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Six new cooking class students. New friendships form, a romance blossoms, and hearts receive healing nourishment. Will Heidi’s own hurting heart also be healed?
Despite stressful changes occurring in their lives, Lyle and Heidi once again open their Ohio home up to those seeking to learn about Amish cooking. This time a teenager helping her divorced dad cook for the family, a caterer needing new recipes, a food critic, a hunter looking to impress his buddies, a wife given the class as an unwanted gift, and a mailman lured in by the aroma of good cooking gather around Heidi’s table.
During each class, Heidi teaches culinary skills, but it is her words of wisdom that have a profound effect on her students—though, this time Heidi’s own hurting heart will need some healing nourishment.
This is the second book in The Amish Cooking Class series.
Book #1: The Amish Cooking Class - The Seekers
About the Author
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
Walnut Creek, Ohio
Heidi Troyer's skin prickled as a gust of wind blew into her kitchen. After peeling and cutting an onion to go in the savory meat loaf she was making for supper, she'd opened the window a few minutes ago to air out the room.
Glancing into the yard, Heidi watched as newly fallen leaves swirled over the grass. Across the way, freshly washed laundry she'd hung on the line a few hours ago fluttered in the unseasonably cool breeze. Even the sheets made a snapping noise when the wind played catch and release.
They'd soon be saying goodbye to the month of August, and Heidi was glad. A long dry spell had caused some of the trees to drop their leaves early, and the rustling of those still clinging to the branches sounded like water rushing down a well-fed stream after a heavy rain.
"I wish it would rain. Even a drizzle would be nice." Heidi looked toward the sky, but not a single puffy cloud was in sight. September was a month of transition, teetering between warm, summer-like days and cool, comfortable nights, so maybe the rain would come soon. She looked forward to its fresh, clean scent, not to mention it removing the necessity of watering her flowerbeds and garden.
Heidi glanced at the plot where she'd planted a variety of vegetables in the spring. The potatoes and other root vegetables still needed to be dug and put in the cellar, and she wanted to get the chore done before Kendra's baby was born and the adoption became official. Once the infant came, Heidi would put her full attention on raising the child. She'd already made the decision not to teach any more cooking classes — at least not until her son or daughter was older and didn't require round-the-clock attention. Heidi certainly couldn't teach and take care of the precious baby, and she didn't want to juggle between the two — especially after waiting so long to become a mother.
Heidi's senses were heightened, and she giggled out loud as she visualized herself holding the infant while stirring a batch of cookie dough. After being married to Lyle for eight years and finding herself still unable to conceive, the idea of soon becoming a mother was almost more than she could comprehend. In a matter of weeks, her dream would finally come true. How thankful she was that Kendra had moved into their home and agreed to let them adopt her child. Once the baby was born and Kendra got her strength back, she would find a better-paying job and move out on her own. It wouldn't be right to ask her to leave until she was physically and financially ready.
Heidi sighed. What a shame Kendra's parents turned their back on her and she felt forced to give up her baby. But then if they hadn't, Lyle and I would not have been given the opportunity to raise Kendra's child.
Satisfied the onion smell was gone, Heidi took one more breath of the late summer-scented air, then closed the window and took a seat at the table. She owed her aunt Emma a letter and would start writing it while the meat loaf cooked. Maybe by the time supper was ready, Kendra would be back from her doctor's appointment, and Lyle from Mt. Hope, where he'd put his auctioneering skills to good use most of the day.
I can hardly wait for us to be sharing a warm meal at the kitchen table, so I can hear about the events of their days. Heidi was most anxious to get updates on Kendra's doctor's appointment. She'd offered to go with her this afternoon, as she had several other times since Kendra moved in with them. Today, however, Kendra had said she had a few stops to make after seeing the doctor and didn't want to take up Heidi's day.
I wouldn't have minded. I enjoy being with Kendra. Heidi's nose tickled, and she rubbed it, trying to stifle a sneeze. Smelling onion on her fingers, she wet her hands under the faucet, then rubbed them along the sides of their stainless steel sink. After a few seconds, she smelled her fingers again and was amazed the onion scent was gone. Heidi didn't know how it worked, but she was glad her friend Loretta had recently given her this unusual tip.
"I'll have to keep this in mind to share with my students once I decide to start up the cooking classes again." Heidi wrote a note to remind her, since it would be a good while before she taught more classes.
After she stuck the note in her recipe box, Heidi turned her attention to a daily devotional book lying near her writing tablet. She read Psalm 9:1, the verse for the day, out loud: "'I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.'"
Closing her eyes and bowing her head, Heidi prayed: "Thank You, Lord, for Your many blessings. I praise You with my whole heart for all Your wonderful works. Thank You for this day, and for my family and friends. Protect us, and shower Your people with many blessings. Amen."
Heidi had no more than finished her prayer when she heard a car pull into the yard. She went to the window and looked out, smiling as she watched Kendra get out of her driver's car. Since Kendra didn't have a vehicle of her own, she'd hired one of Heidi and Lyle's drivers to take her into town. If Heidi had gone with her, they might have traveled by horse and buggy; although it would have taken them longer.
Keeping an eye on Kendra, as she made her way toward the house, Heidi couldn't help noticing her slow steps, and how she pursed her lips, while holding her stomach, as though in pain.
Heidi's shoulders tightened as she rushed to open the door. She hoped the doctor hadn't given Kendra unsettling news today.
"Sorry I'm late." Kendra entered the house, avoiding eye contact with Heidi, and took a seat at the kitchen table. "We need to talk." She pushed a lock of auburn hair behind her ears.
Heidi pulled out a chair and sat. "What is it, Kendra? Is everything okay with the baby?"
"No, not in a physical sense at least." Kendra's brown eyes looked ever so serious as she took the seat next to Heidi.
"What do you mean?"
The young woman's shoulders curled as she bent her neck forward. "The whole way here, I thought about how I should tell you this." Kendra took a shuddering breath. "And still, I don't know where to begin."
Heidi held her hands in her lap, gripping her fingers into her palms. "Please, tell me what it is you need to say."
"Well, the thing is ..." Kendra shifted in her chair. "Miracle of miracles — my dad called my cell phone this morning. He asked if I'd be free to come by his office this afternoon." She paused and drew a quick breath. "I went there after I left the doctor's office, and ..." Her voice faltered, and she paused to swallow before continuing. "He said it had been a mistake to kick me out of the house after I told him and Mom I was pregnant."
Heidi smiled. "That's good news, Kendra. I've been praying for it to happen. I hope things will be better between you and your parents from now on."
"Yeah, well, Dad wants me to move back home so he and Mom can help raise the baby."
"Raise the baby?" Heidi blinked rapidly, her breath bursting in and out. "Does this mean you've changed your mind about Lyle and me adopting your child?" Kendra gave a slow nod. "Since my parents are willing to help, there's no reason for me to give up the baby now. And since the contract the lawyer drew up says ..."
Heidi held up her hand. "I know what it says; although I never expected you would go back on your word."
"I ... I wasn't planning to, but things have changed." A few tears trickled down Kendra's cheeks. "I never wanted to give up my baby; you have to know that. I only agreed to it because I had no support and knew I couldn't take care of a child by myself." She touched Heidi's hands: both of them had turned cold. "I can see you're disappointed, and I'm sorry, but I hope you understand."
Understand? Heidi's stomach clenched, and she pressed the wad of her apron against it. She sat in stunned silence, unable to form a response. The tension felt so strong, she could almost touch it. It didn't seem possible, after all these months of Kendra living with them, that she had changed her mind. Heidi wanted to be happy for the young, pregnant woman sitting at her table. It was good Kendra had reconciled with her parents and been invited to move back home. But Kendra's decision to keep the baby put a hole in Heidi's heart — one she felt sure would never close. Her dream of holding a tiny baby she could call her own was just that — only a dream. The walls in this house would not echo with the laughter of children. Tiny feet would never patter across the floor. No chubby arms would reach out for a hug. Heidi fought for control. The ringing in her ears was almost deafening.
She glanced toward the hall, knowing the nursery that had already been set up would have to be dismantled. All the baby blankets and clothes would have to be packed away. The crib would be disassembled. She'd have Lyle haul it out to the barn, for having the crib in the house would be a painful reminder of their loss. Heidi didn't even want to look at it now.
She thought about the scripture she'd quoted several moments ago and wondered if she would ever praise the Lord again.
Less than an hour later, Heidi checked on the meat loaf, decided it was done, and turned the oven temperature to low. It was all she could do to get supper ready for when Lyle got home. Kendra's shocking announcement numbed her mind. She wondered what Lyle's reaction would be when he heard the news.
Kendra came into the kitchen and stood watching as Heidi took a sack of potatoes from the pantry. "Would you like help getting supper ready?" she asked.
"We need a kettle for boiling the potatoes." Heidi could barely make eye contact with the young woman. Truth was, she wished she could be alone to deal with her grief.
Kendra went to the lower cupboard and took out a medium-size pot. "I'll add water to the kettle and set it on the propane burner to heat."
Without a word, Heidi slid over the jars of home-canned beans she'd taken out earlier. After removing the lids, she dumped the contents into a kettle and sprinkled some leftover onion bits on top. She stirred them around a bit, set the lid in place, and put the pan on the stove. She felt like a robot, merely going through the motions of preparing their meal.
"Is there anything else I can do?" Kendra waited by the stove.
"We'll have iced tea to drink. Could you make that while I cut up a few carrot and celery sticks?" Heidi glanced at Kendra. This meal will be so awkward. I'd give anything if Kendra's decision wasn't absolute.
Her hands trembled as she took out the carrots and began slicing them. She wished it was still morning and things were as they had been before Kendra's shocking announcement. Is there even a chance she might think things over and change her mind? Is it right to cling to that hope?
"When I'm done making the tea, I'll set the dining-room table." Kendra put the tea bags in the pitcher of hot water.
"Okay." Heidi washed celery stalks and cut those as well, pausing briefly to glance at the clock. Lyle would be home soon, and he'd be hungry. Her insides twisted; she had no appetite at all.
Silently, Kendra got out the plates, silverware, napkins, and three glasses. She placed them on a large tray and headed for the dining room, elbows tucked into her sides. This had to be difficult for her, too. Heidi and Kendra had become close during the months she'd been living here. Heidi felt sure the young woman did not want to hurt her. But she had, and Heidi needed to come to grips with it, despite her disappointment.
A few minutes later, as Heidi watched the water bubbling over the potatoes, she heard the familiar sound of Lyle's horse and buggy pull in. She glanced at the timer on the counter. The potatoes had ten more minutes to go. It felt like it was a countdown to the moment she would give Lyle the news. Should I tell him before supper or wait until we've finished eating? Either way, there simply wasn't a good time nor an easy way to say it.
The back door squeaked open and clicked shut. A few seconds later, Lyle entered the kitchen, carrying his lunch box. He placed it on the counter, then pulled off his straw hat and smoothed back his thick auburn hair. "How was your day, Heidi? Did everything go well here?"
She moved away from the stove and gave him a much-needed hug. At the moment, Heidi felt so overwhelmed she could barely speak.
"You're trembling, Heidi. Is something wrong?" He patted her back gently. "Wasn't Kendra supposed to see the doctor today?"
"Jah." Heidi's voice sounded muffled as she held her face close to his chest, hoping to draw strength from his embrace.
"There's nothing wrong with the boppli, I hope."
"No, Kendra's baby's fine."
Kendra came into the room just then. "Are we about ready to eat?"
"Almost." The timer for the potatoes went off, and Heidi stepped back to the stove to shut off the burner. The beans were also well heated, so she turned them off, too. "I'll set everything on the dining-room table, and we can take our seats." She'd already decided not to tell Lyle about Kendra changing her mind regarding the adoption until they were alone this evening. It would be too difficult to say it in front of Kendra.
"Okay, just let me get washed up." Lyle gave Heidi's arm a tender squeeze before he left the room.
Kendra picked up the amber-brewed tea sitting near the refrigerator. She also got out a tray full of ice before turning to face Heidi. "Lyle doesn't know about me moving back with my folks, does he?"
"No, I haven't said anything yet." Heidi's voice caught in her throat. She picked up a pair of pot holders, opened the oven door, and brought out the meat loaf. After placing it on a platter, she sliced up their main course.
Kendra paused a minute, blinking rapidly, then without a word, she made a hasty exit with the tea and ice cubes.
Soon Lyle returned from washing up and offered to carry the meat loaf to the table. Heidi gave a brief nod and followed him with the beans and potatoes. Then, remembering the carrots and celery that had been sliced, she returned to the kitchen to get the container. When Heidi returned to the dining room, she took a seat across from Kendra, and they all bowed for silent prayer. Lyle sat at the head of the table, and he cleared his throat when he'd finished praying. Heidi took this as a cue, and she lifted her head. It had been difficult to even formulate a prayer. Although she was thankful for the food on their table, she felt no gratitude for the fact that her hopes and dreams of being a parent had been crushed. She couldn't let it defeat her, though; she had to be strong.
After the food was passed around, Lyle looked over at Kendra and smiled. "I was asking Heidi about your appointment earlier. How did it go?"
Kendra picked up her iced tea and took a drink. "Umm ... It went fine. The doctor said the baby and I are doing okay."
"Good to hear." As if sensing Heidi's gloomy mood, Lyle reached over and lightly touched her arm. "You're not eating much."
Her lips quivered. "I–I'm not really hungry tonight."
"How come?" He reached for the bowl of potatoes and helped himself to several pieces. "Did you have too much to eat for lunch?"
Before Heidi could respond, Kendra blurted, "I believe it's my fault Heidi's not hungry. She's upset." She paused and looked at Heidi before continuing. "I can't blame her, and I'm sure you'll be upset, too, with what I have to tell you."
Lyle's brows drew together. "What is it, Kendra?"
"I've changed my mind about giving up my baby."
His eyebrows shot straight up. "What?"
Kendra explained the situation and said her parents wanted her to move back home. "I'll be packing up my things and leaving in the morning."
Heidi wished Kendra hadn't said anything — especially during their meal. Her shoulders slumped as she dropped her gaze and stared at her uneaten food. Heidi felt her husband's eyes upon her, and she couldn't help wondering what Lyle must be thinking right now. Her heart felt like it couldn't sink any lower. It's so unfair. How could this be happening to Lyle and me?
Excerpted from "Amish Cooking Class The Blessing"
Copyright © 2017 Wanda E. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Saturday, July 29, 2017 Amish Cooking Class - The Blessing by Wanda E. Brunstetter, © 2017 The Amish Cooking Class series, Book 2 Releases August 1, 2017 This is the second book in The Amish Cooking Class series. Book #1: The Amish Cooking Class - The Seekers My Review: In Book 1 of this series, there were five students in Heidi Troyer's first cooking class ~ this story almost had five students too ~ until the Troyers' mailman gets a whiff of Heidi's cooking as she opens the door for a package too big for their mailbox. Missing the first class that morning, he is eager to catch up! Others in Heidi's class share their lives ~ unexpectedly ~ as they become more comfortable with themselves and their decisions outside of class. Heidi's addition of a Scripture verse on the back of the recipe note card goes home with them ~ and their hearts. Praying for them during the week, Heidi wonders which one or ones the Scripture is meant for as they return for the continuation of the six cooking lessons. I liked how one member of the class aided another anonymously to relieve their overload. The recipient hears a conversation and is thankful to be able to share appreciation. Beyond Heidi's recipes, lives are touched. Not initially realizing their isolation, new friendships are formed. The author's story is conversational as the daily happenings of the five participants are followed and interchanged within a chapter. Characters from the first book are intermittently referred to in continuation of their lives and interaction to Heidi and her husband. Heidi's recipes she taught in this second class are included in the back of this book. You will look forward to 200+ practical recipes in the spiral bound Amish Cooking Class Cookbook releasing in February 2018, and... book 3 in this series: Amish Cooking Class - The Celebration releases then too! ***Thank you to Barbour's Review Crew for inviting me to join in this second book and sending me a copy. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
Heidi and Lyle are a married Amish couple who are unable to have children, and are in the process of adopting a baby from a young unwed Englisher woman who is pregnant. Lyle is an auctioneer, who travels a lot, so his wife has a lot of extra time on her hands and has decided to host her second Amish Cooking School in her home, 6 classes one held every other Saturday. The students: Todd-critical & self-centered Lisa-caterer, looking for new ideas or recipes for her clients Bill-divorced, spends a lot of time with his hunting buddies at his cabin, but he always has to cook and he needs HELP! Nicole-high school student, she has two younger siblings and a father at home-her mom is a drunk who walked out on the family and is living with some creepy guy, so Nicole has to cook, clean and do her school work and is failing at all three. Her dad gave her the cooking lessons, so maybe the family could get some good food. Lance-Heidi's mailman, he happened by, smelled good things, missed the first class, but joined right in. Allie-Her police officer husband gave her the gift of the cooking classes, she's not sure if she'll like them or not. Heidi gives each participant an index card with the recipe printed on it and also a Bible verse on it, that she hopes will help each person, or at least get them to stop and think. As they journey through her classes, Heidi wonders if there will be any romance as there was in her first class. She and Lyle receive a stunning blow when they find out that offer of the baby that they were adopting was retracted, and the mother decided to keep her baby. They both wonder will they never get to be parents? Allie, suggests that they become foster parents, so they discuss it and decide to go for it. As the classes are coming to a close, Nicole finds out that an anonymous donor has paid for a housekeeper to come once a week until school is out-lifting a Huge burden from her shoulders. She is finally able to enjoy the cooking class and enjoy life a little. Todd is slowly finding Jesus Christ and he and Lisa may have a budding romance. Bill has become closer to God and his own son Brent and for that he is thankful. Lance is truly happy. Heidi and Lyle are awaiting their first children. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Back with Heidi and Lyle as she gears up for a new cooking class, they revisit (sometimes ever so briefly by letter) with the previous students and we meet an entire new group of students. Might as well meet them right? Allie is the wife of a cop with two young children. Honestly? She annoyed me a bit. Lisa, a caterer, is interesting and I'd like to know more about her. Todd, the restaurant critic, is about as arrogant and self-important as you can imagine he is. Bill, the head janitor confuses me a bit. I can't get a good initial read on him. Nicole, just a teenager with adult responsibilities on her plate, is everything a teenager is. But she kinda annoys me too. And a late addition to the class is Lance, the mail carrier, who leaves me a bit confused and I don't really feel the bond with him positive or negative. I feel like this book may be a smidge better than the first one (The Seekers) but it's a toss up really. Wanda develops the characters so well and despite the limited time each character truly gets she builds great backstories that merge well into the kitchen. Kendra is back with a precious baby while Loretta has joined the Amish faith officially. It was like settling in with old friends again while learning new people and getting glimpses of past people. I loved seeing how Heidi takes her simple charm, her innocent confidence, and her open heart and opens up the students to herself and each other. The ending left room for a third book and for that I am super excited to find out about. Wanda just makes you feel good and this series is a warm hug each time you get to settle in and chat with Heidi and her students. I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Wanda E. Brunstetter through Barbour Publishing and NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
The Blessing by much-loved author Wanda Brunstetter, continues her new series, Amish Cooking Class. There is no disappoint here with this second story of Heidi Troyer and her cooking class! As a young, childless Amish wife dealing with disquieting circumstances decides to have another class, She wonders what would she learn from this group of students. Individuals from all walks of life have opted to gather for six classes on Amish cooking. A teen burdened with the cooking at home, a hunter who gets teased by his buddies for his cooking skills or lack thereof, a policeman's wife, the head maintenance man at a high school, along with a caterer with a budding career, and a food critic with a somewhat negative attitude make up this eclectic group. The author keeps the reader's interest as these six individuals interact with and begin to share their lives with Heidi and each other. Some situations are a little predictable and yet there are some twists and turns that keep the pages turning. Although a sweet story, the author expertly touches on some very tough and heartbreaking subjects as she writes of childlessness, single parenting, and alcoholism and its disruptive and alienating effect on families. There is a little romance, a little angst about a possibly troubled marriage and a little anxiety as a black bear decides to visit one of the attendees. The Blessing is a charming story of people from different cultures and circumstances finding friendship, forgiveness, and faith in a fun setting. Included at the end of the book are the recipes made by the class each week. I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher. A positive review was not required and the opinions expressed are my own.
Encouraged by her husband Lyle, Heidi returns to holding her cooking classes after a heartbreaking decision changes the course of their life. Taking on six students seems to give her hope again and a new chance to share her love of cooking. Each student has different reasons for taking the class, and soon form friendships that bond them in many ways. Since I really enjoyed the first book, I was happy the opportunity came up for me to read this one as well. Each character has their own unique personalities to add to the story. Heidi again shares scriptures on the back of the recipe cards she sends home with them, and I love how they touched each person. She shares her gentle faith and encouragement and you can see how they blossom under her tutelage. There's even a bit of romance at play! Made me smile throughout the book. Well-developed characters, yummy recipes in the back of the book to try, friendships formed, and gentle faith shared changes the lives of all in this delightful story. I'm looking forward to the next book in this series! *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. *
The Blessing is 2nd in the Amish Cooking Class series, and I like it even better than the first. It is so well written that I can almost see Heidi’s neat, efficient kitchen with scents of coffee, tea, and spices. The characters are likable, and their lives begin to intertwine in exciting ways. Heidi Troyer and her husband Lyle have been married for several years but have not had a child. She held her first cooking class series in “The Seekers”; it shared her knowledge and prayers while giving her something to focus on. The first class was very successful. The students were better, more confident cooks and grew closer to the Lord. A stellar outcome is that one of the students, pregnant and alone, came to live with Heidi until her baby would be born. Kendra was confident the Troyers would provide an excellent home and chose them to adopt her baby. The Troyers prepared for a newborn in their home. Before the birth, Kendra’s father calls and gave permission for her to return home, have her child and get on her feet again. Thus, she returns home and decides that since she can live with her family, she will also keep her baby. Heidi is heartbroken, but understands. Heidi starts another cooking class series with six new students with a diversity of ages and backgrounds. She continues to teach how to make various Amish dishes, giving each student a recipe card with the recipe of the day, with a scripture verse on the back of the card. She has not asked if anyone has a faith background; she simply shares a scripture meaningful to her and leaves the results to the Lord. The members of this class have shared little about themselves. One young woman, a caterer, is happy to have new ideas to offer her clients. A single man plans to make some of the foods when he and his buddies go deer hunting. One woman, the wife of a police detective, unknowingly shares a potential treasure to Heidi: there is a need for good, qualified foster homes. Most people we meet in the novel are Heidi’s students and their families. Heidi is well defined, and we learn quite a bit about each student as we see an overview of their most challenging moments between classes. Dialog is the primary means of defining each character. I would love to have Heidi for a neighbor; she has so much to offer students of all ages. This novel drew me in from the first page with realistic characters and situations, and didn’t let go until turning the last page. Each character has at least one, some several, conflicts. Seeing how each handles their pain or frustration shows the reader that no matter how great a life looks from the outside, there is always something painful from the inside. Whether Heidi learns about it or not, the scripture verses get into the heart of each student. This is a delightful novel, showing real challenges people face, some life and death. As in the first in series, I like how the author shows the prayers of those who have relationships with the Lord, and how Heidi tries to work through her grief upon. This author is a wonderful storyteller, with believable characters facing challenges that many of us do. She demonstrates how a person of faith walks and prays through challenges and the resulting miracles that can occur. I highly recommend The Blessing to everyone who appreciates contemporary Amish novels that share faith, friendship, and yummy recipes. From a grateful heart: I received this eBook from the publisher and NetGalley, and this is my honest review.
Wanda E. Brunstetter has come up with another amazing book titled, AMISH COOKING CLASS: THE BLESSING. A wonderful title! Also a great title cover! It holds your attention. Very believable characters that really touched this reader's heart. I loved all of them; especially Heidi and Lyle. They welcomed me into their home with open arms, and I walked right in along with her students. In fact, I felt like I was one of her students. With a slight twist of mystery, a spoon full of betrayal, a bit of heart-warming drama, a touch of romance, and a pinch of curiosity makes for an excellent read. What secrets will these people reveal? I can't wait to hear what each one has to say. Will there be some surprises along the way? Maybe. Will these students learn something besides how to make delicious recipes? As our story unfolds, and the action gets under way, I can't wait to find out what new adventures are about to occur. Plus; There was this amazing tip I learned about. You need to get this book and learn all about it. Great read!
Wanda Brunstetter has done it again in her newest book, The Blessing, the second book in the Amish Cooking Class series. This story picks up where the first story left off. Heidi Troyer is once again faced with a huge disappointment and her husband suggests that she teach another cooking class to help keep her busy and keep her mind off of things she can't change. In this book, we get to catch up a few of the characters from the first book, The Seekers, as well as 6 new members in Heidi's new cooking class, a teenage girl, a janitor, a mailman, a caterer, a food critic, and an unhappy policeman's wife. Each of these members bring along their own story to the mix and while each ones story is told seperately, many of them wind up becoming intertwined and they all end up learning how to find and give forgiveness, let go of the past, show compassion and love to others, and each see a touch of God in their lives or their need for God through Heidi's scriptures and encouragement. Little did they know that when they all came together for a simple Amish cooking class, that they would end up finding help for themselves as well as helping Heidi to find a way to fill the void in her life for a child. You don't want to miss this book or series! Looking forward to the 3rd book! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Barbour Publishing, but was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts expressed are my own.
About the Book: Return to the Troyer farm where, despite stressful changes occurring in their lives, Joel and Heidi once again open their Ohio home up to those seeking to learn about Amish cooking. This time a teenager helping her divorced dad cook for the family, a caterer needing new recipes, a food critic, a hunter looking to impress his buddies, a wife given the class as an unwanted gift, and a mailman lured in by the aroma of good cooking gather around Heidi's table. More than good food is exchanged, though, as friendships form, a romance blossoms, and hearts are healed." My Review: This is such a sweet, sweet series full of possibilities. We see in this addition to Amish Cooking Class, that the author gives us a broad range of characters to choose from that are full of life. We get a chance to learn all about each of them. Heidi is my favorite of all though because she is so simple in her ways. She places a Bible verse in front of them every day. A subtle way to get God's love in them and soon those seeds start to blossom into beautiful fruit. Each of this year's participants in cooking school have had or are going through their own trails and situations that would cause a major blow to anyone, but Heidi and Joel show them that there is more to this world than even they know. And this beautiful, generous couple model for them the grace and love that the Master does to all of us that believe in Him, every day. A sweet story of love and grace with some romance mixed in! Great read! **Disclosure** This book was sent to me free of charge for my honest review from the author. All opinions are my own.
THE BLESSING by Wanda Brunsetter Amish Cooking Class book 2 Heidi dreams of having a baby, and then she would quit teaching cooking class to raise the baby. Kendra moves back home and with help of parents she is keeping. Heidi did love teaching, has 5 that signed up. Interesting mixture , of who they are, and why they are taking the class. This was a rich description of them in the story, and the support of how the Amish gives to other so freely. These people got so much more then just cooking. Given ARC copy from Net Galley for my voluntary review and my honest opinion.
The Blessing by Wanda E. Brunstetter is a new story about Heidi offering cooking lessons and spiritual lessons as well. Heidi is disappointed when she finds out the expected adoption of a baby will not happen and decides to teach another set of cooking lessons. As with her first class the students are a very diverse group and have signed up for a variety of reasons, some may even be a bit deceitful. Each one has some background issue beyond wanting to learn to cook or cook better. As with her first class, Heidi includes a scripture on the back of each recipe card. Some are annoyed by this as they are not believers or have been in the past but have turned away from God. By the end of the lessons all of the students will have learned to make six new recipes but also hearts will be changed. I enjoyed this as much as the first book. If you haven’t read the first book this one will give you enough background that you won’t feel lost but I believe you will want to read the first book also. Wanda Brunstetter is noted for her stories of the Amish and this one does not disappoint. It is interesting to see how she brings the Amish life and the English life together to interact with each other. The characters are well developed and some you may dislike, especially at first, but there is goodness in everyone and you are led to see that in these characters. The characters are so believable and I was rooting for them. As always, the writing is superb and accurate with details of the area. There are many twists and turns and unexpected ups and downs for the characters the will keep the reader engaged and not wanting to put the book down. I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys Amish fiction. I give this book a 5 of 5 stars. I can hardly wait to read the next one. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
I was excited to read the second installment in Wanda Brunstetter's Amish Cooking Class series. It picks up shortly after the first book, jumping immediately into Heidi and Kendra's stories. Heidi Troyer and her husband have been married several years, but through struggles with infertility have not been able to have a child. Kendra is a pregnant teenager, living with the Troyers after her father kicked her out of the house due to her pregnancy. She is planning to give her baby to the Troyers to adopt. Through some twists and turns, Heidi plans a second Amish cooking class to follow up the success of her first class. This class is joined by 6 students from differing backgrounds: Nicole - a teenager tasked with caring for her younger siblings and father when her mother leaves the family, Bill - a school custodian and hunting fanatic, Todd - a sometimes harsh food critic and newspaper columnist, Lisa - owner of a catering business, Lance - a mailman and widower, Allie - a policeman's wife. Throughout the story, we see growth and personal development of each character as their lives intertwine with current students and paths cross with some of Heidi's previous students. It is nice to "catch up" with characters from the first cooking class as well as become invested in this new group of characters. The story is set up perfectly for the third book in the series and even hints at a future cookbook. All the recipes Heidi teaches in her class are included in the back of the book. Several look like ones I'd like to try. This is a fairly quick read that is perfect for delving a little deeper into Amish life. Like many of Wanda Brunstetter's other books, it's a story that leaves you feeling good and encouraged to improve your own relationships. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.*
So enjoyed catching up with Heidi and her cooking classes, and with the start of this book she is about to start her second series of classes. We meet the new students, and yes I had instant dislike to some of them, but keep reading. We go in-depth into their lives, and find out why they are like they are; will Heidi be able to influence them like she did the previous? I loved that we are updated on the people we meet in the first book, but Kendra has devastating news for Heidi, so sad, but there are the lives of the others we met and find out how things are going for them. Will this new group be as affected by Heidi and her sweet ministering, or will the first impressions be what happens? We finish with some yummy recipes, and they will soon be making it to my table, especially the chicken crumb basket! I loved some of the compassion some of these people showed to their fellow students, and the main lesson here is Forgiveness, so very hard to do, and how Heidi is able to lead them. Another page turning read that you won’t be able to put down once that first page is turned. I received this book through Net Galley and Barbour Publishing, and was not required to give a positive review.
Amish Cooking Class: The Blessing by Wanda E. Brunstetter LOVED this book!! It goes without saying that Wanda E. Brunstetter is a fabulous author. Her writing is easy to read and flows well. This book is number 2 in a series, though you don’t need to read the prior book to enjoy and follow along. Other than the main Character Heidi and her husband, there’s a whole new cast of characters to get to know and enjoy. But some characters from the first book make a quick peek for those of us who want to know how they are doing. Wonderful and enjoyable! Can’t wait for book #3. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
The Blessing is the second book in the Amish Cooking Class series. Heidi Troyer again finds herself with too much time on her hands as she continues to lament that she has no children. With her husband Lyle’s encouragement, she decides to teach another cooking class. Just as in her first group, the individuals are diverse. Much like our own lives, each student comes with their unique set of circumstances and difficulties. Heidi continues to provide recipes and kitchen tips as well as including a meaningful Bible verse. As they learn new recipes, will her cooking class members discover new friendships as well as healing hearts? Most of all will they find forgiveness? Author Wanda E. Brunstetter writes with compassion and an element of faith. Both you will find in abundance in this series. Each book is stand alone, and I recommend reading them all! Also, can’t wait to try some of the recipes included! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a positive review.
In this new book by Wanda Brunstetter, readers are transported back to the Troyer Farm, continuing the Amish Cooking Class series. This story is about Heidi and Lyle making the decision to try running an Amish cooking class from their home again. Who will come? Will it work? Come meet the people who come to learn these cooking recipes and techniques and go away with so much more. The cooking class is meant to help Heidi deal with her sadness over not having children, but so much more happens. Some of the people who attend are: a food critic, a police officer's wife, a teenager, and a mailman. Not all chose to take the class but all are changed by it. Wisdom, friendship, romance, healing. All are important parts of this story. "Food and Friendship Bind Souls in the Amish Kitchen." (from the back of the book) Will Heidi find peace about children in her life? Will the members of the class be able to help each other? This is a wonderful book with a story that pulls you in, I especially love the recipes at the end of the book. They include: baked oatmeal and Amish friendship bread. I enjoyed meeting the characters and learning something as the story progressed. There is also a Discussion Guide at the end, so it makes a great book club book. If you enjoy a good story that deals with food and friendship, this book is for you. I recommend it to everyone. "I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review."
This is the second in the Amish Cooking Class series. We find Heidi Troyer and her husband ready to finally experience parenthood. They had become friends with Kendra, one of her former students, who is now pregnant, living with them and has promised to let them adopt the baby. Circumstances change and now Heidi decides to teach another cooking class to help heal her grieving heart. She takes on 6 new students who each have needs in their lives that we learn about as the book progresses. Heidi teaches flavorful Amish recipes to them, giving them copies of the recipes, along with scriptures written on the back of the recipes. Her prayers for each student, along with the scriptures, impact each student in a special way. I loved this book and look forward to more in the series. It was a very easy, quick read and I highly recommend it to all readers. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
The Blessing is book two in the Amish Cooking Class series written by Wanda E. Brunstetter. When the adoption of a baby falls through, Heidi Troyer decides to have another cooking class. Just like the first class, this one has a mixture of students who bring with them personal issues. Nicole, a teenager that is now responsible for caring for her family has been given the cooking classes by her father. Nicole is failing in school due to all the family responsibilities. Bill is taking the class to learn different things to cook for his friends when they go hunting. He also works at the school Nicole goes to and wants to do something to help her without her knowing. Allie was given the class as a gift from her policeman husband. Allie is questioning why her husband is having to work so much. He is very seldom home and now she sees him with a female officer. Lisa is a caterer who is taking the class to learn new things to use in her catering business. Todd is a food critic who takes the class to write an article. He attends a reception Lisa caters and criticizes her food. They develop a friendship but Lisa refuses to let it become more due to Todd not being a Christian. Lance is a widower who enjoys the smells of Heidi's home when he delivers her mail. He has left his brother stay with him for a while. When this does not work out, Lance arranges for his brother to rent an apartment from Lisa. With the longing to have a family Heidi and her husband start going through the process of becoming foster parents. I am really enjoying this series. I enjoy how Heidi gives the classes to have something to do as well as to help others. I like how the author uses the characters to help each other out with the personal struggles they are going through as well as how the students react to the Bible verses Heidi writes on the recipes. I like how the author uses a variety of backgrounds for the students. The story is like having several little stories built into one. I like that some of the characters from the first story are brought back to this one. For that reason it is important to read this series in order. The theme of Heidi and her husband wanting and not being able to have a child is emotional. Yet they move forward and are open to options for having a family. I especially enjoy the recipes and the discussion questions at the end the book. I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys reading about the Amish and their lifestyle. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
I love this series of Amish Cooking Class books! The Blessing reveals a class of six very different people, three women and three men. One guy with a big ego who does reviews on food and restaurants,another an avid hunter, another a letter carrier, and for the women; the wife of a policeman, a teenage student, and a caterer. I enjoyed how all the various stories come together so well, each of them going through some very rough times. In addition, the leader of the cooking class, Heidi, is struggling since she wants to have children in a desperate way, so the cooking class is supposed to keep her busy to not dwell on babies. As well as the story, there are recipes that were shared in the cooking classes that I plan to make. I actually got hungry while reading this book! Wanda Brunstetter is a master story teller and this book can be read as a stand-alone but the first book in the series would be worth reading first. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
This is an incredible Amish novel! I loved getting to visit with Heidi and Lyle Troyer again. I thoroughly enjoy this couple because they have a strong marriage in which they support and encourage each other. Their marriage is the strong foundation for how the interact with the students in Heidi’s cooking class. The new batch of students is varied and very entertaining to get to know. Each one has their own set of problems to work through over the course of the six classes. Even while she is trying to encourage her students Heidi herself is dealing with personal heartbreak. I loved the appearances of Kendra and some of the other people who were in the first set of classes Heidi held. Their lives have progressed and it is a lot of fun to check in on them. I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion. Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
The Blessing, the next book in the Amish Cooking series by Wanda Brunstetter introduced me to a whole new group of attendees; yet, at the same time, I was able to stay attached to some of the characters from the first book. It was heartbreaking for Heidi and Lyle to have to give up a dream it seemed as though God was fulfilling; yet, it was wonderful as a reader to carry that over into my own life and realize when God closes one door, I can trust that He is opening another, better one. The same was true for Heidi and Lyle, although they wouldn’t figure that out for a while. I loved the themes of redemption, trust, and faith throughout this series. Again, the author supplied the reader with more wonderful recipes to try, with them written out in the back. Great book and it definitely had me wanting to read the last book in the series, The Celebration.
Amish cooking class – blessing has done it again – it has run away with my heart. The author truly makes the characters come to life and that you end up so in love with the characters and what's happening to them because you care for them so very much . In this thing have you have three men and three women with Heidi leaving the class as she opens up to them and they do that to each other. It is such a special book I just love it each person has a story and they each meld into each other beautifully. I received this book from Publisher and Netgalley; all the opinions expressed here in this review are all my own.
The story is set in the Holmes County, Ohio area in modern day. A young Amish couple named Lyle and Heidi Troyer have been married for about 8 years and have not been able to have a child. This has brought a great sadness to her but she continues to trust God as she seeks to deal with this fact. Heidi began to realize she would enjoy reaching out to others through teaching an Amish cooking class. She felt the class would help to keep her mind busy so she would not dwell on the sadness. She decided she would offer to teach in her home every other Saturday for 6 weeks. She began by putting up some flyers around the area. Five people responded to the advertisement. The five people are as varied as can be from one another. She quickly realizes that she will be offering more than recipes and cooking tips as she connects with each student on a personal level. She finds much to pray about for each person that enters her home over the six weeks. The second book continues with some of the relationships from the first book. There is also a whole new cast of cooking students for Heidi’s second class. The cast of characters have real world issues. The book is a gentle read but that does not mean there is not excitement and drama along the way. The books deal with infertility, unwed mothers, suffering with PTSD, adoption, criminal behavior, death of loved ones, persecution of those who choose to live differently, relationship struggles, love and marriage, divorce, alcoholism, and more… I promise there is no perfect person among them. Despite all of this there is great hope for each character if they are willing to embrace a changed life. There are God connections and changed hearts as Heidi opens her home and heart to the surrounding community of English people (those who are not of the Amish faith). I won’t give away more…. no spoilers. Oh, and if you love cooking there are six recipes from Heidi’s class in each book for you to try in your own kitchen. If you love gentle Christian fiction that is well written I think you will enjoy Wanda E. Brunstetter‘s novels. I am now a huge fan of her books. Both books in this Amish Cooking Class series were a joy to read.
The Blessing is book two in the Amish Cooking Class series by Wanda E. Brunstetter. I so love this series. It is packed with faith, hope, heartache, and longing. This story will tug at your heartstrings. If you love Amish fiction then make sure you get a copy of The Blessing. It is a must read book. I received a complimentary copy of this book. This review is my honest opinion 4.5 stars!
I really enjoy the Cooking Class series, learning more about Lyle and Heidi Troyer and Heidi's students from each class she holds. I am always reminded to reach out beyond myself and stay interested in peoples' stories. Everyone has one, and most often it's not the one you expect to hear. I'm looking forward to the next Cooking Class book!