He lost her once to a rash decision.
He will not lose her again.
On the eve of a new year, Catherine Glick is expecting her bu of five years to propose. Instead, the unexpected arrival of an old boyfriend, Elijah, sends her life spiraling out of control. When a rash decision damages her current relationship, Catherine leaves for Florida to work in her cousin’s bakery—anything to flee the source of her shame.
Elijah Graber knows he hurt Catherine when he left their Amish district six years ago. He’s determined to explain his actions, even if it means following her to Florida. Perhaps their two-day bus trip together will provide enough time for him to make his case and win her back.
Just when Elijah is starting to tear down the walls Catherine has built, their bus skids on an icy road—and amid the mayhem and tragedy that follow, Catherine disappears. Elijah’s friends urge him to prepare for the worst, but Elijah holds on to his hope in God and refuses to give up his search for Catherine. With supernatural nudging from the most unexpected places, Elijah sets out to find the love he once lost—no matter the cost.
About the Author
Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA bestselling author of the Heaven on Earth, the Amish Wonders, and the Amish Mercies series. She’s a full-time pharmacist who lives in Florida with her husband and three children. When attending Ferris State University School of Pharmacy in Big Rapids, Michigan, she lived on the outskirts of an Amish community and had several occasions to visit the Amish farms. Her interest grew into love as she saw the beauty in living a simple life. Visit Ruth online at RuthReid.com; Facebook: Author-Ruth-Reid; Twitter: @AuthorRuthReid.
Read an Excerpt
Finally, he arrived.
Catherine Glick placed the jar of pickled eggs on the serving table, then pretended to straighten the other dishes so she could spy Zachariah Lantz pressing through the crowded entryway of The Amish Table restaurant.
Removing his snow-covered coat, Zach looked her direction and smiled. Even from across the crowded room, his deep blue eyes had a way of warming her insides and melting the balled-up tension. Thoughts of him sliding into the ditch somewhere had invaded her mind. Sure, icy roads were typical this time of the year in northern Michigan, and Zach owned an exceptional horse, but not knowing if her boyfriend of nearly five years was stranded someplace had knotted her muscles. Now it didn't matter how much snow accumulated. Zach was here, safe, and just in time for their district's New Year's Eve supper.
Catherine stepped away from the food table to greet Zach at the door but was stopped when his sister, Mary, sidled up beside her, a vegetable tray in her hands.
"I see mei bruder finally made it."
Catherine smiled. "Better late than never."
Mary set the tray on the table. "You'd think being a clockmaker he would pay more attention to all those chiming reminders around him in the shop and be on time."
"Jah, you'd think," Catherine echoed while following Zach with her gaze as he joined the other unmarried men in the corner of the room. He was a talented clockmaker, meticulous with details, but he was certainly not a timekeeper. He'd missed several functions in the past, citing work-related reasons. But she wasn't about to complain about his punctuality now and ruin this fine evening. Her heart had been pounding with anticipation of their sleigh ride home tonight.
The women filed out of the kitchen, carrying various plates and bowls of food to put on the long buffet table. Roasted turkey, sliced pineapple ham, sauerkraut and pork, and venison made up the meats, and yummasetti, baked yams, mashed potatoes, green beans, and peas made up the side dishes. The feast was like Christmas all over again. Even the children had flocked to the cheese and pickle trays, their tiny hands snitching a few samples before the meal was blessed, while their mothers hovered nearby, chiding them for their actions.
A niggle of jealousy stabbed Catherine's heart. One day she would have a few sticky-fingered culprits to wag her finger at. Of course, she'd told herself one day for years and it hadn't changed the fact that at twenty-nine, she was the oldest maedel in her district.
Don't dwell on such negativity. Everything could change after tonight's sleigh ride. She wrung her hands, suddenly eager for the meal to get started and, more importantly, for it to end.
The bishop's wife, Alice Zook, was the last to come out of the kitchen. She placed a steaming dish of brown gravy on the table, then nodded at her husband, who stepped forward.
Bishop Zook cleared his throat, signaling everyone's attention. "Shall we bow our heads and ask the Lord's blessing over this wunderbaar food the women have prepared?"
Catherine closed her eyes. I know You hold the future, Lord. I pray it's Your will that Zach wants to include me in his future.
The bell over the door jingled, and a gust of cold air sent a shiver down her spine. Boots stomped, muffling the tune the latecomer whistled as he entered. Catherine didn't have to open her eyes to know who it was. She recognized the man by his off-pitch tune.
The latecomer blew into his fisted hands. His hat, coat, scarf, and pants below the knees were snow covered. As Elijah stood at the entry, his gaze flitted across the room and stopped on Catherine.
Sharpness seized her breath. After six years, why would he search her out in the crowd first? Years of wondering what it would feel like to see him again flooded her senses, and for the split second that their gazes connected, everyone else in the room disappeared.
Rein it in. You feel nothing. Nothing.
Catherine narrowed her eyes on the man. At least be respectful of others, Elijah, and bow your head.
As if reading her thoughts, he dropped his hands to his side and lowered his head for the final seconds of the blessing.
Once the bishop cleared his throat again, his way of signaling the end of the silent prayer, conversations and activity around the room resumed. Except for Catherine who was frozen in place.
Elijah shivered and snow fell from the brim of his straw hat. Removing the knitted scarf from around his neck exposed his big red ears, which contrasted with the pale, purplish tinge on his lips. But what caught her off guard was his beard.
She focused on the puddle that had formed from his stomping snow off his boots, a hazard that needed to be addressed immediately. As other members greeted Elijah, Catherine dashed into the kitchen, grabbed the mop from the utility closet, then returned to the dining room.
Still standing at the front door, Elijah looked up from brushing snow off his pant legs as she approached. "Hiya, Cat." He smiled as if there'd never been a moment of distance between them.
Before she had the chance to return a formal greeting, Bishop Zook came up to Elijah and patted his shoulder. "It's gut to see you again, Elijah."
The bishop glanced at Catherine a brief second, then continued.
"I trust your trip to Posen went well."
"The roads were snowy, and for a while there was talk that Mackinac Bridge might close due to high winds, but we made it fine."
"How long will you be staying?"
This time it was Elijah who looked at her uncomfortably. "I'm, ah, nett sure."
This was agonizing. She expected any conversation she might have with Elijah to be stilted, but she hadn't expected Bishop Zook to guard his words. Why didn't he just go ahead and ask Elijah about his wife and children?
"Again, it's gut to have you home. Hopefully we'll have a chance to talk more later." Bishop Zook motioned to the table of food. "Nau don't be a stranger. Jump in line and fill your plate while the food is hot."
"Jah, I'll be sure to join you shortly."
Once the bishop left to rejoin some of the other married men, Catherine mopped up the trail of water he tracked across the floor. Elijah hadn't moved from the doorway when she went back to finish cleaning up the entrance area.
Elijah lifted one snowy boot, then the other. "I made a mess, didn't I? Would you like me to mop it up?"
"Nay. I'll get this." She motioned to the other married men filling their plates. "You should go eat. I'm sure a hot meal and mug of kaffi will warm you up."
"That's nice of you to be concerned. I've been meaning all week to stop by your haus and say hello."
All week? Catherine harrumphed. "It's a little late to tell me you got married."
He scratched his whiskered jaw. "Jah, I've been meaning to —"
"It's a long story."
"I'm sure." Obviously he hadn't changed. He was always itching to tell long stories. Well, this time she wasn't interested. Six years ago when he'd told her he needed to visit an out-of-town friend, she hadn't expected to read in The Budget newspaper a few weeks later that he'd gotten married. She redirected her attention to the wet floor and shoved the mop around.
"I'll get out of your way," he said, yet didn't move. When she purposefully swabbed the area next to his boots, he finally sidestepped the mop. "Nice seeing you again, Cat."
She stopped cleaning the floor and straightened her posture, but just as she unclenched her teeth to speak, he was swarmed by other members welcoming him home.
"Mei name is nett Cat," she muttered to herself.
She finished sopping up the melted snow, then returned the mop to the utility closet in the kitchen. After taking a moment to relax her breathing and slow her racing heart, she turned to head back to the dining area, but a shadowy figure moved out from behind the row of storage shelves.
She clutched her chest, hissing his name in a sharp gasp. "Zach!"
* * *
"Were you expecting someone else?" Zach stepped closer.
"I — I wasn't expecting someone to be lurking in the shadows. I thought you were in line getting food with the others." Her hands trembled as she wiped them on the side of her dress.
"Jah." He lifted his plate, dumbfounded by her sudden lack of observation skills. "I did." He hoped catching her off guard was all that was wrong and her jumpiness didn't have something to do with Elijah's return. "I didn't mean to startle you. I figured I'd say hello and tell you that I'm looking forward to our sleigh ride tonight."
"You are? I mean, I'm looking forward to our ride too." She tucked a stray strand of her honey-colored hair under her prayer kapp. "When you didn't arrive right away I started to think something had happened."
"I had an important business matter to take care of and lost track of the time." He stabbed his fork into a chunk of carved turkey, his mouth watering. He'd been so preoccupied tinkering with a customer's antique pocket watch that he'd skipped lunch. Although his stomach complained, he was happy that word had started to spread about his clock and watch repair services.
"Business on New Year's Eve?"
"I'll tell you all about it later. But now you should get something to eat. I don't want to stay long." He had to wake up earlier than normal tomorrow morning. The man was coming to the shop to pick up his watch, and Zach wanted to give himself enough time to adjust it if it wasn't keeping perfect time.
"Jah, I'm sort of anxious to leave early too." Catherine's cheeks turned a rosy shade before she spun around, her dress hem swinging around her ankles with her quick turn.
He took another bite of turkey and followed Catherine through the swinging doors, but as she went toward the food line, he veered over to the table where his long-lost friend Elijah was seated.
Zach clapped Elijah on the shoulder. "Nobody whistles like you."
"You mean off-key."
"Exactly." Zach set his plate on the table, then plopped down beside him. "I heard you were in town."
"Mammi guilted me into being here for her birthday. She told me, 'One doesn't turn one hundred years old every day, you know.'"
Zach chuckled. "I'd say nett. How long do you plan on staying?"
"A week, maybe two — maybe all winter if I can't get mei mammi's buggy out of the ditch. The driveway was like a big frozen pond. The buggy skated into a pile of snow at the bottom of the ditch — at least I think it's the ditch."
Zach opened his mouth to take a bite of food but lowered his fork. "The mare didn't get hurt, did she?" He recalled Elijah always trying to race his family's horse and goading Zach into doing the same. But on snowy nights like tonight, no way. Even with runners on his buggy, Zach always went slowly.
"The old mare is fine. I put her back in the barn. Hey, you think you could give me a ride back to Mammi's when this is over?"
"Ahh ..." So much for Catherine and his moonlight sleigh ride. "Jah, sure."
"I can find someone else to take me, or I'll walk if you have other plans," Elijah said, buttering a dinner roll.
"Nay, that's okay. But I want to make it an early nacht. I have to work in the morning." He ate a spoonful of buttery mashed potatoes while pondering how he'd tell Catherine their plans now included driving Elijah.
"Still making clocks?"
Zach nodded. "I repair watches nau too."
"That's great. I always knew you would do well." Elijah pushed his empty plate aside and picked up his coffee mug.
"What about you? I seem to recall you wanted to train horses."
"Still want to ... one day," Elijah muttered as he stood. He motioned to the dessert table. "I think there's a piece of apple pie calling mei name."
Zach continued eating. When Elijah didn't immediately return to eat his dessert at the table, Zach scanned the crowd and found him standing with the married men and engaged in a conversation with the bishop. A scene all too familiar to Zach. His other friends had migrated to the married side of Sunday services and gatherings after they married, too, as if an unwritten rule forbade them from hanging around their unmarried friends once they passed over to the other side.
Sure, he could join the group by marrying Catherine, and several of his friends had encouraged him to do so, but he wasn't one to do things to appease others. Besides, up until the other day, his business wasn't stable; he couldn't support a wife. But for some reason, watching his once best friend huddling with the others irked him. Elijah — his so-called friend — had never bothered to tell him he'd gotten married. Zach read the announcement in The Budget same as everyone else. Zach finished cleaning off his plate, then picked it up and went to the buffet for seconds.
Catherine approached the serving table from the opposite side. "Have you tried the pork pie?"
"I haven't yet. Did you make it?" Catherine's grin told him she had before she confirmed it with a nod. Zach reached for the spoon.
Usually he asked Catherine what she brought and selected those dishes first, but tonight she'd been busy cleaning the floor when he was in the serving line selecting his food. He scraped the bottom of the dish to get the last few morsels of pork gravy and crust. "This looks gut."
"I hope you like it."
He smiled. "I don't think you've made anything I haven't liked." He took a bite and nodded. "It's gut." Just as tasty as when she had served it to him a few weeks ago when she invited him for supper at her brother's house.
A gust of cold air filled the room as several men went outside, then reentered a moment later. Bishop Zook raised his hand. "Folks, may I have your attention? The weather appears to have gotten much worse. I suggest we conclude the evening activities as soon as possible."
Zach wasn't concerned about the amount of snowfall. The runners he'd mounted on an old open buggy would glide over anything. Besides, he had a blanket for warmth and lanterns to help guide the way. Perhaps the get-together ending early was a blessing. He did need to get up early and double-check the watch he'd been working on.
Within minutes the women had the tables cleaned off and the place tidied up. As children were dressed in their outerwear and shuttled to the buggies, the room emptied quickly. Zach shoved his arm into his coat sleeve. He spotted Elijah being handed a covered dish by the bishop's wife. Knowing Alice Zook's motherly concern over the flock, she would insist on them giving Elijah a ride to his grandmother's house once she heard about him going into the ditch. Zach smiled at the thought of not having a third passenger in his sleigh tonight after all.
He scanned the area for Catherine and spotted her talking with her cousin Faith. He sidled up beside them as they were discussing restaurant operations.
"Last winter we struggled badly," Faith said. "Closing is for the best."
"You're closing the restaurant?" Zach divided his attention between Catherine and her cousin, who looked equally somber.
Faith nodded. "We don't do enough business in the winter to pay the fuel bill, and the township won't allow us to install a woodstove. Mei parents and I have prayed about it, and ... it's only for a few months. We plan to reopen in April or May."
"That's nett so bad." Zach studied Catherine's strained expression. She was no doubt worried about her loss of income. She'd been a cook at the restaurant for more than fifteen years, and since both of her parents had died, she had given most of her paycheck to her brother to help with household expenses.
"Perhaps we can get together and sew. I want to make a few things for mei hope chest." The blush on Faith's face said there was more, but with Zach in the midst, she wasn't about to blurt what he already knew. Gideon had asked him to make a grandfather clock for a wedding gift Gideon planned to give Faith. Of course, Zach had promised to keep their news a secret until an official announcement was made.
"Sure." Catherine's voice cracked. Did she suspect her cousin was engaged? She was always fast to get choked up at weddings. Maedel tears.
Faith glanced over her shoulder in Gideon's direction. "Gideon is putting on his coat. I'd better get mine on too." She turned back to Catherine and reached for her hands. "I'm going to miss talking with you at work every day, but we're going to get together regularly, right?"(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Arms of Mercy"
Copyright © 2018 Ruth Reid.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Very interesting story. I have read may of Ruths books and have always enjoyed them all !!,
I really enjoyed the characters
Arms of Mercy is book #2 in the Amish Mercies series by Ruth Reid. Once again, this author delivered a unique Amish book that included the supernatural element of angels. This is one of my favorite things about this author. I truly feel as if this unique addition of the spiritual realm sets these novels apart from others in the same genre. The characters in this novel were so well-developed. I felt a connection with each character, Amish, and English alike. These were the type of characters you just can't help but like. The spiritual element is subtle and reminds us of the ways in which we may entertain angels, unaware. The spiritual encounters were so flawlessly woven into this story in a believable way. There wasn't any tacky, "I'm an angel sent by God," moments that so make me cringe in Christian novels. Overall, this book is a solid 4-4.5 read. The only reason I'm not giving it a five is that I felt slightly bogged down during parts of the story involving a lawyer. I felt his presence distracted me from what was going on with the story and then because time was spent on lawyer involvement, the ending was a bit rushed. I would have liked to have seen more romance between the main characters and less time wasted with some lawyer trying to get Elijah to hire him. Still, this book was almost perfect and it's definitely worth having in my collection. I would recommend this book to others who love Amish fiction but want something fresh and new from the genre. This book was provided to me by The Publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. All opinions are my own.
Touching I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild and I was not required to give a favorable review. This was a beautiful story of how faith and love can bring two people back together. Catherine was in love with Elijah but he left the district and then married someone else because he felt he owned the family and she was dying. Now he back for his grandmother's birthday. Catherine has been courting with Zach for 3 years and he still hasn't proposed, she proposed to him and he turned her down. When she had the opportunity to go to Florida and help her cousin she takes it, and little did she know that Elijah decided to go with her. Thank you for that because of a bus driver passing away and then a really bad accident that landed them both in the hospital. He was the one who kept looking for her because he really did love her. She lost her memory, but with help she was getting it back. This was such a touching story.
Catherine Glick is ready to settle down. As one of the oldest eligible girls in her district, she is hoping her sweetheart, Zach, will soon propose. She is not prepared, however, for the return of her former beau, Elijah, who left the district six years ago. He has returned to explain himself to her and hopes to win her back. When the bus they are on is involved in a snowy accident, Catherine disappears. Will Elijah ever be reunited with his first love? Ruth Reid creates a beautiful tale that is sure to involve the reader from the first page until the last. Her gift for storytelling is evident once again in this wonderful tale of love once lost, and hopefully, rekindled. Readers will not be disappointed!
Author Ruth Reid weaves together a beautiful masterpiece in her newest release, Arms of Mercy. Catherine Glick has been waiting five years for her boyfriend Zach to propose. When he does finally propose, she can't give him an answer because she has already promised her cousin in Florida that she would come and help with her bakery. She needs some time to think, especially now that her former boyfriend showed up, Elijah Graber. Elijah broke her heart after he left their community and promised he would be back, but instead he married another. Catherine is quite surprised to see that Elijah has boarded her bus down to Florida. What happens next in the story will have you on the edge of your seat! Author Ruth Reid writes such a compelling book that you won't be able to put it down! You will want to keep reading until the story is finished. With surprises around every corner, I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book! I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book from the author and have given my honest opinion.
ARMS OF MERCY is the second book in Ms. Reid's An Amish Mercies series, but it easily stands alone. Fans will want to read Abiding Mercy to find out more about the robbery that was referred to in this book. ARMS OF MERCY is the story of a not-normal Amish woman, she's twenty-nine, unwed, desperate and proposes to her long-time boyfriend, then runs away when he agrees to marry her. Her former boyfriend is a widower now, and kind of stalking her, though he won't admit to it. Ms. Reid's trademark angels are included in this story with the angel appearing and making vague scriptural references "The one you seek is not here." (referring to Jesus in the tomb, but in this case, Katherine) and "Trust in the Lord with all your heart...." All well and good, but it came across as odd and preachy in some incidences. There is also a lot of supposition in Catherine's case, and some contradictions in timing that threw me off. All in all, ARMS OF MERCY was not the best Ms. Reid book I read, but her fans will devour this book. It is a good nontraditional Amish book for those who love Amish but are tired of the "If you read one Amish book you read them all" stereotype. Ms. Reid is one of a very small group who is willing to writing outside the box and for that she gets kudoes. I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own.
This is a fantastically written Amish story. I love the characters and love how everything unraveled. Catherine and Elijah both learn many lessons and hope in God. This story flows smoothly and I did not want to put it down. I laughed and cried whiling reading. I received a copy of this book from the author for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
Classifying a Ruth Reid book as 'Amish Fiction' or 'Amish Romance' doesn't begin to scratch the surface of what this woman brings to the pages. I mean, yes it is about the Amish. Yes, it is fiction. Yes, it's got romance. But, but, but. . . There are so many more layers of depth and sub-genres and even sub-sub-sub genres of plot in each of her books. She gives me intrigue without suspense or mystery. She brings subtle spiritual depth that if you don't know what that is you will miss it entirely and still have read an amazing book. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can see behind the 'mysterious' ways God works in our lives. Reid simply takes that sometimes and weaves it into amazing 'Amish Romance Fiction'. As the second book in the Amish Mercies series, 'Arms of Mercy' takes us back to the Amish Table in Michigan. Same setting, new community thread, and completely stand alone (but do read 'Abiding Mercy' because Ruth Reid!). Let's get really honest here. The only, I mean ONLY, thing I didn't love about this book? The purple cover. Well, there was a bit of a pacing issue the late middle part of the story where time suddenly stopped and drug on for a bit before finding it's grove. Nope, gotta go purple. I am probably the only person on the planet that doesn't like purple. I don't mean it's not my favorite color, I mean I just don't like it. Period. Done. I do not own nor plan to own so don't bring me something purple. It's not my thing. My style. It doesn't fit on my color palette. Sorry for the fiddy-badillon people out there who claim it as their favorite color. You can have it. All of it. No strings attached. OK, now that I have effectively alienated myself from every single other inhabitant of this planet (and possibly beyond - do aliens like purple?) let me tell you why I loved this book. Remember how I always complain about books that give me a too perfect jumbo oversized neat little bow? Well. . . Remember just a little scroll up where I mentioned that sometimes, if you are lucky, you get a glimpse of God's 'mysterious' ways? Yeah, so um. This book gives me both of those things, I get the glitter sparkle bow because of the mysterious ways. Parts of the book feel unbelievable and almost trite but for those 'mysterious' ways. I would love to give an example or twenty but well, spoilers. This book is grounded in authentic faith that feels natural and embracing. I could gush on or I could just tell you to hurry up and read the book yourself. I mean it came out on Tuesday already! I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
Did I love this book? Yes, I did. I am not going to write the details of it, because the synopsis was really well written and tells what you need to know. As I was reading through some of the trials Elijah and Catharine went through, the tender mercies that they received, reminded me that we are not alone in what we have to go through in life. It was a sweet reminder that there is a higher Being that knows everything we need to make it through our trials. It was a very sweet read and I really was happy that I had a chance to read this very good book! I received an ebook copy from the author. All thoughts are my own.
Oh, how I loved this book, from beginning to end it didn’t disappoint, and just kept getting better. We journey from our Amish Community in Michigan on our way to an Amish settlement in Florida. What a trip we embark on and it sure isn’t what you expect, one bombshell after another, and you never know where you are going to end up, or if all will survive. This is a love story, but includes many people to get to the end, and you will keep guessing who the couple is and how it is going to conclude. Answers will come, and how rumors started become known, forces against and who is the mysterious stranger, yes, we find out, but wow! I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Thomas Nelson, and was not required to give a positive review.
Beautifully broken.....beautifully written! Catherine is heartbroken again and decides to take control of her life and leave Michigan to help her cousin in her bakery in Florida. Elijah, her ex has just returned and decides to follow her to right the wrongs he has caused in the past. What ensues keeps you on the edge of your seat and unable to put down as you must discover the outcome. Be prepared to stay up late to finish. Ruth Reid has a way with words that draws you in from the beginning and the power to take an Amish story to new heights. I loved Book I in this series, Abiding Mercy, but this one measures up to the bar it set. The cover is lovely and depicts the lilacs that play an important part of this story. Ms. Reid handles the appearance of an angel in a delicate manner and keeps you guessing until the end. Even if you are not a fan of Amish fiction you might want to give this series a try, as it worth stepping out of your favorite genre for. Perfect example of God giving beauty for ashes. I received a complimentary copy from the author/publisher. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
If it can go wrong it did in this story. Author Ruth Reid keeps the reader in suspense and even includes…..an angel? You’ll have to read it to figure that out. It was interesting to see the courting of this couple after five years. Why in the world isn’t he proposing? And then Catherine reconnects with an old friend who she thought was long gone. Reid leaves us wondering what will happen and with whom. The characters are believable and the descriptions throughout the story helped me to see what was happening. The trauma from the accident is so realistic you can tell the author did a lot of research. If you enjoy a sweet romance with suspense written in, then you will enjoy Arms of Mercy. I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.