No Place Like Home by Amy Clipston
Estranged daughter Eva Dienner has been staying with her in-laws since her husband was killed in a fire, but now she wants her son to meet his maternal grandparents. Upon her return, Eva finds that the man her parents always intended for her is living in their daadihaus and running the dairy farm for them for free, despite her suspicions of him taking advantage of her family. Eva knows she should put the past behind her, but is she ready to move into the future?
When Love Returns by Beth Wiseman
Hurricane Harvey forces Sarah Zook to return to the home she fled six years ago when she couldn’t face her stern parents’ reaction to her unplanned pregnancy. Upon her return, Abram King can think of nothing but the pain she caused him—until he meets Sarah’s daughter and realizes that he never really stopped loving Sarah. Sarah and Abram must find a way to face the truth of their past so they can rekindle their first love.
The Courage to Love by Shelley Shepard Gray
After the death of her Englisch husband, Irene Keim seeks a fresh start by staying with her new friends Mary Ruth and Henry Wengerd in exchange for helping them around the house. But when Mary Ruth and Henry’s son Marcus comes around, he isn’t pleased with the woman they’ve taken in and is determined to push her out. Misunderstandings abound, but both Irene and Marcus learn that people aren’t always what they seem.
What Love Built by Kathleen Fuller
Independent and headstrong, Carolyn is determined to forge ahead with the opening of her bakery, a lifelong dream, in the Birch Creek home she left ten years ago. But she’s in over her head and needs help with the cleaning, shopping, and deliveries. Carpenter Atlee Shetler is visiting Birch Creek to escape the memories of his late wife. He takes a job renovating the new bakery and finds the project—and its owner—to be much more than he bargained for. Both Carolyn and Atlee must face pains of the past if they want to have the bright future God has planned for them.
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Bestselling and award-winning author Beth Wiseman has sold over two million books. She is the recipient of the coveted Holt Medallion, a two-time Carol Award winner, and has won the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award three times. Her books have been on various bestseller lists, including CBD, CBA, ECPA, and Publishers Weekly. Beth and her husband are empty nesters enjoying country life in south central Texas. Visit her online at Beth Wiseman.com; Facebook: Author Beth Wiseman; Twitter: @Beth Wiseman; Instagram: @bethwisemanauthor.
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail. Find Shelley on her website: Shelley Shepard Gray.com; on Facebook: Shelley Shepard Gray; Twitter: @Shelley SGray.
With over a million copies sold, Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including the Hearts of Middlefield novels, the Middlefield Family novels, the Amish of Birch Creek series, and the Amish Letters series as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. Visit her online at Kathleen Fuller.com; Instagram: kf_booksandhooks; Facebook: Writer Kathleen Fuller; Twitter: @The Kat Jam.
Read an Excerpt
Eva Dienner sniffed as she stared at the letter in her trembling hands. Grief, hot and unexpected, poured from her eyes in the form of tears as she studied her mother's beautiful handwriting. She missed her parents as memories of them pricked her heart.
She glanced around the small apartment she once shared with her beloved husband. Six years ago, she left her parents in Western Pennsylvania to marry Simeon Dienner and live with him and his family here in Ronks, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, nearly a five-hour bus ride away. Then Simeon died while on duty as a volunteer firefighter more than four years ago, leaving her and their unborn child behind. Heaviness settled in the center of her chest. Oh, how she missed him.
"Mamm?" Simeon Jr. entered the apartment from the main house where her in-laws and brother-in-law lived. "Are you crying?"
"I'm fine." She shook her head and wiped her eyes.
"Don't cry." He crawled up on the sofa beside her and took her hand in his. At almost four years old, he resembled his handsome father with his shock of blond hair and cornflower-blue eyes. "I'm here."
"Danki." She smiled down at him. He also had his father's kind heart.
"Why are you bedauerlich?"
"I was just thinking about mei mamm and dat." She held up the letter, the first she'd received from her mother in nearly four months. "Mei mamm wrote a letter and told me my best freind, Miriam Faye, stopped by the other day and asked about me." She sniffed again as memories of her old friends tumbled through her mind.
"Your mamm?" He tilted his head.
"Right. She's your other mammi."
He pointed toward the door leading to her mother-in-law's kitchen. "I have another mammi?"
"Ya." Eva cleared her throat. "You have another mammi and daadi who live in New Wilmington, where I grew up."
"Can we go there so I can meet them?" His eyes sparkled.
Stunned by the question, she swallowed.
"Please?" he begged.
"I — I don't know." Her heart raced at the thought of seeing her parents again. Would they even want to see her? Her mother's letters always seemed so ... reserved.
He folded his hands as if praying. "Pleeease?"
How could she say no?
"Let me write mei mamm and ask her."
"I'm going to tell Mammi and Daadi we're going on a trip!" As Junior jumped off the sofa and ran to the door, Eva wondered if her parents would be as excited to meet him.
* * *
A barrage of new memories nearly overcame Eva as she prepared to get off the bus two weeks later. She wiped at the wetness forming under her eyes and worked to control her emotions. Before she left six years ago, she had a terrible argument with her mother. Was coming back now a mistake, even though her mother had readily agreed to this visit? Could she and her mother ever recover from the rift between them?
Apprehension chewed on her stomach as she swung her purse over one shoulder and took Junior's hand in hers.
"Mamm, your hand is wet."
"Just go." She nodded toward the bus exit.
They climbed off the bus, and she retrieved their duffel bag from the luggage compartment. After hefting it onto her other shoulder, they made their way through the knot of people in the terminal.
A familiar face emerged.
"Ian. Hi." Eva's throat tightened as she looked up at Ian Miller — a man she'd known for half her life. She hadn't expected to see him, at least not here.
"It's nice to see you again." Ian's smile was warm as his brown eyes flickered to Junior. "You must be Simeon. I'm Ian. It's wunderbaar to meet you." He held out his hand for a shake.
"Hi." Junior grinned as he shook Ian's hand. "I'm Junior."
"Junior." Ian reached for the strap of the heavy duffel bag digging into Eva's shoulder. "Let me take that for you."
"Danki." Eva swiveled slightly, allowing Ian to take the bag as she searched the crowd behind him. "Are my parents outside?"
"No." Ian hefted the bag onto his broad shoulder and then pulled on the brim of the straw hat sitting atop his dark hair. "They should be home by the time we get there."
"I thought they'd meet us at the bus station." She felt her brow furrow as she met his gaze. "They've known we were arriving this afternoon for over a week."
"They had an appointment." He nodded toward the exit. "The van is waiting. We should get on the road." He started toward the door.
Anxiety twisted a tight knot in her stomach. "Wait." She grabbed his hand and pulled him back. She felt a fluttering in her chest at the touch of his warm skin against hers. She swallowed a gasp. Where had that come from ... after all these years?
He raised his eyebrows. "Did you forget something?"
"No." She cleared her throat as her cheeks heated with embarrassment. "What kind of appointment did my parents have?"
"Your dat had a doctor's appointment that's been scheduled for a month."
Alarm filled Eva as she swallowed another gasp. "Is he okay?"
Ian nodded. "Ya. He's fine."
Eva studied his face. Was he telling her the truth? She took a trembling breath as various illnesses came to her mind. Did her father have cancer? Or maybe heart trouble? Why didn't she know he was ill? Her mother never mentioned it in her letters. Did Mamm assume she wouldn't care?
"Mamm?" Junior tugged on her hand. "Was iss letz?"
Eva swallowed her fears as she looked down into her son's blue eyes. She couldn't allow herself to get upset in front of Junior.
"Really. Your dat is fine." Ian's voice was warm. "It was just a follow-up appointment. Your mamm wanted to be sure he asked the right questions, so she went with him."
"Oh." Her shoulders loosened, but doubt continued to poke at her, as well as regret at the thought her mother might think she wouldn't care about their health.
"Your parents felt terrible about not being here to pick you up," Ian continued, "but I insisted on taking care of it for them so they wouldn't miss that appointment. You know how hard it is to reschedule them."
"Are we going to see Mammi and Daadi now?" Excitement bubbled in Junior's voice.
Eva forced her lips into a smile. "Ya."
"I can't wait to meet them," Junior said as they started toward the exit. "It's been so long since you said we could come to their haus."
Eva bit her lower lip to conceal her amusement. When she glanced at Ian beside her, his lips twitched.
"How old are you, Junior?" Ian held open the door. "Ten?"
"No, I'm almost four." Junior's smile widened as he started outside.
"Really?" Ian grinned at Eva, and she looked down at the worn cement floor to avoid his eyes. "I thought for certain you were ten."
"I'm not." Junior turned and puffed out his chest, reminding her of the peacocks they'd seen during a recent trip to a farm near their house.
"You could've fooled me."
"Mei mammi back in Ronks says I'm tall for my age," Junior continued as they made their way to the parking lot.
"Don't brag," Eva cautioned as the warm June afternoon sun kissed her cheeks. "Wait!" She grabbed his hand before he reached the edge of the sidewalk. "Don't step into the street."
Ian pointed. "The van is over there. Ted is waiting for us."
"Ted Jenkins?" she asked, and Ian nodded. "He's still driving for my parents?"
Eva smiled as she approached another man she'd known for many years. While Ted's dark hair had turned gray, his warm smile and brown eyes were the same. "How are you?" She shook his hand.
"Eva. It's so good to see you." He looked down at Junior. "You must be Simeon Jr. Your grandparents can't wait to meet you."
Now a knot of guilt formed in her belly as Junior's face lit up with a wide grin. "I can't wait to meet them too." Maybe she'd been wrong not to make this trip earlier.
A door slammed, and Eva jumped. As she turned toward the back of the van where Ian had loaded her bag, he met her gaze. Unnerved, she turned her attention back to Junior and Ted. She wrenched open one of the rear doors, climbed into the van, and sat down on the other side of the car seat that drivers for the Amish carried for passengers Junior's size. Ian helped Junior hop into it, and Eva buckled him in.
"Danki," she muttered before Ian closed the door, and then he settled in the front passenger seat.
"How have you been?" Ted glanced at her in the rearview mirror before steering the van out of the parking lot.
"Fine, thank you." Eva folded her hands in her lap. "How's your family?"
"They're great. I have five grandchildren now."
As Ted talked about his grandchildren, Eva glanced out the window from time to time. Familiar sights rushed by in a blur, and a fresh tangle of emotions washed over her all at once — guilt, regret, anxiety, and melancholy, but excitement too.
"What?" She turned to face Ian, who eyed her with suspicion as he looked back at her from the front seat. "I'm sorry. I was lost in thought."
"I can see that." Ian's intelligent dark eyes seemed to assess her, causing her to shift in her seat. "Ted asked you how long you were going to stay."
"Oh. I haven't decided that yet."
Ian tilted his head to the side. "Don't your in-laws need your help at their restaurant?"
"No. I've been working at home doing quilting and sewing ever since Junior got too big to go to the restaurant with me. My in-laws hired a couple of young women from our community to wait tables."
"Oh," Ian said. An awkward silence wafted over the car for a few moments. Then Ian cleared his throat before turning back toward Ted. "Looks like it's going to be another dry weekend."
"Yeah, that's what I heard on the news this morning," Ted said, his eyes trained on the road ahead.
Eva settled into her seat as the men discussed the threat of an unusually hot summer in New Wilmington. After several minutes, she turned toward her son and was greeted by the back of his blond head. He seemed mesmerized as he stared out his window.
Swallowing a shuddering breath, Eva silently asked God to help her parents love and cherish Junior despite their differences with her — the way grandparents should.CHAPTER 2
Thank you, Ted." Ian handed Ted a couple of bills after he brought the van to a stop in the Bender driveway. "Are you still available to take Harvey and Mary out to run a few errands next Thursday?"
"Yeah, of course. Just give me a call if something changes." Ted stuck the bills into his pocket.
Eva felt confused. Why was Ian paying Ted and setting up rides for her parents?
Ted caught Eva's gaze in the rearview mirror. "It was nice seeing you, Eva. I hope to see you and Junior again before you leave."
"Thank you. I hope so too." Eva gathered her purse and then nodded toward the door as she turned toward her son. "Carefully climb out," she said after unbuckling him.
"I'll help him out." Ian jumped out of the van and opened Junior's door. "Go ahead. I'll make sure the door doesn't hit you."
"Danki." Junior slipped out of the van and bounded up the rock drive.
Eva climbed out and walked to the front of the van, where she stopped short as if cemented in place. Her heart hammered as she looked up at the two-story brick home where she had been born and raised. Suddenly, the last conversation she had with her mother on the wraparound porch echoed through her mind.
"I don't understand why you have to go all the way to Ronks. Why can't Simeon come out here and work on your dat's dairy farm?"
"I've already told you, his parents own a restaurant. Plus he volunteers at the local fire station. It only makes sense that we would work for his parents and build a life there."
"But we need you here." Mamm's eyes glimmered in the morning light as she pointed to the porch floor. "You're our only kind. Simeon has siblings. Why can't they help with the restaurant and he move here?"
Eva pinched the bridge of her nose, where a migraine brewed. "We've been through this. He's the oldest sohn, and his dat needs him at the restaurant. Besides, he likes working there, and I think I will too. He also enjoys volunteering at the fire station with his freinden. I need you to support me in this."
Mamm wiped away a tear. "I can't."
And she didn't.
Eva couldn't take her mother's disappointed sighs, disapproving frowns, and manipulative weeping any longer. At the age of twenty-two, putting a traditional wedding in her parents' home aside, she fled to Ronks. It wasn't the first time she'd left to gain some breathing room away from her mother's stifling interference. She'd interfered before Eva met Simeon, and she was interfering still.
She did invite Mamm and Dat to her wedding, but they didn't attend, making their relationship even more strained. Then instead of expecting any support from them when Simeon died, Eva turned to her in-laws, who had fast become her surrogate parents.
Now Eva would face her parents for the first time in six years. How was she going to navigate this painful visit when they had become more like strangers than family to her?
But she owed this to her son, didn't she?
Junior's voice yanked Eva from her thoughts. She forced a pleasant expression onto her face as she looked at him.
"Are you coming?" Standing on the porch steps, Junior pointed to the front door.
"Was iss letz?" Ian's voice was low in her ear, sending an unexpected shiver shimmying up her spine. He stood beside her with the duffel bag slung over his shoulder.
"Nothing." She stepped away from him and tried to ignore the way his voice had affected her.
His eyes seemed to watch her for a moment. Then he nodded toward the house. "They should be back by now. I asked my parents' driver to take them since Ted had already agreed to pick you up."
"Let's go, Mamm!" Junior yelled before rushing to wrench open the screen door and knock.
She took a deep breath to gather all her courage and then touched her prayer covering to make sure it was straight.
"You look fine."
Startled, Eva looked up at Ian. She hadn't realized he was still standing so close to her.
"They're excited to see you and Junior. It's all your parents have talked about since you wrote about coming." He gestured toward the house. "Go inside. You'll see what I mean."
Eva nodded as she walked beside Ian.
Junior knocked on the door again and then turned toward Eva and Ian. "Where are Mammi and Daadi?"
"I'm sure they're on their way," Ian responded.
Eva's hands trembled as she held on to the handrail and climbed the steps. When she reached the top, the door swung open. Her mother stepped outside, letting the screen door close behind her.
Junior approached her, his whole body shaking with what Eva knew was hope and excitement. "Are you mei mammi?"
Mamm gasped as she crouched in front of him. "Ya, I am." She opened her arms, and Junior walked into her hug. Mamm held him close, her hazel eyes glassy with unshed tears. "It's so nice to meet you, Junior." Her voice sounded thin and shaky.
Eva gripped the handrail as emotion clogged her throat.
When Junior stepped out of the hug, Mamm touched his cheek. "We're so froh you're here."
"Me too," Junior said. "I asked mei mamm to bring me here to meet you and Daadi. Where's Daadi?"
"He's inside, and he can't wait to meet you." She gestured toward the door. "You can go in and find him."
Junior rushed inside.
As the screen door clicked closed, Mamm turned her gaze to Eva. Despite her approaching her midfifties, the light-brown hair peeking out from under Mamm's prayer covering showed no threads of gray, and her skin was still smooth and youthful. Tiny wrinkles around her eyes were the only hint that six years had passed.
"Eva," Mamm said, her voice still shaky. "It's gut to see you." Mamm reached for her, but Eva instinctively took a step back, away from her touch. Something that looked like hurt and disappointment flashed across her mother's face.
"Danki." Eva fought back threatening tears. "You look well." Her voice sounded as strained as her mother's. When had their relationship become so formal, so dysfunctional?
Then the answer rang loud and clear in Eva's head: When Mamm refused to bless my marriage to Simeon Dienner because it meant my moving away.
"Did you have a gut trip?" Mamm asked.
"Ya, we did."
"I made your favorite for supper, roast beef and potatoes. It's almost ready." Mamm pointed toward the door. "Let's go inside."
As Eva followed her mother into her childhood home, unexpected nostalgia rolled over her. The family room hadn't changed. The two brown sofas her parents purchased before she was born still sat in the middle of the room, surrounded by her father's favorite tan wing chair, the same two propane lamps, and the same matching oak end tables and coffee table.
"Eva, I'm sorry we didn't pick you up at the bus station, but I couldn't change my doctor's appointment."
She spun as her father crossed the room with Junior in tow. Although his honey-brown eyes and warm smile were the same, his dark-brown hair and beard were threaded with gray, and his handsome face was lined with wrinkles.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "An Amish Homecoming"
Copyright © 2018 Amy Clipston, Elizabeth Wiseman Mackey, Shelley Sabga, and Kathleen Fuller.
Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
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.
Table of Contents
NO PLACE LIKE HOME by Amy Clipston, 1,
WHEN LOVE RETURNS by Beth Wiseman, 101,
THE COURAGE TO LOVE by Shelley Shepard Gray, 201,
WHAT LOVE BUILT by Kathleen Fuller, 293,