Leona is Bishop Jacob Weaver's daughter and a dedicated teacher in a one-room Amish schoolhouse. After her father's tragic accident, Leona's faith wavers. How could God allow something like this to happen to one of His servants? Outlander Jimmy Scott comes to Pennsylvania in search of his real family. When he is hired to paint an Amish schoolhouse, Jimmy and Leona find themselves irresistibly drawn to each other. Can anything good come from the love between an Amish woman and an English man? What secrets will be revealed and what miracles await God's people in Lancaster County? The Bishop's Daughter is book 3 in the Daughters of Lancaster County series. Other books in the series include The Storekeeper's Daughter: Book 1 and The Quilter's Daughter: Book 2.
About the Author
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.
Read an Excerpt
The Bishop's Daughter
Daughters of Lancester Country 3
By Wanda E. Brunstetter
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Wanda E. Brunstetter
All rights reserved.
Tears welled in Leona Weaver's eyes as she glanced around the one-room schoolhouse where she'd been teaching the last four years. Her days of teaching would have been over in two weeks, when the school year ended. The school board would have then selected a new teacher to take Leona's place in the fall, due to her plans to marry.
"But that won't be happening now," she murmured. "I'll be teaching in the fall again — not getting married."
Leona closed her eyes as she relived the shocking moment when she had been told that Ezra Yoder, the man she was supposed to marry, had been kicked in the head while shoeing a horse and had died.
* * *
"Uh — Leona, I've got something to tell you."
"What's that, Papa?"
"The thing isL —"
"You seem kind of naerfich. Is there something wrong to make you so nervous?"
Papa pulled in a deep breath as he motioned for Leona to take a seat on the sofa. "There's been an accident, daughter. Ezra is —"
"Ezra? Has Ezra been hurt?"
He nodded soberly. "I'm sorry to be the one havin' to tell you this, but Ezra is dead."
Dead. Ezra is dead. Leona sank to the sofa as her daed's words echoed in her mind.
Papa took a seat beside her, and Mom, who'd just come into the room, did the same.
"How did it happen, Jacob?" Mom asked, reaching over to take Leona's hand.
"Ezra was shoeing a skittish horse and got kicked in the head. His brother Mose saw it happen."
The tightness in Leona's chest interfered with her ability to breathe. "Ezra can't be dead. I just spoke to him last night. We were making plans for our wedding, and ..." Her voice trailed off, and she gulped on a sob.
Papa kept his head down, obviously unable to meet her gaze. "'The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.' It must have been Ezra's time to go."
Her daed's last words resounded in Leona's head." 'The Lord hath taken away.' It must have been Ezra's time to go." She gripped the edge of the sofa and squeezed her eyes shut. No, no, it can't be! I love Ezra. Ezra loves me. We are going to be married in the fall!
When Leona opened her eyes, she saw a look of pity in her mamm's eyes.
"You'll get through this, daughter. With the help of your family and friends, God will see you through."
As the reality of the situation began to fully register, Leona's body trembled. "'The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away,'" she murmured. "Never again will I allow myself to fall in love with another man."
* * *
Bringing her thoughts back to the present, Leona pushed her chair away from her desk and stood. She saw no point in grieving over what couldn't be changed. Ezra had been gone for almost three months, and he wouldn't be coming back. Leona would never become a wife or mother. She must now accept a new calling, a new purpose for living, a new sense of mission. She would give all her efforts to being the best schoolteacher she could be.
"Maybe a few minutes in the fresh spring air might clear my head before it's time to call the scholars into the schoolhouse from their morning recess," she murmured. "Maybe I'll even join their game of baseball."
As a young girl, Leona had always enjoyed playing ball. Even now, with her twenty-fourth birthday just a few months away, she could still outrun most of her pupils and catch a fly ball with little effort.
She opened the door, stepped onto the porch, and hurried across the lawn. She stepped up to home plate just as Silas, Matthew Fisher's ten-year-old boy, dropped his bat and darted for first base. Sprinting like a buggy horse given the signal to trot, Silas's feet skimmed the base, and he kept on running. His teammates cheered, and the opposing team booed as the boy made his way around the bases.
When Naomi Hoffmeir's eleven-year-old son, Josh, nearly tagged Silas with the ball, the exuberant child ducked and slid into third base. Sweat rolled down the boy's forehead as he huffed and puffed, but his smile stretched ear to ear.
"It's my turn," Leona called to Emanuel Lapp, the pitcher. She grabbed the bat, bent her knees slightly, and planted both feet with toes pointing outward. "Get ready, Silas, 'cause I'm bringing you home!"
"And she can do it, too," Leona's niece Fern shouted from the sidelines.
Leona glanced at Fern, her older brother's eleven-year-old daughter. Several wisps of the girl's golden blond hair had come loose from her white kapp, and it curled around her ears. She reminds me so much of her daed, Leona thought. Ever since Arthur started working for Papa, he's always said exactly what he thinks. Truth be told, Arthur probably can't wait for Papa to retire from painting so he can take over the business.
Fern lifted her hand in a wave, and Leona waved back. She's so sweet. I'd hoped to have a child like her someday.
Her thoughts went to Ezra again. But there will be no kinner for me. Ezra's gone, and I'll never know what our children would have looked like. I'll never...."
Forcing her thoughts back to the game, Leona gripped the bat and readied herself for Emanuel's first pitch. She knew the twelve-year-old had a steady hand and could throw straight as an arrow. He was also known to pitch a good curve ball, which she would have to watch out for. If the Amish schoolteacher got anything less than a good hit, she would never live it down. Keep your eye on the ball, she reminded herself. Don't give Emanuel an edge, and don't think about anything except playing this game.
The pitch came fast and hard, but it was too far to the right. Leona didn't swing.
"Ball one!" Harley Fisher hollered from the place where he crouched behind her, ready to catch the ball.
She shifted uneasily as her metal-framed glasses slipped to the middle of her nose. She mostly needed them for reading or close-up work and should have left them on her desk. But it was too late to worry about that. She had a ball to hit.
Leona took one hand off the bat and pushed her glasses back in place. Whish! The ball came quickly, catching her off guard.
"Strike one!" Harley shouted.
Leona pursed her lips in concentration. If I hadn't tried to right my glasses, I could have hit that one. Might have planted it clear out in left field.
Setting her jaw as firmly as her determination, she gripped the bat tighter, resolved to smack the next one over the fielders' heads and bring Silas home.
Emanuel pulled his arm way back, and a sly smile spread across his face.
"Teacher, Mary's bein' mean to me!" Leona's gaze darted quickly to the left. When she saw it was only a skirmish over the swings, she turned back. But before she could react, the oncoming sphere of white hit her full in the face, sending her glasses flying and causing her vision to blur. She swallowed as a metallic taste filled her mouth. When she cupped her hand over her throbbing nose, warm blood oozed between her fingers. The ground swayed beneath her feet, and the last thing Leona remembered was someone calling her name.
* * *
"How come you wanted to go out for lunch instead of dinner tonight?" Jimmy Scott asked his dad. They had taken seats in front of the window at a restaurant overlooking Commencement Bay and given the waitress their orders.
"I thought it would be easier to get a table with a view of the water when they aren't so busy." Jimmy's dad ran his fingers through his dark hair, which over the last couple of years had become sprinkled with gray. "Maybe after lunch we can take a ride to Point Defiance Park, or would you rather do something else to celebrate your birthday?"
Jimmy chuckled. "I won't turn twenty-one until Sunday, Dad. I had hoped the two of us could attend church together and then maybe play a round of golf in the afternoon."
His dad's dark eyebrows furrowed, causing the wrinkles in his forehead to become more pronounced. "I planned it so we could take today off, figuring you'd want to spend Sunday with your friend Allen or some of the other young people from your church."
Jimmy stared out the window as disappointment rose in his chest. Dad had never gone to church that often, not even when Mom was alive. Since her death nine years ago, all his dad had ever done was drop Jimmy off at church, and he'd even stopped attending the special holiday programs. What would it take to make the stubborn man see his need for Christ, and why hadn't Mom been able to get through to him? She'd tried plenty of times; Jimmy had heard her almost beg Dad to accept the Lord as his Savior. But Dad always said he didn't need church or anything God had to offer.
Jimmy studied a passing sailboat, which glided through the bay with ease and perfect rhythm. If only life could be as serene and easy to handle as a boat skimming along the water on a calm spring day. He thought about his mother's untimely death and how sad he had been when the ravages of cancer had taken her from them. Still, it was because of Mom that I found a personal relationship with Christ. She set a Christian example, saw that I went to church every Sunday, and read me Bible stories when I was a boy. He reached for his glass of water and took a drink. At least Mom was set free of her pain, and I'm sure I'll see her in heaven someday.
"So, have you made any plans with Allen for Sunday?"
Dad's question drove Jimmy out of his musings. "Uh ... no, not really. I guess if you want to celebrate my birthday today and don't plan to go to church with me on Sunday I'll do something with Allen and his family."
"That's a good idea. I've got a lot of paperwork to do, and it'll take me most of the weekend to get it finished."
Sure, Dad, if this weekend is like so many others, you'll probably be camped out in some bar instead of at home doing paperwork. "Yeah, okay. I understand," Jimmy mumbled.
Dad reached across the table and handed Jimmy a small box wrapped in white tissue paper. "Happy birthday, son."
Jimmy took the gift and tore off the wrapping paper. When he opened the lid, he discovered an expensive-looking gold watch.
"So you're always on time for work," his dad said with a grin.
"Thanks. Even though I already own a watch, it'll be nice to have a new one I can wear when I'm not working and won't be running the risk of getting paint all over it." Jimmy had started working part-time for his dad when he was a teenager, and he'd continued painting after he'd graduated from high school. The only time he hadn't worked for his dad was when he'd taken a couple of classes at the community college in Tacoma.
"The watch belonged to my father, and I thought you might like to have it," Dad said.
Jimmy studied the heirloom. If it had been Grandpa Scott's, then he felt proud to own it, even though he'd barely known his dad's father. Mom's parents came to visit often, and Jimmy's folks had driven to Boise to see them several times over the years. But Grandma and Grandpa Scott lived in Ohio, and the only times Jimmy remembered going there was when Grandpa had been in the hospital having open-heart surgery and again five years ago when Grandpa died. Jimmy's grandparents had come to Washington a few times for short visits, but after Grandpa's health began to fail, their trips to the West Coast stopped; he hadn't seen Grandma since Grandpa's funeral.
"Do you like the watch?" Dad asked, breaking into Jimmy's thoughts.
"Sure. It's a beauty. I'll take good care of it."
Their waitress approached, bringing champagne for Dad and lemonade for Jimmy.
"To your health and to many more birthdays," Dad said, lifting his glass in a toast.
Jimmy cringed as their glasses clinked, leaving him with a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. "I wish you wouldn't use my birthday as a reason to drink."
"Can't think of a better reason." His dad gulped down the whole drink and smacked his lips. "That wasn't the best champagne I've ever tasted, but it's good for what ails you."
Jimmy turned his gaze to the window again. There would have been harsh words on both their parts if he had reminded Dad that he drank too much or mentioned that if Mom were still alive, she would have gotten on him about ordering champagne in the middle of the day. When Jimmy was a boy, he'd known that his dad drank some, but after Mom died, it had gotten much worse. Jimmy thought his dad might be using her death as an excuse to drown his sorrows or bury the past, but he also knew the way to deal with one's pain wasn't found in a bottle. Dad needed the Lord.
"Oh, I almost forgot," Dad said, halting Jimmy's thoughts. "This came in the mail for you this morning. It has a Boise postmark on it, and I'm guessing it's a birthday card from your grandparents."
Jimmy reached across the table and took the envelope, stuffing it inside his jacket pocket.
"Aren't you going to open it?"
"Naw. I think I'll wait until Sunday, so I have something to open on my actual birthday."
* * *
Abraham Fisher had just entered the barn when he heard a horse and buggy pull into the yard. He glanced through the open doorway and smiled when he recognized his friend Jacob Weaver.
"Wie geht's?" Abraham asked, extending his hand when Jacob joined him inside the barn.
Jacob exchanged a strong handshake and grinned, causing crinkles to appear around his hazel-colored eyes. "I can't complain. How are you this warm April afternoon?"
Abraham nodded toward the bales of straw piled along one side of the barn. "I was about to clean the horses' stalls and spread some of that on the floor."
"By yourself? Where are those able-bodied buwe of yours?"
"Norman, Jake, and Samuel went home to their families for the day, and I sent the twins inside to wash up." Abraham shook his head. "Titus pulled one of his pranks, and he and Timothy ended up with manure all over their clothes."
"Phew! Sure am glad I missed seeing those two." Jacob removed his straw hat and fanned his face with the brim. "Can we sit and talk a spell, or would ya rather work while we gab?"
Abraham gave his nearly gray beard a quick pull. "Me and the buwe worked hard in the fields all morning, so I think I deserve a little break." He motioned to a couple of wooden barrels. "Let's have a seat."
Jacob sat down and groaned. "You oughta get some padding for these if you're gonna keep using 'em for chairs."
Abraham snickered. "Jah, well, if I got too comfortable out here in the barn, I might not appreciate my old rockin' chair in the house."
"You've got a point."
"How come you're not working on some paint job this afternoon, and what brings you out our way?" Abraham asked.
"I'm headed to Bird-in-Hand to bid on a paint job for the bank there, and I thought I'd drop by to see you first." Jacob's fingers traced the side of his prominent nose. "I know today is Zach's twenty-first birthday, and I figured you might be feeling kind of down."
Abraham leaned his head against the wooden planks behind him. It always amazed him how Jacob seemed to know when he needed to talk, and his friend's memory for dates was even more astonishing. Ever since Abraham had known Jacob Weaver, he'd been impressed by the man's wisdom and ability to offer godly counsel. When Jacob had been chosen as their new bishop some fourteen years ago, he'd become even more knowledgeable and helpful during times of need. Everyone in the community seemed to admire, respect, and appreciate the way Bishop Jacob Weaver led his flock.
"You're right," Abraham admitted. "I did feel a pang of regret when I got up this morning and looked at the calendar." He drew in a deep breath and sighed. "For many years, I prayed that my son would be returned to us, but after a time, I came to accept the fact that Zach's not comin' home. Even though I don't talk about him much anymore, I've never forgotten my boy or quit praying that God would protect Zach and use his life for good."
Jacob reached over and touched Abraham's arm. "I've prayed for your missing son all these many years, too."
"Jah, I know." Abraham cleared his throat. "Truth is even if Zach were to come home now, he wouldn't know us, and we wouldn't know him. We'd be like strangers." He gave his beard another good tug. "Just wish I knew how he was gettin' along out there in the English world. It would have helped if we'd have gotten more than one message in The Budget from the man who stole Zach — something that would have let us know he was still doin' all right."
"You must remember that God's ways are not our ways. He has His hand on Zach," Jacob reminded.
Excerpted from The Bishop's Daughter by Wanda E. Brunstetter. Copyright © 2006 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Finally, the long-awaited final installment in the 'Daughters of Lancaster County' trilogy. I have to say, out of the three books, I enjoyed this one the most. This final book has tied up all the loose ends in the series, and has answered every question. The book has the most poignant romances, the most humor, and the most well-developed plot lines of the trilogy. We first meet Leona Weaver, the local schoolteacher and daughter of the Amish community's bishop. She leads a life that while full of activity, is lonely. She had a bad experience with a fiance previously, and still hasn't gotten over the loss of him. She claims she hasn't any interest in marriage, yet it is painfully clear that she needs love in her life. We next meet up again with Jimmy. As readers of the trilogy will recall, Jimmy is Naomi's baby brother that was kidnapped by a man who wanted to make his infertile wife happy. Linda, the woman who has raised Jimmy as her own, has recently passes away from cancer, and she insists that her husband inform Jimmy about his background of being adopted, however, Linda never knew about the kidnapping. Jimmy's 'adoptive' father turns to alcohol for relief after the death of his wife, and doesn't inform Jimmy of his birth. Jimmy finds out about his birth and kidnapping, and makes the decision to move to Lancaster County to attempt to discover if the 'wild' tale of his kidnapping really is true. He decides to blend in, and takes a painting job for an Amish worker to try to learn about his heritage. Then, to complicate matters, he meets Leona. There is an attraction, nearly from day one, between Leona and Jimmy. Of course, they know that pursuing a relationship is not really an option, and Leona is Amish and Jimmy is an Englisher. Then, a tragedy strikes the Bishop, and he develops ammnesia, so Jimmy decides he must help the family out. While the reader must feel sorry for the Bishop's family, it is rather hilarious to read about the Bishop's new pet goat and the touble they get into together. What will become of the secret, blossoming love between Leona and Jimmy? Will Jimmy find his family? Will he ever forgive the man that kidnapped him and raised him as his son? All these questions, and many more, are answered to satisfaction. The author has weaved another enchanting tale about the'Plain People', and my only wish is that this series was not merely a trilogy, but continued, as I would love to spend more time in the company of the 'Daughters of Lancaster County'.
I know I'm behind the times as I've never read a Beverly Lewis novel, so this was my first time reading a novel about the Amish. It was a pleasurable experience for me. I loved the plot and the twists and turns. The characters were also well-developed. I think the author sprinkling in Amish words helped me to get a feel for their culture. It reminded me of a soap opera in that every time the secret was about to come out someone interrupted them. Can you say As the Amish World Turns? :) Seriously, I really enjoyed this story. It was unique in many aspects and the conflict was good and seemed very realistic to me. I don't want to spoil it for the reader so I won't go into details by identifying the secret, but I'll just say that this story will put a smile on your face and bless you as you experience God's hand moving in the lives of the characters. The Englisher's father's struggle with alcoholism was well developed and true-to-life as well, making this novel a page turner for me. Again, I loved how the secret almost came out about twenty times. I wanted to shout at the characters to stop interrupting them--the hero and heroine (like on the soaps when someone walks past them in a crowd who has been missing for years. You want to reach into the screen and turn the person's head.) The Bishop's Daughter is listed as general fiction, but had just enough romance to satisfy me. (Did I mention it was a 'sweet' romance? Those don't normally appeal to me, but this was so well done I enjoyed it anyway.) I highly recommend this novel, and now I wish I had read the first two books in the series as well.
Let me tell you a story about this book. I’d started the series last fall and in November went to request this book from the library to review in December. Yes, the plan was originally for December. There was a wait list. Which, for an older book is surprising but I wasn’t going to complain (too loudly) if someone else was all about reading Wanda as well. I wasn’t overly worried as I had started with enough advance to still be able to squeeze it in even if I got it later in the month. Then blam . . . the due date for the person before me was like 5 weeks or something out. That doesn’t even make sense! You get three weeks people, three weeks. I mean you can recheck as long as there’s not a wait list for it. Where did this five weeks come from and how did they get to be so special? I want to be special because, let’s face it, despite all my golden intentions I tend to get behind rather quickly. Something about a day job and pesky adulting. All those stuffs and things can interfere with my reading. Once I got the book in my hands I was behind (go figure) and it had to wait a minute or twenty for it’s turn in my hands. There’s just something about reading any of an author’s older books. The way their writing styles change over time. If you have never gone back and read (or re-read) a favorite author from the beginning I strongly encourage you to do so, it’s enlightening. Wanda’s writing style has definitely changed and developed over the years. Some things never change but I gotta tell ya she was heavy on the adjectives in the early days. Descriptions of descriptions. I don’t mind it a bit. Her later work has a more simple tone to it. I appreciate that as well, I turn to Wanda when I need to take a break from the crazy. She’s soothing like that. The only real drawback for me with this book was the frequent (and I mean FREQUENT) changes of perspective, changing between multiple characters in the same chapter. It took me a minute to get back into my characters and the time jump forward but they slipped in easily, like old friends. If you remember back to ‘The Storekeeper’s Daughter‘ when Zach Fisher was kidnapped from his front yard and taken to live in the Northwest. In ‘The Quilter’s Daughter‘ we watch as his original Amish family grows and changes as does Zach/Jimmy. Twenty years after he is taken Jimmy discovers the truth and sets out to learn about his family of origin. This book brought all of these families full circle. The characters and storytelling kept a sameness through all three novels. Even with so much time (for me) between the books I didn’t have near as much as if I had read them as they were released. (Yet another benefit of delayed reading or re-reading!). I’m sad that we are saying goodbye to these characters and families with this book as I really loved this series. I’m kinda of excited that it’s being turned into a stage play. I’m also kinda bummed as it’s not being preformed anywhere near me. But then I’m excited again as I know that this series is being re-released this year.
You know, sometimes you find a book that just does it for you. I won’t say that this book is without flaws but I genuinely enjoyed the entire series. Let me just go ahead and address the complaints that I had and that I’ve seen others complain about. The time jump: I get why this bothers people because it threw me for a loop as well. You have a 10+ year time jump from book two to three. I was momentarily confused and felt as if I missed out on key elements that weren’t fully wrapped up in book two. An example of this would be the romance between Abby and Matthew. I needed more from that relationship and didn’t get it. The Rushed Ending: I too felt that this ending was rushed. Jimmy quickly worked through his conflicting emotions and found himself fully immersed in Amish life. I didn’t see much to propel Leona and Jimmy together and I actually shipped her with another character for the first half of the book. But…the book still worked for me: I was connected to Jimmy and the entire family. I wanted to know if Jimmy would forgive Jim for kidnapping him. I wanted to know if he would go back to his Amish family and become Zach again. I just didn’t know how all of this would work. I’m glad he decided to remain Jimmy. I can’t imagine spending 20+ years of my life and then changing my name—even if I’d been born with a different name. Despite all of the near unbelievable melodramatic situations, I still needed to journey with these characters. It was the connection that I felt to them that made this book such an enjoyable read for me. I wouldn’t say this series is a favorite of mine but I’d still give it a solid four-star.
I have read the other books in this series and this book did not disappoint me. They are always interesting and give a real feel for the Amish and their way of life. I enjoy the stories and also the biblical references which always give me something to think about. The references are connected to events that happen to many of us and can help people to cope in a subtle way. I have read many of her books and look forward to reading more. The questions at the end can be easily used in a book club and help to get the discussion going. This book was very enjoyable, easy to read and kept my attention.
I have truly enjoyed these stories. I am anxious to have this one. The unanswered questions are coming to an end.
I can't wait for another of her books to come out. Her books are wonderful.
I have read 3 of this ladies books and I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one. She knows how to keep you wanting to turn every page.