The first novel in bestselling author Beth Wiseman’s Amish Secrets series, Her Brother’s Keeper, is now available with a fresh cover at the low price of $7.99!
Charlotte came to Amish country to find answers. What she never expected to find was peace.
Charlotte Dolinsky is not above playing dress-up and telling a few lies to find out what happened to her only brother. In fact, that is exactly what she’s come to Lancaster County to do. Now, calling herself Mary and slipping on a kapp, Charlotte will lie her way into the confidence of anyone who knows why Ethan had to die. Unless she gets found out first.
But when Charlotte befriends a quiet Amish man named Isaac Miller, she begins to rethink her motives. And with a little help from a friend back home, Charlotte might find out that love comes packaged in ways she couldn’t have foreseen.
Isaac’s been caring for his cancer-stricken father and sympathizing with his frustrated mother for three difficult years. And that means he hasn’t been dating. He believes Hannah King is the woman for him, but Hannah is still grieving the loss of her fiancé, and Isaac has all he can handle on the farm. When Hannah’s family plays host to a woman named Mary, their new cousin shakes things up for all of them.
As Charlotte digs deeper into the mystery of Ethan’s death, she finds more than she’d bargained for in the community he once called home. But will she ever learn the truth? And what will the community—and her new family—do if they learn the truth about her?
About the Author
Beth Wiseman is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Daughters of the Promise, Land of Canaan, and Amish Secrets series, as well as novellas that have been included in many bestselling collections such as An Amish Year and An Amish Garden. Visit her online at Beth Wiseman.com; Facebook: Author Beth Wiseman; Twitter: @Beth Wiseman; Instagram: @bethwisemanauthor.
Read an Excerpt
Her Brother's Keeper
An Amish Secrets Novel
By Beth Wiseman
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2015 Elizabeth Wiseman Mackey
All rights reserved.
Charlotte watched the taxi until it was out of sight, then she left her luggage on the sidewalk and made her way up the steps leading to the porch of the farmhouse. Two side-by-side front doors stood open, and through the screens, the aroma of freshly baked cookies wafted outside. She took a deep breath. Based on her research, the Amish people knew how to cook, so that would be a perk while she was here.
She smoothed the wrinkles from her plain blue dress, put her sunglasses in the pocket of her black apron, and tucked a few loose strands of blond hair beneath the prayer covering she was wearing. Shaking her head, she eyed the black loafers and black socks that rose to just above her ankles, knowing she wouldn't win any fashion awards in this getup. She jumped when she heard footsteps, then took a step back when a woman about her mother's age pushed the screen open and said, "You must be Mary." The Amish woman put her hands on full hips, smiled broadly, and extended her hand.
Charlotte nodded, acknowledging the name she'd chosen to use while she was here—Mary Troyer. "Lena?"
"Ya, ya. I'm Lena King." She looked past Charlotte, raised a hand to her forehead, and peered. "Ach, mei. A lot of suitcases, ya?"
Charlotte glanced over her shoulder at the three suitcases. "Yes, I guess so." She fought to mask the tremble in her voice, reminding herself to use the little bit of Pennsylvania Dutch she'd learned. "Ya. Ya. A month is a long time." She doubted she would stay anywhere near that long, but that's what Lena had insisted on via the letters they'd exchanged, so Charlotte had packed accordingly, just in case.
Lena scurried past her and quickly latched on to two of the suitcases. "Let's get these inside and get you settled. We are just so thrilled to find out that we have cousins down in Texas." She grunted a little as she carried the luggage. Charlotte grabbed the third one and followed her. "We'd heard rumor that there were Amish folks in Beeville, Texas, but to find our kin there ... well, just so gut to know, even if it is cousins several times removed."
Charlotte recalled finding the small group of Amish people who had migrated to Texas from Tennessee. She'd built her secret identity based on information she'd gathered by spending time with them, and they'd directed her to a resale shop where she'd purchased her Amish clothes. They'd been nice enough, if not a bit suspicious about all of Charlotte's questions.
Lena set the suitcases on the landing below the staircase, so Charlotte did the same with hers.
"Jacob can haul these upstairs when he gets home." Lena smiled again. Charlotte knew Lena was referring to her sixteen-year-old son. "You must be hungry from your travels. Come, come." She motioned for Charlotte to follow, and once in the kitchen, Lena pulled out a chair at the head of the table. Before them lay enough food to feed an army.
"I didn't know what you liked, so I made chicken salad, tuna salad, and egg salad." She pointed to three more bowls on Charlotte's right. "That's barbequed meatballs, cheddar meat loaf, and my special chicken casserole." She pressed her palms together and then pointed to the middle of the table. "That's bread I made this morning, and to the left is apple butter. Chowchow is in the other bowl." She spun around, rattled off something in her native language, then returned with a glass she set in front of Charlotte. This was going to be an area of concern, her inability to understand or speak much of the dialect, which she'd read was an offshoot of German. She offered up the best smile she could, hoping to fake her way through the conversation.
"Everything looks very ... gut." She'd learned a handful of words most commonly used by the women in Beeville. She'd camped out at a nearby hotel and visited the farmers' market daily for a couple of weeks in an effort to gain information. The women sold canned goods and homemade crafts. Charlotte always bought several jars of jams and jellies as unspoken payment for their help. She figured she had enough jellies for the next several years, but it had been worth it for the valuable information.
"I hoped that everyone could be here to welcome you, but it just didn't work out." Lena sighed as she sat down to Charlotte's left. "After dinner, you should rest. Tomorrow, Hannah and I are adding to the flower beds. We like to spruce things up with Tiger Eyes every August. They only bloom for about eleven weeks, but they are always a nice addition when some of our perennials finish blooming."
Charlotte stiffened at the mention of Lena's daughter, Hannah, but cleared her throat with a slight cough. "Hannah's a couple of years younger than me, right? Twenty-three or twenty-four?"
Lena nodded. "Ya. She's twenty-four."
That seemed old to still be living at home.
"Hannah had wanted to be here, but Widow Hostetler called and needed someone to cart her to the doctor. She doesn't drive her buggy anymore." Lena chuckled. "And we are all safer on the streets because of that."
Charlotte bowed her head when Lena did. The Amish prayed silently before every meal, so Charlotte sat quietly with her eyes closed and waited.
"Did you say Widow Hostetler called?" Charlotte had seen the women in Beeville using cell phones, but she wanted clarification that she'd be able to use her phone while she was here. It was Charlotte's understanding that some Amish districts allowed the use of cell phones, while others did not.
"Ya, our bishop allows portable telephone calls for emergencies." She winked at Charlotte. "Funny how many emergencies pop up." Lena frowned. "Oh, nee. Are you against the use of mobile telephones? Or does your district allow it?"
Charlotte swallowed a bite of bread, the tastiest she'd ever had. "Yeah." She paused, kicking herself again. "Ya. We are allowed phones." Lena handed Charlotte the bowl of chicken salad and Charlotte spooned a small amount onto her plate. Then she got two meatballs and a small scoop of chicken casserole.
"I hope you'll eat more than that." Lena sat taller, her eyes wide. "That's not enough to feed a bird."
To Charlotte, it looked like a ton, so she was a bit taken aback and not sure how to respond. "I-I've had a stomach bug recently." One more lie to add to the collection.
Lena clicked her tongue a couple of times. "We've had something going around here too. Hannah took sick last week."
Charlotte tensed again, knowing she would have to stop reacting every time Hannah's name was mentioned, but she couldn't shake the idea that maybe Ethan's fiancée had something to do with his death. Or at the least, knew why her brother had killed himself.
"Save room for dessert," Lena said as she motioned toward a chocolate pie at the far end of the table.
Charlotte fought a yawn before she nodded. She wasn't sure how she'd eat one more bite, and for a brief moment, guilt nipped at her for enjoying the food so much. She forced the thought aside and decided her lies were justified.
Lena excused herself to the bathroom, so Charlotte took a good look around at the modest surroundings. The table was in the middle of a large kitchen, and as she ran her hand along the table's edge, she took note of the fine craftsmanship. Eight oak chairs were around the table. On the counters were canisters, paper towels, a pitcher of tea, and a platter of cookies. Nothing decorative.
Charlotte took her napkin and dabbed at the sweat beads on her forehead. In Texas it would be unheard of not to have air conditioning. She doubted it got as warm here, but she was already dreading her time here without it. At least she didn't have to worry about her makeup running down her face since her role as a well-bred Amish woman didn't include cosmetics. She glanced at the back of her hands and recalled having the nail tech remove her gel fingernails and file them short.
She piled more butter on the homemade bread and let it melt in her mouth. She rarely ate bread at home, but it didn't taste like this. She closed her eyes and sighed, letting the warm, buttery taste settle onto her palate. If she kept eating like this, she would be huge by the time she went home. Opening her eyes, she saw Lena come through the living room and stop at the window.
"Ach, gut," Lena said as she made her way back to the kitchen. "That's Hannah pulling in now. She's been eager for you to get here, to have someone close to her age to pal around with."
"And I've been looking forward to coming," Charlotte said, finding comfort in her truthful response. Running around with Hannah might shed some light on what happened to Ethan, but Charlotte bit her tongue and fought the tremble in her bottom lip as Hannah walked into the kitchen. She was just as beautiful as Ethan had said. On the outside, anyway.
* * *
Hannah wasn't in the mood to make small talk. She never was on the days she strayed off the beaten path. After she'd dropped off Widow Hostetler, she'd gone to her special place, the spot where she'd buried her memories of Ethan. He'd died almost a year ago, and she was sure she'd never find that kind of love again. But she was determined to be polite to this cousin they'd recently found. It seemed important to her mother to have discovered relatives all the way in Texas, but a month's visit was a bit long.
"This is Mary," her mother said as she put a hand on Mary's shoulder. "It's her first time to Pennsylvania, so after we work in the garden tomorrow, maybe you can show her around."
"Ya. Of course." Hannah eased into a chair next to Mary and across from where her mother took a seat. She bowed her head and offered thanks before she reached for a slice of bread. "Welcome, Mary. We've been looking forward to your visit." She smiled at her cousin, but hoped she wouldn't be the only one entertaining Mary for a month. She was certain that was her mother's plan, for Mary to help Hannah find her way back into the world of the living.
"Tell us, Mary ... what do you do best?" Mamm always asked this question, assuming everyone had a special talent. "Hannah is our seamstress. She sews much better than I do. Jacob tends the fields with his father, but he also takes care of the animals since he has a special knack for that. And mei husband is a masterful carpenter." Mamm's eyes twinkled as she placed a palm on the table. "He made this table and chairs and most of our other furniture."
"And Mamm is probably the best cook in our district," Hannah added. "She comes up with her own recipes and shares them with the other women." Her mother waved a hand and shook her head. "She also has a green thumb."
"I believe the Lord blesses each of us with a special gift. What is your special gift, Mary?" Hannah's mother laid her fork across her plate and tipped her head to one side.
"Uh, well ..." Mary glanced back and forth at Hannah and her mother. "Uh ... I'm not sure. I guess I dabble here and there. I used to paint, but I haven't in a long time."
"Paint?" Hannah halted her fork in midair. "Paint what? Walls? Fences?"
"No. Nee. I-I used to paint pictures ... landscapes." Mary's cheeks took on a pinkish tint.
Hannah nodded. "Ach, and you sold these paintings?" There was a man in their community who painted pictures of Amish homes. Word was that he sold them to the Englisch for a lot of money. Hannah had heard her mother say she didn't approve of this, but Hannah didn't think it was much different from the ways that others in their community made an income. Handmade quilts and Amish furniture brought in a lot of money.
Mary shifted her weight in the chair, her cheeks still rosy. "Um. No. It was just for fun." She shrugged. "A hobby."
For fun? Hannah managed a smile as she wondered what Mary could contribute while she was here, how she could ease their workload for a month. But Mary was a guest, so Hannah shouldn't expect too much. Maybe such hobbies were encouraged in Mary's district. "You have a nice accent. Very southern."
"Yeah. Ya. People from Texas get that a lot. We have a drawl. And some of us say y'all a lot."
Even the Amish folks? Mary fidgeted with her fork and shifted her weight in the chair again. Hannah had an urge to straighten Mary's kapp, but her cousin was already blushing, so she didn't want to embarrass her further. It was strange that Mary had the strings from her prayer covering tied under her chin. She'd never seen anyone tie theirs before. "Where are Daed and Jacob?"
"They went to the lumberyard this morning and said they would eat in town." Mamm turned to Mary. "Most days, mei husband and sohn eat lunch with us."
Mary nodded as she scooted her chair back and stood up when Hannah and her mother did. "I think I'll take a nap, if that's okay. It was a long flight."
Hannah glanced at her mother. Even guests would offer to help with cleanup after a meal. But traditions and rules varied from state to state, even district to district.
"I told Mary she should rest," Mamm quickly said as she dried her hands on the dish towel. "Why don't you go help her get settled while I clean the kitchen? I told her Jacob could haul her suitcases upstairs later."
Hannah would have rather done cleanup, but she nodded and walked with Mary to the stairs and picked up the third suitcase after Mary latched on to two. Apparently their cousin didn't want to wait on Jacob. "Lots of luggage."
Mary looked over her shoulder and smiled. "I probably overpacked."
I'll say. When they got to the top of the stairs, Mary stepped aside so Hannah could walk ahead of her down the hallway. "My room is the first one on the left. Jacob's is on the right." She paused at the third door. "This is your room. We share the bathroom at the end of the hall. Mamm and Daed's room is downstairs; they have their own bathroom. The mudroom on the first floor is set up as our sewing room."
Hannah set the suitcase down, walked to the window, and rolled up the green shade, then lifted the window. "I bet our weather seems very pleasant to you. I've heard it's miserably hot in Texas—and humid."
"It is. Thank God for air conditioning." Mary chuckled, but stopped when she caught Hannah's expression.
"You have indoor cooling?"
"No, no, no." Mary shook her head. "I meant . . . you know ... like in the malls. In public places. Hair salons. Places—places like that."
"Things must be very different where you are from." Hannah had never been in a hair salon, and they avoided the malls. Everything they needed could be purchased nearby at the fabric store or the market.
Mary walked to the window. "There's a guy out by the barn."
Hannah joined her cousin at the window, noticing Mary's scrutinizing gaze. "Everyone is excited when they lay eyes on Isaac Miller for the first time." She allowed her cousin a few more moments to take in Isaac's well-proportioned, muscular body and wavy, dark hair peeking from beneath his straw hat. If her cousin looked hard enough, she might get a glimpse of Isaac's kind eyes, as blue as a robin's egg. "Twenty-seven years old and never married."
"He's gorgeous." Mary's eyes were fixed on Isaac. Luckily she didn't notice Hannah's scowl. Gorgeous seemed a strange word to describe a man. "Why hasn't anyone snagged such a hunk?"
Hannah narrowed her eyebrows. She wasn't sure she liked this Texas slang. "Many have tried but Isaac shies away. Maybe he just hasn't found the right girl. Plus, his father is ill."
"Hmm ..." Mary kept her eyes on him. "What's he doing out there?"
Hannah leaned closer to the window, squinting against the sun's glare at the tall, dark-haired man she'd grown up with. "He comes by once a week and leaves Daed an envelope of money. Isaac's family owns a furniture store in the touristy part of Lancaster County. Daed has some of his furniture and other things he's made on consignment."
"Why does he leave the money in the barn?" Mary also shielded her eyes from the glare.
"I'm not sure. He's always done that." She tilted her head slightly. "Mamm said he probably doesn't want to disturb us, which he wouldn't be." Hannah paused. "By the way, tomorrow is worship, and it happens to be at Isaac's house."
"Does he have his own house or does he live with his parents?" Mary continued to look out the window.
"He lives with his parents. I think mostly because of his father's cancer. Isaac does most of the work on their farm." Hannah stepped away from the window, hoping her cousin would do the same. But Mary didn't move, so Hannah cleared her throat. "Do you want me to help you unpack?" She waited, then said, "Mary?"
"Uh. No. It's okay. I can get it." Mary joined her by the bed, and again Hannah had an urge to straighten her cousin's kapp.
"Please let me know if you need anything." She folded her hands in front of her, hoping she could sneak off to her room and have a few moments to herself. It was exhausting to act normal when she was dying inside. Her grief still came in waves, and today the tide was high.
"Okay. Thanks." Mary smiled, and Hannah chose not to question Mary about her use of so much Englisch. And she promised herself she was going to try to have a good attitude about their cousin's visit. Maybe Mary would provide a nice distraction and eventually become a friend. She gave a quick wave, then hurried to her bedroom.
Excerpted from Her Brother's Keeper by Beth Wiseman. Copyright © 2015 Elizabeth Wiseman Mackey. 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
Things aren't always as they seem and when Charlotte Dolinsky searches for the truth about her brother's death she soon finds this to be true. Charlotte goes "undercover" as Mary Troyer to the Amish community of Paradise, PA to find out what really happened to her brother but what she finds there is what she least expected. Beth Wiseman did a wonderful job in writing this story that has so much substance but remains entertaining. This book deals with some serious subjects like depression, but the tone is kept light with Charlotte's, or Mary's, attempt at being Amish. Charlotte and the rest of the cast are likable characters and I felt an instant connection to them. The flow of this story is perfect and the pace is fast. I was quite surprised when I realized I had read half the book in one sitting. Once I started reading I was so interested in the story and people I just couldn't quit. I had to know what happened. If you have never read a Beth Wiseman book this would be the perfect one to start with. If you have already read one (or more) or her books and enjoyed them this one will be no different. Grab a copy of this book and settle in for a great read! I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion which I have given.
This is not your average Amish romance. I was surprised by the serious issues tackled by the author and appreciated that it was done in an authentic way without shying away from the difficult emotions and providing insight into various perspectives. At the beginning Charlotte almost seems like the villain since she is deceptive and has an agenda. What she doesn't expect is the journey her heart will go on as she uncovers the truth behind her brother's relationships with members of the Amish community and how her own struggles with her dysfunctional past will surface and have to be dealt with. I grew to love the King family as she did with their sweetness and way of looking at situations that differed from how she was raised. The connection to God that she felt in their presence and the stirrings of faith began her long progress toward healing. I just have to point out that the book description is a bit misleading when it comes to the romantic connections that are and are not made, and I felt like the book went much deeper than I anticipated, with less focus on romance and more on the struggles Charlotte and her "cousin" Hannah are facing. An outstanding start to a series that is perfect for fans of Amish fiction and women's fiction. (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
This is the first time I've reviewed Beth Wiseman. I've read her work before but never reviewed it. And as we all remember the great hiatus where I missed out on so many books coming out. I came across the latest book in this series on NetGalley and requested it praying that I'd be approved. As soon as the approval came through I was requesting the first two books at the library. Obviously, they are all going to end up on my need to own list. Before I get too deep into this however, I have to advise you that the synopsis on Goodreads does not any anyway match the book. Sometimes you have to step out that a book is just that good and worth reading without necessarily basing everything on one synopsis on one website. Trust me, this book is worth stepping out for. The author steps up and tackles tough subjects. You don't read much about mental illness in the Amish communities. You don't read a lot about a lot difficult life things that are not respecters of faith or lifestyle or gender or anything. Bad stuff happens to anyone anywhere. Charlotte needs to know what happened to her brother. Raised English, raised in the shadow of all the bad things, he converted to Amish for the love of his life. And there, before they even joined their lives, took his own life. Charlotte, his sister, needs answers. She needs to know who to blame. She's not getting any answers from calls and letters and she's convinced the fiancee did something. No answers? No problem! Just go get your own. What's a few lies right? What she didn't expect was to find the family she never had. And to really like the fiancee. And her own Amish man. I felt like the story moved so very slowly for about the first half. It was building the plot and characters and nothing there was unnecessary and I read it quickly but it just felt slow. The last part picked up a bit and questions were answered. Though Nicholas on the plane was by far one of the most endearing things in the entire book. I'm interested to know where the author takes these characters from here.
An interesting read. Charlotte has broken up with her boyfriend and is in some financial trouble. She decides to move to Lancaster County to be near her Amish friends. Will she overcome her financial problems? What will she do with her brother's house? Will she get her life together?
I thought the pacing of this book was a little uneven, but my reading it "out of order" (after the second book in the series) may have contributed to that. I had a difficult time liking Charlotte, since her character was so deceitful and wavering. The brother that she loved and missed so much didn't sound like a great catch, either. But how wonderful that God's grace can restore every childhood wound! The friendship between "cousins" Mary and Hannah was interesting but doomed from the start. Glad to know that Charlotte and Hannah could restart their relationship on their common love for Lena and Ethan, once they offered each other forgiveness. Not my favorite book or series, but certainly written from an interesting and unique perspective.
Clean but depressing at times.
I have read all of Beth Wiseman’s other Amish books and they continue to be some of my favorites. That was not the case with this story. Don’t get me wrong, it was very well-written and a had a creative premise that intrigued me. I simply did not connect with the characters and was not very invested in the story. I was reading this book for review. Otherwise, I would have probably stopped reading fairly early on. Charlotte (aka Mary) was not a likeable character to me. Her lies and behavior make complete sense in the story, and she learns and grows so much from beginning to end emotionally and spiritually. But, I couldn’t connect with her. I thought Isaac, Hannah, and even Ryan were great characters. I enjoyed the sections of the book that they were in. The fact that Charlotte is undercover to discover the facts behind her brother’s death made the book a sad read for me. Fictional storylines that include death do not usually bother me, but it did in this case. It may be because the death in the book had similarities to a real life situation that still saddens me to this day. Beth Wiseman has written many good books that I love and I will definitely be reading more of her stories. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
"...There is a Friend Who Sticks Closer Than a Brother" It has been a year since Ethan died, but his sister Charlotte Dolinsky is still devastated. She is sure that the Amish community that he had recently joined is responsible for some sort of cover-up. Growing up in a dysfunctional family, Mary and Ethan were separated as older teens. They were put in separate foster homes where they both were cruelly treated. After becoming adults, they reconnected and were very close. She has been suspicious ever since she found out her brother was joining the Amish faith, and is sure someone, possibly his Amish fiancée, Hannah King, drove him to his death. Charlotte decides to take things into her own hands, and investigate things herself. By pretending to be Mary, a distant Amish cousin visiting the King family, she hopes to become a part of their community. After briefly interviewing Amish women in her native Texas, and buying Amish dresses in a second-hand store, she believes she is ready to go to Pennsylvania. Is it ever right to lie? Mary has quite a culture shock when she comes to live with the close-knit Amish family. She has no religious background, experience with a loving family, or homemaking talent. The King family is often perplexed by her lack of everyday skills and social blunders. Mary tries to cover this by making up lies. Those lies seem to get more involved by the minute, and Mary doesn't know if she can keep them all straight. She doesn't know which will happen first, uncovering the truth about Ethan, or the discovery that she isn't really the Amish woman she claims to be. The longer Mary stays among the Amish, the more complicated her relationships with them becomes, especially with Hannah. Mary is surprised by her change in feelings about the Amish in general, and the King family in particular. Before this story ends, will Mary decide to become Amish herself? Will Mary's true identity be discovered, and will she then be shunned? And will Mary really find out the truth about Ethan's death? How unexpected! This is a very different story-line for an Amish book, and I really enjoyed it. Events turn out differently than Mary/Charlotte thought, including some unknown information about Ethan she discovers while investigating. This story stands on its own, but it is easy to see how further books could explore story-lines further--and I look forward to that. I highly recommend this 5-story book to fans of Amish books, as well as, fiction lovers of all types. The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of Her Brother's Keeper through The Thomas Nelson Publishing BookLook Bloggers Program for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Her Brother’s Keeper (An Amish Secrets Novel) by Beth Wiseman is set in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Charlotte Dolinsky wants to find out what happened to her brother. Ethan Dolinsky went to Pennsylvania to work on a roofing job. He ended up staying and was converting to the Amish faith. Ethan was also engaged to be married to Hannah King. Then Ethan hung himself. Charlotte was not able to get answers to her letters or phone calls from Hannah (Hannah was grieving and upset over Charlotte’s insistence that Ethan’s body be sent home to Texas for burial). Charlotte came up with the idea to go to Lancaster County and impersonate an Amish person (a cousin to the King’s) to get her answers. Ryan Hanemann, Ethan’s best friend when they were growing up, does not think it is a good idea, but he is unable to discourage Charlotte. Charlotte’s research involved talking to people at the market in Beeville, Texas and looking at some sites online (she would have been better off reading some books or even watching the Amish reality show). Charlotte picked up her clothing at a secondhand Amish clothing store. Charlotte arrives in Lancaster County and introduces herself as Mary. Charlotte is welcomed into the family. Lena King, Hannah’s mother, is hoping that Mary will get Hannah out of her grief. Hannah has withdrawn from life since the death of Ethan (she is just going through the motions). Hannah can tell there is something different about Charlotte. She does not under their language, she never helps with the cooking, cleaning up, lousy at gardening, and she sleeps very late. Lena says it could be the difference in their districts. When Hannah finally asks Charlotte about not understanding their language, Charlotte explains that she did not come to the Amish faith until she was nineteen (more lies). As Charlotte and Hannah get to know each other, they become quite close (like sisters). Charlotte is starting to get some answers to her questions, but she is feeling guilty about her lies (Ryan got Charlotte to start exploring religion). Will Charlotte get the answers she is seeking about Ethan? Is she prepared to accept the truth about her brother? What will happen when the King family finds out about Charlotte’s deception? Hannah is starting to get over Ethan and is interested in Isaac Miller (a neighbor who has been taking care of his parents for several years). Is Hannah ready to move on with her life? Will the answers Charlotte finds about Ethan upset Hannah? I give Her Brother’s Keeper 4 out of 5 stars. It is a charming story that is well-written. I liked most of the characters in the story. Charlotte was my least favorite character in the beginning of the book. I did not understand why she did not just come to King’s as herself. They would have welcomed her with open arms since she was Ethan’s sister. I like the way the suicide was handled and the way the answers were revealed (about Ethan and his life). Reading Her Brother’s Keeper is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. I received a complimentary copy of Her Brother’s Keeper from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.
An entirely different type of Amish story, and a real page-turner, one you won’t be able to put down, and a serious story, but I had several chuckles! I wondered from the first page how someone could pull off pretending to be Amish, and get away with it. The web of deceit is sure strong here, and do you think that they didn’t realize. Of course Charlotte/Mary seems to have an answer for everything, and yet the reason she is here is to find answers. When her brother commits suicide Charlotte decides there has to be more to the story, and she wants to know who was responsible for driving him over the edge. She seems to have made up her mind that Hannah, his intended, was responsible. So she decided to do the impossible, and seems to pull it off, but put you in her shoes, and as I try it is rather funny, no way could I pull it off. I joined the faith late in my life, so I never learned Deutch? Yeah right! Come along and watch Charlotte as she bumbles along, and how her walls come tumbling down, in more ways than one. She does find a bit of romance, but will she remain Amish? Will she find the answers she seeks? God sure seems to have his hands on her, and you will love how everyone desires to fix her astray prayer cap. Enjoy this delightful read! I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Thomas Nelson, and was not required to give a positive review.
Can you think of anything that would make you pretend to be Amish? How about the loss of your brother? You’d want answers I’m sure. Charlotte does just that. She pretends to be Mary, an Amish Texas relative of the Kings, an Amish family in Lancaster County. She strikes up a friendship with Hannah King to find out answers about her brother, Ethan, and his death. Through depression, suicide, mental illness, secrets, and betrayal, everything unravels in Her Brother’s Keeper, the first story in An Amish Secrets series by Beth Wiseman. This new series has you dive deeply into subjects that we all face in our lives whether in our own families, with friends, or with acquaintances. And lately, you hear about these subjects on a pretty regular basis in the news. Beth Wiseman portrays these hard topics in such a real way, and you can see she put much research into them. This book kept me on the edge of my seat, and I didn’t want to put it down. I honestly cannot wait until the next book in this series to see what other secrets lurk in Lancaster County. If you enjoy reading Amish fiction, then you’ll love this new series by Beth Wiseman. Pick up a copy and find out if Charlotte got the answers she was searching for.
A little humor, heartache, love and last but not least, faith! It has been several months since I've read one of Beth's books so needless to say I really enjoyed this book. I like her writing style and with this book she threw in a little humor, heartache, love and last but not least, faith! Beth did a good job to keep my interest and curiosity with this story. I highly recommend yet another Beth Wiseman book to the Amish loving readers as well as anyone who has not tried an Amish story! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. 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.”