Love by the Numbers

Love by the Numbers

by Laura V. Hilton


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After a buggy accident claims the life of her fiancé, Lydia Hershberger makes a fresh start in Jamesport, Missouri, managing a gift store. It isn’t long before she meets the young man hired to handle the bookkeeping—Caleb Bontrager, whose handcrafted cuckoo clocks are sold in the store.       //       

And it isn't long before Caleb has made up his mind about her: bright and sparkly but not right for him. Alarmed by his attraction to her, he determines to settle down with someone more practical. Less sparkle. More logic. But he can’t seem to shake his feelings for Lydia.       //       
When false allegations by the bishop back home catch up with Lydia and threaten to ruin her reputation, can she clear her name and find lasting happiness? Or will her sunny disposition fade away into heartbreak?


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781629119328
Publisher: Whitaker House
Publication date: 02/06/2018
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 861,716
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

LAURA V. HILTON is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with more than a thousand reviews published on the web. Her first series with Whitaker was The Amish of Seymour, including A Harvest of Hearts (2012 Laurel Award winner, first place in the Amish Genre Clash); and her second was The Amish of Webster County. Her most recent series was The Amish of Jamesport, featuring The Post Card, The Snow Globe, and The Birdhouse. Laura and her husband, Steve, live in Arkansas with their five children, whom Laura homeschools.


Horseshoe Bend, AR 72512

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Love by the Numbers 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
arkieclown 9 months ago
LOVE BY THE NUMBERS by Laura V. Hilton is the story of Lydia Hershberger & Caleb Bontrager set in Jamesport, MO. Lydia came to town to run her Aenti Judith’s shop while her aunt & uncle are on a Mennonite missionary trip out of the country. Lydia’s district back home was very strict & she was facing being shunned after being falsely accused of trying to seduce a married man. In actuality all she was trying to do was show kindness to a family that had been through a horrible buggy accident which left the wife paralyzed. She is hoping that coming to Jamesport will mean a new beginning with the rumors of home left behind. She is definitely not looking for a husband- even if it has been 5 months adequate mourning time-after the accidental death of the fiancée. Caleb fell for Lydia five months ago at Abigail & Sam’s wedding the moment he saw her. After the wedding where Lydia left suddenly upon receiving the news of her fiancée's accident, Caleb tried to find out all he could about Lydia. Everything he heard made him have stronger feelings for her. However, when he finds that she is the one running the shop that he agreed to do keep books for, she strikes him as all glitz, glitter and trouble with a capital T. Mostly it reminds him own failings of when we went astray from his beliefs on rumspringa with a woman. He came back, joined the church determine to find an appropriate wife for his planned out future. However, he hasn’t learned to forgive himself for his past deeds&d the woman he picked wasn’t quite what he thought she was. The sparks between Lydia and Caleb fly from their first meeting at the store. Each attracted to the other, but putting the brakes on for their individual reasons–he needs a wife that is safe & dependable, she doesn’t feel worthy of marriage feeling she doomed to a life as an old maid. When they were continually drawn to each and start act on those feelings, it leaves them both feeling guilty. She starts to have doubts about herself wondering if she could have actually provoked such unwanted advances in the past and was her flirting with Caleb proof she was a Jezebel? Caleb worries of Lydia’s reaction when he confesses his past. How can she forgive him when he hasn’t found a way to forgive himself. Caleb’s parents open their home up to her with love & open arms. The two families feel strongly about correcting this shunning so Lydia can have the clean slate she deserves. Caleb comes up with a plan that everyone agrees upon. Can Lydia survive a trip back to her hometown & will they be able to right this wrong. Then will Caleb & Lydia be able to think about a furture–together? The author has done it again! Laura V. Hilton has written a story that pulls you in from the first page & keeps you turning pages until the very end. She covers so many subjects–everything from jealousy, lies, physical attraction, unconditional love of family, the power of prayer, faith, forgiveness, second changes, & redemption. Caleb’s Daed’s use of scripture along with his love for his son, finally opened Caleb’s heart to God’s forgiveness. Lydia finally realizes the meaning of the verse her Daed had kept saying to her. Laura’s use of scripture makes the story complete showing that God’s word is the answer if we only open our hearts up to hear the message. I highly recommend LOVE BY THE NUMBERS to those that love an Amish love story that will make you laugh, cry, hope for a happily ever after & maybe even pray.
DaliCastillo More than 1 year ago
Beautiful Story! Love by the Numbers is a beautiful story of romance with what I consider a little bit of mystery. The mystery part is where the author gives little bits and pieces of each of the main character’s story that keeps the reader guessing. There was also intrigue woven in through some twists and turns throughout the story. As the story continued to develop and the pieces started coming together, I realized that Lisa and Caleb were each carrying guilt over their past. The characters try their best to stay in the “friend zone” but needless to say, that doesn’t work out very well, making the characters all the more endearing. The story flows well with a mix romance, intrigue and forgiveness. It drew me in from the very first page all the way to the last page. I felt the struggle, pain, and joy of each character, as well as the blessing of God’s amazing forgiveness. Love by the Numbers will hook you from the very first page. Once you start, you won’t be able to put it down until you’ve read all the way to the very last word. You won’t be disappointed.
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this Amish fiction novel though it is a bit different than Laura V. Hilton usually writes. Caleb and Lydia each have a past. They must both come to terms with their pasts for them to look to the future. This is handled well by the author. I received a copy of this book from Celebratelit for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
Baranski1987 More than 1 year ago
Love by the Numbers is novel by Laura V. Hilton. Wow, Laura V. Hilton has outdone herself again. She has written a most wonderful work of Amish fiction. A story that will surly take hold of you right from the start. I didn't want to put this book down it was so good. Characters and a story line that are so memorizing that I didn't want the story to end.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
Love by the Numbers just might be my favorite Laura Hilton book. The theme of this story is what really spoke to me. Caleb and Lydia are two people who both have some skeletons in their closet, one due to outside influences and the other due to personal sin. Neither believes that they should have the desires of their hearts met; both feel they must settle for less. I liked how both Lydia and Caleb learned to rely on God’s grace and not on man’s opinion. There seemed to be more of a focus on the physical side of a relationship for Caleb. It was certainly the thing he was most tempted with, especially when it comes to his feelings concerning Lydia. There is a profound statement in the book that Caleb’s father said to him. It went along the lines that God is the one who gives us our passions (the desires of our hearts), but we have a responsibility to honor Him in obedience and waiting for the right time and permission as in this case of a physical relationship with Caleb and Lydia, marriage first. The lesson of forgiveness is also strong in this story. Especially in forgiving oneself and moving on from the past to embrace the gifts and blessings of the present and future. I look forward to more by author Hilton. I received a complimentary copy of this novel. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
SBMC More than 1 year ago
I need to start out this review with a disclaimer that I don’t read much Amish books. I have been reading more since joining Celebrate Lit Tour but it’s not one of my favorite genres. That being said, this book by Laura V Hilton is a solidly written book. It features Lydia, an absent-minded, beautiful, kind, loving woman from a different Amish community, who comes into Caleb’s community to flee from false accusations and to manage her aunt and uncle’s store while they’re away doing missions. Caleb is a loyal, steadfast, faithful, hard-working, logical Amish man who thinks everything through before acting, yet hides a secret from his past. Though Lydia and Caleb are likable characters, I didn’t connect with them and felt like I was an outsider looking into their relationship instead of being in the midst of it. Their romance is based on physical attraction first and there is a lot of focus on their attraction throughout the book, which felt somewhat uncomfortable for me. Nothing inappropriate happens, but both Caleb and Lydia spend way too much time thinking about being in each other’s embrace. There is a wonderful spiritual truth in this book of God’s redemptive and saving grace. He is the God of second-chances and forgiveness. This is made clear in the story via Caleb’s father who is a preacher in their community. The book also touches on how we should be in a community that promotes Biblical understanding and truths as the building blocks of faith instead of people’s thoughts and perceptions being the ruling hand. I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher via Celebrate Lit Tour. I was not required to write a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
Deana0326 More than 1 year ago
What I liked the most about this book was the details of a shunning. I have often wondered exactly how it works and if everyone is in agreement with it. I loved Lydia and her humbleness. After a tragedy at her hometown , she finds comfort in a new place. Her aunt has graciously asked her to come run her gift shop while she is away. I would be running as fast as I could to get away from all the rumors stirring around me back home. The question arose for me when I started reading the story, how someone can be shunned without actual proof of what they did? The author does an amazing job of delving into that question with grace and wisdom.I appreciate how griping and honest the story was. I loved that Lydia was welcomed at her new place with warmth and love. There is one person that just got on my nerves. I won’t name who it is because I want you to discover for yourself who it is. I will say this person is vindictive and has a jealous streak that causes a lot of hurt feelings and misguided accusations. I am sure we have all encountered a person like this. Of course I can’t forget to mention the dashing Caleb. What’s not to like about him? He’s handsome, smart, caring and did I mention handsome. He sure got my attention and believe me I rooted for him the entire story. I understand his hesitation with Lydia, but the author does such a beautiful job of developing their relationship that I wanted to shout from the rooftop. I’m a bit partial to characters who are hurt by gossip and love a knight in shining armor. The details of making a clock was so fascinating I looked up more information on the Internet after I finished the book. The story is emotional at times and I love how Lydia was willing to help others even when they don’t show grace towards her. This has been one of the best stories I have read about shunning and how God reveals the truth. I asked myself if I have been guilty of blaming someone without giving them a chance? The ending is powerful and I loved how Lydia took comfort knowing that there were people surrounding her that were willing to stand up for her. Don’t miss this story that reminds us that, "He will never leave you nor forsake you." I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit for free. The review is my own opinion.
cscott9 More than 1 year ago
Amish Fiction is one of my favorite genres and Laura V. Hilton is one of my favorite Amish Fiction Authors. Her books are written beautifully and reel you in. Love by the Numbers is Laura's newest book and is one that you will find yourself reading until way past your bedtime. After a tragic buggy accident that claimed her husband's life, Lydia Hershberger is invited to Jamesport to manage her Mennonite aunt's gift store while her aunt and uncle are on a mission trip. Lydia becomes friends with her auntie's best friend and her grown son. Caleb Bontrager is a clockmaker and is handling the books for the gift shop. Laura and Caleb spend a lot of time together at the gift shop but one is harboring a secret and the other is not ready for love. You will find yourself talking out loud to the characters in the book. Cheering them on, telling them no don't do that or yes do that. Getting involved in the books makes me feel like I'm right there beside the characters. You will love the story of Lydia and Caleb! It will leave you wanting more. “I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone." 
vics49548 More than 1 year ago
Author Laura V. Hilton once again writes a solid book in which she is not afraid to make her characters human. All the feelings are there; love, joy, fear etc. Even hurt and harassment from an Amish community. Through it all they hang on to God’s love and His promises. A great reminder for us. It was enjoyable to see the different personalities that were drawn to each other. One sparkly, the other more logical, reminding us that opposites do attract and not only make a relationship work, but balance each other. I will say the one thing that confused me was Ms. Hilton’s frequent use of the word “lust” when describing Caleb’s attraction to Lydia. In my opinion that choice of words didn’t fit well and was a bit distracting. However the story is still enjoyable and if you enjoy Amish fiction you’ll enjoy Love by the Numbers. I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
LizD1 More than 1 year ago
Love By The Numbers By: Laura V. Hilton I love it , what a wonderful book , Love By The Numbers, By Laura V. Hilton. She grabbed me at the start and I was hooked. Her characters are so alive, you feel like you are right there with them. I caught myself trying to read faster to see what was going to happen next. There was times I laughed and a few times I had tears in my eyes. This is Caleb’s story. Lydia finds herself starting over after her fiance was killed in an accident. She goes to manage her aunt’s gift store. Caleb does the book keeping for the store. He can’t get Lydia off his mind, but he is planning on asking Gizelle to court him. How can he choose? Does he really know Lydia? I was given a complimentary ARC, but was not told that I had to give a positive review.
MeezCarrie More than 1 year ago
First things first … WOWZA. I realize you probably don’t associate ‘steamy kisses’ with Amish fiction but that’s because you haven’t read one of Laura Hilton’s books yet. Caleb and Lydia have instant sizzling chemistry, Caleb having intended to marry Lydia since he first met her five months ago. Never mind that she doesn’t remember him at all. She’s certainly captivated now by his milk-chocolate-brown-eyes. This instant physical connection between them may seem to lack emotional depth at first – because it does lol. But as they spend more time together, their hearts also connect and that heated attraction only burns hotter. It’s not all swoons and kisses though. There are destructive storms – within and without. Besides the frightening tornado that leaves havoc in its wake, both Caleb and Lydia struggle with temptation and guilt. Lydia in particular must constantly battle the damaging and hurtful words she endured back home when their less-than-useless bishop believed a spurned (married) sexual harasser’s accusations that Lydia had tried to seduce him. As her shunning murmurs through the community of Jamesport, where she hoped to escape the painful whispers of home, her misplaced shame overwhelms her. Caleb too is wrestling with past sins and his body’s pull toward Lydia. Enter Caleb’s dear Daed, Preacher Zeke. He’s about the polar opposite of Lydia’s bishop back home … because he knows Jesus and His grace. I loved so much his wise and tender conversations with both Caleb and Lydia. And his reminders that “We aren’t saved by being ‘gut enough’…Nor by joining the church. Only by grace.” It’s this grace that resonates in his family – and wraps around Caleb’s sins and Lydia’s shame. And that, more than the smokin’ hot kisses, is my favorite part of any story. Bottom Line: Love by the Numbers is a beautifully done quilt of humor, grace, and passion. Laura V. Hilton creates characters you want as friends and boy can she write a kissing scene! The Julie Lessman or Pepper Basham of Amish fiction, I’m telling you. But she can also just as skillfully write a tender scene of God’s wisdom that soothes raw wounds in seeking hearts. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this novel.
Phyllis_H More than 1 year ago
Love by the Numbers is a touching story of two Amish people who needed to learn about God’s grace for their lives. Lydia had been unjustly accused and was shunned by her community for refusing to confess to something she had never done. Moving from Ohio to Missouri to help out at her Mennonite aunt’s store, she hoped the rumors from her past wouldn’t follow her. She also had trouble not allowing the accusations from affecting her image of herself. Caleb had a dark secret from his past that caused him grief and fear of making bad decisions. While drawn to Lydia’s bright, exuberant, and “sparkly” personality, he judged her from that experience as bad for him. Because Lydia had been raised to see God as a harsh judge, and not as a Father who loves her with an everlasting love, she had difficulty seeing herself as God sees her. It was really fun reading about how Lydia struggled with figuring out how to use electricity and the appliances in her aunt’s apartment. Her inability to cook things without destroying them on the stove was funny as was the time she sat down staring at the television and had no idea how to even turn it on. I really liked the characters and the story. You can read Laura's guest post at This review was originally posted on I am grateful to Celebrate Lit for giving me a copy of this book. The fact I received this book for free does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
Love by the Numbers is a sweet Amish read. I have read a few books by Laura V Hilton and have loved every one. This is does not disappoint. I enjoyed Lydia Hershberger’s story. I love Amish books and found the location of Missouri unique compared to others I have read. I thought Lydia and Caleb Bontrager had great chemistry right from the start. Although, it did not seem so to them at first. My scenes in the book were when those two were together. The two did have a few issues that they needed to get over and learn to have faith within themselves before they can find happiness. Love by the Numbers is one not to be missed and any Amish fiction lover will want to add it to their to read list. I highly recommend sweet and clean book. I give it well deserved 5 plus stars. I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.
GailHollingsworth More than 1 year ago
This leads you back to the understanding that the Amish aren't perfect and have much the same type of problems as we do. From temptations like adultery, premarital sex, to sexual harassment, and things from nature like destructive storms. All these things happened to either Lydia or Caleb, or both. Lydia had to flee her hometown and her family because the Bishop believed his brother over her and shunned her. She moved away to run a gift store owned by her aunt, who was going on a mission trip with her husband. Caleb was hired to do the bookkeeping, and their initial meeting did not go well. Soon they became friends and learned to work together. Lydia is always looking over her shoulder afraid she'll have to move once again when her circumstances from home catch up with her. Caleb becomes smitten and I loved his description of Lydia from his perspective, he "sees" glitter floating in the air around her, making her shimmery, shiny and bright. This is thought by him many times throughout the book. I thought this was a sweet assessment. He also calls her "Princess" several times. But Caleb has a secret of his own that he's afraid to tell Lydia. Will both their secrets pull them apart or make their feelings stronger? I also was drawn to the cover of the book. The almost hidden picture under the title of the book makes you wonder until you get into the story. I received a complimentary copy of this novel but was not under any obligation to write a review.
LucyMR1 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the humor and lightheartedness in this book even in the midst of a difficult situation in Lydia’s life. It deals with past mistakes in the characters lives and learning to forgive yourself and looking forward instead of reflecting on the past. Learning to see yourself as Christ sees you instead of through the pain and shame we feel. Laura Hilton has a knack for not writing your typical Amish book. She is creative and draws you into the characters lives. I could envision the sparkling personality of Lydia that Caleb saw. A very entertaining and emotional read. I received a complimentary copy from the author/CelebrateLit. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
Mar-J More than 1 year ago
I appreciate the depth of Laura V. Hilton’s stories that reel me into the storyline with a connection to the lives of the heroine and hero from the start. Love by the Numbers was a tale I could not stop reading. Lydia Hershberger and Caleb Bontrager was attracted to each other, but yet determined not to be more than friends because of their past. Each one had experienced some traumatic times that they had not been able to forget. Lydia was in Jamesport, Missouri to take care of her Mennonite aunt’s store, while her aunt and uncle were serving on the mission field. Jamesport was to be Lydia’s safe haven but the past had a way of following her after a while. My heart broke for Lydia at times with tears flowing for the way she had been treated by her former bishop and others in her home community. I had admiration for Caleb and his affection for his “Princess” as he referred to Lydia, even though he sought another because Lydia was to sparkly for him. Caleb’s loving parents, Preacher Zeke and Bethel, were there for Lydia at the request of her Aunt Judith and made her feel welcome in the Jamesport community. The primary and secondary characters were true to life with a wide variety of personality, except for maybe a couple of them. The main characters were endearing ones filled with integrity, determination, faithfulness, and compassion. The underlying message of God’s true salvation for others with His amazing grace and forgiveness provided healing for Lydia and Caleb along with others connected to them. There were plenty of twists and turns that kept the pages turning. I appreciated the Gospel message with Biblical promises that Hilton’s characters cling to, that readers can apply to their own lives. I will be abiding my time until I have the opportunity to read another one of Laura V. Hilton’s books. Her characters are three dimensional with realistic issues to overcome with the beautiful knowledge of Biblical principles of a loving God providing forgiveness, second chances and love when individuals seek Him. I received an ARC of Love by the Numbers from the publisher and author. I was not required to write a positive review but have expressed my honest thoughts. Laura V. Hilton is a gifted author and one of my favorite authors to read.
thall5 More than 1 year ago
Love By The Numbers Laura V. Hilton always does an amazing job of pulling the reader in and she has done it again in her latest book, Love By The Numbers. Fleeing for her safety and her reputation, Lydia Hershberger, comes to Jamestown to take care of her Aunt and Uncle's store while they are on a mission trip. Little does she know that her aunt and her best friend have a little matchmaking plan in store for Lydia and Caleb, the young man they brought in to oversee the financial part of the business while they are gone. But Caleb has a past and knows what he wants in a girl. A plain not sparkly girl, and to him, Lydia is a sparkly girl. He looks at Lydia as TROUBLE, although he can't keep his thoughts off of her. Lydia, has a past too and doesn't even feel worthy of getting to know a man, much less ever getting married. Can these two use their faith in God to overcome their past, forgive themselves, and have the future God has planned for them? This story was filled with such real life situations and characters that I felt as if I was there watching it all happen. The emotions and situations in this book had me glued till the end to see how things would turn out. I was given a copy of this book by the author, by was not required to give a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
NanceeMarchinowski More than 1 year ago
Laura V. Hilton has been a long time favorite author of mine. In each of her series there is a wonderful connection from one novel to the next, with each novel containing its own merits. Love by the Numbers follows in this wonderful tradition. Old friends and family members are revisited while new characters are developed in their own rights. It amazes me how this author can whisk me into a novel and have me captivated with little effort. Descriptive, enthralling and with continuity, the plot keeps whirling along seamlessly. Family and love are the epitome of the plot. Relationships spark and sizzle, but always tasteful and pure. Once again, love is in the air with a unique and exciting flair! Join me in the pleasure and excitement that Laura creates in her books. You'll become a fan quickly if you aren't already! Disclaimer: There were no expectations for me to provide a positive review, and all expressed opinions are my own.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
Laura V. Hilton has done it again, and I’m so happy to have read this amazing book. Not the ordinary Amish story, and one that will linger long after the final page has been turned. Can the kindness of one community over come the hurt that has been inflicted by another, or will they injustice of another area prevail over all. Will the effort of Lydia’s Aunt to help her, be enough, and can Caleb return to his roots, and let go of the guilt he has been carrying. Loved how even without her being there Lydia’s Aunt is helping in matchmaking, and so is the fellow in questioned mother, really so sweet, but as we get caught up in the story you have to wonder if it will all be in vain. You will be scratching your head at what has happened to Lydia at her home, and found myself walking in her shoes, and had the feeling that I could have gotten caught in the same trap. The author really has you thinking about forgiveness, easy to say, but hard to do. This is one book you really don’t want to miss, and I am sure glad to have had the chance. I received this book through the Publisher, and was not required to give a positive review.