A Time to Love (Quilts of Lancaster County Series #1)by Barbara Cameron
War correspondent Jennie King thinks she's just a temporary guest in her grandmother's Amish community while she recuperates from the devastating injuries sustained in a car bomb attack that changed her world. But when she meets Matthew Bontrager, the man she had a crush on as a teenager, she wonders if God has a new plan for her. Jennie has emotional and physical… See more details below
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War correspondent Jennie King thinks she's just a temporary guest in her grandmother's Amish community while she recuperates from the devastating injuries sustained in a car bomb attack that changed her world. But when she meets Matthew Bontrager, the man she had a crush on as a teenager, she wonders if God has a new plan for her. Jennie has emotional and physical scars and though she feels she has come home to this man and this place, she's not sure she can bridge the difference between their worlds.
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A Time to Love
By Barbara Cameron
Abingdon PressCopyright © 2010 Barbara Cameron
All rights reserved.
Jenny woke from a half-doze as the SUV slowed to approach a four-way stop.
"No!" she cried. "Don't stop!"
"I have to stop."
"No!" she yelled as she lunged to grab at the steering wheel.
David smacked her hands away with one hand and steered with the other. The vehicle swerved and horns blared as he fought to stop. "We're in the States!" he shouted. "Stop it!"
Jenny covered her head and waited for the explosion. When it didn't come, she cautiously brought her arms down to look over at David.
"We're in the U.S.," he repeated quietly. "Calm down. You're safe."
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," she whispered. Covering her face, she turned away from him and wished she could crawl into a hole somewhere and hide.
He touched her shoulder. "It's okay. I understand."
Before he could move the SUV forward, they heard a siren. The sound brought Jenny's head up, and she glanced back fearfully to see a police car.
"Pull over!" a voice commanded through the vehicle's loudspeaker.
Cursing beneath his breath, David guided the SUV to the side of the road. He reached for his wallet, pulling out his driver's license.
A police officer appeared at David's window and looked in. Jenny tried not to flinch as he looked at David, then her. "Driver's license and registration, please."
David handed them over. "Officer, I'd like to explain—"
"Stay in your vehicle. I'll be right back," he was told brusquely.
When the officer returned, he handed back the identification. "Okay, so you want to explain what that was all about—how you started to run the stop sign and nearly caused an accident?"
"It's my fault," Jenny spoke up.
"Let her talk."
"You can't stop at a four-way," she told him in a dull voice.
"You could get killed." She drew a quilt more tightly around her shoulders.
"You look familiar," the officer said, studying her face for a long moment. "Now I got it. You're that TV reporter, the one who was reporting from overseas, in the war zone—" he stopped. "Oh."
He glanced at David. "And you're that network news anchor. What are you doing in these parts?"
"Taking her to recuperate at her family's house."
The officer glanced back at Jenny. "Didn't know you were Amish. Thought they didn't believe in television."
Jenny fingered the quilt. "It's my grandmother," she said, staring ahead. "She's the one who's Amish."
She met the officer's gaze. "Please don't give David a ticket. It was my fault. I freaked and grabbed the steering wheel. I didn't want him to stop. But it won't happen again."
The officer hesitated then nodded as he touched the brim of his hat. "I have friends who've been through the same thing. Be careful. You've been through enough without getting into a car accident."
She nodded. "Thank you."
After returning to his patrol car, the officer pulled out on the road and waved as he passed them.
Jenny looked at David. "I'm sorry. I just had a flashback as I woke up, I guess."
"It's okay," he told her patiently. "I understand."
She sighed and felt herself retreating into her cocoon.
He glanced in his rearview mirror and got back onto the road. They drove for a few minutes.
She shook her head and then winced at the pain. "No."
"You need to eat."
"Not hungry." Then she glanced at him. "I'm sorry. You must be."
He grinned. "Are you remembering that you used to tease me about being hungry all the time?"
"Not really," she said. "Lucky guess, since we've been on the road for hours."
He frowned but said nothing as he drove. A little while later, he pulled into a restaurant parking lot, shut off the engine, and undid his seat belt. "It'll be good to stretch my legs. C'mon, let's go in and get us a hot meal and some coffee."
"Please?" he asked quietly.
"I look awful."
"You look fine." He put his hand on hers. "Really. Let's go in."
Pulling down the visor, she stared into the mirror, and her eyes immediately went to the long scar near her left ear. It still looked red and raw against her too-pale skin. The doctor had said it would fade with time until she'd barely notice it. Later she could wear extra-concealing makeup, but not now, he'd cautioned. The skin needed to heal without makeup being rubbed into it.
She looked at him, really looked at him. Though he was smiling at her, there were lines of strain around his mouth, worry in his eyes. He looked so tired too.
"Okay." With a sigh, she loosened her hold on the quilt and rewrapped her muffler higher and tighter around her neck. Buttoning her
David was already there, offering Jenny her cane and a helping hand. When she tried to let go of his hand, he tightened his.
"The pavement's icy. Let me help," he said. "Remember, 'Pride goeth before a fall.'"
Her eyes widened with amusement as she grinned. "You're quoting Scripture? What is the world coming to?"
"Must be the environment," he said, glancing around. Then his gaze focused on her. "It's good to see you smile."
"I haven't had a lot to smile about lately."
His eyes were kind. "No. But you're here. And if I said 'thank God,' you wouldn't make a smart remark, would you?"
She thought about waking up in the hospital wrapped in her grandmother's quilt and the long days of physical therapy since then. Leaning on the cane, her other hand in David's, she started walking slowly, and her hip screamed in pain with every step. Days like today she felt like she was a hundred instead of in her early thirties.
"No," she said, sighing again. "I think the days of smart remarks are over."
The diner was warm, and Jenny was grateful to see that there were few customers. A sign invited them to seat themselves, and she sank into the padded booth just far enough from the front door that the cold wind wouldn't blow on them.
"Coffee for you folks?" asked the waitress who appeared almost immediately with menus. She turned over their cups and filled them when they nodded. "Looks like we're gonna get some snow tonight."
"What are you going to have?" David asked.
Jenny lifted her coffee cup but her hand trembled, spilling hot coffee on it. Wincing, she set the cup down quickly and grabbed a napkin to wipe her hand dry.
David got up and returned with a glass of ice water. He dipped his napkin in it and wrapped the cold, wet cloth around her reddened hand. "Better?"
Near tears, she nodded.
"She filled it too full," he reassured her.
Reaching for an extra cup on the table, he poured half of her coffee into it. "Try it now."
Jenny didn't want the coffee now, but he was trying so hard to help, she felt ungrateful not to drink it.
She nodded, wincing again.
"Time for some more meds, don't you think?"
"The pain killers make me fuzzy. I don't like to take them."
"You still need them."
Sighing, she took out the bottle, shook out the dosage, and swallowed the capsules with a sip of water.
"So, what would you like to eat?" asked the waitress.
Jenny looked at David.
"She'll have two eggs over easy, bacon, waffles, and a large glass of orange juice," he said. "I'll have the three-egg omelet, country ham, hash browns, and biscuits. Oh, and don't forget the honey, honey."
The waitress grinned. Then she cocked her head to one side. "Say, you look like that guy on TV."
David just returned her grin. "Yeah, so I'm told. That and a dollar'll get me a cup of coffee."
She laughed and went to place their order.
Growing warm, Jenny shed her coat and the muffler. She sipped at the coffee and felt warmer. When the food came, she bent her head and said a silent prayer of thanks. Then she watched David begin shoveling in food as if he hadn't eaten in days, rather than hours.
She lifted her fork and tried to eat. "I like my eggs over easy?"
He frowned and stopped eating "Yeah. Do you want me to send them back, get them scrambled or something?"
"No. This is okay."
"How did you eat them at the hospital?"
She shrugged. "However they brought them."
Deciding she might have liked eggs over easy in the past but now they looked kind of disgusting, half raw and runny on the plate, she looked at the waffle.
"I like waffles?"
Butter oozed over the top and the syrup was warm. She took a bite. It was heaven, crispy on the outside, warm and fluffy on the inside. The maple syrup was sweet and thick. Bliss. She ate the whole thing and a piece of bacon too.
"Good girl," David said approvingly.
"Don't talk to me like I'm a kid," she told him, frowning. "Even if I feel like it."
He reached over and took her free hand. "I'm so proud of you. You've learned to walk again, talk again."
"I'm not all the way back yet," she said. "I still have memory holes and problems getting the right word out and headaches and double vision now and then. I have a long road ahead of me."
David looked out the window. "Speaking of roads ... as much as I hate to say it, I guess we should get back on it as soon as we can."
Jenny turned to where David was looking and watched as an Amish horse-drawn buggy passed by slowly. The man who held the reins glanced over just then and their eyes met. Then he was looking ahead as a car passed in the other lane and the contact was broken.
He looks familiar, she thought ... so familiar. She struggled to remember.
David turned and got the waitress's attention. As she handed him the check, she noticed Jenny, who immediately looked down at her hands in her lap.
"Why, you're that reporter, the one who—"
"Has to get going," David interjected. "She needs to get some rest."
"Oh, sure. Sorry."
She tore a sheet from her order pad and handed it to Jenny with a pen. "Could you give me an autograph while I go ring this up?"
She hurried off, sure that her request would be honored.
"Could you sign it for me?" Jenny asked David.
Nodding, he took the paper and quickly scrawled her signature, then added his in a bold flourish.
"Here you go, two for one," he told the waitress when she returned. He tucked a bill under his plate and got up to help Jenny with her coat.
The SUV seemed a million miles away, but she made it with his help. Once inside, she sank into the seat, pulled the quilt around her again, and fastened her seat belt.
"It'll take just a minute to get warm in here," David told her.
Jenny stroked her hand over the quilt. "I'm not cold. ... I hate those pills," she muttered and felt her eyelids drooping.
"Making me sleepy. The waffles ... lots of carbons."
She opened her eyes when he chuckled. Blinking, she tried to think what could be so funny.
"Carbs," she corrected herself carefully after a moment, frustrated at the way the brain injury had affected her speech. "Lots of carbs. Don't think I used to eat lots of carbs."
"So take a nap," he told her. "You talk too much anyway." He grinned to prove he was teasing.
Smiling, she tried to think of a snappy comeback. They were always so easy for her, especially with David. But then she was falling into a dreamless sleep.
Sometime later, she woke when she felt the vehicle stop. "Are we there?"
"Stay here," she heard David say, then she heard his door open and felt the brief influx of cold air before it closed. She couldn't seem to wake up, as if her eyes were stuck shut. The door on her side opened, and she heard the click of her seat belt, felt arms lift her.
"I can walk," she muttered.
He said something she couldn't quite grasp, but his voice was warm and deep and so soothing that she relaxed and let him carry her. And then she was being laid on a soft bed, covers tucked around her.
Home, she thought, I'm home. She smiled and sank deeper in dreamless sleep.
* * *
Jenny woke to find herself in a bed, the quilt spread over her. Bright sunlight was pouring in through the window.
The walls of the room were whitewashed and plain. There were few furnishings: an ancient, well-polished chest of drawers was set against one wall, a wooden chair beside the bed. A bookcase held well-worn volumes and a Bible.
She sat up and saw someone had propped her cane on the wall near the bed. Grasping it, she walked carefully to the chest of drawers. When she caught a glimpse of herself in its small mirror, she grimaced. Reaching into her purse on top of the chest, she pulled out her hairbrush and drew it through her short ash-blonde hair. Her face was too thin, the circles beneath her eyes so pronounced she felt she must look like a scarecrow. Even her eyes looked a faded gray.
Leaning heavily on her cane, huffing from exertion, she moved back to the bed and climbed into it. Pulling the quilt over her, she waited for her breathing to level.
It was so quiet here, so different from her apartment in New York City, which overlooked a busy street.
There was a knock on the door. "Come in," she called.
The door opened and her grandmother peeked around it. "I heard you moving about."
She smiled. "Yes. Guder mariye, Grossmudder."
Phoebe's austere face brightened. "You remember some of the language?"
Jenny found it interesting she could remember even though she struggled to find the right word in English right now. She held out her arms and her grandmother rushed to embrace her. They sat on the bed, wiping away tears.
"You got it," Phoebe said, looking at the quilt that covered Jenny.
Jenny's fingers stroked it. "I woke up in the hospital and it was tucked around me," she said quietly. "I said your name before I could say mine."
Phoebe's lined face crumpled, and she bent her head, searching in the pocket of her dark dress for a handkerchief.
"God brought you through it." She wiped at her tears and straightened her shoulders. "There is no place He is not."
I'd been in the valley of death, thought Jenny. She knew how close she had come. Maybe one day she could tell her grandmother how she had seen her grandfather and her parents shortly after she'd been injured. Jenny hadn't been particularly religious before, but she had to admit that her near-death experience had made her look at her life—what was left of what had been her life—in a new way.
A note had arrived with the quilt, a nurse had told her. She gave it to Jenny and then had had to read it because the head injury had left a lingering problem with double vision.
The words inside had been simple and direct: "Come. Heal." It had been signed "Your grossmudder, Phoebe."
Jenny studied her now. Phoebe's face was more lined and the strands of hair that escaped her kapp had more silver. But somehow she didn't seem any older than the last time Jenny had visited.
"You didn't come for so long after I wrote that I didn't think you would."
"I was doing physical therapy."
"David told me. He's a good man."
Jenny smiled briefly and then looked at the window. It was starting to snow. "I should get up and say good-bye so he can get on the road. I don't want him to get caught in a snowstorm."
"It's time to get up," Phoebe agreed, standing and lifting the quilt away from Jenny. "But he left last night."
"Left? Without saying good-bye?"
"There's a note for you. He spoke of something called 'e-mail' that's in a computer?"
Her lined face lit briefly with a smile. "I asked him if the machine he brought with your things ran on sunlight. He'd forgotten we have no electricity."
Jenny's lips curved. "A solar battery, hmm? Good idea, but mine doesn't have one. And that would still leave the problem of how to access the Internet."
"Don't ask me to explain how it works," Jenny told her. "I interviewed someone about it once, but it's still a mystery to me."
She sighed. "I haven't had time to get a new phone. Maybe that should be first on my to-do list."
Phoebe handed her the cane. "First let's get you up and ready for this day we were given."
A sharp pain shot through Jenny's hip as she got to her feet, and she had to bite her lip to keep from moaning. She stood still for a moment to gear up for her next move. Phoebe held out her hand, work-worn, dry, and warm.
Jenny shook her head. "I don't want to hurt you."
"I'm stronger than I look. I lead a simple life, but I work hard. You remember from the two summers you came to visit."
Excerpted from A Time to Love by Barbara Cameron. Copyright © 2010 Barbara Cameron. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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A Time To Love isn't your average Amish romance read! Instead the author takes a very current subject, the war overseas and its impact on the most innocent of victims the children, and tells us how Jenny King the main character of the story felt compelled to get those childrens voices heard. The author starts the story with Jenny being driven to her grandmothers Amish farm in Lancaster Pa. She has just survived a car bombing while reporting overseas and needs a place to heal her wounds both physical and emotional. So when she arrives at her grandmothers she is reaquainted with Matthew, an amish man that she had fallen in love with as a teen. Matthew and Jenny's story gives us hope for second chances and shows us that putting our faith in God and casting our fears aside is the only way to find true contentment and love. I really can't say enough good things about this book, it tugs at your heart strings, but also the author does a great job of throwing some humor into the story so it isn't overly dramatic. The main character is so easy to relate to with her fears and longings and wanting to make a difference for children. The struggles she faces while recuperating is something that we hear often on the evening news pertaining to wounded soldiers. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of this book to review!
I have never read a book about the Amish until just recently. I loved the idea and searched for another one. It was then that I came across this series. It did not disappoint me. I love the storyline, details, suspense, and peacefulness of the described Amish life. It is a wonderful change of pace and I am eager to read not only the remaining books in the series but also more books about the Amish. It just goes to show that people are people no matter where we go...all with their own struggles, beliefs, and emotions...and respect and chivalry are not dead.
I am not a fan of Amish stories, but something about this book drew me in. It was wonderfully written and I hated to see it end. This is a keeper and I will read it again at some point.
I really enjoyed reading this Amish fiction title for free. I am reading the third in the series now, and still loving it! Thanks!
Heartwarming read. I very much enjoyed the storyline and felt connected to the characters (I'm not Amish!) and cared what happened to them. It's a book I've continued to think about even though it's been a few months since I've read it.
This was a nice story of love rekindled and spiritual healing. However, there were several times in the story line that felt as though a few pages or a chapter were missing. I didn't quite get the transition between beginning to have feelings for each other then suddenly they are professing love and are engaged. The book also ended on a very abrupt note with no epilogue to clear up outstanding issues. There seemed to be an issue with giving/keeping journals with some of the Amish characters, and it was played in the story that it was going to be an important factor, but it was never explained or resolved. Overall, it was a nice book, but I won't be reading any more in the series. For great Amish stories, I'll stick to Beverly Lewis.
A real tear jerker.
More to learn from this book than Amish way of life.
I loved this book. Jenny is a reporter in a war torn nation, she is injured by a car bomb. Jenny finds not only physical injuries but cosmetic scars, yet she still has a longing for where she has based her work on for the last several years; war torn children. She finds herself wrapped in her grandmom's quilt and knows where she wants to go to heal; with her grandmom who is Amish. I laughed so hard I had tears running down my face and woke up my husband. This book touched my heart, spirit and my funny bone. Don't miss out on this wonderful read.
This is a good book, it is light and nice. I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series
If you would like to read a book that makes you want to go home again, "A Time to Love" is the book for you. The story grabs you from the beginning - I couldn't put it down.
This was a very good short story. It was a good free read. The characters were very intriguing and I learned about Amish life too. Enjoy!
like, cant wait to read the next 2
This book was a great read! I never really read Amish books before this one was offered on Free Fridays. I loved the book so much I bought the other two in the series! I can't wait for Barbara Cameron's other series that comes out this spring. I will buy all of them! I highly recommend this book.
It is an amazing touching book. It s really moving. You will get adicted. This is the first of three books. You will wish she wrote more of theese books. :) :) :D :D :) :) :) :) :) :)
Jenny has endured an ordeal that few non-military Americans can even fathom. She was a high profile reporter who was nearly killed in a car bombing in Afghanistan. When she awoke in the hospital the quilt Grandmother had given her was wrapped around her giving her the feeling of peace the she desperately needed. Now, in order to recover she's returned to her Grandmother's home in Lancaster County. One of the few places she's ever felt safe and comfortable. If only she could remember everything that happened here the last summer she spent here. She remembers the feelings of peace and comfort. But there is something more, something momentous that Jenny just can't put her finger on.
this was a wonderful story it made me really think about gods will in my life. i hope you will enjoy it as much as i did
Very relaxing, east to read story. It was hard to set down, I truly enjoyed it.
great story, truely enjoyable reading
I really enjoyed this book and the love story. It was interesting to read about the Amish and how they view the English people. It provided a lot of insight.
Really takes you into the amish world, makes it very interesting. Great story!
This was an exceillent book!!! I can't wait to read the rest of this series!!! You really become vested in the characters!!!
I really loved this book. It is especially appropriate for readers who want to read about romance without the graphic sex. It also brings God into the story without preaching
Relaxing, sentimental read