader because it switched narratives, so I already knew who the boy was before the main characters did. I consider a "mystery" to be completely surprising and shocking to the reader, and A Summer Secret wasn't a secret at all. I think it should've been labeled as General Fiction or Drama.
I didn't like this book. It wasn't exciting enough for me and the writing was dull. I didn't like the Amish language throughout the book. I know that they don't speak like regular Americans and that there was a translator in the beginning, but I still didn't like it. I like to read through a book in English, not to have to refer back to a translator. I've read other Amish books where they don't do this.
I won't be continuing to read the series.
Posted May 26, 2010
Thomas Nelson Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book as part of their BookSneeze.com bloggers book review program. I was not required to write a positive review, and therefore, the review is 100% my honest opinion.
I quickly flipped the book to read it, and finished it within 2 hours. This is what the book is all about:
A Summer Secret was written about a young girl named Mary Beth who has a twin bother and five younger brothers. As most older sisters, she has her fair share of responsibilities, chores and babysitting.
It seems like a huge burden to carry but with finances a problem, everyone in Mary Beth's family do their fair share of work. Mary Beth gets tired of the boys being disgusting and obnoxious, making messes, invading her private space and their constant irresponsibility.
Tired of all the nonsense, Mary Beth seeks to find a place of her own. A place for privacy where she can record in her journal and have some serenity. She decides to find a refuge in an old abandoned barn in a neighbouring field which her parents have declared off limits. But then again, she desperately needs a place to call her own. It will be her secret.
There is only one problem. She is not the only person who is claiming the barn as their own. Her secret has been discovered and now she may be in grave danger.
From a reader and an author's point of view, I think the storyline does not progress fast enough for the reader to get excited with the book. I nearly put the book down after a few chapters, and the so-called mystery in the book, is not quite a mystery after all. It's rather predictable for me, and I wouldn't really suggest the book to young readers. It will make the targeted audience scream with dissatisfaction, as the book is rather preachy and too wordy. The characters are not quite dynamic, and it's quite a bore.
I would definitely not recommend this book to young readers, but I think some parents would prefer their young teens to read this book as they're trying to lock up their children from facing the harsh reality and the things that goes on in the outside world. This book makes me think of Rapunzel all locked up in the tower by the evil godmother. This book, somewhat justify the godmother's action.
I would rate this book 2 out of 5.
Posted May 20, 2010
This is the first book of new series Mysteries of Middlefield, written by Kathleen Fuller, an author of Amish novels. With more of a young adult approach here, Fuller does well in appealing to both young people - girls and boys - and adults who want to lose themselves in a tale of a simpler way of life. Female readers in particular can identify with the plight of Mary Beth, 13, as she seeks her own special place away from the demands of chores and family responsibility. Yet Mary Beth's chosen place is an old barn that she has forbidden to go to. She is startled to find someone else has been visiting - her first clue is a button she finds lying in the hay, which, as she notes, is not used by the Amish (they use pins to fashion their clothes). It's details like these that will help captivate readers of any age as they learn about another culture. Whether or not you are currently a fan of Amish literature, you may be surprised to find out how much you enjoy the book. My only criticism is that the mystery itself was not very suspenseful - but I enjoyed the book's attention to detail and cultural insight so much that I hardly cared.
Just a note: I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson publishers in exchange for an honest review, and I was not required to write a positive review.
Posted May 20, 2010
A young Amish teenager named Mary Beth Mullet has brothers that drive her crazy, and sometimes she just needs a place to get away and have a moment to herself. She escapes the noise and constant chores in an abandoned barn near her family's farm-a barn she's been told to stay away from, because it's likely to collapse. One day she finds out she isn't the only one using it as a hideout. Should Mary Beth reveal the truth, even though the secret isn't hers to keep?
This book has a solid storyline and well-formed characters. Female readers at the middle-grade level will easily identify with the thirteen-year-old main character, despite the different vocabulary and lifestyle of the Amish culture. The descriptions of modern Amish life were well integrated into the story. While informative, the author's portrayal of Amish clothing and customs set the scene in a natural way. The main character's reliance on her faith is evident, though it does not feel forced to get a message across. This book is well written and even paced, though the plot is a bit predictable.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Posted May 20, 2010
A Summer Secret
By: Kathleen Fuller
This is another great story by Kathleen Fuller. A Summer Secret is about an Amish girl, Mary Beth, who finds a Yankee boy, Sawyer, in an abandoned barn-which is where she escapes to when she needs time alone. Mary Beth, and her brother Johnny, discover Sawyer hiding out in the barn. They decide to keep him a secret from their parents. This is the story of how faith and trust come into play in ordinary lives. Read about Mary Beth's journey from a young girl-wanting to slip away for some alone time, to a young adult-realizing what family, love, and trust is all about.
I really liked this book; once I started it, I couldn't put it down. Kathleen Fuller has done her research on Amish families and ways of life. Whatever is going on in the story, she explains it so the reader can see what is happening. This is the book for a great Christian Amish romance. Finding out what caused Sawyer to be in the barn to begin with-and what happens to him in the end-keeps you intrigued throughout the book.