An Amish widow with newborn twins discovers her deceased husband had disturbing secrets. As she tries to come to grips with the past, she considers a loveless marriage to ensure stability for her young family . . . with her faith in God hanging in the balance.
Sarah Troyer never expected to raise her children on her own, but when her husband dies in a tragic accident, she finds refuge in the home of her parents in the Amish community of Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. Sarah is taken completely by surprise when a stranger arrives claiming connections to her husband’s past—even though he had told her he was an orphan with no family. From Luke, she learns her husband hid a secret life, one with ramifications that will change her own.
Sarah’s family, concerned for her and her children, encourages her to marry again. It should make sense . . . but Sarah’s heart says no. She feels trapped. Should she marry a man she doesn’t love? Or discover if her growing interest in Luke can be trusted?
Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you’ll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman’s story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams . . . and secrets. You’ll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle and, most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families.
About the Author
Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery, Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel, Amish Heirloom, and Amish Homestead series. Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and three spoiled rotten cats. Visit her online at AmyClipston.com; Facebook: AmyClipstonBooks; Twitter: @AmyClipston.
Read an Excerpt
A Promise of Hope
By Amy Clipston
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2010 Amy Clipston
All rights reserved.
Smoke filled Sarah Troyer's lungs and stung her watering eyes. Covering her mouth with her trembling hand, she fell to her knees while flames engulfed the large carpentry area of the furniture store.
"Peter!" Her attempt to scream her husband's name came out in a strangled cough, inaudible over the noise of the roaring fire surrounding her.
Peter was somewhere in the fire. She had to get to him. But how would she find her way through the flames? Had someone called for help? Where was the fire department?
A thunderous boom shook the floor beneath Sarah's feet, causing her body to shake with fear. The roof must've collapsed!
"Sarah!" Peter's voice echoed, hoarse and weak within the flames.
"I'm coming!" Sobs wracked her body as she crawled toward the back of the shop. She would find him. She had to!
Turning her face toward the ceiling, Sarah begged God to spare her husband's life. He had to live. She needed him. He was everything to her. They were going to be parents.
Their baby needed a father.
Standing, she threw her body into the flames, rushing toward the crumpled silhouette on the floor next to the smashed remains of the roof ...
Sarah's eyes flew open, and she gasped. She touched her sweat-drenched nightgown with her trembling hands. Closing her eyes, she breathed a sigh of relief.
It was a dream!
Stretching her arm through the dark, she reached across the double bed for her husband of three years; however, her hand brushed only cool sheets.
Sarah cupped a hand to her hot face while reality crashed down on her. Peter had died in the fire in her father's furniture store five months ago. He was gone, and she was staying in her parents' house.
Taking a deep, ragged breath, she swallowed a sob. She'd had the fire dream again—the fourth time this week.
When were the nightmares going to cease? When was life going to get easier?
She rested her hands on her swelling belly while tears cooled her burning cheeks. It seemed like only yesterday Sarah was sharing the news of their blessing with Peter and he was smiling, his hazel eyes twinkling, while he pulled her close and kissed her.
It had been their dream to have a big family with as many as seven children, like most of the Amish couples in their church district. Sarah and Peter had spent many late nights snuggling in each other's arms while talking about names.
However, Sarah had buried those dreams along with her husband, and she still felt as bewildered as the day his body was laid to rest. She wondered how she'd ever find the emotional strength to raise her baby without the love and support of her beloved Peter.
She'd believed since the day she married Peter that they would raise a family and grow old together. But that ghastly fire had stolen everything from Sarah and her baby—their future and their stability. Her life was now in flux.
Closing her eyes, she mentally repeated her mother's favorite Scripture, Romans 12:12: "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." But the verse offered no comfort. She tried to pray, but the words remained unformed in her heart.
Sarah was completely numb.
She stared up through the dark until a light tap on her door roused her from her thoughts.
"Sarah Rose." Her mother's soft voice sounded through the closed door. "It's time to get up."
"Ya." Wiping the tears from her face, Sarah rose and slowly dressed, pulling on her black dress, black apron, and shoes. She then parted her golden hair and twirled long strands back from her face before winding the rest into a bun. Once her hair was tightly secured, she placed her white prayer kapp over it, anchoring it with pins.
Sarah hurried down the stairs and met her mother in the front hall of the old farmhouse in which she'd been raised. "I'm ready," she said.
Mamm's blue eyes studied her. "Aren't you going to eat?"
"No." Sarah headed for the back door. "Let's go. I'll eat later."
"Sarah Rose. You must eat for the boppli." Her mother trotted after her.
"I'm not hungry." Sarah slipped out onto the porch.
"Did you have the dream again?" Mamm's voice was filled with concern.
Sarah sucked in a breath, hoping to curb the tears rising in her throat. "I'm just tired." She started down the dirt driveway toward the bakery.
Mamm caught up with her. Taking Sarah's hand in hers, she gave her a bereaved expression. "Sarah Rose, mei liewe, how it breaks my heart to see you hurting. I want to help you through this. Please let me."
Swallowing the tears that threatened, Sarah stared down at her mother's warm hand cradling hers. Grief crashed down on her, memories of Peter and their last quiet evening together flooding her. He'd held her close while they discussed their future as parents.
Rehashing those memories was too painful for Sarah to bear. She missed him with every fiber of her being. Sarah had to change the subject before she wound up sobbing in her mother's arms—again.
"We best get to work before the girls think we overslept," Sarah whispered, quickening her steps.
"Don't forget this afternoon is your ultrasound appointment," Mamm said. "Maybe we'll find out if you're having a boy or a girl. Nina Janitz is going to pick us up at one so we're at the hospital on time."
At her mother's words Sarah swallowed a groan. The idea of facing this doctor's appointment without Peter sharpened the pain that pulsated in her heart.
Pushing the thought aside, Sarah stared at the bakery her mother had opened more than twenty years ago. The large, white clapboard farmhouse sat near the road and included a sweeping wraparound porch. A sign with "Kauffman Amish Bakery" in old-fashioned letters hung above the door.
Out behind the building was a fenced-in play area where a few of the Kauffman grandchildren ran around playing tag and climbing on a huge wooden swing set. Beyond it was the fenced pasture. Mamm's, Peter's, and Timothy's large farmhouses, along with four barns, were set back beyond the pasture. The dirt road leading to the other homes was roped off with a sign declaring Private Property—No Trespassing.
A large paved parking lot sat adjacent to the building. The lot—always full during the summer months, the height of the tourist season—was now empty. Even though temperatures had cooled off for autumn, the tourist season had ended a month ago in Bird-in-Hand.
Mamm prattled on about the weather and how busy the bakery had been. Sarah grunted in agreement to give the appearance of listening.
After climbing the steps, Sarah and Mamm headed in through the back door of the building. The sweet aroma of freshly baked bread filled Sarah's senses while the Pennsylvania Dietsch chatter of her sisters swirled around her.
The large open kitchen had plain white walls, and in keeping with their tradition, there was no electricity. The lights were gas powered, as were the row of ovens. The long counter included their tools—plain pans and ordinary knives and cutlery.
Even though the air outside was cool, Sarah and her sisters still did the bulk of the baking in the early morning in order to keep the kitchen heat to a minimum. Five fans running through the power inverters gave a gentle breeze. However, the kitchen was warm.
Nodding a greeting to her sisters, Sarah washed her hands before pulling out ingredients to begin mixing a batch of her favorite sugar cookies. She engrossed herself in the task and shut out the conversations around her.
"How are you?" Lindsay, her sister-in-law's young niece, asked after a while.
"Gut," Sarah said, forcing a smile. "How are you today?"
"Gut, danki." The fourteen-year-old smiled, her ivory complexion glowing. Although she'd been raised by non-Amish parents, Lindsay had adjusted well to the lifestyle since coming to live with Rebecca, Sarah's sister-in-law. Her parents had died in a car accident, leaving custody of her and her older sister to Rebecca. Lindsay quickly adopted the Amish dress and was learning the Pennsylvania Dietsch language as if she'd been born into the community.
Lindsay tilted her head in question and wrinkled her freckled nose. "You don't look gut, Aenti Sarah. Is everything okay?"
"I'm fine, but danki." Sarah stirred the anise cookie batter and wracked her brain for something to change the subject. "You and Rebecca got here early this morning, no?"
"Ya." Lindsay began cutting out cookies. "Aenti Rebecca was having some tummy problems this morning." She gestured toward her stomach, and Sarah knew the girl was referring to morning sickness. "She was up early, and I was too. So we just headed out. We had a couple of loaves of bread in the oven before Aenti Beth Anne and Aenti Kathryn got here."
Sarah glanced across the kitchen to where Mamm was whispering to Beth Anne and Kathryn, Sarah's older sisters. When her mother's gaze met Sarah's, her mother quickly looked away.
Sarah's stomach churned. She hoped her mother wasn't talking about her again. She was in no mood for another well-meaning lecture from her sisters. They were constantly insisting Sarah must accept Peter's death and concentrate on the blessing of her pregnancy. Over and over they told her it was God's will Peter had perished and the Lord would provide for her and her baby.
What did they know about loss? They both had their husbands and children, living and healthy.
"I best go check on the kinner on the playground," Lindsay said, wiping her hands on her apron.
Sarah picked up the cookie cutter. "I'll finish cutting out your cookies."
"Danki." Smiling, Lindsay crossed the kitchen and disappeared out the back door toward the playground set up for Sarah's young nieces and nephews.
"Sarah," a voice behind her said. "How are you today? Mamm mentioned that you had a rough night."
Sarah glanced over at Beth Anne and swallowed a groan. "I'm fine, danki. And you?" I wish you all would stop worrying about me.
Beth Anne's blue eyes mirrored her disbelief, and Sarah braced herself for the coming lecture.
"You can talk to me. I'll always listen." Her older sister squeezed her hand.
"I appreciate that, but there's nothing to say. I didn't get much sleep last night, but I'm gut. Really." Sarah turned back to her cookies in the hopes Beth Anne would return to work and leave her alone with her thoughts.
"I know you're hurting," Beth Anne began, moving closer and lowering her voice. "However, you must let Peter's memory rest in peace. You need your strength for your boppli."
Sarah gritted her teeth and took a deep breath, trying in vain to curb her rising aggravation. Facing her sister, she narrowed her eyes. "I know you mean well, but you can't possibly know what I'm thinking or what I'm feeling. I lost my husband, and you have no idea how that feels. I know I need to let go, but how can I when Peter's boppli is growing inside me? Grieving is different for everyone, and it can't be rushed."
Beth Anne's expression softened. "I just want what's best for you."
"Then leave me alone and let me work." Sarah faced the counter. "I have a lot of cookies to make. We sold out yesterday."
"If you need to talk, I'm here." Beth Anne's voice was soft.
"Ya. Danki." Sarah closed her eyes and prayed for strength to make it through the day.
* * *
Late that afternoon, Sarah lay on the cool, metal table at the hospital and stared at the monitor while a young woman moved her instrument through the gel spread on Sarah's midsection.
Sarah watched the screen and sucked in a breath while the ultrasound technician pointed out anatomy. Sarah wondered how many years of schooling it had taken for the young woman to figure out which was the spinal cord and which was the heart when it all resembled a bunch of squiggly lines.
Miranda Coleman, Sarah's midwife, interrupted the technician and moved over to the monitor. "Do you see that?" Miranda asked the young woman in a hushed whisper. "I believe that's ..."
"Yeah, you're right," the technician said with a grin. "I think so."
"This is something." Miranda folded her arms and shook her head. "Well, that explains her sudden weight gain."
"What?" Sarah started to sit up, her heart racing with worry. "What's wrong with my boppli?"
Her eyes full of concern, Mamm squeezed Sarah's shoulder.
Miranda chuckled. "Nothing's wrong, Sarah."
Sarah held her breath and wished Peter was by her side to help her shoulder the news. "Please tell me what's going on."
"Sarah Troyer, you're doubly blessed," Miranda said with a smirk. "You're having twins. I guess one was blocking the other when we did the last ultrasound."
"Zwillingbopplin?" Sarah gasped. Lightheaded, she put her hand to her forehead.
How would she ever raise twins alone?
* * *
Later that evening, Sarah stood on the porch and studied the rain falling in sheets on the fields across from her parents' farmhouse. Rubbing her swollen abdomen, she swallowed the sorrow surging through her.
The word had haunted her since it left Miranda's lips. Sarah had tuned out Miranda's voice while she discussed Sarah's prenatal care for the remainder of the pregnancy. She'd heard the midwife say Sarah was now "high risk" and would be referred to an obstetrician for further care. Beyond that, Sarah had just stared at her midwife and pondered the news.
Two mouths to feed. Two babies for which to care.
Two children without a father.
How would Sarah bear the load? Of course, her family would help her, for it was the Amish way to care for one another. However, raising two children without Peter would be daunting, regardless of help from the extended family.
"Sarah Rose." Her mother's voice interrupted her thoughts. "How are you?"
"Gut," Sarah whispered, still rubbing her belly.
"Zwillingbopplin." Mamm shook her head. "The Lord is gut. You are blessed."
"Am I?" Sarah snorted. The shock seemed to have deflated the blessing from the news.
"Why do you say that?" Mamm's eyes probed Sarah's. "Bopplin are a blessing. Daniel and Rebecca have waited fifteen years to have one of their own."
Sarah touched Mamm's warm hand. "Ya, I know bopplin are a blessing. You forget Daniel and Rebecca have each other." She gazed down at her stomach. "I'm alone. These bopplin will have no dat. They only have me."
"You're not alone. You have your dat, me, and the rest of our family. The community will take care of you. We'll all love and care for you and your kinner."
"But it's not the same." Sniffing, Sarah wiped a lone tear. "They'll know love but not their dat's love."
"You can tell them how much Peter loved them. We have many stories that will make them smile, and you'll smile again too." Leaning over, Mamm looped her arm around Sarah's shoulders. "You'll find joy again, Sarah Rose. God will make sure of that."
Nodding, Sarah wiped her eyes and cleared her throat in an effort to suppress her tears. She had to hold herself together. Dissolving into sobs wouldn't help the situation.
"When the time is right," Mamm began, "you may marry again."
"I doubt that." Sarah shook her head with emphasis. "I don't think I'll ever love any man as much as I loved Peter. That only happens once in a lifetime."
"Sarah Rose." Mamm took Sarah's hands again. "You're young. You may love again. Give your burdens up to God, and He'll see you through. Right now, just concentrate on your kinner. It will all come in time, God's time."
Sarah breathed deeply, hoping to stop the emotions that threatened. "Maybe someday, but not anytime soon. My heart still belongs to Peter." She stepped toward the door. "I'm going to go to bed. Good night."
"Good night." Mamm reached for Sarah's hand. "Don't rush yourself, Sarah Rose. God will see you through this. He's in control."
Sarah pulled her hand back and opened the screen door. "Ya," she whispered. "Good night."
Climbing the stairs to her room, Sarah closed the door and lowered herself down onto her bed, hoping to keep the world out. Lying there, she prayed for her family to stop nagging her. She needed room to breathe and figure out her way without their constant unsolicited opinions. She needed strength and guidance to make the right decisions for her twins.
Excerpted from A Promise of Hope by Amy Clipston. Copyright © 2010 Amy Clipston. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
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
Secrets, betrayal, lies, fears, and restless nights all revolve around Peter, Sarah's husband, who died in a fire. Inner struggles arise when Luke comes to Bird-in-Hand to find his relative Peter. Who is Luke, really? Who was Peter, really? Can Sarah trust either man? Was her marriage a fake? Sarah Troyer is reeling from the shock of losing her husband in a fire while carrying his first child twins. DeLana is mystified when Peter's letters stop abruptly. What is her connection to Peter, an Amish man? Luke's father has died leaving Luke determined to find Peter and reconnect with family only to find that Peter claimed to be an orphan. Norman, a fine Amish widower hopes to help Sarah through the grieving process and a bit more. Set in quaint Lancaster County among buggies and a plain Amish life, A Promise of Hope, Amy Clipston has continued the character development of the Kauffman family and friends in this the second book of the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series. The first was A Gift of Grace. I really enjoy Amy Clipston's style of writing. My teacher in high school used to say, "Don't tell me, show me." I think Mrs. Clipston is excellent at drawing word pictures. Thanks for another great book! *I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Zondervan.
This was an exceptional book-I loved it! I always look forward to reading Amy Clipston's books!
This book is another great story for any aged reader that loves a good Amish story. Amy does a wonderful job of keeping you very interested and the story flows well !! This book was very hard to put down !! Highly recomended !!!
I read Amy Clipston's first book in the Kauffman Amish Bakery,A Gift of Grace: A Novel (Kauffman Amish Bakery Series) and loved it. When I was given the oppertunity to read an advanced copy of the book not only was I honored, but excited to see what was going on with the Kauffman Family. I certainly suggest picking up a copy of ' A Gift of Grace' by Amy Clipston, but if you haven't read it, no worries, you can absolutely pick right up with this book. Set in Bird-In-Hand, PA, the main character, Sarah, is a first time expectant mother who is greiving over the tragic loss of her husband. Sarah moves back in with her parents who are trying their best to love and support their greiving daughter, reassuring her that people will help her take care of her babies. Sarah is overwhelmed with greif and sadness. While working in the family bakery she meets a man who has come to Bird-In-Hand to learn more about her husband's death. This man, Luke, claims to be a realitive. Sarah learns many things, some quite troubling, about her husband's past that she never knew, but she also learns quite a bit about herself as well. You'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll definitely fall in love with the hero of the story, as I did. A MUST READ for anyone who is a fan of Amish Fiction. If you like Wanda Brunstetter and Beverly Lewis, well the Amy Clipston should be a new favorite author of yours as well! I personally, cannot wait until the 3rd book in the series becomes available.
Amy has done it again! I couldn't put this book down, just like the first one! I am hooked on Amy's books! Can't wait for the next one. Thank you Amy!
Amy Clipston's 'A Promise of Hope' is one amazing story about a pregnant Amish woman who's suddenly widowed. She feels such loss, she doesn't know how she'll raise the child on her own. I loved this story, the emotion so fantastic that I felt Sarah's pain, wondering what I'd do in the same situation. Sarah has the love and support of her community, however, it all still came down to her being a single parent. How could she make it? She has to develop a stronger backbone, even learning to stand up for herself with others. The research done for this story is very evident, because I grew up in Lancaster, and it really rings true to the area and true to the Amish community. I'd heartily recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a wonderful story about a woman in a strict community, faced with a tough life ahead. I bought the book at our local bookstore and can't wait to buy more of the series!
Peter comes to Bird in Hand, to find out what happened to his cousin Luke. A strong resemblance yet, he had no family is what he told his wife. He perished in a fire five months ago, in the furniture store he worked in. Wanting to know more, as does she, to learn he had a secret life. She is drawn to Luke, is it because he looked like Peter, and she wanted a father for her twins. A rich story of lives that are drastically changed, by lies.
A Promise Of Hope : A Novel (Kauffman Bakers Series ) By: A y Clipston A Promise Of Hope is a novel and the second book in Kauffman Bakers series by Amy Clipston. Wow, A Promise Of Hope was awesome. The story and the characters both were so real. There were tears in my eyes several times . The author had me hooked right at the start and I did not want to put it down till the end. Clipston writes of lost , hurt, love , faith, forgiveness, and second chances. The Amish are human and do make mistakes. Sarah loses her husband ,Peter , in a fire and she is left to raise her unborn twins. She discovers things about Peter that totally shocks her. Why did he not tell her the truth? A stranger, Luke, comes looking for Peter, but he did not know he was dead. He also finds out things about Peter he did not know. Peter had told his wife that he did not have any family . Who is Luke and what does he want? I was given a copy of this book as a gift , but was not told that I had to give a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Wow! “A Promise of Hope” by Amy Clipston is a fantastic read! It is the second book in The Kauffman Amish Bakery Series. Sarah Troyer is devastated after her husband Peter dies in a fire. Her heart breaks as she tries to figure out how she will continue living with twins on the way! Luke Troyer arrives in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania with many surprising and shocking details of Peter’s past. Can Sarah trust this stranger that she just met? Will the news that Luke delivers change Sarah’s life forever? The author does a great job relating the characters to circumstances that everyone can relate to including loneliness, brokenness, faith, love and forgiveness. It is always a sweet treat to visit the Kauffman Family in Lancaster County. Make sure you leave extra time when you sit down to read this book because once you pick it up, you won’t be setting it down anytime soon!
Sarah Rose Troyner is learning to cope with the loss of her husband Peter from a tragic fire where he worked. Sarah is trying to cope with the knowledge that Peter will never know his child which just breaks Sarah's heart even more. Sarah is living with her parents The Kauffmans because she can't face being in the home that Peter built for them. Little did Sarah know that her life is about to take an unexpected turn that will have far reaching effects not only for her but for her entire family. Luke Troyner, Peter's older brother, gets unexpected visitor at the woodworking shop in Ohio from DeLana Maloney. DeLana informs Luke that she hasn't heard from Peter in a couple of months and wonders if he's heard from Peter himself. Luke tells DeLana that he's not heard from Peter in over eight years which surprises DeLana. Luke tells DeLana that he'll go in search of answers regarding Peter himself. Luke travels to Bird-in-Hand what he discovers not only shocks and surprises him but breaks his heart in the process. Luke learns that Peter died in a fire and left a young pregnant widow that is carrying twins which she just learned. Timothy Kauffman doesn't like Luke very much and is afraid that he'll cause more trouble and harm to his sister Sarah Rose. Luke doesn't know what to expect or how to feel about all of this information. Yet he knows that he wants to be apart of Sarah Rose and twins lives to honor Peter's memory. Yet Luke's arrival leaves Sarah Rose with many questions about her life with Peter and wondering why Peter lied to her as well. The more Luke gets to know Sarah Rose, he's convinced that he's right where he's supposed to be. But when Sarah Rose discovers the truth about Luke she feels even more betrayed. Can Sarah Rose get past her pain and hurt to forgive Peter? Can Sarah Rose forgive Luke as well? What plans does God have for Sarah Rose and her family? Will Luke be apart of Sarah Rose and twin's lives? Your answers await you in A Promise of Hope. This book is truly about forgiveness in the face of impossible hurt and suffering. It's all about learning that things happen in God's time not our's which can be very frustrating. God is truly faithful thru out this story.
I have been reading Amish Fiction for at least 10 years and this has been my favorite trilogy. I hope Amy Clipston continues to write more Amish books. She is truly a great writer.
Well Amy has done it again, if you enjoyed her first book you are going to LOVE A Promise of Hope. The only problem I had with it is you cannot put it down once you start, you will not stop,until the vey end, it is her best book yet! I cannot wait until book number three comes out. A Gift of Grace was very good but Amy out did herself on this one. These two books would be great Easter gifts to put in that speacial someones Easter basket.
Once again Amy Clipston shows us her wonderful story telling talents. A Promise of Hope is a book you will not put down from start to finish. Sarah Troyer has experienced tragedy as no one should ever have to experience it. Her husband died in a horrible fire that destroyed her father's Amish furniture business. They had just found out a boppli was expected and were so happy their little family was growing, when Peter was snatched away in death. Her heart is broken and she feels like she will never recover and be happy again. Even learning that she is expecting twins, she still is sad that they will never know their Dat. Luke Troyer is shocked to find out that his brother is dead, and that he was still Amish, and that he had a family. Even more dismaying to Luke is the jealousy he feels because his brother had this wonderful family. He finds himself very attracted to Peter's widow, and is sure that is not a good thing, but he just cannot deny that attraction. A wonderful story of how good can come from the ashes of sorrow and pain. Each book in this series just has you longing for the next one. Amy Clipston truly is a very talented author. DON'T miss this book. 300 pages US $12.99 5 stars This book was provided for review purposes only, no payment was received for this review.