All Six Books Now in One!
Return to Holmes County, Ohio, along with a prodigal son in the complete Amish Millionaire serial drama from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter and her daughter-in-law, Jean. Asking his wealthy and eccentric Amish father for money—again—will strain the already weak bond between Joel Byler, his father, and his sisters. Will the worldly young man ever learn he must pay for his own mistakes—and at what cost to his business, his fiancée, and his Amish family?
The English Son
The Stubborn Father
The Betrayed Fiance
The Missing Will
The Divided Family
The Selfless Act
When Joel Byler, The English Son, returns to Holmes County to ask his wealthy and eccentric Amish father for money—again—he receives a chilly reception.
Eustace Byler, The Stubborn Father, has offered his wayward son enough chances to mature and refuses to fund Joel's frivolous spending.
When Kristi Palmer discovers Joel has squandered money set aside for their future, The Betrayed Fiancée attempts to cut ties.
Then The Missing Will strains already weakened family bonds as greed wars against need.
The Divided Family suffers from sickness and loss while Joel struggles to learn the lesson God has been trying to show him.
Can The Selfless Act of a prodigal son finally heal a broken family and reunite heartbroken lovers?
About the Author
Jean Brunstetter became fascinated with the Amish when she first went to Pennsylvania to visit her father-in-law’s family. Since that time, Jean has become friends with several Amish families and enjoys writing about their way of life. She also likes to put some of the simple practices followed by the Amish into her daily routine. Jean lives in Washington State with her husband, Richard Jr. and their three children, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish communities in several states. In addition to writing, Jean enjoys boating, gardening, and spending time on the beach. Visit Jean's website at www.jeanbrunstetter.com.
New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written close to 90 books translated in four languages. With over 10 million copies sold, Wanda's stories consistently earn spots on the nation's most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards.
Wanda’s ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.
When Wanda visits her Amish friends, she finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties. Wanda enjoys photography, ventriloquism, gardening, bird-watching, beachcombing, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Richard, have been blessed with two grown children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
To learn more about Wanda, visit her website at www.wandabrunstetter.com.
Read an Excerpt
One thing Joel Byler couldn't stand was a dirty car. While the vehicle he'd bought today might be a classic, the exterior needed some help.
Joel was thankful his girlfriend, Kristi Palmer, had gone shopping in Holmes County with her mother and wouldn't be back until Sunday evening. That would give him all weekend to spend with his new car. As soon as he got it washed, he might see if Tom Hunter was free to take a test drive with him.
Joel leaned against his work truck and stared at the tuxedo-black 1967 Corvette Stingray convertible. What a beaut! Even with a layer of dust, it was any man's dream. Well, Joel's anyway. He'd wanted a car like this for a long time and had been watching the ads, as well as going to classic car auctions every chance he got. The sale he'd attended this morning had been surprisingly successful. When this gem came up for auction, Joel couldn't resist. A few others apparently wanted the Corvette as badly as he did, because the bidding shot up quickly. Before Joel realized it, the highest bid was $200,000. In desperation, he upped the bid by $50,000 and won. The only downside was he'd gone way over his budget to get the car, even though with its 435-horsepower engine, the model in this good condition usually sold for more than $300,000.
As a general contractor, cash availability was often feast or famine. Before the most recent job — a big office complex — Joel's cash flow had been on the meager side. Now, after using more than half the money he'd earned from that job to buy the car, the amount left over was not enough to pay all his subcontractors. But Joel felt certain his bid on a huge upcoming job would be chosen and the advance from that would get him out of the jam he'd put himself in. Once he got paid, he'd have money to spare, even after he paid everyone else. And he would finally be able to get the engagement ring Kristi deserved. Joel had already proposed, and she'd said yes, but he didn't have the funds for a ring yet — at least not one big enough to prove his love for her. Kristi had assured Joel she didn't need a fancy ring, but Joel wanted her to have the best. They'd both been saving money for their future together and would eventually use it on a down payment for a house.
Joel turned his attention to the Corvette again. The first order of business was to wash the outside. He paused a minute to study himself in the side mirror, realizing he, too, needed some sprucing up. Besides the streaks of dirt on his face, his thick, dark hair could use a trim. He'd have to get it done before seeing Kristi — and even-up his short beard. As a business owner, he needed to make a good impression on his customers, but he didn't care about his appearance when he was at home.
Joel turned on the outdoor faucet, but before he could grab the end of the hose, it started twirling around under the water pressure, and a blast of chilly water hit Joel square in the face. It also gave his clothes a good soaking, especially the T-shirt, now sticking to him like glue.
He jumped back and wiped his eyes, then grabbed the flailing hose and pointed it at the Corvette. This was not the way he'd planned to take a bath, even though the cool water felt good.
It took Joel almost an hour to get the car clean and dry. He used a sponge to clean off a smudge he'd missed and then rubbed the spot shiny clean with a chamois. About to go inside his single-wide mobile home, Joel paused, watching his friend Tom pull up. Perfect timing. Joel grinned.
Tom got out of his SUV and sauntered up the driveway, where Joel's new car was parked. "Wow! Where'd ya get the good-looking Vette?" Tom let out a low whistle while checking it out.
"Got it at a car auction this morning." Joel pointed to the shiny black hood. "What do you think?"
Tom blew out his breath. "You've either come into a large sum of money, or you're deep in debt. She's sweet all right. Bet this classic had to be expensive."
"It was," Joel admitted.
"So how'd ya swing it?"
"I recently got paid for a big job I completed, so I had the money to pay cash." He chuckled, pulling his fingers through his scruffy short beard. "Well, to be honest, I actually wrote a check."
Tom continued to eyeball the car, walking all around it and then opening the passenger door. "Why don't ya take me for a spin? I bet this Vette has got some get-up-and-go."
"You read my mind. I was planning to drive over to your place to show it to you." Joel tugged on his wet shirttail, wringing out the moisture still left. "Give me a few minutes to get cleaned up, and then we'll take a ride."
"Sounds good." Tom followed Joel up to his single-wide. "Mind telling me what you paid for the car?"
Joel hesitated a few seconds. "Umm ... got it for $250,000."
Tom's mouth dropped open, and he blinked his pale blue eyes a couple of times. "You're kidding, right?"
"Nope. It was my final bid."
"Wow, at this rate you'll be living in a mobile home the rest of your life and never get your dream house built, let alone marry your girlfriend. When Kristi sees your new purchase, I wonder what she'll have to say."
Joel cringed. "I don't plan on letting her see it. At least not right away. So please don't say anything, okay?"
Tom slid his fingers across his lips. "She won't hear it from me. That's a promise." Pointing to the Corvette, Tom's eyes darkened. "How you gonna keep something like this baby hidden from her, Joel? Doesn't Kristi ever go in your garage?"
"I'm not keeping it there. I'm gonna put the Vette in my shop, under a tarp." Joel's deceit didn't bother him that much. He figured he'd tell Kristi about the car when the time was right — maybe after he'd given her a ring and a wedding date had been set. They could go out to dinner in the Corvette to celebrate.
"Sure wish I had enough money saved up to buy an Amish quilt," Kristi commented as she and her mother entered a quilt shop on Main Street. "All the extra money I make goes into the joint account Joel and I opened eight months ago. I won't touch that — not without Joel's permission. We made an agreement when we first opened the account not to take out a penny of the money unless an emergency arose, and then, only with the other person's approval."
Mom tipped her head. "What is this savings account for?"
"Our future — together."
"Has he asked you to marry him?"
Mom took hold of Kristi's left hand. "I don't see a diamond sparkling back at me."
"He hasn't bought me an engagement ring yet, but I'm sure I'll be wearing one soon."
Deep wrinkles formed across Mom's forehead. Her blue eyes, mirroring Kristi's, had lost their sparkle. "I'm sure you're aware of what the Bible says about being unequally yoked with unbelievers."
"Yes, Mom, I'm aware of what the Bible says, plus you have mentioned it often enough."
"But you're not listening. If you were, you would have broken up with Joel by now."
"I love him, Mom. Besides, he's gone to church with me every Sunday for the past two months."
"Going to church and becoming a believer are two different things. Has Joel told you he's become a Christian?"
Kristi shook her head. "Not in so many words, but —"
"He might only be going to church for your sake — to make you believe he's something he's not. Joel seems to be nice enough, but from what I can tell, he's not spiritually grounded."
Irritation welled in Kristi's soul. She wished her mother would stop harping on this. Mom didn't realize how much Kristi loved Joel. She apparently didn't see the good in him either. "I doubt Joel's only going to church for my sake, Mom. He promised he'd go to church tomorrow, even though I won't be with him because you and I will be worshipping at the Mennonite church we saw near our hotel in Walnut Creek."
Mom didn't say anything as she moved to the next aisle full of more quilts, but Kristi was fully aware of her mother's reservations about Joel. Kristi pursed her lips. Aren't we supposed to look for the good in others? How come Mom can't do that with Joel?
She rummaged through her purse to find her cell phone. When she touched the smooth object with her fingers, Kristi clenched the phone and took it out of her bag. Maybe I ought to call Joel and remind him about going to church. No! She immediately dropped the phone back in. He might think I was treating him like a child. He told me he would go, and I believe him.
Kristi had learned many things about Joel in the year and a half they'd been dating. One thing stood out more than the rest: He didn't like to be told what to do. When she'd first met him, he wasn't willing to attend church at all. At least he went with her now, and that's what mattered. While Joel didn't talk about spiritual things, Kristi had noticed how easily he could find scripture passages when the pastor preached his messages. When she'd asked Joel about this, he'd merely explained he'd grown up going to church and the Bible had been crammed down his throat. When she'd asked for more details, he'd said he didn't want to talk about it.
Joel never spoke of his family. Kristi couldn't help wondering why. Since he had asked her to marry him, she figured it was time to meet his folks. When she'd brought up the topic, Joel informed her that his family was different, and Kristi wouldn't have anything in common with them; then he'd quickly changed the subject. Kristi realized it was best not to press the issue and hadn't brought it up again. But it didn't keep her from wondering what Joel's family was like and how they would be different from her. Someday, when Joel was in the right mood, she would broach the subject again. It wouldn't be right to marry Joel when she had no knowledge of his family other than being told they were different. Surely, Joel would want to invite them to the wedding.
Shaking her thoughts aside, Kristi moved to the next aisle, where Mom stood, studying a quilted wall hanging. Her mother had recently gotten her auburn hair cut in a shorter style. It made her look younger than her fifty years. "Goodness gracious, even this quilted piece is expensive," Mom commented when Kristi joined her.
"The price is a shocker, but it's worth every penny." Kristi pointed to the nearly invisible hand stitching. "A lot of work goes into making one of these."
"I can see that." Mom shook her head, clicking her tongue. "I can sew a straight seam, but I might not have the patience to make a quilt, or even a hanging such as this."
"If I wasn't working long hours at the nursing home, I'd try making a quilt." Kristi smiled. "Of course, someone would have to teach me, because even with a quilt pattern, I would have no idea where to begin."
"It's apparent how important nursing is to you. Honestly, though, Kristi, you need to make time to do some fun things for yourself."
"I do," Kristi was quick to respond. "In fact, Joel and I are going out for supper one evening next week."
Mom's lips compressed. "I wasn't talking about going on dates. I meant doing something creative just for you. They give quilting lessons here in the store. Maybe the two of us could sign up for one."
Kristi mulled over her mother's suggestion. "It's a nice idea, but I'd have to attend on a Saturday, and I like to keep my weekends free to spend with Joel."
"You're here now, and he didn't object." Her brows furrowed. "Or did he?"
Kristi shook her head. "A quilt class would probably mean coming here several Saturdays in a row in order to complete the quilt. Besides, it's a bit of a drive from Akron down here to Holmes County, and as I said, Joel and I usually do something together on Saturdays."
Mom held up her hand. "I understand. You want a quilt, but you can't afford to buy one, and you don't want to be away from Joel long enough to make one."
Kristi cringed. The curt tone of her mother's voice was all she needed as a reminder of how much Mom disapproved of Joel. She and Dad don't know Joel as well as I do. He's smart, good-looking, and a successful businessman. Once he's fully committed to the Lord, he will make a great husband.
"Why don't we get some lunch?" Kristi suggested, realizing she needed to change the subject. "There's a restaurant next to our hotel in Walnut Creek we should try."
"Since you mentioned it, I am kind of hungry." Mom moved up the aisle, and Kristi followed. After lunch she hoped to check out a few of the Amish- owned businesses in the area.
Kristi wasn't sure why, but she was fascinated with the Amish culture and wanted to learn as much as possible about it.
Walnut Creek, Ohio
"How's your meal?" Mom asked as she and Kristi sat at a table near a window in Der Dutchman Restaurant.
Kristi licked her lips. "The chicken is delicious — crispy on the outside and tender inside. I'm glad we chose this place to have lunch."
"Yes, and our waitress has been so attentive." Mom motioned to the young Amish woman who had left their table after filling the glasses with fresh iced tea. "I'll make sure to leave her a nice tip."
Kristi smiled. Mom had always been good about leaving generous tips when she'd had exceptional service. It was a good example for Kristi, and she remembered to do the same.
As they continued eating their meal, Mom mentioned the beautiful weather. "We picked the perfect time for this weekend getaway — nice even temperature and not much humidity, which is unusual for August."
"I agree." Kristi blotted her lips with a napkin. "Some summers it's been so hot and humid it was hard to be outdoors." She glanced out the window at a passing horse and buggy, wondering how it would feel to ride in one of them. She'd seen an Amish man across the street from the hotel offering rides for a reasonable price. Maybe after lunch, before they got back in Kristi's car, she would suggest they take a buggy ride.
Before taking a sip of iced tea, Kristi looked out another window, where the horse and buggies were parked. She watched in awe as an elderly couple was about to leave. The Amish woman held the reins of the horse while her husband, a bit shaky on his feet, got in. Once he was settled in the buggy, she handed him the reins. Keeping her eyes peeled to the window, Kristi watched as he backed the horse up and guided their buggy toward the road.
"Is there anything else I can bring for you?" their waitress asked, stepping up to the table. "A piece of pie or some ice cream?"
"Both sound good, Doris, but I'm too full." Mom nudged Kristi's arm. "How about you? Do you have room for dessert?"
Kristi placed both hands on her stomach, glancing one last time out the window. "As good at it sounds, I don't have space for another bite."
When the waitress smiled, Kristi noticed her flawless complexion, offset by dark brown eyes with long lashes. Not much of her hair showed under her stiff white head covering, but what did show was a dark brown color.
I wonder how it would feel to dress in plain clothes. Kristi looked down at her pale green blouse and darker green capris. She was tempted to ask the young woman if she wore the white cap all the time or only when she was in public. Mom would have been embarrassed by her blunt question, and the Amish woman might think she was rude.
"Thank you for coming in. You can pay your bill up front." The young woman placed the piece of paper on the table beside Mom's plate. Apparently she assumed Mom would be the one paying the bill.
After the waitress walked away, Kristi leaned closer to Mom and whispered, "How come you called her Doris? I don't believe she ever told us her name."
"She was wearing a name tag — Doris Schrock. Didn't you see it?"
"I guess not. I did notice her pretty brown eyes though. They're almost the same color as Joel's."
Mom quirked an eyebrow. "You're comparing the Amish woman to Joel? Is he all you have on your mind today, Kristi?"
"Of course not. I thought of Joel when I saw her pretty brown eyes."
"Maybe they're related. He does have an Amish-sounding last name."
"But you said her last name was Schrock, not Byler."
Mom heaved a sigh. "I was only teasing, Kristi. Joel is obviously not Amish. He drives a car, uses electricity in his mobile home, and dresses like other non-Amish men do."
Kristi crossed her arms. "I know Joel pretty well, Mom, and besides, this is a silly discussion." She reached for the check. "Lunch is on me, and when we leave here, I want to go on a buggy ride."
Mom's forehead wrinkled. "I thought we were going to do some more shopping. Didn't you say you wanted to check out a few of the Amish-owned businesses in the area?"
"Yes, I do, but we can do it after the buggy ride."
"You go ahead if you want to. I'm not interested in going for a ride. I'll sit on the bench in front of the hotel and wait for you."
Excerpted from "The Amish Millionaire"
Copyright © 2016 Wanda E. Brunstetter and Jean Brunstetter.
Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc.
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.