Courting Miss Amsel

Courting Miss Amsel

by Kim Vogel Sawyer
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Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Edythe Amsel is delighted with her first teaching assignment: a one-room schoolhouse in Walnut Hill, Nebraska. Independent, headstrong, and a strong believer in a well-rounded education, Edythe is ready to open the world to the students in this tiny community. But is Walnut Hill ready for her?

Joel Townsend is thrilled to learn the town council hired a female teacher to replace the ruthless man who terrorized his nephews for the past two years. Having raised the boys on his own since their parents' untimely deaths, Joel believes they will benefit from a woman's influence. But he sure didn't bargain on a woman like Miss Amsel. Within the first week, she has the entire town up in arms over her outlandish teaching methods, which include collecting leaves, catching bugs, making snow angels, and stringing ropes in strange patterns all over the schoolyard. Joel can't help but notice that she's also mighty pretty with her rosy lips, fashionable clothes, and fancy way of speaking.

When Edythe decides to take her pupils to hear Miss Susan Anthony speak on the women's suffrage amendment, the town's outcry reaches new heights. Even Joel isn't sure he can support her newfangled ideas any longer. And if he can't trust her to know how to teach the boys, how can he trust her with his heart?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764207846
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/01/2011
Series: Heart of the Prairie Series , #6
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.98(d)

About the Author

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the bestselling author of more than fifteen novels. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. She and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren.

Read an Excerpt

Courting Miss Amsel

By Kim Vogel Sawyer

Bethany House Publishers

Copyright © 2011 Kim Vogel Sawyer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7642-0784-6

Chapter One

Walnut Hill, Nebraska September 1882

This certainly isn't the way I imagined it.

Standing on the raised planked platform with her name—Miss Amsel—chalked in flowing script across the center of the black-painted board behind her, Edythe searched the somber faces for any small sign of enthusiasm. Row upon row of unsmiling lips and apprehensive eyes greeted her. Her stomach trembled.

Pressing her palms to the smooth front of her taffeta over-skirt, she donned a bright smile. Someone had to smile. "Now ..." Her dry mouth made her voice sound growly, and a little pigtailed girl in the front row cringed. Edythe cleared her throat. "Now that you know my name, it's time I learned yours. Each of you take up your slate and slate pencil"—the shuffle of slates sliding over worn desktops indicated instant compliance—"and print your name in your neatest penmanship on the slate. Then hold it up for me to see."

Heads bent over desks. Slate pencils created a soft skritch-skritch. A fragrant breeze flowed through the schoolroom's open windows, and Edythe filled her lungs with a satisfied breath. Ahh, her pupils following her directions. For how many years had she anticipated this moment? At least a dozen. Pa had said it would never happen, and at times she'd believed him. Yet here she was, standing before her very own class of students.

Some dreams do find fruition, Pa.

She blinked away happy tears as a second round of scuffles signaled slates being lifted. Fresh-scrubbed fingers held slates beneath chins. Opening the student log that rested on her desk, she checked the names that corresponded with those printed on the slates. Martha Sterbinz, Jane Heidrich, Andrew Bride, Henry Libolt, Louisa Bride ...

Some names were legibly written, others a bit difficult to decipher. Regardless, Edythe acknowledged each offering with a smile of approval, but not one child smiled in return. She had longed to teach in a little country school, where children from big to little mingled together like a family. Being accepted as the schoolmarm for the farming community of Walnut Hill, Nebraska, was her fondest hope come to life. But none of her imaginings had included taciturn students.

On the right-hand side of the room, two freckle-faced boys shared a desk seat and a slate. A smile quavered on Edythe's lips as she noted their names—Johnny and Robert—penned one above the other with arrows indicating which name applied to which boy. She laid her pen on the logbook and crossed to stand beside the boys' desk. In the silent room, the gentle swish of her skirts against the wood-planked floor seemed intrusive.

"Johnny ... and Robert." She looked fully into their faces as she spoke their names. Both stared at her with unblinking brown eyes. With thick, curling lashes, round, freckled cheeks, and matching cowlicks, they gave the appearance of a pair of bookends. "Are you twins?"

The one on the left shook his head. "No'm. Brothers. I'm eight." He jabbed his chest with his thumb and then jerked it toward his brother. "He's seven."

"I see." Edythe swallowed. Surely the other children in the room were boring holes through her, so intent were their gazes. "You've done a commendable job of writing your first names, but you've neglected to include your surname. Can you tell me what it is?"

She wouldn't have thought it possible, but their eyes grew even larger. The younger one—Robert—sucked in his lips. His chin quivered. What on earth had she done to frighten him so? She looked at Johnny and gentled her voice. "Do you know your surname?"

The pair exchanged a nervous glance, but neither spoke. The wall clock's heavy pendulum ticked off the advancing seconds as loudly as a gong. Then a slight movement from the back row caught Edythe's attention. A tall, slender girl with blond hair slicked away from her face held her hand in the air.

Edythe searched her memory for the girl's name. "Martha?"

The girl's shy nod indicated Edythe had guessed correctly.

"Did you have something to ask?"

Martha rose, licking her lips. She pressed her palms to the desktop as if in need of support. "Just wanted you to know, ma'am ... those're the Townsend boys. They live on a farm south of town."

"Thank you, Martha."

The girl sank into her seat, her shoulders wilting.

Edythe turned back to Johnny and Robert. "So you are Johnny and Robert Townsend."

They nodded in unison.

"Do you know how to write Townsend, boys?"

Johnny dropped the slate with a clatter and covered his face with his hands. Robert stared at her. One tear spilled from its perch on his lower lashes and rolled down his cheek. From the front row, the little pigtailed girl began to weep, filling the room with her distress. Edythe looked around in confusion. The face of every student reflected fear or resentment.

Edythe put her hand on Johnny's shoulder. "Look at me." Very slowly he lowered his hands and peered up at her. "Why are you frightened?"

"You ... you gonna"-his shoulders jerked as he fought back tears—"whomp me if I spell it wrong?"

Edythe frowned, confused. "Whomp you?"

"Yes'm." Johnny's lips quavered so wildly his words came out in a squeak. "I ain't wrote my second name all summer long, an' now I can't 'member how to do it. Please don't whomp me." Another tear rolled down Robert's face. The boys clutched hands.

Edythe looked around the room, meeting the gaze of each student in turn. So much trepidation-and now she understood why. Catching her skirts, she whirled to the front of the room, stopping directly in front of the bench where the little pigtailed girl continued to wail.

"Children, what means did your former teacher use as discipline in the classroom?"

A sullen-looking boy on the second row shot one hand in the air and yanked up his slate with the other. William Sholes, the slate read in precise block letters.

Edythe said, "Please tell me, William."

William bolted from his desk. "If we made mistakes, Mr. Shanks bent us over his knee an' whupped us good with that stick." He bobbed his head toward the tray at the front of the room.

Edythe stepped onto the teaching platform and lifted a slim, peeled hickory stick perhaps three feet in length. When she had discovered it lying in the tray the evening before as she'd readied the classroom for the first day of school, she'd assumed it was intended as a pointer. She held it aloft. "Are you referring to this stick?"

The little pigtailed girl's wails changed to frantic, hiccupping sobs. The child, so small her legs stuck straight out rather than bending toward the floor, couldn't possibly have experienced the sting of the switch—perhaps the older students had warned her of its threat. If Mr. Shanks had been in the room at that moment, Edythe would have told him what she thought of his discipline methods. Teachers should inspire more than hysteria in small children.

Edythe stomped to the front edge of the platform. Curling her fists around opposite ends of the stick, she held it chest-high. "I assure you, the only thing going over my knee is this."

Raising her knee slightly, she smacked the stick across her thigh. Gasps sounded across the room as the stick snapped in two. The pigtailed girl's cries ceased with a startled gulp. Edythe marched to the window and tossed the useless halves onto the playground. Then she faced the students, swishing her palms together. "From this day forward, no one in this room will be whomped for mistakes. Making mistakes is part of learning, and we're here to learn. All I ask is that you always do your very best. Will you promise me that?"

The little pigtailed girl stared at Edythe in wonder. All across the classroom, heads nodded. Voices rang. "Yes'm. I promise."

"Good." Edythe raised her chin and sent a serious look across the classroom. "And I promise to do my best, as well." Her heart gave a happy skip. At last, her students were smiling.

* * *

"Then she busted it—boom!—right acrost her knee an' threw it out the window!" Johnny gestured with his fried chicken leg, his eyes bright. "Said nobody's gonna get whomped again."

Joel Townsend paused with his fork stabbed into a chunk of boiled potato. He'd be the first to acknowledge no sorrow at seeing the former teacher go. The prune-faced man had terrorized the boys with his overzealous use of the hickory switch. But the new teacher might be making a mistake by giving the rod of discipline a toss.

He sent Johnny a thoughtful look. "Your new schoolmarm say how she plans to keep order?"

Johnny chomped off a bite of chicken and chewed, his forehead all crinkled. "No, sir."

"Just no more whompin'." Robert lined up his peas on the edge of his plate with his stubby fingertip. "I like 'er, Uncle Joel. Like 'er a lot."

Joel tapped the top of Robert's head. "Quit playin' there and eat."

"Yes, sir." The boy grabbed his fork, poked one pea, and carried it to his mouth. He shuddered.

Joel swallowed a chuckle. "You two make sure you mind your manners. Miss Amsel might not be usin' a switch on you, but I won't spare it if I find out you've caused trouble at school."

Both boys looked at him with wide, innocent eyes. Johnny said, "I won't cause her no trouble, Uncle Joel. Honest."

"Me neither," Robert vowed. "She's just so nice." He propped his chin on one hand, a crooked grin creasing his cheek.

If Joel hadn't known better, he'd have thought the boy was smitten. But he did know better. Robert missed his ma. Johnny did, too. Having a female teacher would be good for the boys. He could father them-he'd had no trouble stepping into their pa's shoes two years ago when the boys were deposited on his doorstep-but mothering was a whole different thing.

"Oh!" Robert dropped the gnawed-clean chicken bone and shoved a hand into his dungaree pocket. "Miss Amsel sent a note home."

Mr. Shanks had sent notes when there'd been mischief in the classroom. Joel scowled at each boy in turn. "You sure you didn't cause trouble?"

"No, sir!" Robert began jabbing his fork tines into the peas with gusto.

Johnny added, "She sent 'em with all the kids—everybody got a note."

Puckering his forehead, Joel peeled open the paper and scanned the graceful, slanted script that covered the top fourth of the page.

Johnny tipped forward, his fingertips on the edge of the table, and tried to peek over the top of the paper. "What's she say?"

Joel pinched his chin. "It appears your new teacher intends to make the rounds beginning next week and visit all the families with schoolchildren." This Miss Amsel was sure different from Shanks—he hadn't even attended Sunday services with the townsfolk.

Robert bounced in his seat. "Can she come at suppertime an' eat with us? Huh, Uncle Joel, can she?"

"Settle down there, boy, and let me think." Joel looked again at the note. Please indicate a convenient day and time, and I shall do my utmost to honor what best fits your schedule. She sure had a fancy way of stringing words together. Old Mr. Shanks had used some highfalutin' words-and he'd also expected the kids to know them. Joel hoped this new teacher wouldn't expect too much from the kids in Walnut Hill. Mostly offspring of lowly dirt farmers, they wouldn't be comfortable spouting words like utmost. And neither would he.

"Johnny, fetch me the pen and ink."

The boy dashed to the bowfront secretary that had belonged to Joel's mother and pulled down the drop leaf. Johnny held the pen and bottle of ink as carefully as if he were carrying a king's crown. "When you gonna tell 'er to come? Tomorrow?"

"Now, didn't she say next week? Is tomorrow next week?"

Johnny scratched his head. "Reckon not." He leaned close, bumping Joel's elbow as he dipped the pen into the uncorked bottle. "How 'bout next Monday, then? Can she come next Monday? Huh?"

"Johnny, if you're done eating, start clearing the table."

The boy huffed, but he moved to obey.

Joel hunkered over the letter, his thoughts flitting here and there like a moth around a lantern's glow. Most of the families would probably invite Miss Amsel to come for supper and stay afterward to drink coffee, eat cake, and chat a bit. Social gatherings were limited to twice-a-year church socials and a rollicking barn dance when harvest ended. Folks hankered for time to visit, and they'd be eager to host the new teacher, show her a pleasant time. And give her a good look-see.

With a critical eye, he examined the cozy room that served as parlor, kitchen, and dining room in his log house. Not as clean as it could be, since a bachelor man and two rowdy boys occupied it. He had no pretty cloth or fine dishes to put on the table, the way his ma used to do when company came. Considering the teacher's grand words, she'd probably expect to eat off something more than speckled tin plates laid out on an old oilcloth. As much as he hated to disappoint the boys, he couldn't serve up supper to the new schoolmarm. Johnny and Robert would have to be satisfied having her come for an evening visit.

He held the tip of his tongue between his teeth and carefully penned a reply. Miss Amsel, you can visit us any school day after seven o'clock. Compared to her neat penmanship, his lines of print looked like a squirrel had dunked its tail in the ink bottle and then flopped it around on the page. But there was nothing he could do about that—he had a hand for coaxing corn from the soil, not putting pretty words on paper.

After dipping the pen again, he continued: Let Johnny and Robert know which night. He nibbled the end of the pen, thinking. If he got some forewarning, he'd have time to ask Mrs. Jeffers in town to bake a cake or pie. Then at least he'd have something to serve when the teacher visited. Maybe Mrs. Jeffers would even lend him some nice dishes if he promised to be extra careful with them. He started to sign his name, but the note looked too short. Like it was missing something. Tapping his chin with his knuckles, he sought an appropriate way to end it.

At the dish basin, Johnny teasingly splashed Robert, and both boys giggled. Joel smiled, remembering their exuberance when they'd returned from school that afternoon. He set the pen nib on the paper and scrawled, Thank you for giving the boys a good first day back to school. We look forward to hosting you. He blew on the ink until it looked dull instead of shiny, then started to refold the note.

But he paused, taking in her neatly scripted lines and pompous wording. His gaze drifted across his closing sentence. Nervousness churned his belly. Sure hope the good Lord'll forgive me for writin' down a little white lie.


Excerpted from Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer Copyright © 2011 by Kim Vogel Sawyer. Excerpted by permission of Bethany House Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Courting Miss Amsel 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
CharityU-Austenite More than 1 year ago
So before this one, I had only read one other book by Kim and that was a long time ago. However, I had really enjoyed it…and now, I’m not sure why I haven’t read more since, because I’ll definitely be reading a lot more by this author in the future! I really enjoyed this book. I loved the Midwest setting and had no trouble picturing it. Joel, the main guy, is a sweetheart and I liked him. Edythe Amsel (ooo-la-la, that name I love!) was a great leading lady. And Johnny and Robert, two young boys who were supporting characters central to the story, were extremely lovable. The whole book had an easy pace and great writing. Kim masterfully presents this sweet story, and I’m so glad I read it! Definitely excited to read more by her in the near future.
Chickfilady More than 1 year ago
Eager to begin her first teaching job, schoolmarm Edythe Amsel begins her new life in the small town of Walnut Hill. After setting her dreams aside for so long, she is ready to have her own students, her own desk, and her own lesson plans. Her creative teaching ideas may be a little more than the town of Walnut Hill can handle. Edythe believes her pupils should learn more than just reading and writing and arithmetic. Joel Townsend wants what is best for his nephews. Becoming an instant father after the death of his brother and sister-in-law, taught Joel to put the boy's needs and wants before his own. Their excitement about the new teacher caused him to pause. Perhaps the new teacher would be good for more than his nephews? Kim Vogel Sawyer takes the reader back to a simpler time. This book made me smile and remember watching Little House on the Prairie as a child. Miss Amsel reminds me a lot of Miss B (from the show). Blizzards, wagons, one room schoolhouses, and the days of a general store are a welcome relief to read about compared to the violence of today.
ChristysBookBlog More than 1 year ago
Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a fast-paced historical romance with a lot of heart. Edythe Amsel is determined to start living her life on her terms when she takes a position as schoolteacher in Walnut Hill, Nebraska, away from her family in Omaha. The children of the school quickly fall in love with her when she refuses to use the brutal tactics for discipline that the former teacher employed, but the parents aren't as sure of her ability when she insists on teaching them more than just readin', writin' and 'rithmatic. Joel Townsend has never viewed caring for his nephews, Robert and Johnny, after the death of their parents as a burden, but he understands that any woman he courts must have the same view. Edythe's insistence that she is done with caring for others sets a rift between the two of them that is so large, only God will be able to overcome it. Sawyer's writing is always populated with likable characters and solid plots with God at the center, and this book is no exception. Readers will sympathize with Edythe's love for her students. Joel is strong hero with love for his nephews and the Lord. Readers will hope that Sawyer intends to revisit Walnut Hill again soon.
BookReviewsByMolly More than 1 year ago
I LOVE Kim Vogel Sawyer! Her work is NEVER disappointing and ALWAYS filled with love and grace. She can transport me every single time and make me a character in the midst of that love and grace. It's always a wonderful feeling to sit down with a Kim Vogel Sawyer novel and meet new friends. I truly enjoyed getting to know Edythe Amsel, the new schoolmarm and her students. Edythe's character was the one I loved the most. I felt such a strong connection to her in so many ways, as I watched her through out this story. Her struggles were like my own, it seemed. And, Joel. WOW! Now THAT is a fantastic man to have as the "hero" of the story :)! God truly knew just what Miss Amsel need when He crossed her path with Joel's! So, what happens to Edythe, her students, and Joel??? Well, don't just sit there! Grab a copy of this 5 star sweet, tender novel by Kim Vogel Sawyer, sit back, relax and see for yourself. If you've never read a novel by this sweet author, then you will become INSTANTLY hooked. If you have read books by this author, then you will be so happy to add this book to your collection! What are you waiting for? GO NOW! :)
rtwins More than 1 year ago
Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a charming story set in Walnut Hill, Nebraska, in September, 1882. Miss Edythe Amsel, from Omaha, is the new school marm on her first teaching assignment. She raises a few eyebrows when she introduces her teaching methods, in particular, "No hickory switch will be used in disciplining the students." Not even on William, the class prankster. The Walnut Hill hens begin at once to scheme and match her to one of the six eligible bachelors in their small community. Edythe is uninterested. Joel Townsend, a farmer, is raising his nephews alone. He notices Edythe's gentle way with those active boys and they adore her as their teacher. Could she be a mother to his children? Could he trust his heart to love again? Parents question Miss Amsel's wisdom when she decides to take her pupils to hear Susan B. Anthony's speech on women's suffrage. Although her students are most likely future farmers, she desires that they grow as thinkers in an ever-changing world. Will Walnut Hill accept change? Will God and Joel mend Edythe's wounded past? This quaint historical fiction will delight the reader. You'll appreciate your modern conveniences as you read of the daily struggles of the residents of Walnut Hill. Women and teen girls will enjoy curling up with this book, dedicated to the author's brother, an educator. I have never been disappointed with Kim Vogel Sawyer's writings and believe you'll enjoy this visit to Nebraska.
A_J_Hawke More than 1 year ago
What's not to like about this book? A determined school ma'am, a bachelor father, adorable, mischievous, irritating children populate the schoolhouse. The story of Edythe Amsel, school teacher and Joel Townsend, farmer is down with humor, delight, and romance. A great view of life in Nebraska in the late 1800s and what it was like to teach in a one-room schoolhouse. A good afternoon get-away. I Recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very enjoyable love story that was hard to put down. I love that it is so sweet and also clean! This story is a must read if you enjoy a clean and well written one. ****esk 02/2017****
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
However even then you needed two years of High school and had to pass tests for the grade school certificate and you would have a bible and have had scripture in high school and grade too. so this fails as a "spirutual" or christian novel cause she has avoided the historical facts to make up her own genre . in a very small town an actual theology school minister of a recignized faith was the most educated in town and would have been head of the school board if not principal of school the repky about farmers is this what if you have only enough land to support one son s family what are
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Listened to this on the way to Pigeon Forge, TN last weekend, for a Women of Joy conference. A friend I rode with , had this on cd and it was wonderful! Kim Vogel Sawyer is a n exceptional writer, with a style that draws you in immediately! 
bookloverJC More than 1 year ago
I love all the books I have read by Kim Vogel Sawyer. This one is great and an enjoyable read.
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BillyB More than 1 year ago
After her mother's death, Edyth Amsel took care of the household chores and raised her siblings. With just her younger sister, Missy, still at home, she decides that it is time for her to live on her own. She takes a job as a schoolteacher in Walnut Hill, Nebraska. Since she is single, the town thought it would be best if she didn't live by herself, so she rents a room from Mrs. Kinsley. The students were nervous for their first day of school, but Miss Amsel was more nervous than them. The previous teacher had whipped the students when they were out of line or didn't understand their school work. Miss Amsel would have none of this. She wanted her students to love learning, and the students become fond of her. Miss Amsel informs the students that she would be making a visit to each family, so she could introduce herself to the parents. There are several single father's in the area that are eyeing her, including Joel Townsend, who is raising his two nephews, who are students of Miss Amsel, on his own. Miss Amsel's teaching methods aren't liked by some of the parents, who feel that the children only need to learn basic schooling. A student named Will starts acting up during class, and is disturbing the students. She goes to his parents about his behavior, but they tell her that Will is her problem during school hours. To make matter's worse; she receives word from her father that Missy has runaway. I'm a fan of Kim Vogel Sawyer and Courting Miss Amsel was not a disappointment. It's fast paced and is cleverly plotted. I easily felt for the teacher as she struggled with the parents and the misbehaved Will. Being classified as historical romance, the book could have fallen into a cliché, but the author avoided this by using witty dialogue. I recommend Courting Miss Amsel to all readers. *I would like thank Bethany House for sending me a copy to review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yiya More than 1 year ago
When I first started reading this book, I felt a little disappointed because it felt like just another of those romantic novels, which give away the ending in the first chapter. However, I was pleased to discover a moving love story that challenges the reader to see things from a different point of view, and to value the gifts and opportunities that God has given us. Miss Amsel just graduated and is hired to be the school teacher in a little farm town. Somewhat stubborn and determined, she is full of different ideas and teaching techniques that are warmly welcome by the students, but surprises some parents, particularly because they think children should learn more about country living than spelling or geography. A little bit uncertain of the general reaction, she does find support in her landlady and in Joel Townsend, both of whom have a deep faith and trust in God. Little by little, she carves a niche in the community and becomes well respected, but her heart skips each time she comes across Joel Townsend, or whenever his name is mentioned. The story and their very kind and respectful relationship sticks to school matters, but there is a gripping turn in the second part of the book. Besides romance, there is also the interest she has on students, inspiring the reader to love and acknowledge how precious children are. I think this is a staple on the author's writing; the way she depicts a child's innocence and receptiveness is pictured in such a charming way that it is almost impossible to resist. In this book, Miss Amsel is particularly aware of how her influence as a teacher will shape of her students' future. It is also remarkable how she manages to make children part of the core of the plot, always determining an outcome in the main story, as well as shaping the traits of main characters. In this sense, this book should be an inspiration to those interested to teach; Miss Amsel is always in search of making knowledge available and enticing for everyone, trying to include all of the students in the activities and being personal, not just a teacher far from them. Also, the reader gets to know some of Miss Amsel's past, which has hindered her from living a "normal" life. This part of the plot reminds us that running away from problems, or trying to bury them behind, does not change the past. However, even the most difficult problem will become God's tool of blessing, if we are willing to trust Him and surrender all to Him. I am glad to conclude this review by saying that my initial feeling about the book was erred. Even though there are no big surprises in the resolution of the story, the way things develop is thrilling. It will be hard to put his book down! Bethany House Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of this book, in exchange of an honest review. This did not bias my opinion on the book, nor on the author.
Hollysmith More than 1 year ago
I've read a few of Kim Vogel Sawyer's novels, but I believe Courting Miss Amsel is her best one yet. Edythe Amsel is the new schoolmarm in Walnut Hill, Nebraska. With a clear vision and passion for her new pupils, she is eager to begin the school year with one purpose: to expand the children's education to ideas and concepts beyond farming and reading. Parents from the community, however, don't share her views on education. As if the irate parents aren't enough, she finds herself in constant battle with one particular child who enjoys causing constant disruptions in class. Will she somehow win the town's approval? Joel Townsend is both father and mother to his orphaned nephews. Though he's done well in the past, he finds it increasingly harder to maintain both roles. What he needs is a woman who can cook something other than beans every night for his boys. Their new, attractive teacher seems to be the perfect fit. Will he be able to court the new schoolmarm who is not only under fire from the town, but also refuses to be courted? I loved every moment of this book. As someone who works with and teaches children of all ages, I found the children in this story very three-dimensional and realistic. The situations the heroine encounters are laugh-out-loud hilarious. Miss Sawyer also does an outstanding job creating a heroine who is strong yet humble. Not only is this one of Mrs. Sawyer's best stories, I believe this novel puts her writing skills on excellent display. She includes a cast of lively secondary characters, and her settings are so vibrant I could almost hear the wooden floorboards of the school-house creak under my feet. To top it off, she introduces food in this novel that left me longing for a cinnamon roll and German pastries. At certain points, in the midst of reading the pastry portion, I could even taste the cinnamon in my mouth. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who is interested in historical fiction and to anyone who wants to study the craft the of writing. I can't wait to see what Mrs. Sawyer has in store for us in her next novel. I received this book free from Bethany House publishers for the purpose of reviewing it. They did not pay me to write a good review
Libbi_Heart More than 1 year ago
Imagine being a 28 year old young woman, living in a quaint Nebraska Village, daily dealing with a mischievous pupil, a longing heart, and a frightfully dreadful past. You know exactly how it is to be Miss Edythe Amsel. During the time of the women's suffrage movement, Edythe Amsel teaches in a one-room schoolhouse, perfectly contented on her odd way of teaching and her status as a single woman. The town council, however, is not. Through many difficulties, a victorious ending is reached, one that, in fact, is one of the better endings I have read. I adored this book. What could be better then a classic love story between two such pure hearts? I enjoyed her (usual) calmness though she sometimes freaked out, and I myself fell in love with Joel Townsend ... I am pressed to recommend this book to anyone who likes a good read. Another of the books facets was the historical part. I adore historical fiction.I also love, love stories :) It was a beautiful cover and also, a fantastic plot. I can't remember one moment I was bored. I am now lending it to my Grandma, and I am sure she will like it as well :) I give this book 6 out of 5 stars :)
Moonpie72 More than 1 year ago
Edythe Amsel is a young self-sufficient woman who is striking out on her own. She is hired for her first job as teacher for the town of Walnut Hill, Nebraska. She is determined not to become romantically involved as doing so would interfere with her goals. Her resolve in this area is tested when she meets, Joel Townsend, the uncle of 2 of her students. Not her intellectual equal by any means but a good Christian man raising his two orphaned nephews. Joel is equally enamored but also cautious after having his heart broken by another woman. Edythe faces her ideas of discipline challenged by one boy and her innovative teaching confronted by the parents. She was very much ahead of her time in finding creative ways to help her students learn. Mrs. Kinsley, her elderly Christian, landlady gives her support and love to face all her struggles. Most importantly she teaches Edythe about God and His love for her. She gently guides Miss Amsel through example and prayer to find the real answers she needs. Edythe's confusion and search for God reminded me much of myself when I am trying to do things in my own strength. Edythe experiences a roller coaster of emotions, tragedy, danger and heartaches, but shows great courage and character. All this is not in vain because her independent spirit is tested and she learns to trust God and what is truly important in her life. It is wonderful to read a wholesome Christian romance novel. The book was fast paced, and full of surprises. I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to reading more of Ms. Sawyer's books. I have received this from book Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
This story is set in Walnut Hill, Nebraska starting in September 1882. Her first experience with the Children is rather frightening. The kids are shaking, come to find out the last teacher had terrorized them. The first thing she does is destroy the switch! What a delightful teacher she is, made me wish I had gone to school there. Edyth Amsel grew up young, she held her family together after her Mother's untimely death. She raises her siblings, and when the youngest is old enough to go live with her married brother, she sets out to grab her dream of teaching. She has decided to rely on herself and never have to take care of a family again. Edyth may not want to rely on anyone, but love how the Lord works on her heart. You will have a hard time putting this book down. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago