"Much of the credit [for the growth of Amish fiction] goes to Beverly Lewis, a Colorado author who gave birth to the genre in 1997 with The Shunning..."
Of her Old Order parents' five daughters, Tessie Miller is the last to marry. She has her heart set on Amishman Marcus King, but Tessie's father opposes the match.
Impetuously, Tessie and Marcus elope to the English world, then return to Hickory Hollow to live as singles, trusting they'll convince the Millers to give their love a chance over time. But when the unthinkable happens, Tessie faces the almost-certain censure of the People. Will she find a reason for hope in spite of her desperate plight?
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The Last Bride
By BEVERLY LEWIS
Bathany House PublishersCopyright © 2014 Beverly M. Lewis Inc.
All rights reserved.
Tessie Miller would be the first to admit that living at home these days was not nearly as much fun as it used to be. Not since her older sisters—Miriam, Molly, Marta, and Mandy—all married and started families of their own. Their staunch and opinionated father, Ammon Miller, often commented that the evenings had grown quieter and more manageable with the nest nearly empty. All the furtive whispering had nearly vanished, as well as Tessie's sisters' hushed urgings to follow in their matrimonial footsteps right quick, "before all the best fellas get hitched!"
Her father, on the other hand, wasn't too talkative on the subject of Tessie's marriage, even though for the longest time he'd had his eye on the Smuckers' only son, just down Hickory Lane. As a serious church member and an assistant chief for a volunteer fire department, Levi possessed every desirable attribute, and his family was highly regarded in the Lancaster County Plain community.
Presently, Tessie sighed as she scattered feed for the chickens Saturday morning, startling when two of the more feisty ones—Obadiah and Strawberry—flew up too close to her head. She'd insisted on naming them, though her father disapproved of assigning names to animals that were destined for the dinner table. Three other rambunctious chickens began pecking at one another, vying for the desired feed. But Tessie's mind was scarcely on the chickens. Truth be told, Tessie knew she'd break her mother's heart if she eloped with Marcus or any man. Even so, she let her beau's words filter through her mind. While she was willing to embrace his thinking, she wished they could wait to earn her father's favor.
She finished feeding the chickens and went to the barn to check on water for a handful of goats. Tessie still terribly missed the farm where she'd grown up, just two farms away. Oh, the beloved tall, redbrick farmhouse where she and her sisters had learned to follow God's commandments while cooking and helping their mother to clean, sew, and make all kinds of jam. They'd learned to recite the Lord's Prayer in German on the sweeping back porch after eating homemade ice cream on sultry summer evenings. And how could she ever forget the wonderful old two-story barn where leisurely Sunday afternoons were spent swinging on the long rope in the haymow?
But all of that had changed when her sister Mandy married Sylvan Yoder, who promptly took over Dat's steer-raising business. The newlyweds had moved into the coveted old house, kept pristine and in the family for four generations.
Oddly enough, Dat had not waited for Tessie to marry—saving the farm for the youngest son or son-in-law was more typical of Amish families. Why Dat had overlooked her, Tessie still did not know. She had her assumptions, though, and one was that Mandy had been greatly rewarded for yielding to Dat's wishes, marrying the man he'd practically handpicked for her. "Sylvan's like a real son," Mamma qualified once when Tessie timidly inquired as they snapped sugar peas. Tessie had tried not to feel slighted that her father had pushed ahead and not waited till her future husband had the opportunity to accept or reject such a wonderful-good offer. But it miffed her more than she cared to admit.
Wiping her hands on her black apron, Tessie made her way back outside to the picturesque potting shed not far from the one and only Dawdi Haus, where her widowed grandfather lived. The little shed needed a bit of redding up before the cold weather snuck up on them here before long. As she often did, she glanced wistfully across the expansive back lawn near the well pump to survey the house's southern elevation, where verdant vines still scaled the wall. It was much smaller, this house they'd lived in for two years. And merely a house, in her humble opinion. A home was the treasured place where you made family memories retained for always.
The former family home had many more charms. One in particular was the large oak tree that shaded the back porch, with its immense low branches strong enough for a person to climb up to perch and ponder there, something Tessie had been known to do more frequently than Mamma thought necessary.
The trees here weren't nearly as ancient, nor as sturdy, so Tessie occasionally snuck over to Sylvan and Mandy's to sit in her favorite tree. Well, theirs.
She looked now at the pebbled walkway near the potting shed that led over to the woodshed and Mamma's tiered flower gardens, actually kept up by Tessie more than Mamma this past summer. The same path meandered back out to the small horse stable, where they sheltered two chestnut-colored driving horses, Agnes and Bonnie. More like beloved pets, the mares were gentle in spirit and nimble as the wind. Tessie was tempted, at times, to take Agnes out riding, but she couldn't abide her father's certain rebuke, so she avoided riding bareback altogether.
When she'd finished sweeping out the potting shed, Tessie ran back to the house, up the back steps, and through the small mud room just inside the large porch. Dat preferred to wash up there before entering Mamma's tidy kitchen, with its black-and-white squares of linoleum. They'd left the floor as is after moving in, since Dat was a frugal man and redoing the flooring made no sense.
Other aspects of the kitchen looked more modern—the off-white appliances, all gas powered, though one wouldn't know it by their outward appearance. And there was an exceptionally sturdy built-in bookcase on the far wall, near the foot of the table. Mamma had filled it with her large collection of Grace Livingston Hill and Janette Oke books. Mamma had never been warned against reading fiction, and she'd placed the books up front and center. Of course Dat had no idea they were made-up stories, and Mamma, wise as she was, hadn't clarified that one way or the other.
I guess what Dat doesn't know won't hurt Mamma, thought Tessie as she hurried to the large basin to wash her hands.
"Would ya run this over to Dawdi Dave's for me?" Her mother held a casserole dish, her light brown hair bun mussed a little.
"Sure, I'll do it now, Mamma." Carefully, Tessie took the hot dish in its quilted carrier. "'Tis always a gut excuse to go over there an' visit, jah?"
"And your Dawdi will be happy to see ya, dear."
"I love makin' him smile," Tessie said.
"He misses Mammi Rosanna something awful." Mamma stood there in the doorway to the kitchen, wiping her brow with the back of her hand.
Tessie nodded. "They were so in love."
Tears sprang to her mother's eyes, and she brushed them away. Mammi's death had come so suddenly three months ago. "Thank almighty God for the blessed hope of seein' our loved ones again one sweet day."
Tessie agreed and headed outside and around the stone walkway to the cozy little Dawdi Haus attached to her parents' larger home.
"Kumme on in," her grandfather called inside the house. "Door's open."
Tessie smiled; of course it was. They never locked their doors. " Wie bischt, Dawdi?"
"Besser, seein' ya here." He raked his callused hand through his graying hair, emphasizing the cowlick on the right side. "Where's your perty Mamma today?" He looked around, his gaze settling on the casserole dish in Tessie's hands. "Ain't she with ya?"
"She sent me over with this."
"Well, ain't that nice." He muttered something she couldn't hear, then smacked his lips. "Gut thing, too, 'cause the last batch is nearly all."
He continued talking while Tessie placed the hot dish on the back burner, then turned the gas to simmer. "It'll be ready whenever you're hungry, Dawdi."
"Denki so much." He sighed loudly, his lower lip trembling.
"Sure do enjoy your mother's cookin'. Awful hard round here sometimes."
Tessie felt sorry for the dear man. "I miss Mammi Rosanna, too," she whispered.
"Sometimes I feel like I'm lookin' for my right arm—callin' to her in the next room 'fore I realize again she's not there."
"Can hardly imagine it," she said, going over and sitting near him in a chair next to his rocker.
"Nothin' but Gott's mercy and love lasts forever."
"Say now, best be talking 'bout other things, jah?" he suggested. "Saw your beau, that tall fella, Marcus King, wander out to the barn not but a few minutes ago." There was a glint of mischief in his gray eyes. "Made me wonder what's on his mind."
Tessie remained silent.
Dawdi drew in a long, deep breath. "Ya know, your father's downright opposed—"
"Ach, Dawdi, if ya don't mind, I'd really rather not discuss it. All right?"
He frowned. "So you must know something."
Despite the sudden stir of emotions inside, she willed herself to be still.
"Not to step on any toes, Tessie Ann, but there's more to your father's resistance than you might know. Much more. And that's all I best be sayin'." By his words and his stern look, she knew enough to believe him.
Why hasn't my father told me?
* * *
It was on the way back to the house that Tessie saw Marcus marching down the driveway toward Hickory Lane, shaking his head. He'd obviously just talked with her father, exactly as planned. When Marcus was determined to do something, he went right ahead and did it.
Remembering her grandfather's remarks, she scurried around the side of the house, where dazzling golden mums still flourished in the ground and the stately purple martin birdhouse stood high at attention. "Marcus," she called softly. "Marcus!"
She didn't dare arouse anyone else's notice. She made herself wait till she was nearly on his heels, running as hard as she could barefoot, before she called louder. "Marcus ... did ya talk to Dat?"
He slowed, letting her catch up. "You were right. He's already made up his mind and won't say why." Marcus folded his arms, eyes serious. "If he weren't your Daed, I might have the nerve to say he's unreasonable."
"Puh!" She said it louder than necessary.
He reached for her hand and raised it to his lips, his eyes searching hers. "Have you thought any more 'bout what we talked about?"
He nodded solemnly, as if he were as hesitant to do so as she was—a church member in good standing, after all.
"Shouldn't we pray 'bout it?" Her chin quivered.
"I've been talkin' to the Good Lord a-plenty about our marriage. Wouldn't be schmaert not to."
She stepped closer, intent on his strikingly handsome face. She stood on tiptoes and brushed her lips against his cleans-haven cheek. "Aw ... Marcus, don't be glum 'bout my father. You mustn't be."
"Ain't easy walking this fence 'tween pleasing a difficult man and doing what you believe is God's will." He removed his straw hat and pushed his hand back through his hair, from his thick bangs clear to his sun-tanned neck. He stared at the road for a moment, silent.
"I wish Dat were on our side." Tessie struggled with a lump in her throat. "Truth be told, my father is stubborn. He did this with my sister Mandy, too, for no gut reason, and now he wants to do the same with me."
It occurred to her just then that her beau's part-time work in a nearby vineyard might pose a problem to her parents. Could that be? But many Amish church districts made their own wine for communion services. It wasn't as though Marcus was the occasional moonshiner who kept his brew secret until found out and reprimanded.
"Come here to me, Tessie Ann." He pulled her into his arms and held her in a fierce embrace.
She felt the pounding of his heart against her face. "Marcus, I ..." She stopped right there, unable to say it. He must decide first what to do for their love and speak it into the air. She honestly could not make such an important decision for them.
Then, just as quickly, he released her, put on his straw hat, and gave a glance toward her father's house. Tugging on his black suspenders till they snapped, Marcus stood straighter just then. And without a word, he leaned down and cupped her face in his hands, kissing her lips softly. Then again, ever so tenderly. "I'm goin' to marry ya, Tessie ... you just wait and see."
Her heart nearly stopped at the kiss. Oh, such joy! Dearest Marcus ...
"Let's talk again tomorrow," he added. "Meet me behind the house I'm goin' to rent—in faith that we'll move in sooner rather than later."
"You'll sign the lease, then?" She was surprised but very pleased.
"Sure, I'll move in an' get things set up for us right quick." He paused. "You'll join me there, once your father sees the light." With that, he turned to head up the road.
Tessie watched him go, the fingers of her right hand resting lightly on her lips.
In the near distance, she heard her father calling. She cringed, but his call was meant for Mamma. And Tessie was ever so relieved he hadn't seen her rush out here after Marcus—or witnessed their first kiss!
Excerpted from The Last Bride by BEVERLY LEWIS. Copyright © 2014 Beverly M. Lewis Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Bathany House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is, by far, the best book that Beverly Lewis has written to date. A beautiful story of love, faith, and family. I could not put the book down!
Tessie Miller is the last of her family of 5 sisters to marry. She is determined to marry a young Amishman, Marcus King, even though her father has set himself firmly (unreasonably, in Tessie's mind) against this match. When her father won't explain his reasons for opposing her marriage to Marcus, the couple decides to take matters into their own hands and snuck away to be married at the local courthouse. After their wedding, the decide to keep this marriage a secret until Tessie's father relents about them being a couple. This secret arrangement continues for awhile...until an unthinkable accident changes Tessie's life forever. Finally, after it's too late to change things, Tessie discovers her father's reason for not wanting her to marry Marcus....much to her fear and heartache. When Tessie discovers that she and Marcus are going to have a baby, this secret makes her fear for her baby's life. Will she ever be able to find hope and peace again? I always enjoy Beverly Lewis' books and am happy to review them when Bethany House sends one my way. :) I appreciated the way this book shows that just because parents can sometimes seem unreasonable in their children's eyes when it comes to major life decisions, they often are doing their best to shield that child from pain and heartbreak later on in life. When you're in the middle of making one of these choices it's not always easy to remember that or see it in that light, but it's wise to take the counsel of our parents into consideration even if we don't always understand their reasons. I enjoyed the story and as always, loved the way Beverly Lewis paints a beautiful portrait of the Amish lifestyle. Reading her books makes me want to go visit an Amish community. :) I was given a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review.
A simple and heartwarming story that weaves faith, and forgiveness despite a series heartbreaking events.
Home to Hickory Hollow Tessie Miller is the last of the Miller daughters to marry. The young man she favors is not of her father's choice. She has loved Marcus King for as long as she can remember, there is none other for her. Every time Marcus goes to her father to ask for her hand in marriage he is turned down without any reason as to why his request is denied. So the young couple decide to sneak away to the court house and have an English ceremony even though they both wanted desperately to marry in Amish tradition. They have chosen not to tell anyone of their marriage hoping Tessie's father will give them his blessing. But before Marcus could approach her father with his request a tragic accident changes everything the young couple had planned for a happy future together. Since no one knows of their marriage circumstances this put Tessie in critical scrutiny of not only of her Amish community but that of the Bishop and his wife. This story was so tragic. I was so angry with Tessie's father. Then when the her father's reasoning was revealed I was totally shocked. The author touched on a topic that is a hidden secret among the Amish. She writes of how God's plan will be revealed if only we have faith and trust in God. I must say as I have said so many times that Beverly Lewis never fails to amaze me with her talent for entertaining me with her writing. This book is very much right up there with all her other books I have read. I had a hard time putting the book down. I highly recommend this book. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.
This book was so hard to put down!!! And made me cry so many times! Beautiful ending :) Love this book! Too bad it was just one book, it would have been an awesome triloge ;D Thanks so much!
OK… I am definitely going to have to go back and finish “The Bridesmaid” and then read the rest of the series because… WOW! Just WOW! “The Last Bride” is amazing! Beverly Lewis is an exceptionally talented author! This is not a typical Amish fiction. It’s not even a typical romantic drama. Beverly Lewis has managed to take several situations you don’t usually find in the Amish world and weave them beautifully into this story of loss and love in a strict old-order Amish community. The loss… and the love are not what you might be expecting either. There were several things about the book that took me completely by surprise. Definitely not a predictable story! It is one I will never forget. The journey of Tessie and the people around her is crafted into a wonderfully flowing experience – albeit fraught with drama and tragedy. And… it is incredibly easy to find yourself in Tessie’s shoes… however difficult a place that is. I think this is one of the most endearing and powerful stories about a young Amish girl I’ve ever read. Generally speaking, these types of stories are entertaining and heart-wrenching but rarely does a story about a strict Amish community touch so close to home. This one does! And, even though I now feel inexplicably compelled to go back and read the rest of the series, this is not a book that cannot be read out of order. For those of us who have read other books in this series, (or seen the movies made from The Shunning and The Confession – which are not part of the same series but they are written about the same community) it is comforting to “see” old friends from other books by Beverly Lewis. They are woven into the story so well, you don’t feel as if you are out of step because you don’t know their back-story. It’s just an all-around GREAT story! READ IT! Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for an honest review from the Bethany House reviewer program.
This series is the first of Beverly Lewis' that I have read and enjoyed enough for 5 stars. She continues to draw us into Hickory Hollow. With each new story, we fall in love with the characters. This story is no different. I loved Tessie, she was a bit fiesty and a whole lot stubborn, but she had the gift to love and to also touch others. Children love her. This book will make you laugh, cry and even aggravate you, as you read, all emotions that authors love for you to feel. I easily give this a 5 star rating. This book is a book that you will not want to miss if you love Amish stories. This book was provided for review purposes only, no payment was received for this review.
In my opinion, best book Beverly Lewis has ever written. I have read them all.
it is so refreshing to read a book not filled with sex and anger problems. I love all of Beverly Lewis's books. can't wait for the next one
Another gem from Beverly Lewis, the queen of Amish fiction. She returns to Hickory Hollow, Pennsylvania for this tale of Tessie, the daughter of Old Order parents who wants to marry Marcus, a man who her stern father disapproves of. What happens when they elope will intrigue the reader. Beverly Lewis is at the top of her craft in this heartwarming story.
This book was one of the greatest! It was an awesome story of faith and love of family! Love Beverly Lewis's Books.
Nice to read a book with good values but still interesting but pleasant story! Takes you to a relaxed happy place! Always some twists to make what could be redundant stories a good read! Enjoyed and will be back for more Beverly Lewis stories! Even took a trip to Lancaster because of her books! Beautiful place with very nice people!
The Last Bride Beverly Lewis Book Summary: Of her Old Order parents' five daughters, Tessie Miller is the last to marry. She has her heart set on Amishman Marcus King, but Tessie's father opposes the match. Impetuously, Tessie and Marcus elope to the English world, then return to Hickory Hollow to live as singles, trusting they'll convince the Millers to give their love a chance over time. But when the unthinkable happens, Tessie faces the almost-certain censure of the People. Will she find a reason for hope in spite of her desperate plight? Review: I loved this book. I was reserved in thinking this was just another Beverly Lewis story, but I could not have been more ignorant of what she had up her sleeve!!! I loved this book! It was Beverly Lewis’ best to date. I was so sad when events turned so horrible wrong and there stood Tessie having to cope with the outcome of her marriage. I cried and than things grew and changed. I mourned right along with Tessie and was as surprised as she was how life changed and turned around again. Than there was the secondary story of Mandy and her husband. This book had more inside its 336 pages than I could have ever thought possible. I want another book in this series! Going back to Hickory Hollow, PA was so very worth it. New or old time reader of Beverly Lewis will not be disappointed in this poignant story. I would like to thank Net Galley and Bethany House Publishers for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never
It is time for another post about Amish fiction. This time, I received a copy of THE LAST BRIDE by Beverly Lewis from Bethany House. It is the fifth installation of the Home to Hickory Hollow series. It is also my favorite so far, although I feel as if I always say that about each new Amish novel I read. In this book, Tessie Ann is in love with Marcus King. They have a beautiful relationship, in my opinion, but Tessie’s father disapproves. Tessie and Marcus decide to go to the English world to elope. I had never heard of Amish couples doing this before. I wonder if it is a literary device or if this is something that is actually done. Regardless, it made for an excellent story. Once Marcus and Tessie return to their Amish community, they pretend they are single. Tessie keeps pushing her father to approve of their match. I won’t give away any spoilers, but I will say this was a heart-wrenching novel full of sweet sadness, and the end will leave a smile on your face. I am passing this book on to my mother, who enjoys Amish fiction as much as I do, and from there it will travel into the hands of a fellow Amish fiction lover at work.
I enjoyed The Last Bride by Beverly Lewis. It is book # 5 in the Hickory Hollow Series, but also a stand alone book. It had me hooked from page one until the end, as all of her books on the Amish do. Tessie Miller & Marcus King elope when her father is against them getting married. Her Father has someone else in mind for her to marry. They come back and live as singles thinking they can change his mind. Then when a tragedy happens, she is left to face her parents and the Amish Church who all think she needs to confess her sins before the entire Church. Tessie's sister - Mandy (and husband Sylvan) longs for a baby, as so many of her family and friends have. Beverly Lewis does an awesome job in writing about the Amish/Mennonites. I have learned a lot about their traditions and believes through her books. The Amish put the will of God in everything they do. Because of the independence I have always had some of their traditions are hard for me to relate too, but I can understand why they believe that way. I received an advanced copy of this in exchange for my review rather it be good or bad.
The author has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember and it shows in her writing. I have been interested in the Amish way of life since I visited the Pennsylvania Dutch country. Their lifestyles are truly inspiring. If you’ve ever had a desire for certain things to happen, (and I am sure most of us have) I hope you read “The Last Bride”. Sometimes things happen beyond our wildest dreams.I love how God is a constant in this novel. I know throughout my life I have talked to the Good Lord a-plenty. As it says in “The Last Bride” - ‘It wouldn’t be schmaert not to.’”I can almost see the one-room schoolhouse and feeding the chickens.I’ve fed quite a few chickens in my youth.The warmth of this novel and the courtship will pull you right into your deepest feelings of love and compassion. Jeannie Walker (Award-Winning Author)
Usually I love Beverly Lewis, but I absolutely did not like this series. The only book I really enjoyed was The Secret Keeper. That was the only on that had layers and depth to it. This one Tessie kept whining about being pregnant and her husband had died. She told her father she had been married and he didn't believe her. The book just dragged after that. I didn't like The Fiddler, The Guardian or the Bridesmaid either. This entire series except for one fell flat for me. The books just took to long to get to their point.