The Parting (Courtship of Nellie Fisher Series #1)

The Parting (Courtship of Nellie Fisher Series #1)

by Beverly Lewis


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The Parting (Courtship of Nellie Fisher Series #1) by Beverly Lewis

The People themselves dare to challenge the Old Ways of their heritage...and each patriarch must choose a side.

Nearly one hundred days have passed since the untimely death of Nellie Mae Fisher's beloved younger sister, Suzy, and Nellie dares again to dream of a future with handsome Caleb Yoder. But with rumors about Suzy still flying among the People, there are those who would keep the young courting couple apart...including Caleb's own father.

Meanwhile, a growing number of Honeybrook's Amish farmers are demanding tractors and other forbidden modern conveniences. When a revival adds to the tensions, passions flare. With the Old Order community pushed to the breaking point, Nellie and Caleb find their families—and themselves—in the midst of what threatens to become an impossible divide.

A New York Times Bestseller
A USA Today Bestseller

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764203107
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/01/2007
Series: Courtship of Nellie Fisher Series , #1
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 227,257
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, is The New York Times bestselling author of more than eighty books. Her stories have been published in eleven languages worldwide. A keen interest in her mother's Plain heritage has inspired Beverly to write many Amish-related novels, beginning with The Shunning, which has sold more than one million copies and was recently made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. In 2007 The Brethren was honored with a Christy Award. She has been interviewed by both national and international media, including Time magazine, the Associated Press, and the BBC. Beverly lives with her husband, David, in Colorado. Visit her Web site at for more information.

Read an Excerpt

The Parting

By Beverly Lewis

Baker Publishing Group

Copyright © 2007 Beverly Lewis
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7642-0437-1

Chapter One

She sometimes wondered what her life might have been like had she been given only one first name. Instead, she had two-Nellie, after her great-grandmother on her father's side, and Mae, for Mamma's youngest sister.

Despite the near-fancy ring to them, Mamma had often said the names were a good fit, and what with the special attention Nellie Mae gave to creating her pies, cakes, and other pastries, she guessed her mother was right.

But I'm not fancy, not one bit! She hurried across the drive toward the bakery shop set back behind the house, where Dat had made an area for parking both automobiles and horses and buggies. Nellie Mae glanced at the hand-painted sign atop the bakery shop and smiled.

Nellie's Simple Sweets.

The cozy place was considered hers because of her near-constant baking as a girl. By the time she could roll out pie dough or see to it that a two-layer cake did not fall, she was baking more than her family could possibly consume. It was Dat who had suggested building a small shop right on the premises to offer Nellie's delectable treats to the rest of Honeybrook. Of course, it never hurt to bring in some extra cash, which the shop certainly did, thanks to word of mouth from Nellie's many satisfied customers.

This nippy September morning, Nellie Mae raised the green shades on each window and quickly turned the sign on the door to Open. In less than five minutes, the regulars started to arrive, all Englischers, two by car, and the other on foot. The brass bell on the door jingled merrily as they each entered, all smiles.

"Willkumm," Nellie greeted first Mrs. Hensley, a woman with a distinct southern accent; then Miss Bachman, who was known for her peanut butter cravings; and Rhoda's employer, Mrs. Kraybill, two of her children in tow.

Not wanting to appear overly eager, Nellie Mae stood primly behind the counter while the ladies perused the display case. Mrs. Hensley scrutinized the array of baked goods, a canary yellow dress resembling a sack beneath her sweater. Rhoda had spoken of such tent dresses, as they were called by the English, and Nellie was polite not to stare at what surely was the brightest dress she'd ever seen. With her swept-over bangs and pouffy hair, Mrs. Hensley couldn't have looked more like an Englischer.

Mrs. Kraybill blinked her pretty eyes over her rimless glasses and asked, "Would you mind if I purchased all four dozen of the pumpkin cookies?"

"Why no, not at all," Nellie was quick to say.

Mrs. Hensley pointed to the cinnamon-raisin cake front and center on the counter, tapping her manicured fingernails on the glass. It was nearly all Nellie could do to keep from leaning forward and telling her how wonderful-gut the cake tasted.

"How do you bake all this yourself?" Mrs. Hensley asked, her fingernails still resting on the glass. "It's perfectly lovely."

"Melts in your mouth, too," added Miss Bachman, eyeing the peanut butter fudge on the left. "How you manage to bake everything without so much as a recipe amazes me, Miss Nellie Mae. You're a walking cookbook!" Glancing at Mrs. Hensley, she smiled. "If you want the recipe, just ask. Nellie's as generous with her know-how as she is with the sugar on her cookies."

Nellie Mae blushed. She had always had a good memory. When it came to listing off ingredients and correct measurements, she could do so in her sleep.

Rooting in her purse, Mrs. Hensley pulled out her wallet and a small tablet. "Would you mind terribly, dear? I'd love to try my hand at that cake." Her eyes pleaded for the recipe.

Quickly Nellie rattled off the ingredients and the measurements, feeling somewhat self-conscious, even though she didn't mind one iota sharing such things with her regular customers.

If only Caleb Yoder would stop by sometime, she thought before catching herself. It was wrong to boast, and she would surely be doing so by showing off her baking ability for the sake of male admiration. Still, Nellie could hope.

She turned her attention to making correct change. When she'd finished with Mrs. Hensley's purchases, she assisted the other two women, who, much to Nellie Mae's delight, were now fussing over who would have the fudge.

* * *

Nellie Mae sat fidgeting in her elder brother Ephram's carriage early Thursday morning, thankful Mamma had sent Nan to oversee the bakery shop so she could make this visit. She adjusted her black outer bonnet while Ephram sat silently on the right-hand side of the carriage, his eyes focused on the road as they drove toward his house.

Snug under her heavy woolen lap robe, she tucked her hands into the gray muff and shivered, wishing it were summer again. She daydreamed of lying in a green meadow, the delicious scent of wildflowers perfuming the air.

Will Caleb ask me home from Singing by next summer, at least?

So much time had passed already. Regardless, she was tired of going with boys she didn't much care for, even though she had been guilty of stringing two young men along. While she'd enjoyed their company, most of the boys she'd gone with were ho-hum; none of them made her heart sing the way Caleb had the day he'd smiled at her. As with every boy around here, all had plans to farm. That was right fine with Nellie Mae. She wasn't hoping for someone who would do things differently. All she wanted was someone who had opinions of his own, and was not only appealing but who was smitten with her, as well.

Is that too much to ask?

Lots of girls married simply to get hitched, and she had no interest in that. She would not marry if it meant settling for someone to cook and clean for and having a whole string of babies. She wanted what Mamma had with Dat-a steady fire between them. Even after all these years, she could see it when her parents looked at each other from across a room.

Willing herself to relax, she sensed the buggy was warmer today than yesterday, when she'd gone with her mother to the general store in Honeybrook after closing her shop for the day. She always felt more secure when either her father or one of her five older brothers drove the team. Of course their driving was not nearly as much fun as the wild buggy driving the fellows she'd dated liked to do. No doubt such recklessness was partly to blame for several fatal accidents involving buggies and cars in recent years, not all on the more congested main roads. Surely it was good that today her elder brother-responsible husband and father of four, with another on the way-steadily held the reins, just as he did for his family.

Who will hold the reins of my life?

She shifted her feet, conscious of the tremor of the wheels on the road through the high-topped black shoes her mother had insisted she wear. "Too late in the season for bare feet," Mamma had said before sending her off. "Tell your sister-in-law hullo for me, won't ya?"

Nellie sighed, watching the trees as the horse and buggy carried her along. She dreaded the coming winter with its lash of ice and wind. She wriggled her toes in the confining shoes, longing for the freedom of bare feet.

Farmers up and down the long road-Amish and English alike-were busy baling hay ... what little there was, due to the regional drought. Farther up the road, the neighbors' apple orchard came into view. Immediately she wondered if the orchard had been affected, too. Would there be enough fruit for cider-making frolics and apple butter, come late fall? The apple harvest always meant a large gathering of young people-perhaps Caleb would be among them. A work frolic was one of the ways the young people mingled during the daytime, but it was under the covering of night that courting took place.

She tried to shut out the surroundings and let her mind wander, imagining what it would be like to encounter Caleb at such a lively get-together. She found herself lost in the reverie, wishing something might come of it. Hoping, too, he might not be as curious about Suzy's death as certain others seemed to be.

Her brother spoke just then, startling her. "You're awful quiet, Nellie Mae."

Ephram did not gawk at her the way he sometimes did when they traveled to and from his house. Though the visits were rather infrequent, he had been kind enough to offer to bring her back with him this morning, sparing her the two-mile walk to visit her sister-in-law Maryann. If time permitted, Nellie wanted to see her best friend, Rosanna King, too.

Her brother's blond hair stuck out beneath his black felt hat. The straw hats of summer had recently disappeared on the menfolk, something that nearly always caught Nellie Mae by surprise every autumn.

"You're brooding," he said.

"Maybe so." Absently she rubbed her forehead, wondering if her frowning into the morning light had given her away.

"Aw, Nellie, what's troubling you?"

But she couldn't say, though she hadn't been brooding; she was simply pondering things.

She glimpsed at him, averting her eyes before daring to ask, "Did ya hear anything 'bout that meeting Dat went to two weeks ago?"

Ephram turned right quick to look at her.

She smiled. "Seems you did hear, then."

His rounded jaw fell and he turned his attention back to the road. Even though she rarely interacted with him, Nellie could see right through this brother. His dairy cattle and growing family kept him plenty well occupied these days, but Ephram had always worn his feelings on his plump face. "What're you talkin' about?" he asked.

"I heard there was a gathering. All hushed up, too."

He shook his head. Whether it was in disgust or out of reserve, she didn't know. Fact was, she wanted to know, but she wouldn't press him further. Not fitting for a woman, Mamma would say-though Nellie didn't always embrace everything Mamma thought or suggested. Even so, today there was no sense dredging up the tittle-tattle she'd heard at the bakery shop about the menfolk and their secret meeting. Likely they'd meant it to remain just that.

Nellie wondered if this summer's stunted crops hadn't caused some of the recent turmoil. She'd heard there were some who were convinced the failed crops were a dreadful prophecy to the area of Honeybrook. Limited as the problem was to their area, it was as if God had issued them a warning.

She recalled the upheaval the phenomenon had caused. As farmers, their very livelihood depended upon the success of their crops. Feed for livestock and chickens had been trucked in. And the bakery shop felt the pinch, as well, from the need to purchase ingredients, tapping into the family's profits.

Shifting her weight a bit, she stared out the other window. The heavy dew looked much like frost, with the biting cold to go with it; the harsh air must have sneaked up on them and fallen into the hollow while they slept last night. Summer's end though it was, it felt like the middle of winter. And even though that meant ice and snow and wind and cold, Nellie Mae longed for this year to be over and a brand spanking new one to begin.

Looking at her brother now, she wished he would say what he surely knew about the meeting in the bishop's barn.

What's the big secret?

Ephram was turning in where the tree-lined lane led to his house. Right away Nellie spied Maryann standing in the door, clearly in the family way as she waved a hankie-welcome.

"Now, don't be fillin' her head with your s'posings and all," Ephram warned, stepping down to tie the horse to the hitching post.

Nellie wondered why he hardly ever referred to his wife by her name. So many of their men referred to their wives as "she" or "her," instead of by their lovely names.

I sure wouldn't want to marry a man like that.

Nellie Mae thought again of Caleb, wondering what he would say to all the gossip. Should he ever be available to talk to, would she dare ask? Or would he treat her the same distant way Ephram seemingly treated Maryann?


Excerpted from The Parting by Beverly Lewis Copyright © 2007 by Beverly Lewis. Excerpted by permission.
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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The Parting (Courtship of Nellie Fisher Series #1) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once I started reading this book it was very hard for me to put down. I just had to find out what happened. I have read several of Beverly Lewis books and I would recommend this book. My sisters and I share books so I know this one they will want to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read all 3 and wasn't as impressed as some of the others by Beverly Lewis. The relationship of nellie feels secondary to all the other conflicts in the community and after the first book I did want to know what would happen with them but it was slow going and in the end after all the bild up through the 3 books of what will they do it is resolved too quickly and thats that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love every series Beverly Lewis writes, and this one is no exception. If you are looking for an interesting book that will keep you wanting more, this is for you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read the hole seares and my faith was so incuraged it is full of suprise, love, hurt, drama, and so much more. I would have ANY ONE read this :)
Hannah Malone More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a wonderful story of love, family, and faith. A girl that is torn between all three things and doesn't know what to do with her life. All of the Beverly Lewis' books are amazing with the Amish heritage details. Definately a Must Read :-)
Feesh242 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I especially enjoyed how the author could make you feel you were the character, you seem to feel what she feels when she feels it. Here life seemed to be perfect, everything she wanted, but what we have and want we want does not always fall just right into place, does it? I definatley recomend this book to anyone who loves a little romance and a book with a story to tell.
marl1 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book it talks about the trials of the Amish young people . the main character was a very ambitious young lady who worked very hard but was upset about stories of her sister who drown and at the end finds out how she helped other young people and then her family comes to terms with her death by studying the bible and passages and joining a new church.
IRISHDANCER0 More than 1 year ago
A book you can not put down, as Beverly draws you into the characters as if you where there with them. "Highly recommend all her series you will not be dissapointed, but be hooked to her wonderful story telling.
CSBB More than 1 year ago
The books in the series of The Courtship of Nellie Fisher are my favorite by Beverly Lewis. I love all of her books!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. It explained a little bit more in detail as to what the Amish believe and I found this quite interesting. I have enjoyed all of Beverly's books and this one is no different. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series to see what becomes of Nellie and Caleb. A very good story!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read almost all of Beverly Lewis' books and I can say that all of them are absolutly wonderful. Once you pick up one of her books you will not be able to put it down until it's finished. This is a unique book in her collection of stories. I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out. I will buy it right away, and I would recomened anyone else to do so too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved the book as I read everything I can on the Amish. I didn't understand what was so different about the beliefs of the 'OLD' and 'NEW' order as far as the New Testament is concerned. I finally figured out that the 'OLD' didn't recognize the 'new testament'. I would like for this to be a series and if it is I will be looking for the next one.
Deborah_K More than 1 year ago
I was really excited when I heard that this book was coming out. First I love Beverly Lewis so of course I was thrilled that she had a new book on the way. But more important was the subject matter of the book. I have always wondered what exactly is the faith of the Amish based on? In one of my past reviews of Lewis's books, I questioned if the Amish are indeed really Christians. They seem to think that accepting Jesus is grounds for shunning. Seeing as how popular the Amish culture is lately, I want to know exactly what they believe in. So I was interested to see that this very subject would be the basis for this new series. And Lewis' came through and answered my questions with this first book. The narrative is very easy to follow, rich in detail. I could picture the characters going throughout their daily lives. I wish I could visit Nellie May's store and buy some baked goods for myself. There are some subplots that seem confusing such as Rosanna and the babies that don't seem to tie into the story at the moment. I was more interested to find out more about the circumstances surrounding Suzy's death and the way the church was going to handle the new wave of believers. I'm looking forward to continuing the rest of this series. If you're a Lewis fan you will not be disappointed.
harstan More than 1 year ago
After the accidental drowning death of her sister Suzy during Rumschpringe, Amish teen Nellie Fisher grieved her loss. Several years pass and Nellie is emotionally healing due to the distraction of her baked goods shop.----------- When Caleb Yoder asks her to go steady, she feels ready to move on with her life as she recognizes that she will always mourn her sister¿s death, but that was part of God¿s master plan. She agrees expecting they would they would marry one day. However Nellie¿s road to marital bliss with Caleb is not smooth as her father breaks societal dogma when he reads taboo scripture and begins seeking his salvation by other means than a pious life filled with good deeds.-------------- There are several other subplots that enhance the readers visit to the Amish, but the prime story line remains Nellie¿s saga. She heals from her loss through her shop and Caleb¿s courtship as much as her and her family¿s belief that Suzy¿s death is God¿s plan. Although that concept of predestined is hard to accept especially with the recent school killings and if one believes in free will, fans will appreciate Beverly Lewis¿s insightful look into Amish family several years after a tragedy occurs.-------------- Harriet Klausner
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing book. I love a good amish book, but it's way better with a bit of courtship (included in this book). I'm kinda upset though that the next book is like , $10.99. I think I'll just get it at the library. Wonderful-gut!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pretty good, but moved a little slow at times.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I could hardly put it down! I highly recommend.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Disliked the ending. Too abrupt. Otherwise great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Second time reading. Just what you expect from a Beverley Lewis book. Wonderful!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago