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Inspiring New Novel from the
"Biggest Name in Amish Fiction"
Eva Esch and her sisters are in a predicament. With the passing of their widowed mother, Eva's older brother Menno plans to move his growing family into the Eden Valley farmhouse where they all grew up, leaving little room for his three single sisters. Surely, Menno reasons, at least one of them will marry this coming wedding season. Eva does hope to marry, but she isn't sure she wants to give up her sweet shop for the life of a farmer's wife, and she has no other prospects.
When younger sister, Lily, disappears in the night, leaving only a brief note, Eva fears she has been wooed away from the People by an outsider. And when Jed Stutzman, a young Amish buggy maker from Ohio, shows up in Lancaster with a photo of a Plain young woman, Eva's world begins to tilt. She feels powerfully drawn to the quietly charming strangerbut the woman in the forbidden photograph is no stranger at all. . . .
|Publisher:||Baker Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Beverly Lewis is the New York Times bestselling author of more than ninety books in eleven languages. 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 is an Original Hallmark Channel movie. In 2007, The Brethren was honored with a Christy Award. Beverly has been interviewed by both national and international media, including Time magazine, the Associated Press, and the BBC. She lives with her husband, David, in Colorado. Visit her website at www.beverlylewis.com or www.facebook.com/officialbeverlylewis for more information.
Read an Excerpt
By Beverly M. Lewis
Bethany House PublishersCopyright © 2015 Beverly M. Lewis, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Eva Esch stood behind the wooden counter greeting each of her candy customers on the warmest morning so far of this budding month of May. Sunlight filled the neat and tidy shop that Friday, and between sale transactions, she happily scurried about, arranging the taffy and the well-formed peanut butter balls in an attractive array. Her father, Vernon Esch, had purposely designed the counter to face the windows, so young Eva could see her customers arrive. "Not too high and not too low," he'd said of it, having her stand just so as he pulled out his measuring tape with a flourish. At her tender age, it was important to take into consideration any growth spurt she might experience; Dat had insisted Eva just might be as tall as Mamma one day.
She realized anew how considerate their father had always been, gone now four long years. With the recollection lingering, she looked up and caught sight of tall, very blond Alfred Dienner. Heavens, he must have been staring at her.
Politely, she smiled back, and Alfred didn't look away as a more timid young man might. His warm hazel eyes held her gaze, and his face brightened, his lips parting.
Has he come to ask me out? Eva wondered.
Alfred stood waiting, turning a slip of paper over and over in his hands. His strapping frame evidenced long hours of hard work at his father's farm on Stony Hill Road. His face was already tan, his manner confident. Whoever ended up married to Alfred would surely be well cared for, raising a brood of future farmers and little dishwashers.
Directly in front of Alfred, two of Eva's kindly neighbors, sixty-year-old Sylvia Lantz and her thirty-year-old daughter-in-law, Josie, talked in Deitsch as they made their way up the steps beneath the plain green awning. Above the shop door was the hand-painted sign, The Sweet Tooth.
Josie and her husband, Sam, and their school-age children resided in Sylvia's farmhouse, where the senior Lantzes had worked the land and nurtured nine children, eight of whom had survived to adulthood. The youngest Lantz girl had drowned one summer years ago, and two others — Tilly and Ruth — had left the Plain community for the world, living somewhere in Massachusetts near the coast, according to the grapevine. Eva really didn't know all of the details.
What she did know was that whenever she tried her best not to look Alfred's way just now, she could still see him out of the corner of her eye. If he offered an invitation, should she accept?
As it turned out, both Sylvia and Josie wanted the small white chocolate fingers, as Eva liked to call them. The petite bars melted in your mouth, more than making up for their lack of size with rich flavor.
"Can't resist 'em," Sylvia said with a glance at Josie. "I'll have three dozen, please."
"I sure hope there'll be enough left," Josie said, covering her mouth to smother the laughter.
"You know me better'n that." Sylvia's plump face turned pink. "I'll be happy to share with ya if Eva runs out."
Eva smiled at the banter between them, a bit envious as she watched Josie gently touch her mother-in-law's arm.
"Mei Mann will be ever so grateful," Josie replied, a mischievous glint in her pale blue eyes. "Your sweets are truly the best, Eva."
"Jah, 'tis a gift, makin' these candies like ya do." Sylvia nodded her head, grinning at Eva. "The most delicious, wunnerbaar-gut treats ever, hope ya know."
Josie smiled, too. "Ach, I'd give almost anything to be able to make these delicious goodies. My husband would be over the moon."
Eva blushed; it was impossible to ignore Alfred next in line. Even so, she took care to bag up first Sylvia's order, then Josie's, the two women talking about their "perty springtime flowers," and Sylvia marveling aloud about her fifty-year-old rhubarb patch that had once again sprung to life.
Eva wondered if she, too, might someday enjoy a close relationship with a mother-in-law. She certainly yearned for such a connection. Fearing she might betray her private thoughts to Alfred, she purposely looked down at the counter when he stepped up, tall and straight. His voice was confident and clear as he gave his order, then waited politely.
"Will that be all, then?" she asked, noticing his white shirt and black broadfall trousers, like he was going to Preaching and not off to work.
"Oh, and I'd like some hard peppermint candies, too," he said, leaning on the counter as if he might have more to say.
Here it comes, she thought, daring to raise her eyes. She spoke just as he opened his mouth. "Anything else?" She pointed at the glass display case and mentioned the freshly made peanut butter balls. But he shrugged and said maybe another time.
When she went to gather up his order, he followed her over, of all things, and stood watching. Goodness, but Eva was thankful for the steady stream of customers. Anything to keep her busy. Then again, she was afraid someone might suspect her and Alfred of being a courting couple. If not that, then certainly of being sweet on each other. Sure, they'd gone riding together a half-dozen times during the past few years, and they'd played volleyball on the same team, too. She also recalled a picnic in Central Park near downtown Lancaster, where she provided the meal, but none of that meant they were serious. Alfred was quite aware that a handful of other fellows had taken her out, as well. All of them married now, Eva thought grimly.
"Denki, Alfred, for comin' by —"
"Eva, slow down a minute," he said. "Your customers will wait."
She felt her face warm as Alfred proceeded, in front of everyone, to invite her to play Ping-Pong with him at his cousin's house.
Leaning over the work counter, she lowered her voice and replied, "You're askin' me here...." She glanced behind him.
"Jah, 'tis all right." His eyes were smiling as he held her gaze. "So, will ya?"
She noticed their neighbor to the north pretending to study the homemade ribbon candy in the glass display case behind them. Eva felt positively mortified — what was Alfred thinking? The grapevine would have them engaged by day's end.
If I hesitate, will he stay and try to persuade me?
Pleasant and well-mannered as Alfred Dienner was, she wouldn't put that past him. But, goodness — like a dog on a bone!
"Um, that'll be fine," she whispered to him.
"Des gut, then," Alfred said with a nod.
She placed his order in a large sack and recited the total. "Enjoy the candy. Some very gut choices."
Alfred counted out the payment and dropped two quarters in the tip jar. "I hope I can make it last awhile." He gripped the bag of candy and, before turning to go, winked at her. In front of everyone!
Excerpted from The Photograph by Beverly M. Lewis. Copyright © 2015 Beverly M. Lewis, Inc.. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A complete story in itself, the tale comes to a satisfying ending. It's always a pleasant journey to go with Beverly Lewis into Amish territory. But seriously... give up the recipe for peanut butter balls Ms. Lewis!
The Photograph by Beverly Lewis is one of her stand-alone novels that I have been anticipating reading for quite some time. I’m a huge fan of Beverly’s, and have read almost every single one of her books, so I knew that this novel is one I would enjoy. I wasn’t wrong, and I’m so glad that I didn’t have to wait any longer to finally figure out the story behind the photograph mentioned in both the title and the description. Eva Esch is such a sweet character, just about as sweet as the candies she excels in making. I love her devotion to her sisters, especially after all that has happened, and I really loved watching her endlessly search for Lily after she disappeared. On top of that, she and Jed were the perfect match, so I definitely enjoyed seeing their relationship unfold. Who doesn’t love a good happy ending? Jed Stutzman is completely perfect. I don’t know what could’ve made him any more so. I can’t really describe to you all of the reasons he’s so perfect, but just trust me when I say he is. His kindness, his compassion, know no bounds, and he couldn’t be any more perfect for Eva if he tried. I know, I know, I’ve used the word “perfect” when speaking about Jed far too many times, but I just can’t help it. There’s no better way to describe him. All in all, I really enjoyed this story, and can happily give it four out of five bookshelves. I wish I could give it all five, but it just never really touched my heart quite like I wanted it to, so I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Maybe four and a half, but not all five, possibly just because a lot of the book’s I’ve read over the last few days (other than this one of course) have touched my heart so much I’ve cried at least once while reading them and I was disappointed that this one didn’t cause near the same reaction. No matter the reason, I still did really love this book, and I highly recommend it as one worth trying! (This review is from my blog, spreadinghisgrace.blogspot.com)
I fell in love with Amish fiction, as most fans did, by reading Beverly Lewis. I greatly looked forward to THE PHOTOGRAPH although lately Ms. Lewis has been more miss than hit with me. This one has a unique plot. An Amish man falling in love with an Amish girl via a photograph and a children's book, but it worked. The hero and heroine were apart most of the book, only together a week, but he spent most of it trying to reconcile the girl in the photograph with the girl in real life. This book was rather flat, one dimensional. It took ages for me to read through this book when usually I can't put Ms. Lewis's books down. However, the ending was rather engaging and tied it together nicely. There are some familiar characters from other books in this story though it does stand alone. I would've loved to have loved this story as I have some of her others but I am only going with 3 stars. It isn't her best work.
Easy vacation read. Enjoyed the window into the Plain culture. Resolution too predictable however.
***I received a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. I enjoy reading books by Beverly Lewis. They are always easy to read and I fly through them. She is a good storyteller. Whenever I see a Beverly Lewis book available for review through the Bethany House blogger review program, I get excited! This book was about Eva Esch, a young woman whose parents have died. She and her sisters are living in their parents' house until their brother and his family are ready to move in. When one of her sisters runs away to the English world, Eva and her other sister try to keep things going at home while they search for her. Meanwhile, an Amish man from Ohio, Jed, comes to the area to learn buggy making techniques and the two are immediately attracted to one another. But when Eva discovers a photograph of her runaway sister in Jed's wallet, things change between the two of them. While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it wasn't my favorite. The story was good. She always makes her books interesting by adding little bits of excitement in the plot. I appreciate that Beverly Lewis has a lot of knowledge about the Amish that comes through in her books. It was neat to get a look at two different Amish districts and how each district varies slightly. If you haven't read anything by Beverly Lewis, I would definitely recommend reading one of her books. If you have, what was your favorite?
Beverly Lewis does it again! Just when you think that she has surely run out of original storylines, out pops another one. This book revolves around a mystery that slowly unravels revealing a piece of the puzzle at a time. This time the story centers around a photograph of an Amish woman mysteriously tucked between the pages of a book and inadvertently left on the seat of a train. Jed Stutzman, an Amish man, stumbles upon the photo while he is on the train going to Eden Valley on a business trip. The Amish don't take photos and the woman in this particular picture is obviously posing for the camera. That leaves Jed mighty perplexed. Who is she and why would she go against their beliefs to so brazenly allow the photo to be taken? Imagine Jed's surprise when he unexpectedly runs into the woman in the photo in Eden Valley. Instead of answers to his questions, more questions develop. Even after all of these years I am continually drawn to the writings of Beverly Lewis. Her characters may be from the Amish faith but their situations and hopes and desires are similar to those that we non Amish experience as well. This particular novel reaches deep into our longings and explores what it means to give up what seems to be a better life for the one that God intends. If you enjoy a story about people who struggle to do what is right amid pressure to do what the flesh desires then I think that you are going to enjoy this book. There is a reason that Beverly Lewis consistently tops the charts and The Photograph is another shining example of that talent. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
Eva Esch feels her world is falling apart. When her sister decides to run away, Eva feels it is just to much to bear. She knows God has a plan but what could it be. When being pursued by two wonderful men can she find true love in one or is he actually in love with someone else or the idea of someone else? Jed Stutzman never imagined finding a life changing book with an intriguing picture on his journey. When he stumbles upon the actual girl, she is better than he could have ever imagined. When the truth finally comes to light so much miscommunication may be more than a budding relationship can handle. Will anyone be able to find Eva's sister and bring her back before she is lost for good? This novel is set in the 80's with all the wonderful Amish lifestyle and family devotion that we find with any Beverly Lewis novel. There are twist and turns, forgiveness and love all twisted together to make a great novel. I look forward to another glimpse into the lives of those in this novel, hopefully there will be more. I was given a copy of this novel from net galley for my honest opinion.
An incredible Amish novel filled with heartache. After Lily Esch disappears everyone connected with the family is heartbroken. I really loved the sensitive way that this subject was dealt with. She is considered an adult and she left a goodbye note for her sister Eva. Therefore the biggest concern is determining how far to go in trying to find her. When should they give up and let her live her life? How much should be done to try and bring her back into the fold of the Amish believers? In the midst of this, Eva and Jed Stutzman meet. Is their meeting God’s direction for their lives? How will they know? They are both dealing with grief. There is an amazing amount of sound advice given and received about this difficult issue as well. It is something that we will all have to face at some point in our lives and I really felt that the information about how to help others going through it was fantastic. The characters are so well written that I connected with them almost immediately. There were a number of sweet gentle people that were easy to love. There were also a few that were overbearing and difficult. It was wonderful to read about how the different personalities interacted with each other. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
This report on The Photograph by Beverly Lewis falls under this category: mom read the book, then sent me an email about it, which I've then tweaked" a bit: I have always loved Beverly Lewis’ books - the slow pace of the Amish lifestyle just draws me in. This book was wonderfully interesting from beginning to end. Once I started the book, I could not put it down until I finished the entire book. The Photography's story is woven around 3 sisters, Frona, Eva and Lily, and their married brothers whose parents have recently passed away. Their youngest married brother, Menno, and his family may want to take over the family homestead and there is not enough room for all. One of the sisters may stay as long as she helps with his children. After learning this, the youngest sister, Lily, unexpectedly runs away leaving a note, having chosen to leave the Amish to go off with her boyfriend. Not only is Eva dealing with the loss of her sister and parents, but now she's faced with the problem of finding a place to live. Jed Stutzman is trying to move on after he lost his fiancé is traveling to Eden Valley from Ohio to learn how to make the Pennsylvania style buggy. On this trip Jed comes across a book that holds a photograph of a beautiful young Amish girl. Jed is puzzled by the boldness of the woman in the photograph, since Amish people are not allowed to get their picture taken. He's sure he knows who is in the photograph, but appearances can be deceiving. The book has personal notes written in the margins Eva is drawn to this handsome, caring stranger who has come to her community the young woman in the picture he has is certainly NO stranger to her. The love story between Jed and Eva is sweet, but they share sorrows. As a couple are they really suited for each other? The romance does not play the biggest role, but Lewis does a great job at weaving Eva and Jed's story together. The mystery of the photograph and the connection between individuals and three different locations with the theme of family, community, and most importantly, the bonding of siblings are all the threads that pull this story all together. Family devotion and the tight knit world of the Amish is once again the key to making this a story that you will want to keep reading to the end.
I was delighted by this engaging story and its endearing characters! The Photograph is another example of Beverly Lewis’s wonderful storytelling ability. When their brother announces his plans to take over the family farmhouse, Eva Esch and her sisters face an uncertain future. The family endures further crisis when sister Lily runs away, seeking a life outside the Plain community. As these dramatic events unfold, they bring intrigue and emotion into the story, which I really enjoyed. If you’re looking for an Amish tale with a fresh story line and a subtle romance, The Photograph is the perfect choice! I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. All thoughts expressed are my own.
When Jeb Stutzman begins his journey from Holmes County, Ohio to Eden Valley, Pennsylvania, his life is about to change again. He is still reeling from the sudden death of his beloved fiancé a year ago, and having trouble recovering and moving on with his life. He works for his Uncle learning and possibly taking over his buggy building business. While on the bus he finds a copy of Little Women wedged between the seat, and in it a picture of a beautiful Amish woman, a graven image, how could she be Amish and taking picture? This simple photo is about to change his life when he meets, or thinks he does, the girl in the photo. Eva and her sister Frona are barely hanging on after their younger sister Lily left to go English, their brother Menno has also dropped a bomb that he wants to take his birthright and live in the family home. Someone is going to have to leave and Eva will have to close her candy store, Menno and his family need the room. What is about to happen makes this book a page turner, and a delightful read, come along and experience the trial and tribulations of wanting to move on with their lives and feeling the loss of their beloved sister. I received this book through Bethany House Publishers Blogger Program, and was not required to give a positive review.
An interesting story of family and understanding. I really enjoyed learning about the characters and what made them as they were. Three sisters have been living in the family farmhouse, but when their father dies and leaves it to their brother, they must make other plans. The brother does not feel like the sisters will be useful and wants all but one gone. When the youngest leaves altogether, this cause problems as it seems that she has left the Amish faith. I liked seeing the family dynamics and how the did not just accept how things were, but worked for what they believed in. I received this book free to review from the publisher.
I received a copy of THE PHOTOGRAPH by Beverly Lewis from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. This is a standalone novel about the Amish. As always with a Beverly Lewis book, you know you will fall in love with the characters and need to read it in one sitting to find out what happens next. Lily Esch disappears after the death of her parents and this weighs upon her sister Eva. Eva falls in love with Jed. He has a picture that… well, you’re going to have to read the story to discover what the photograph means to Eva’s family! I recommend this to fans of Amish and Christian fiction. I will be passing the book on to my mother. She and I love to discuss Amish literature. An Amish community has formed near our home and that has helped to make these books even more real to us. Something I really liked about this book happened to be the references to LITTLE WOMEN. That has always been a favorite of mine. When I was younger, my mother and I read it together. Note: Despite being a standalone, it is set in Eden Valley – namely THE RIVER – and references characters from that series. I haven’t read those books yet and it was easy for me to enjoy THE PHOTOGRAPH.
The Photograph Beverly Lewis Book Summary: Eva Esch and her sisters are in a predicament. With the passing of their widowed mother, Eva's older brother Menno plans to move his growing family into the Eden Valley farmhouse where they all grew up, leaving little room for his three single sisters. Surely, Menno reasons, at least one of them will marry this coming wedding season. Eva does hope to marry, but she isn't sure she wants to give up her sweet shop for the life of a farmer's wife, and she has no other prospects. When younger sister, Lily, disappears in the night, leaving only a brief note, Eva fears she has been wooed away from the People by an outsider. And when Jed Stutzman, a young Amish buggy maker from Ohio, shows up in Lancaster with a photo of a Plain young woman, Eva's world begins to tilt. She feels powerfully drawn to the quietly charming stranger--but the woman in the forbidden photograph is no stranger at all. . . . Review: I read Ms. Lewis’ newsletter where she made some comment about this was one of her personal favorites. I can honestly say that there is good reason for that. This story was riveting and I read it in one extended period of time. I found the characters to be so real I almost would expect to meet the if I were to go to the Lancaster area today. The time period was the 80’s and yet it could be today. I loved the main characters Eva and Jed while almost too perfect they were believable and lovable. The story was so seamlessly woven that I found I almost had to read it in a day to do the story justice. There was no long extended period of time occurring and things came together so effortlessly that I would have thought Ms. Lewis wrote it quickly, although from her newsletter it would seem the story was a long time coming. I am so glad that she was willing to share this story. It truly was ordinary and special all in one. The theme simple and magical. There is real tragedy all around both main characters and they do not down play the healing process, yet despite the tragedy this is not a story about weeping. There are many elements to the plot (loss of life, a wayward sister, uncertainty, and misunderstanding) and through it all I wanted the story to never end. I could go on and on but the best advice is dive in and see for yourself. I would like to thank Net Galley and Bethany House Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
SLOW MOVING This book is very slow moving and the story line is all too predictable. This is not one of the best by this author.
I have been a huge fan of author Beverly Lewis for many, many, years. I have read all of her Amish fiction books and have loved them all; some more than others. In my opinion, this is her best book ever. I loved The Photograph. It is a book of faith, love, hope, and forgiveness. When we leave the comfort of our family and loved ones, can we ever come home again? When we've lost our way, can we find it again? I love a good Christian fiction book that relies on God's Word and prayer. This is one such book. I won this book on LibraryThing to read and review. My thanks to Bethany House for providing me with an Advance Review Copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone. I highly recommend this book.
The Photograph by Beverly Lewis is her latest Amish fiction book. It is 1980 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Eva Esch lives with her sisters Frona and Lily in the family home. Both of their parents have passed away and the farm went to the youngest son, Menno. Menno has been working the farm since their father passed away, but his family does not live on the farm. Menno has decided to take over the farmhouse and the three sisters cannot stay. Menno said that there would be room for one sister if she would agree to be his wife’s helper with the children. Eva has helped support the sisters with her candy shop, The Sweet Tooth. Their father added the structure to the house when Eva was a young teenager and showed a gift for making confections. Menno considers it a nice hobby, but told Eva that she cannot expect to do it forever. Lily is the youngest sister and she has been acting strangely since their mother passed away. The day after Menno announces he is going to move in, Lily is gone. She left a note stating she does not wish to stay Amish. She is going “fancy” and does not wish to be found. The family wants to find her as well as the bishop. They start sending out letters of inquiry to family and friends. Can they find Lily before it is too late? Jeb is an apprentice buggy maker in Berlin, Ohio. He lost his fiancé, Lydiann a year ago. He had been hoping to take over his Uncle Ervin buggy business when he retired, but things have changes since a new apprentice has arrived. The new apprentice, Perry Hostetler is already a member of the church and has plans to marry. Just the type of person Uncle Ervin wants to leave his business to. Jeb had planned to join the church with his fiancé before their wedding. Uncle Ervin is sending Jeb to Pennsylvania to learn how they make their buggies (just for a week) from Jonas Byler. While on the train, Jeb discovers a copy of Little Women. It has notes in the margins about the book as well as a photograph. He finds himself intrigued about the woman who wrote the notes (as well as the photo) and wonders if he will meet her. A couple of days later at an auction, Jeb is pleasantly surprised to meet the woman in the photo, Eva Esch. Jeb and Eva get a chance to spend a little time together before he has to go home. But then he shows her the photograph. Will these two be able to overcome a misunderstanding (as well as a lack of communication)? Who will find Lily and will she be willing to come home? You will just have to read The Photograph to find out. I enjoyed reading The Photograph. It is just a lovely book. It is well-written and makes the book so easy to read (the book just flows beautifully which makes it pleasurable to read). I did get frustrated by the lack of communication between people in the book. Speaking plainly would be so much easier than all the misunderstandings (and confusion). I also could not understand how a father could leave his daughters without a home or any provisions in his will (or even making sure that the brother would always give them a home). The brother who inherited can just walk in and toss them out. To me this seems to go against what we hear about the Amish (how they embrace family). Without these things, though, we would not have the book to read! I give The Photograph 4.5 out of 5 stars. I look forward to reading Beverly Lewis’ next book. I received a complimentary copy of The Photograph from NetGalley.
Beverly Lewis is hands down my favorite author. Her stories are always new and fresh. This one doesn't disappont. She weaves in and out of characters drawing you in to each one. Hope, love and faith is on full display. I can't wait to read her next book. Hopefully there will be.more on these families.
Love all beverly lewis novels