The Decision (Prairie State Friends Series #1)

The Decision (Prairie State Friends Series #1)

4.4 21
by Wanda E. Brunstetter
     
 

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Discover along with Jonah Miller how life can begin anew in the prairie state of Illinois. Moving from Pennsylvania, finding rewarding work, and leaving heartbreak behind is the best decision Jonah ever made. But is he ready to consider love again when he meets Elaine Schrock? Will his scarred heart mend when she chooses family loyalty over love?

Overview


Discover along with Jonah Miller how life can begin anew in the prairie state of Illinois. Moving from Pennsylvania, finding rewarding work, and leaving heartbreak behind is the best decision Jonah ever made. But is he ready to consider love again when he meets Elaine Schrock? Will his scarred heart mend when she chooses family loyalty over love?

Editorial Reviews

RT Book Reviews - Patsy Higgason

The first book in a new contemporary series has amazing characters who are kind and willing to help those they love any way they can. Brunstetter is a talented author.
CBA Retailers and Resources - Kim Trivilino

Readers of Amish fiction will enjoy this story, but I believe its deeper layers with caregiving are worth exploring. After this read, Brunstetter fans, new and old, will be clamoring for more.
Library Journal
02/01/2015
After his wedding is unexpectedly called off, Jonah Miller begins his life and buggy-making business anew with an Amish community in Illinois. When he meets Elaine Schrock, John believes that God has given him a second chance at love. However, his answered prayers turn into a cruel twist of fate when Elaine's grandfather dies and her grandmother is diagnosed with dementia. His soon-to-be bride calls off the engagement to abide by her grandfather's dying wish to care for her grandmother. A heartbroken Jonah feels that he will never again know love. But God has a plan for his children. VERDICT Drawing on the themes of the power of faith and prayer, best-selling author Brunstetter launches a new series with this wonderful yet angst-filled tale of love won and lost. The plot-driven story line and feel-good tone make up for the sometimes bittersweet situations in which the characters find themselves. Brunstetter's engaging prose style and appealing, well-drawn characters will not disappoint her fans and may garner new ones. A solid choice for readers of Beverly Lewis, Tracie Peterson, and Melody Carlson.
Publishers Weekly
01/12/2015
Brunstetter, an Amish-fiction specialist who has sold more than 8 million books, begins her new Prairie State Friends series with a novel that moves as slowly as a Amish buggy. Jonah Miller has been courting Elaine Schrock for nearly a year, but the unexpected death of her grandfather puts marriage plans on hold. Further delays occur when Elaine’s grandmother is diagnosed with both diabetes and dementia. When Elaine ends up refusing Jonah’s marriage proposal in order to devote herself fully to caring for her grandmother, he begins seeing Sara Stutzman, a widow with her own dramatic health issues. The plot plods; the language trudges; the ending jerks to a stop with obvious hints at Book 2. While Brunstetter’s serviceable story speaks to caregiving, duty, and friendship, readers may cringe at sentences such as “Immediately, Elaine’s two special friends gathered her into their arms, and they wept bitterly.” Fans of Amish fiction and Brunstetter will want to read her latest, but this one isn’t her best. (Mar.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781616260880
Publisher:
Barbour Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/01/2015
Series:
Prairie State Friends Series , #1
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
104,485
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Decision

Prairie State Friends Book 1


By Wanda E. Brunstetter

Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Copyright © 2015 Wanda E. Brunstetter
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63409-249-4


CHAPTER 1

Tears coursed down Elaine's cheeks and dripped onto the front of her black mourning dress. The mourners had arrived at the cemetery a few minutes ago, ready to put Grandpa Schrock's body to rest in the ground. He'd died of an apparent heart attack just moments after the paramedics arrived Saturday evening. This morning, because Grandma wanted it that way, Grandpa's funeral service had been held in a large tent outside their home, rather than in the Otto Center, where some local Amish funerals took place.

During the service, one of the ministers quoted Matthew 5:7: "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." Grandpa had always been merciful to others, and so had Grandma. When Elaine was five years old and her parents had been killed in a buggy accident, her father's parents had taken her in. They'd been wonderful substitute parents, teaching, loving, and nurturing Elaine, yet asking so little in return. She only hoped she could live a life that would be pleasing not only to Grandma, but also to God.

If I'd only found Grandpa sooner, could he have been saved? Elaine wondered. Oh, Grandpa, I already miss you so much.

Elaine glanced over at her grandmother, standing to her left with hands folded, as though praying. Her eyes brimmed with tears. Grandma Schrock was a strong woman, but the grief she felt over losing her husband of forty-five years was evident on her face. And why wouldn't it be? Elaine's grandparents always had a deep, abiding love for each other, and it showed in everything they said and did as a couple. Elaine hoped to experience that kind of love when she got married someday.

Taking Grandma's hand, Elaine's throat constricted as Grandpa's simply crafted wooden coffin was placed inside a rough pine box that had already been set in the opening of the grave. Death for the earthly body was final, yet she was confident that Grandpa's soul lived on and that he now resided in a much better place. Grandpa had lived the Christian life in every sense of the word, and he'd told Elaine many times that he loved the Lord with all his heart, soul, and mind. Yes, Elaine felt certain that Grandpa was in heaven with Jesus right now and perhaps even looking down on them with a smile. Did Grandma feel it, too? Quite possibly she did, for she gave Elaine's fingers a gentle squeeze as she turned her face toward the blue sky. Thank You, Lord, for giving us a sunny day to say our good-byes, Elaine prayed.

A slight chill hung in the air, but at least it wasn't raining, and only a gentle breeze whispered among the many headstones surrounding them. A bird chirped from a tree outside the fenced-in graveyard, as though offering comfort and a hope for the future.

A group of men from their church district began to sing while the grave was filled in by the pallbearers. Elaine winced. Although she had been quite young when her parents died, she still remembered standing in the cemetery during the burial, holding her grandparents' hands. Elaine's maternal grandparents, who had since died, had been living in Oklahoma back then. They had decided not to uproot Elaine from the only home she'd known, and she was grateful that Grandma and Grandpa Schrock had been more than willing to take her in. As the last shovelful of dirt was placed over the coffin, Elaine remembered her final words with Grandpa and her promise to take care of Grandma. And I will, Elaine reminded herself. For as long as Grandma needs me, I will be there for her.

Bishop Levi Kauffman asked the congregation to pray the Lord's Prayer silently, which concluded the graveside service. It was time to start back to the house for the funeral meal their friends and neighbors had prepared, but Elaine had no appetite. She'd be going through the motions and doing what was expected of her. Grandma would no doubt do the same.

Scanning the faces of close friends and church members, Elaine saw that the heartache she and Grandma felt today was shared by all. Although nothing had been said during the funeral service earlier this morning about Grandpa's attributes, everyone knew that Lloyd Schrock was a kind, caring man. Having farmed in this community from the time he'd married Grandma until his recent retirement, Grandpa had proved his strong work ethic and commitment to the community. How many times had Elaine witnessed him getting up at the crack of dawn to head out to the fields without a word of complaint? Grandma always got up with him and made sure he ate a hearty breakfast before beginning another busy day. She'd done the same for Elaine throughout her school days.

Elaine would miss their shared meals, as well as Grandpa's smile and the stories he often told. On cold winter evenings, they would sit by the fire, enjoying apple cider and some of Grandma's delicious pumpkin or apple pie. All the wonderful times the three of them had together would be cherished memories.

As folks turned from the grave site and began walking back to their buggies, Elaine's friends Priscilla Herschberger and Leah Mast approached Elaine and her grandmother and hugged them warmly. No words were necessary. These two young women had been Elaine's best friends since they were children, and even though at twenty-two Elaine was the youngest of the three, they'd always gotten along well.

"Are you coming over to our house for the meal?" Elaine asked.

Priscilla and Leah both nodded.

"We'll do whatever we can to help out today so you and your grandma can relax and visit with those who attend." Leah, whose hair was golden brown like a chestnut, gave Elaine's arm a tender squeeze.

"You can count on us, not just for today, but in the days ahead as you and your grandma strive to adjust." Priscilla's dark eyes, matching the color of her hair, revealed the depth of her love.

"Danki, I appreciate you both so much." Given a choice, Elaine would prefer to keep busy, but she'd be expected to visit with the guests, so she wouldn't think of turning down her friends' offer of help.

"I am grateful for you, too," Grandma said, her voice trembling a bit. "I value all of our friends in this community."

As Elaine and Grandma moved slowly toward their buggy, Elaine caught sight of Jonah Miller heading her way. For nearly a year, she and Jonah had been courting, and Elaine was fairly certain it was just a matter of time before he proposed marriage. A week ago, she would have eagerly agreed to marry Jonah if he'd asked. But with Grandpa dying, she needed to be there for Grandma. Perhaps later, once Grandma had recovered sufficiently, Elaine would be ready for marriage. But she would continue to look after Grandma, making sure that all of her needs were met.

"I'm sorry for your loss," Jonah said, his coffee-colored eyes showing the depth of his concern as he looked first at Grandma and then Elaine. "If there's anything I can do for either of you, please let me know," he added, pulling his fingers through the back of his thick, curly black hair, sticking out from under the brim of his black dress hat.

"We will," Grandma murmured. "Danki."

All Elaine could manage was a brief nod. If she spoke to Jonah, her tears would flow, and she might not be able to stop them. There would be time for her and Jonah to talk—perhaps later this afternoon or evening if he stayed around after the meal that long. Jonah had a business to run, and he might need to get back to work this afternoon.

As though reading her thoughts, Jonah touched Elaine's arm and said, "I'll see you back at your house." Nodding in Grandma's direction, he sprinted for his horse and buggy.

* * *

As Jonah stepped into his buggy and picked up the reins, he thought about Elaine and her grandmother and wondered what they would do now that Lloyd was gone. Would they continue to offer sit-down dinners in their home for curious tourists, or would Elaine find some other employment in order to help out financially? Although Lloyd had retired from farming, he'd continued to earn money by selling a good deal of the produce they raised to a local store where many Amish, as well as some English, shopped. He wondered if Elaine would end up taking over that responsibility.

I could ask Elaine to marry me now. That would solve any financial worries she and her grandma might have. Jonah smiled. It would also make me a happy man.

Jonah had been unlucky in love—at least when he'd lived in Pennsylvania. He had fallen in love with Meredith, a beautiful young woman whom he'd met several years before while visiting Florida. Meredith had believed that her husband was killed in a tragic bus accident, and after a suitable time of courting, Jonah and Meredith made plans to be married. But on the eve of their wedding, Meredith's husband, Luke, showed up. It turned out that he hadn't been on that bus after all, but had suffered from amnesia because of a beating he'd received at the Philadelphia bus station. For over a year, Meredith had grieved for Luke, until she'd finally given her heart to Jonah. When Luke showed up, claiming his wife and child, Jonah's whole world had turned upside down. Knowing he needed to get away from Lancaster County and begin again, a year and a half ago Jonah had moved to Arthur, Illinois, where his twin sister, Jean, lived with her family. Jean had also suffered a great loss when her first husband, Silas, was killed in a tragic accident. But since then, she had remarried. Jean had two children, Rebecca and Stephen by her first husband, and now she and Nathan had a baby boy named Ezekiel.

Jonah's bishop from childhood used to say, "Everything happens for a reason. God can take the tragedies in our lives and use them for something good." That was true in his sister's life, for she seemed happy and content. Jonah had also found happiness and love again when he'd met Elaine. He looked forward to the future and hoped to make the pretty blond his wife someday. But while she and her grandma were recovering from this great loss, he wouldn't bring up the subject of marriage. Instead, he'd be there for her, offering support in every way. When the time was right, he'd propose.

Thinking about the others who had been at the cemetery, Jonah reflected on how Sara Stutzman had looked as though she might break down at any moment. Sara's husband, Harley, had been killed by a falling tree ten months ago. Attending Lloyd's funeral and going to the graveside service must have been difficult for her, especially given that Harley's grave wasn't more than ten feet from where Lloyd was buried.

It was hard for Jonah, too, because he and Harley had been good friends. Since Jonah was courting Elaine, he had to be careful not to offer Sara too much support. But he, as well as several other men from their community, had gone over to Sara's several times to help out with chores. Jonah still dropped by occasionally to check on Sara and her two-year-old son, Mark. Usually Jonah's sister, Jean, was with him, as she and Sara were good friends. He wondered if Sara would get married again, since it would be better for Mark if he had a father.

But that's really none of my business, Jonah told himself. If it's meant for Sara to marry again, she'll choose the right man when the time comes.


* * *

Back at the house, Elaine visited a bit and then headed for her bedroom to retrieve a gift she'd purchased the week before for Leah. As she walked down the hall, each step was a struggle. Walking into her room on the main floor, Elaine quietly closed the door. The voices from those who had gathered in the yard, as well as from inside the house, became muffled.

She stood by the bedroom window, her head leaning against the cool glass. Gazing outside at the people who were visiting in the yard, she was overwhelmed by how many friends Grandpa had made over the years. Elaine watched with blurry vision as Priscilla and Leah and a few other women dashed around, making sure food and drinks were readily available for everyone. It was nice to see Grandma receiving so much support on such a difficult day. For Elaine, it was like losing her father all over again, only worse because she'd been with Grandpa a lot longer. Grandma's heart was aching, too. It would take some time to work through all of this, and they would need to rely on God.

Away from well-meaning people, the tears Elaine had held in for most of the morning pushed quickly to the surface. Quietly, she let them fall, covering her mouth to stifle the cries. Grandpa was gone, yet it seemed as though he were still here. His presence would be felt in this house for a long time. Grandpa's voice seemed to whisper in Elaine's ear: "Make each day count, Lainie, no matter what. Things happen for a reason, and although we may not understand it, in time, you'll find the answers you seek."

Grandma used to remind Elaine of similar things, often saying, "The Lord knows what is best for each of His children."

God, is all of this really what's best for me? Elaine's jaw clenched. First, You took my parents, and now You've taken Grandpa, whom we need so much. I feel like I'm in a dark tunnel without any light to guide me out.

She could stand in her bedroom and sob all day, but she had to get ahold of herself. It was time for her to support Grandma, just as she and Grandpa had always been there for her.

Elaine wiped away the tears with her apron and went to her closet to get Leah's gift, a bag of daffodil bulbs from the market. Leah's favorite color was yellow, and Elaine thought her friend would enjoy planting them and seeing them bloom every spring. She had enough bulbs to give half to Priscilla. She hadn't planned it this way, but it would be her way of saying thank you for all they were doing to make things easier on her and Grandma. She would ask them to plant the flowers in memory of Grandpa.

Elaine hesitated, wishing she could stay in her room a little longer. She took a deep breath, squeezing her eyes tightly shut. Grandma must want to be alone in her grief, too, and yet throughout the funeral, graveside service, and now here for the meal, she had put on a brave face in the presence of others.

How can one go on after losing their soul mate and partner for life? Elaine wondered. How does a wife begin each new day, knowing her husband is gone and won't be coming back? First Grandma had lost her only son, and now her husband was gone. Oh, Lord, Elaine prayed, help me to be there for her in every way, offering all of the comfort and care she will need in order to get through each day.

Elaine thought of Jonah and wondered what it would be like if she'd never met him. She cared deeply for Jonah and hoped to have a future with him, but how fair would it be for him to have to help her care for Grandma? The most difficult part of today was behind her, but now the real work would begin. It was time to pick up the pieces of their lives and try to move on.

CHAPTER 2

That evening after all the food was cleared away and everyone had gone home, Elaine went out to the barn to feed the horses. The sound of her steady stride had apparently alerted the animals of feeding time and sent the buggy horses into whinnying and kicking at their stalls. Patches and two of their other barn cats seemed excited to see Elaine, as they skittered across the lawn and pawed at the hem of her dress. "Not now, you three. I'm too busy to play right now."

When Elaine stepped inside, she was greeted by familiar smells—grain, hay, dust, and the strong odor of horseflesh and urine from the horses' stalls. They really needed to be cleaned, but that could wait for another day. She was too tired to lift a pitchfork, and it would be all she could manage just to feed the horses this evening.

As Elaine approached the stall where Grandpa's horse was kept, she bit back a huge sob. This was the last place she'd seen her grandfather alive, when he'd asked her to look out for Grandma. Grandpa had obviously known he was dying.

"I will be here to help Grandma through her grief," Elaine murmured. "And she'll be here for me."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Decision by Wanda E. Brunstetter. Copyright © 2015 Wanda E. Brunstetter. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
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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Meet the Author


New York Times, award-winning author, Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. Wanda’s ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs. When Wanda visits her Amish friends, she finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties.
Wanda enjoys photography, ventriloquism, gardening, bird-watching, beachcombing, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Richard, have been blessed with two grown children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
To learn more about Wanda, visit her website at www.wandabrunstetter.com. 

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The Decision 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Baranski1987 More than 1 year ago
The Decision, (The Prairie State Friends Book 1) By: Wanda E. Brunstetter What another marvelous book by Wanda E. Brunstetter! This was a very touching and emotional story to read. Dealing with issues that many have to face in our day to day lives. I flew through the pages of this book. The characters are so real to me in this story. It feels as though you are experiencing the decision that has been made. This book definitely lives up to it’s title. 5 stars! Be sure to get your copy today! It also makes a great gift
TheAvidReader_KA More than 1 year ago
The Decision by Wanda E. Brunstetter is the first book in The Prairie State Friends series.  The Decision is such a joy to read.  This book picks up after The Discovery Saga Collection (A 6-part series from Lancaster County).   Jonah Miller has moved from Lancaster County to Arthur, Illinois.  He did not feel he could stay in Lancaster County and get over Meredith. Jonah’s twin sister, Jean and her husband, Nathan (along with their two children) live in Arthur.  Jonah has bought a property and started a buggy making business. Elaine Schrock lives with her grandparents, Lloyd and Edna Schrock.  Her parents died in a buggy accident when she was little and her paternal grandparents took her in and raised her.  Grandfather Schrock dies suddenly of a heart attack with his last words asking Elaine to take care of her grandmother.  Shortly after his death Edna starts acting strangely.  Edna is getting forgetful as well as having dizzy spells.  Elaine takes her to the doctor and finds out that Edna has Type II Diabetes.  Edna will have to modify her diet and take medication to control the diabetes.  Elaine knows this will be difficult since her grandmother loves sweets.  One day Edna passes out at a local diner and is taken to the hospital.  The doctor runs tests and discovers that Edna has dementia.  How will this diagnosis affect Elaine’s life? Jonah and Elaine have been courting for the last year, but when her grandmother becomes ill Elaine feels that she must handle her responsibilities on her own.  Elaine tells Jonah that she does not love him and pushes him away.  Jonah feels hurt.  This rejection is especially hard after what happened with Meredith.  Jonah starts spending time with Sara. Sara Stutzman is a widow with a two year old son, Mark.  She was married to Hurley who was a friend of Jonah’s.  Sara is tired all the time and has a tingling sensation in her arms and legs.  Sara gets diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  Sara has to decide to whether to stay in Arthur or go back to her home town (where her parents live).  How will Jonah handle the news of Sara’s illness? To find out what happens with Elaine, Jonah, and Sara, please read The Decision.  It is such a marvelous book.  I did not want it to end.  I have to warn you that it gets sad towards the end.  You will need to have your hankie close by!  I give The Decision 5 out of 5 stars.  I cannot wait for the next book in The Prairie State Friends series. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley ( ) in exchange for an honest review.
PatriotMama More than 1 year ago
Wonderful Amish Fiction Read! I am a fan of Wanda Brunstetter's Amish fiction books. The Decision, Book 1 of Prairie State Friends, did not disappoint. Elaine & Jonah, the main characters, were very likable. Their connection was clear & lovable. They, as well as other members of the community, suffered so much loss & heartache. It was clear to see how each one had to learn to trust & depend on God for their strength. The book was an easy read that often times I didn't want to put it down. I found this book to be a little different than Wanda's normal plot, but it was in a good way. I did not expect the ending & now I can't wait to see if book 2 picks up where this one left off. I was given this book by the publisher for my honest review.
GrandaddyA More than 1 year ago
I just realized after reading The Decision that I have thought for a long time that life is so very simple for the Amish because their lives are not cluttered with all of the “modern conveniences” of the English world. However, I have been so wrong. They still must deal with the death of loved ones, life-threatening illnesses, and a myriad of other issues. Wanda Brunstetter does a great job of delving into the personalities of her characters and making them very real with all of the complexities of life. The main characters have numerous decisions to make that will affect their own future and the futures of those around them. They are not simple decisions, nor are their lives simple. Relationships are complex, no matter what the environment in which one lives, be it Amish or English. The book is listed as a fiction Christian romance but it is a love story: a story in which the characters make some major sacrifices out of true love for each other. The romance is overshadowed by this deep love for other people and caring for their welfare. I highly recommend the book.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Jonah Miller and Elaine Shrock are in love; and while no verbal proposal has been made, each understands they will wed in the future. At least that’s the way it was planned in their minds until Elaine’s grandfather passed away after making Elaine promise she would take care of her grandmother in the future.  Elaine takes that promise very, very seriously even while she is doing her own mourning for this Amish family man whom she adored, a real father to her in her orphan status after losing her own parents.   The tension begins when first Elaine’s grandmother insists on being independent, even though it is clear after a while that something is physically and mentally wrong with her.  Jonah is trying as best he can, while he is running his own business and working very hard, to offer help to the Shrock family.  But even though these characters are Amish and living in an atmosphere of mutual support and care based on Biblical principles, stubbornness and denial begin to rule the day.   This then covers the remainder of the story, with small problems growing rapidly into large ones, when decisions are made that cannot be taken back, and when one realizes that costs are higher when caring for a loved one in need.  How does one live through such a tempestuous time without becoming bitter and angry? In addition, the imminent and constantly stressful moments from dealing with a loved one with dementia are so very important, more important than the Amish community that directs the daily lives of every community member.  This is a growing universal problem that Wanda Brunstetter addresses and depicts with graceful but gritty style.   There is a lovely, calm tone throughout this novel that actually communicates peace to the reader.  This is because these people live by the spirit of the laws they obey and their worship which they share.  In a world that is more and more chaotic, The Decision is a lovey way to step aside and relish how faith endures and bolsters the ups and downs of every man and woman’s live.  Lovely contemporary and inspirational fiction!
Anonymous 4 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book.
mackenzie_carol More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of Wanda E. Brunstetter’s books for some time now, so I was sorely disappointed when I found The Decision extremely hard to read. Usually, I enjoy her plotlines, fall for her characters, and am captivated by her stories. That was unfortunately not the case with this novel. It was a slow read, and I ended up skimming much of the middle. It picked up to a certain degree near the end, so I did finish it, only to find the resolution entirely different from what I expected. The first thing that disappointed me about Jonah Miller is the fact that I really don’t know anything about his story that is alluded to in the synopsis. It is mentioned in passing a few times, but never in its entirety, and only one time does it give enough information to make me feel like I know what is going on. On top of that, I have to say I found him to be very wishy washy. He seemed so in love with Elaine throughout the beginning of the book, and when she sets him free, he is completely devastated. Imagine my surprise when he recovers fairly quickly, even enough to…well, I don’t want to spoil the story. But he gives her up with hardly any fight after the initial attempt to get her back. I found that difficult to swallow, considering just how much he claimed to love her. Unfortunately, I cannot say I liked Elaine Schrock any better. Although I must applaud her for her determination and commitment when it came to caring for her grandmother, her somewhat whiny attitude during the whole ordeal really grated on my nerves. And her constant assurances that she could do everything ‘all on her own’ didn’t give me that Amish-story feel. One thing I love about Amish fiction is the way the Amish communities always band together and do anything they can to lift each other’s burdens. I was expecting that in this book, especially since it is made apparent just by reading the description that Elaine goes through quite a lot, but she rarely ever accepts anyone’s help, and even goes so far as to push people who could be her main support system away. I also couldn’t stand how she turned Jonah away quite the way she did. For a woman in love, she sure didn’t act like it. I also found the plotline very slow moving, the dialogue lackluster, and the whole story extremely repetitive. Many of the scenes were purely filler and could have easily been done without, and the ending totally threw me for a loop. I wasn’t expecting it AT ALL, but I have to say, that was one of its good points. I like an unexpected story, and Wanda did do a wonderful job of portraying that life doesn’t always go the way we expect it would. Because of that, I will give this story two out of five bookshelves, but there were too many things I found at fault with this novel to feel right giving it any more. Although I am sorely disappointed with this outcome, I really like the description for the second book in this series, The Gift, so I am still looking forward to reading that one. I just hope it turns out to be more of a hit than this one. (This review is from my blog, spreadinghisgrace.blogspot.com)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
songinwind More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book and was wondering when book 2 of this series will be out? This is my favorite writer and I receive hours of joy reading her books and really loves when they are in a series. I rate this book as a 5 star.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have ever read by Wanda Brunstetter. She connects her characters well and relates this story to real life. If you are a care taker of a sick or disabled person; this will hit home to you. Elaine, Jonah, and Sara are good people to read about.
Karenlewis More than 1 year ago
I have not yet read this book but I have read several of Wanda E. Brunstetter's books and have been thoroughly delighted with them all.  I can't wait to get to the library to check it out.  Her books are so engaging .  They are very  emotional and it is  like you are right in the story with the characters.  I think her books deserve a 5 star rating.  I
NanceeMarchinowski More than 1 year ago
Authentic portrayal of the Amish! I've been a fan of Wanda Brunstetter's for many years, and have thoroughly enjoyed all of her books. "The Decision" impressed me with a depth and sensitivity even beyond this author's previous books. There is a depth and compassion that surpasses even her most impressive works that struck a cord with me and brought me to tears as I shared the characters' pain and loss, and the loneliness that surrounds us at times in our lives. This story portrays the Amish realistically, authentically and with accuracy. not the simplistic, easygoing, comfortable people that many perceive. The Amish struggle with the same circumstances in life as the rest of society. Difficult times, death, illness and failures are presented with mercy and benevolence as Elaine Schrock deals with daily struggles that are at times insurmountable. The man she loves cannot understand her sudden change of character regarding their relationship. Characters and setting are detailed and perceptive. Ms. Brunstetter is well acquainted with the Amish all across the country, with close friends in numerous communities. That closeness and friendship lends her an indepth viewpoint that weaves reality into her fictitious works. "The Decision" broaches some tough issues, and resolves those issues realistically. Elaine denies herself the one thing in life that would make her happy, but the timing is unfortunate as she deals with the issues that life hands her. I was very impressed with this novel! It is one that I won't soon forget, and will undoubtedly read again. If you are interested in a truthful, honest portrayal of the Amish community and some of the hardships they share, please pick up a copy of this book and enjoy a beautiful story of love and loss! Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RGNHALL More than 1 year ago
 Jonah Miller was featured in the Discovery Saga Collection and when his heart was broken then, he has moved to Illinois to the Amish community and this is where The Decision picks up.  Jonah has found love again with Elaine Schrock but when her grandmother develops diabetes and dementia, she makes a decision that will affect Jonah forever as well.   My own mother is dealing with dementia at this time and while it is not as quickly progressing as Edna's, it is very serious and often troubling.   Wanda handles the story of the illnesses with heart and truth.   She also reveals another illness that is effecting Sara but I won't spoil the surprise of that.          I loved this book and read it very quickly as it was quite exciting but I will be honest and say that I personally did not like the ending.  I personally desired a different outcome for the characters but this in fact makes the book that much more enticing to me as a reader.   It definitely has made me want to read the next book in this series to see how things will continue on for the characters.   Endings don't always go as we wish just as life does not always work out as we think it should.  Perhaps the point of this ending in the book is that God always has a plan for us but it may not be the plan we had intended.          I rate this book 5 stars and I highly recommend it to readers.       I received a print copy of this book from the author and an ebook copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.  
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
The Decision is a great read! I love almost all of Wanda's stories and this one is no exception. I loved the story. It was a quick to read and I was able to read it in a day.  Recommended. 5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DKStevens119 More than 1 year ago
The Decision was a story that pulled at the heart strings. I was drawn into the Schrock families life and followed Elaine  in the ups and downs of becoming a caretaker of her Grandmother. Elaine decides she alone is responsible for taking  care of her Grandmother who is diagnosed with dementia and diabetes. Elaine has made the decision that she will not  allow Jonah Miller, who has courted her for a year to help her and rejects his marriage proposal. His help would have helped her through but she had made her decision. I enjoyed reading about how the communities family life and the  decisions they made connected them. I'd recommend this to all who enjoy Amish books.  I was gifted a copy by Barbour Publishing for my honest opinion which I have given.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
We begin this book with the death of Elaine’s grandfather, and the beginning of her dedication to her grandmother, per her grandfather’s last request. Her paternal grandparent’s raised Elaine after her parents were killed in a buggy accident, and she would do anything for them. Jonah Miller, who you will remember from the Discovery Saga Collection, is now courting Elaine, he was left, so to speak, at the altar, and now Elaine is pulling away. We also meet Sara who is a young widow with a son, and struggling with a new illness, what could be wrong? These young people are all thrown together, and we hope and pray that they will all follow Gods plan for their lives, and not the one that they decide to travel. I did love that at the end of the book there is an epilogue that updates us on all of the happening. From cover to cover this book will have you turning the pages as quickly as possible to find out the answers. Some tough subjects are dealt with here, and these are horrible things that happen in all cultures. Come and enjoy another visit in Amish Country with Wanda E. Brunstetter, you will not be disappointed. I received this book through Net Galley and the Publish Shiloh Run Press, and was not required to give a positive review.
sunshineJB More than 1 year ago
Another Great Amish Fiction Read By Wanda Brunstetter! I have read all of author Wanda Brunstetter’s Amish fiction books. I just finished, The Decision and I want to say this book really hit home for me. My Mom had Dementia for 1 ½ years before she passed away. To see a loved one battle with this horrible disease is awful. I want to applaud this author for writing a book that will touch many lives. So much heartache for both Elaine Schrock and Jonah Miller, the two main characters. It is important to allow others into your life to help when burdens weigh you down, even if it is just a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes pride keeps us from doing that. It is also essential to have faith and trust in God. Decisions had to be made. What decisions did Elaine and Jonah make? Were they the right ones? I enjoy when I get caught up in a storyline and feel I am part of the characters lives. I experienced some happy moments but I also experienced many sad moments. While I won’t spoil anything about this book with those reading this review, I will say I never saw the ending coming. I sat for a few minutes thinking about how I felt when I finished the book. Needless to say, my husband got an earful. I had to get those emotions out! I can’t wait to read what author Wanda Brunstetter has in store for us to read next.  Don’t let this book pass you by. I can’t wait to read the reviews of others. This one was a 5 star one for me. I received this book from the author and publisher to read and review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.