The Return (Amish Beginnings Series #3)

The Return (Amish Beginnings Series #3)

by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780800727505
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/01/2017
Series: Amish Beginnings Series , #3
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 293,659
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna's Crossing and The Newcomer in the Amish Beginnings series, The Bishop's Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Beacon Hollow Lancaster County, Pennsylvania April 20, 1763

Tessa Bauer stopped in her tracks when she heard the horse's huffing sound. Moving slowly, she hid behind a large tree and watched the stallion slide gracefully through the forest. It was the fifth time she'd seen the legendary horse. The phantom stallion, he was called. No one believed she'd actually ever seen him, no one except Felix, who believed everything she told him. He was sweet like that, her uncle Felix.

She'd grown up hearing all kinds of tales and rumors about this magnificent horse. The story had spun that he was a spirited Flemish stallion brought to Pennsylvania shortly after William Penn's arrival. The horse was meant for the Penn stables, but as the stallion was brought ashore, he managed to break loose and vanish into the deep wilderness. Over the years, rumors of sightings floated from Philadelphia to Lancaster Town, and greedy men would rally together to attempt a capture. All efforts proved futile, of course, because this was no ordinary horse and they were quite ordinary men.

And then five years ago, in late spring, a wild horse broke down Felix's pasture fence to mate with his broodmares just as they came into season. Felix was outraged at the intrusion and rebuilt the pasture into a near-fortress. Alas! Too late. The broodmares had been compromised.

Eleven months later, Felix was grinning ear to ear. There was no doubt in his mind, nor in Tessa's, that the newborn foals had been sired by the mighty and mysterious stallion.

Even at birth, the foals were enormous. As quickly as Felix could, before his mares went into season, he lowered the pasture railing and prayed the stallion would return.

And so he did. For the last five springs, in the cover of night, the stallion returned to Felix's broodmare pasture. Felix had never seen him, not once, not like Tessa. He had tried — once he had accompanied Tessa into the woods to look for him. To wait and watch, but he wasn't patient, her uncle Felix, and stallion hunting required patience. The first time Felix's stomach rumbled for dinner, he gave up and set out for home. But he was grateful to the Flemish stallion, or more likely its son or grandson — whichever one it was that paid calls on his beguiling broodmares. He prayed it would continue. He dubbed this new breed of horses the Conestoga horse, named for the valley the wild stallion roamed.

Tessa stilled. She heard crunching. Slowly, so slowly, she peeked her head around the tree and saw the stallion had discovered the carrots she had left him, dug out of a storage barrel from her family's root cellar.

Oh my. He was a stunning animal, truly breathtaking.

If she reached out a hand, she could touch him, stroke his glossy black coat. He must know she was close by. His ability to smell her, to sense her nearness ... he must know. Dare she try? She leaned forward, reaching a hand out, when suddenly an eagle let out a shriek overhead and the wild horse startled, then bolted. He stopped, turned, and looked at Tessa — right at her, as if he recognized her! — before he trotted away and disappeared into the dense woods.

Wait, just wait, until Tessa told Uncle Felix the news. Spring had come, the wild stallion had returned. And she had made some headway in drawing close to him, at least enough headway that he looked less as if he was preparing to bolt. That was an improvement from last year's brief and unsuccessful encounters.

She hurried through the woods to get home. In one large jump, her long legs crested the rushing creek that ribboned her family's farm. As she climbed up the creek bank, she felt a rare, fleeting moment of gratefulness to have inherited her father's height. Bairn Bauer stood six foot six inches, and Tessa, at age fifteen, was five foot ten inches tall and still growing. But the moment of gratitude faded as suddenly as it had come, just as it always did. She hated towering over others, especially men and boys.

As she passed the sheep's pond, she slowed to a stop and bent over to study her reflection in the still water. The face she saw there was disappointing. A high forehead, short nose, cheeks sprinkled with freckles, deep-set eyes, a too-wide mouth. So plain, so very plain. Too plain to attract a man's notice, especially a man like Hans, who had won her heart over, for he was her hero.

Hans Bauer was a foster brother to Tessa's father, Bairn, and to her uncle Felix. He had been raised from birth by Tessa's grandmother, Dorothea, and shared her interest in horses. He was the blacksmith for the church, as well as many farming neighbors, as his skills at the forge were unsurpassed. Best of all, he was slightly taller than Tessa and handsome — more handsome than any man in Pennsylvania bar none — with a chiseled face, snapping brown eyes, a splendid chin, and wavy auburn hair that fell to his shoulders. Handsome Hans. She knew that giving such significance to a person's physical beauty was the way of the world and not their way, not the way of the straight and narrow, but she couldn't help herself. Tessa could never remember a time when her heart wasn't utterly devoted to Hans.

Sadly, he hardly noticed her.

She looked again at her reflection in the sheep pond. So grave, so serious. Perhaps if she smiled more. Her mother often said that a woman's beauty rested in her smile. She practiced a few smiles and thought she looked rather ridiculous. She could hear her mother's voice as clearly as if she were seated beside her: "Tessa, beauty is of very small consequence compared with good principles, good feelings, and good understanding."

Tommyrot. Beauty was beauty.

She jumped to her feet and ran toward Beacon Hollow, her home. As soon as she reached the lane that led to the large stone house, she slowed. There was Faxon Gingerich, their Mennonite neighbor across the way, bearing down on her atop his plow horse. Faxon the Saxon, she called him, though not in shot of his hearing. Beside him was his son, Martin, whom Tessa considered to be a boy of low character. She hadn't seen Martin in months and months, which suited her nicely. They were nearly the same age; he was a year or two older, though she was always head and shoulders taller than him. Tessa's father, who disliked farming but loved carpentry, had hired Martin for the past few autumns to harvest the corn. The first year Martin was hired on, he started a vicious rumor that giants ran in Tessa's family, and given that she was a tiny bit sensitive about her height, she still hadn't forgiven him.

They halted their horses when they met up with her; she stood before them with her hands linked behind her back. Faxon the Saxon barely acknowledged her, but she expected as much. She was young, she was female, and she was not Mennonite. Three strikes, to his way of thinking. His gaze swept over the large yard, from the carpentry shop over to the sawmill down by the creek, seeking out evidence of her father's presence.

Martin sat awkwardly on his horse, his ill-fitting clothes dangling on him as if he hung on a hook. His pants were too short and his coatsleeves were too long. He wore no hat and his hair was unruly and wind-tossed, flying off in all directions. He was a rumpled mess. Rumpled Martin.

"Is he in the shop?" Faxon Gingerich said, not bothering to look at Tessa as he spoke.

"No. My father hasn't returned from the frontier yet," Tessa said. "My mother's expecting him back any day."

After bishop J acob Hertzler had been injured in a fall two years ago — the only Amish bishop in all the New World — her father had traveled by horseback to the frontier twice a year to act on his behalf: marrying, burying, baptizing. The trip usually took him two weeks, but he'd been gone for three.

Faxon's glance shifted to the stone house before resting on Tessa, the wind tugging at his beard. "Do you know which direction your father headed?"

"Up the Schuylkill River."

Faxon stared at her, his face settling into deep lines.

Tessa felt the first ominous tickle start up her spine. "Have you news? Has something happened?"

Faxon's bushy eyebrows promptly descended in a frown, no doubt thinking she didn't know her place. It was a common complaint fired at Tessa. Who did she think she was, asking bold questions of an elder?

Worried about her father, that's what she was. Tessa stared back at him, her head held high, erect. "Is my father in danger?" Tessa looked from Faxon the Saxon to rumpled Martin and caught their concern. Something had happened.

Faxon ignored her question. "Where's your mother?"

"She's gone to a neighbor's to take a meal. They had a new baby. You know how she loves babies." Everybody knew that, everybody except for Faxon the Saxon. He wouldn't know that about Anna Bauer because he wouldn't care. He did not hold much regard for any Amish person apart from Bairn Bauer, for whom he had a grudging admiration.

Faxon swung a leg over his horse to dismount. "Has he made progress on the wagon?"

"Some. It's not finished though."

He stood, feet planted, and she knew exactly what he wanted. To see the wagon. Faxon Gingerich had come to her father last summer with a request for him to build a better hauling wagon. Faxon made frequent trips to Philadelphia to sell and trade products and was fed up with wagon wheels stuck in mud. The provincial government was abysmally slow to cobble roads, so he had decided there must be a better design for a wagon. He just couldn't figure one out.

Tessa wasn't sure her father would want her to show the unfinished project, but she was proud of his ingenuity, and she could tell Faxon would not be dissuaded from seeing it. "I'll show it to you if you like. I'll try to explain the design."

Rumpled Martin jumped off his horse, and she was startled to see that they were now about the same height. He noticed that she had noticed and gave her a big goofy grin. Appalling.

She led the way to her father's carpentry shop in silence. Hand tools hung neatly along the walls, but most of the shop was taken up with the enormous wooden wagon, eighteen feet from stern to bow. She opened the door and held it for Faxon, enjoying the sight of seeing his bearded jaw drop so low it hit his chest. It was not a common sight to see Faxon the Saxon look nonplussed, and Tessa relished the moment. Savored it.

She inhaled the scent of wood shavings, linseed oil, and wax. Smells associated with her father. Worry circled her mind like bees around flowers. Where was he?

Faxon's gaze roamed slowly over the wagon; he peered into it, then below it. Its base sat on wooden blocks, as her father hadn't made wheels yet. "A rounded base? What could he be thinking?"

He had immediately honed in on the most noteworthy improvement that Tessa's father had made — the one that set it apart from all other wagons. "It's like the keel of a ship.

My father used to be a sailor. He said that the curved bottom would keep barrels and goods from shifting and tipping and rolling around."

"If he can pull that off, it will be a miracle," Faxon muttered. He and his awful son walked around the wagon, crawled under it, bent low to examine each part of it, murmuring to each other in maddeningly low voices.

"My father said this wagon will be able to haul as much as six tons of freight."

Faxon Gingerich shot up from a bent position so fast that his long, wiry beard bounced against his round belly. "How much?"

"Six tons. Assuming, of course, that you've plenty of horsepower to pull that kind of weight."

With that piece of information, everything changed. Faxon's countenance lightened, he continued inspecting the wagon but without the constant frown.

"It's not meant for people to ride in it," Tessa said. "Strictly a freight wagon. The teamster walks along the left side."

The frown was back. "No place for a teamster to sit?"

"There's a board for him to sit if he grows weary." Tessa bent down and slid out a wooden board.

"How many oxen would be needed to pull six tons of freight?"

"Quite a few. At least six."

Faxon's forehead puckered.

"Or horses could be used too."

"Not possible," Faxon said. "They're not strong enough.

Has to be oxen."

"My uncle Felix has bred a type of horse that can pull the kind of heavy freight that the Conestoga wagon can carry."

Now Faxon's bushy eyebrows shot up to his hairline. "The Conestoga wagon?"

"That's what my father calls it. To honor your valley. He said you gave him the idea for it. Credit goes to you."

Faxon the Saxon's chest puffed out and he very nearly smiled. It often puzzled Tessa how personal significance was needed for men to see things clearly. Their secret pride.

"Looks nearly finished to me. Just missing wheels."

"Wheels, yes, but there's still quite a bit of hardware to be made," Tessa said. "Plus pitch will be needed make the seams watertight. And my mother and Maria Müller will sew canvas cloth to cover the wagon bows, front to back."

Rumpled Martin regarded her thoughtfully. "You seem to know a lot about it."

Sarcasm. He may be taller now but he was just as rude.

She ignored him and spoke only to his father. "You can find out more about it after my father returns."

Faxon's pleased look instantly faded. He exchanged a look with rumpled Martin, whose misgiving showed plain on his face. A dark cloud descended in the carpentry shop. Something had happened along the frontier. "Tell me what's happened."

Faxon's face flattened and he went stone still for a full minute. "Trouble has come to our brethren in the north. There's been another Indian attack on families who settled along the Schuylkill River."

Tessa felt an unsettling weakness in the base of her stomach. These stories had become too common. "Did you recognize any names?"

"Just one. Zook. William and Martha Zook. The parents were found dead, the children were taken captive."

Tessa's heart started to pound. "Betsy Zook?"

"A girl said to be about your age. Smaller than you, though." His eyes skimmed her from head to toe. "Much, much shorter. Blonde hair."

Tessa gave a slight jerk of her chin. That's her, that's Betsy. The Zooks had immigrated to Berks County from Germany just about a year and a half ago. Tessa had met Betsy when the Amish churches gathered for spring and fall communion. Betsy was a beautiful girl, beloved by all, kind to the core. Tessa disliked her.

Betsy was everything Tessa wasn't. She was petite while Tessa was tall. She was curvy while Tessa was a table — flat with long thin arms and legs. She was perpetually kind while Tessa had touchy feelings.

But Tessa's dislike had nothing to do with Betsy. It had to do with Hans Bauer. From the moment they met, Hans fancied Betsy Zook.

A sick feeling roiled in Tessa's middle. So often, she had wished Betsy's family would just move away, go west. Go east. Go somewhere. She had even prayed for it! Especially so, after she learned that Hans had gone to visit Betsy, numerous times.

But she had never wished for Betsy to be a victim of an Indian attack, to be taken captive.

Faxon Gingerich swept a glance over the large stone house her father had built, strong and sturdy. "Your father did well to bring you all down here, so many years ago, although your grandfather wanted to stay north. The frontier has become a devil's playground."

Faxon and Martin walked back to the horses and mounted them.

"I will pray your father returns safely and soundly," Faxon said, before turning his horse around and starting down the lane.

"Don't worry, Tessa," rumpled Martin said. "I'm sure he'll be home soon." He gave her a reassuring smile before cantering off to join his father.

Until that moment, it had never occurred to Tessa that her father might not return at all.

*
Lancaster Town, Pennsylvania

The news of the Indian attacks had spread all over Lancaster Town. Felix Bauer had finished his business at the trading post, pleased that he had been able to trade his brother Hans's newly forged iron tools for a winter's pile of skins from Will Sock, a Conestoga Indian. He could use those skins to make harnesses for this new breed of horses. The size of that young colt in his pasture — sixteen hands? Seventeen? And still growing. It was a freak of nature.

And that put it right up Felix's alley. He was fascinated by anything and everything that jolted a person's staid expectations. Just last month, he'd found a three-legged bear hiding in a cave. Most folks would have turned tail and run, but not Felix Bauer. He set a trap, caught the three-legged bear, brought it to a frolic to show everyone because there was often doubt and speculation about his weird sightings, rumors to squelch that he was prone to exaggeration. Then he carried it, caged, in a wagon up into the mountains and let it go. Hans said he was crazy. He should've shot the three-legged bear for its pelt, but Felix saw it differently. He'd thought the bear'd had a hard enough life, and if it could survive on three legs, it deserved a chance to live.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The Return"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Suzanne Woods Fisher.
Excerpted by permission of Baker Publishing Group.
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.

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The Return (Amish Beginnings Series #3) 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
Fitzysmom More than 1 year ago
I have completely enjoyed this series! I've been reading Suzanne's books for quite some time so I am familiar with the Stoney Ridge community. It has been interesting to go back to the beginning and see how the community was established and meet the people who through faith and endurance brought it about. The Return is the third and final book in this series. I think it can be read as a stand alone novel but of course you'll miss out on all the tidbits of what has gone on before to bring them to this point. Of the three books I felt like this one was the most dramatic and compelling. I hope that Ms. Fisher writes a follow-up series that continues on from here. While the story itself is complete there are still threads that I would like to follow and see where they lead. One of the most interesting aspects of this novel was that it was based on factual happenings. The author's note at the end explains what parts of the story were true. In my opinion that is what gave this story and series such an intriguing sense of authenticity. If you are a fan of historical fiction then I think you will like this book. The triumphs and pitfalls of our forefathers are presented in a compelling way and should make for a very compelling read. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
KatrinaEpperson More than 1 year ago
Oh wow, what a heart touching story. This is the third installment in the Amish Beginning series. It can be read as a stand alone story with all the background she weaves into her story, but I would encourage you to read the first two books so you will get the full impact of the series. This story centers around two young women who come from similar backgrounds, but nothing alike. Betsy Zook lives in the area north of Lancaster with her parents and two brothers. They are recent immigrants from Germany and are practicing Mennonites. Tessa Bauer is the daughter of the minister of Stoney Ridge Amish church. Tessa is an only child and holds Hans Johnson Bauer, her father's foster brother, in high esteem. Betsy's home was attacked by Indians. Her parents were killed and one younger brother, Willie, escaped. She and her other brother, Johnny, were taken captives by warriors. Tessa sees Betsy abduction as a way to finally have Hans see her as a possible woman he could marry, instead of a young girl. Tessa spends more time with Hans and offers her support to his feelings of desperation and suddenly they become closer. This was her greatest hope come true come true. This story has elements of anguish, anger, fear, jealousy, faith, but most of all love. The plot immediately takes you back to prerevolutionary life and gave me a glimpse of how hard it can be in many ways. I loved both main characters for many reasons. Betsy wanting to go back to the life she knew and was comfortable, but when you leave can you truly go back. Betsy shows how she has matured in her thinking and reasoning. Tessa was a young girl learning about life through making mistakes and dreams as many of us done while growing up. A wonderful story I would recommend to anyone who loves history or a good Amish story. The only thing I didn't like was that this would be the end of this series. **I received this book from the publisher as part of their blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
elfosterreviews More than 1 year ago
This book was a wonderful read. The plot was never too complicated to follow (even without reading the two previous novels), but there were enough fine points and minor characters to keep it interesting. As I stressed above, this wasn’t a normal romance novel. For the large part, the narrative is driven by romantic love, that is really how Betsy’s and Tessa’s plots are connected. But for the most part they here are two separate narratives, that come together once Betsy finds her way back to the Amish community. While Hans has always been a part of Tessa’s life, and he does turn to her for comfort after Betsy was captured, he never gives up on Betsy and constantly looks for avenues that might lead to her rescue. But this is also where the familial love comes in. One of Betsy’s brothers also connects her narrative to Tessa’s. After Betsy and her brother, John, are capture, Tessa’s family takes in Betsy’s youngest brother, Willie. Hans is an important character. But I think it’s very important that he is not the only connection between Betsy’s narrative and Tessa’s. Fisher could have left this as a typical, run-of-the-mill, man + woman, romance novel, but she didn’t. Had Hans been a character that existed outside of Tessa’s immediate circle, she and her family would have been just as important to Betsy’s story. They took in her brother, gave him a home when the rest of his family had been stolen from him, and welcomed Betsy and John into their family, with open arms, when they finally made their way back to the Amish community. To me that is a more powerful narrative about love, than any typical romance. I enjoyed this book. I liked the romantic aspects, I loved the message about family, the historical events that I outlined above were represented with respect, and those that added to main narrative (the Wagon) were well fleshed out and added a subplot that was enjoyable. I may not care for the religious messages this book includes, but for a narrative about and love and family, this was great. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Britney_Adams More than 1 year ago
Fisher’s wonderful storytelling brings history to life in The Return! Betsy Zook and Tessa Bauer are two young women who experience tumultuous journeys. Inspired by true events, the details of their stories are affecting and emotional. I was fascinated by this glimpse into the past and enjoyed the intertwining of historical and Amish fiction in this compelling tale. Although The Return revisits characters found throughout the Amish Beginnings series, this novel takes places many years later and can also be read as a stand-alone story. I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.
Debragg More than 1 year ago
Author Suzanne Woods Fisher has done it again. Every book she writes is a treasure. She has written another book in her series called. An Amish Beginnings Novel.  This one is called "The Return". Betty Zook has always done what everyone expected of her and she never even thought of disagreeing with them. Hans has always taken care of her and made sure she was safe. Then life is never the same. She is taken by the Indians and held a prisoner. While she is gone Hans gets interested I someone, but Betty also starts to like an Indian. What will happen to them? Is Betsy going to be a prisoner forever? What about her family? I give this book a 5/5. I was given this book for a review by Revell  Publishing Company and all opinions are mine.
Deana0326 More than 1 year ago
In the third installment in the series called An Amish Beginning the author takes us back to the late 1700s. I was so fascinated by the history in this book that I couldn't put it down. It is obvious that the author has done great in -depth research about this time period. I learned about the Amish during this time. They were God fearing people who believed that a woman should be seen and not heard. I was astounded at that. In those days the women' s duties were to cook , clean and take care of the family. The men were the only ones to have any significant place as leader in the church. In contrast the women are revered in Native American culture. I didn't know that and was quite surprised to learn how important they were to the tribe. Each character was written with clarity and I loved how the author gave us details about their daily life's. It was interesting to read about Benjamin Franklin and other well known men that became a big part of our history. I was captivated by the Native Americans and how they survived off the land. When a young woman is captured by a tribe I found their compassion for the girl to be genuine. Betsy at first was frightened but as the days and weeks came and went, the author showed us how Betsy had matured and began to love the people she was with. There was lots of danger surrounding the towns as rumors of vicious attacks were imminent. The times were heard for the town and I loved how they protected each other. I was completely engrossed in this book because it was so well written with historical events and how people survived during attacks on their families. There is so much to this story that had me on pins and needles. I have to mention Caleb because he was my favorite character. He was called a half breed and not really accepted anywhere. His heart was full of God and he never forget his mother bringing him up as a Christian. He will be a very important part of the story but I won't give it away. One thing that someone said in the book really stuck with me. One of the characters said," The worst thing to do is to assume all people belong under a defining label." That one statement really sums up the story for me. There was much prejudice in the story as people assumed since you were a Native American you were a savage. It struck me as what we do today. We label people because we think because of their color, religion or their ancestors make them something that is perceived and not always true. In the story people would say that all Native Americans were savage and needed to be killed. There were some bloody scenes but I thought the author did an amazing job of describing them in a delicate way. I found this story to be very powerful and true to the time period. I look forward to the next book in the series. It promises to be just as powerful and filled with historical facts that define our nation. I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing Group. The review is my own opinion.
Deana0326 More than 1 year ago
In the third installment in the series called An Amish Beginning the author takes us back to the late 1700s. I was so fascinated by the history in this book that I couldn't put it down. It is obvious that the author has done great in -depth research about this time period. I learned about the Amish during this time. They were God fearing people who believed that a woman should be seen and not heard. I was astounded at that. In those days the women' s duties were to cook , clean and take care of the family. The men were the only ones to have any significant place as leader in the church. In contrast the women are revered in Native American culture. I didn't know that and was quite surprised to learn how important they were to the tribe. Each character was written with clarity and I loved how the author gave us details about their daily life's. It was interesting to read about Benjamin Franklin and other well known men that became a big part of our history. I was captivated by the Native Americans and how they survived off the land. When a young woman is captured by a tribe I found their compassion for the girl to be genuine. Betsy at first was frightened but as the days and weeks came and went, the author showed us how Betsy had matured and began to love the people she was with. There was lots of danger surrounding the towns as rumors of vicious attacks were imminent. The times were heard for the town and I loved how they protected each other. I was completely engrossed in this book because it was so well written with historical events and how people survived during attacks on their families. There is so much to this story that had me on pins and needles. I have to mention Caleb because he was my favorite character. He was called a half breed and not really accepted anywhere. His heart was full of God and he never forget his mother bringing him up as a Christian. He will be a very important part of the story but I won't give it away. One thing that someone said in the book really stuck with me. One of the characters said," The worst thing to do is to assume all people belong under a defining label." That one statement really sums up the story for me. There was much prejudice in the story as people assumed since you were a Native American you were a savage. It struck me as what we do today. We label people because we think because of their color, religion or their ancestors make them something that is perceived and not always true. In the story people would say that all Native Americans were savage and needed to be killed. There were some bloody scenes but I thought the author did an amazing job of describing them in a delicate way. I found this story to be very powerful and true to the time period. I look forward to the next book in the series. It promises to be just as powerful and filled with historical facts that define our nation. I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing Group. The review is my own opinion.
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
The Return is a book that really grabbed my attention once I started reading it. It is part of the Amish Beginnings series, however, it is set quite a while after books one and two. I have read the first two books, so I knew the original characters. However, I think I could have picked this book up and enjoyed it even without having read the other two books. I really enjoyed that there were two main storylines. One was set in the Amish community and was viewed from Tessa and her mother, Anna’s, perspectives. The other storyline followed Betsy, and what she went through while she was a captive of Indians. The author did a great job of making me feel that I was back in the time and place of these characters. I also felt very connected to some characters and it was hard to find that the novel was coming to an end. I’d love to read more about these people. I was left wanting a bit more to this story when the final page was turned. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
RobinWillson More than 1 year ago
If you like Historical Fiction, you will enjoy this. Set in Pennsylvania near Philadelphia and Lancaster in 1763, it’s the third in a series about Amish settlers who emigrated from Germany. There is turmoil in the area after a group of Indians massacres northern settlers. A daughter, Betsy, who is betrothed to Hans from Stoney Ridge Amish church, is kidnapped and taken as a “tribute” replacement for one in their village who had been killed. Betsy is treated well after she arrives at the village. She is befriended by Caleb, who is the son of a Mennonite girl who had been kidnapped years back and was taken as a Shawnee bride. He can speak her language and takes time to help her acclimate. Even though Betsy doesn’t forget her home and people, she learns to endure the hardships and becomes close to the female leaders of the tribe, and Caleb. Tessa, the Preacher’s daughter, has always loved Hans and was very jealous of Betsy. The tragedy becomes a good thing for her since Hans draws close and proposes marriage. That is until Caleb brings Betsy back. This story is woven with jealousy, prejudice, racism and selfishness, also kindness, forgiveness, tolerance and strength of faith and spirit. Colonial settlers mostly left their country because of great difficulties, only to arrive in America and face some of the same as well as new challenges. Different ways of life, and the settlers’ greed for the land that was set aside for the Indians by treaty. This is about one part of that history and peaceful immigrants who are making a great contribution (like the Conestoga wagon) yet are torn apart by violence from within and without. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher from the Baker Publishing Group, Bethany - Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have 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.” http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.
Mar-J More than 1 year ago
The Return is a magnificent, enthralling, powerful, insightful and historical researched to the fullest to captivate readers into the early years of the Amish settlers in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I’ve never been disappointed in any of Suzanne Woods Fisher’s books with this one definitely being the best one and a lovely conclusion to her Amish Beginnings series. The characters are strong, filled with faith and determination as they are settling and moving forward in their communities, despite all the setbacks and attacks by Indians and others in 1763 – 64. My senses were on alert whether I was reading about an Indian attack or other attackers due to their strong feelings of revenge toward the Indians, traveling through the woods, the preparation of food and clothes, hunting, church services and reunion of lost loved ones. I was weeping at times in pain and sorrow and then the tears were happy ones due to the reunion of family members that had been separated during an attack. My heart broke for young Betsy and other secondary characters but their connection to individuals with faith, their own faith and beliefs kept them going during the dark hours of their lives. The design and finished product of the Conestoga Wagon added depth to this outstanding historical romance fiction. The Return shows the strong character of individuals with their faith, spirit and never failing love of God shining through. The scriptures interwoven throughout the story added to the characters’ lives and how they faced each valley or mountain top they were given. I’m sorry to see Amish Beginnings come to an end. I would appreciate seeing a new series with an update on Betsy, Willie, and Johnny Zook, Anna, Bairn, and Tessa Bauer, Caleb, and other major characters. Even if it’s another 25 years like The Return was from Anna’s Crossing. Suzanne Woods Fisher research is superb in the history of this era and the settling of the little church of Ixheim in the New World. Thank you to Suzanne Woods Fisher for all her dedication to historical research to make this one of the best Amish genre Christian historical/romance fiction series. I encourage Amish genre or historical genre readers to pick up a copy of the entire series to read. You'll appreciate the depth of this series filled with strong characters, action, history and the never ending sovereignty of God.
Kathae More than 1 year ago
Suzanne Woods Fisher has written a compelling story in this third installment of the Amish Beginnings series. I enjoyed walking through this story with beloved (or not) characters from the previous books in the series, however, someone who picks up this book will easily be able to read it as a stand-alone. Even in the beginning of the Amish in America, the importance of community was emphasized. From other books I have read about this period in our country's history, I think that I would have been fearful because of the unrest with the Indians. The calm strength of the Bauer family was inspirational. As a history fan, I also appreciated the history within the history of this early American tale. Fans of history, romance, and Amish will all appreciate story and the careful research that went into this book. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Revell, for review purposes. The thoughts expressed here are my own.
MarB1 More than 1 year ago
A fabulous last book in the Amish Beginnings series! Fisher brings her characters alive and stays true to their character traits even when they have grown older; like it is the case in The Return. I am sad to say goodbye to these beloved characters. In The Return, I loved how we got a glimpse of life with the Indians. Sad how two different cultures would try to finish each other off. Fisher’s writing is exceptional and draws the reader in. Even if you do not care much for Amish fiction but you enjoy historical fiction, I think you might truly enjoy this series.
joyful334209 More than 1 year ago
The Return is so enormously intriguing, abundantly absolutely adventurous, yet blissfully romantic and complicated yet contemplative. It's about poor Betsy taken by the Pennsylvanian Indians and taken in a very brutal harmful way. She was taken by and Indian and he kept her alive - but GOD is the one who actually kept her alive and her faith and trust in HIM is what kept her continually surviving while being held captive - but will she stay alive? On the other hand you have Hans who wants revenge very badly for what happened. He wants Betsy back but in her abs cense he turns to someone else - does he betray the love they had? Does he get his revenge? if he does and he gets Betsy back what happens with Hans and the other girl? That is - if Betsy is still alive. This book is so true to life and guys will love it just as much as girls - not all mushy - not all men and Indians - This is one of the best. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher and Netgalley; all the opinions expressed in this review are all my own.
Lane_Hill_House More than 1 year ago
Tuesday, August 15, 2017 The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher, © 2017 Amish Beginnings series, Book 3 My Review: I enjoyed this novel very much because it was true to historical events we might not be aware of in detail. So well written, the days opened and closed awaiting the next day. The story surrounds three brothers and their families continuing from the first two books. This may be read as a standalone, but you will enjoy the background in Suzanne Woods Fisher's Anna's Crossing, of Amish coming to the New World, and settling in Penn's Woods in The Newcomer. The beginnings of Stoney Ridge. I especially liked how each character's skill fit into the daily life of the whole. Community. Revolving around each other and fulfilled, because they did not stand alone. They were aided by Indian families nearby when they came; learning about the Three Sisters ~ beans, corn, and squash and the merging of their qualities. The beans fed the soil for the corn, and the squash vines provided shade for the roots of the corn. The Return, 241 I think of corn as a main staple for its many uses. All three interwoven to protect and nourish the whole. Very synonymous with our lives. We need each other. Not separate, merging skills and prayers. (1762-1764.) This story begins twenty-five years later than the last book in the series. There is encroaching into the Indians' hunting lands set aside by treaty early in the 1700s designating borders for settler lands. With the ensuing dangers brought on by both sides, threatened existence caused changed lives. Though taken as an exchange, Betsy Zook finds she is cared for in place of another. Revolts continued as those ensuring peace come against agitators proclaiming warring forces. ***Thank you to Revell Reads for sending a print copy of Suzanne Woods Fisher's The Return. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
As I turned the final page of this three-book sage, I reflected on how things had changed and how the people we have come to know and love have matured and some have died, and others are just beginning their lives. What a journey the author has brought us on, and one that will linger for a long time, but alas it is saying goodbye, but with love at new lives starting and hope for the future. As sad as some of the things that happen in this story, and the fact that they are based on truth, if we could only change history, but we hope we learn from events, but somehow some things keep getting repeated. There are a few chuckles here, and some past perceptions are no longer viable, and we sure get to see some of the changes that have happened in the people that we have come to know. These books are not the ordinary Amish stories, of romance and mystery, but a look into how they arrived in American, and where they settled, and how they were able to cling to their beliefs and survive here. I will miss this family, as I feel I have become a part of, and can see the future in where we left off. I thank the author for the wonderful journey and a glimpse into the past. I received this book through Revell Publishing Book Bloggers tour, and was not required to give a positive review.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher is the third book in An Amish Beginnings series. Readers are taken to Stoney Ridge in April 1763. Betsy Zook is in love with Hans Bauer and looks forward to his proposal of marriage. Then one night her life is changed when the Indians attack, kill her parents and take her hostage along with her brother, Johnny. Willie Zook hid in a hollow log and after the Indians depart, he runs to the nearest town. Hans wants to immediately set out to find Betsy, and it takes some work to convince him that would not be the best idea (due to the number of Indians and they have no idea where the hostages were taken). Betsy and the other hostages are taken into the mountains where they are given to various Indian tribes (in tribute). Hans rails against the Indians much to his families’ consternation. Tessa Bauer has cared for Hans for some time and is happy when he starts to pay attention to her. Hans is ready to move on with his life, but then Betsy is returned to them. Caleb, half Indian and half Mennonite, engineers Betsy’s escape and returns her to the Bauer family. Hans is thrilled to have Betsy back, but his quest for vengeance has not been extinguished. Betsy, Caleb, Hans, and Tessa have choices in front of them. Will they make the right decisions? What does the future hold for them? Join them on their journey in The Return. The Return is well-researched and contains good writing. I thought the characters were well-developed (thought out). The Return is an emotional novel (great sadness and loss). I have to say that The Return is my least favorite novel in An Amish Beginnings series. There is extreme violence and cruelty in the story that was disturbing to me. I am fully aware it is based on true events, but I do not like to read about the violence in such detail (one scene near the end was extremely off putting). I did find the information about Conestoga wagons (the creation, design) to be fascinating. My rating for The Return is 4 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend reading Anna’s Crossing and The Newcomer prior to The Return. Otherwise, it can be confusing with the various characters, their relationships, and how they came to America. Some of the themes or life lessons in the story are prejudice, revenge, racism, tolerance, jealousy, faith, love, and trusting God. I liked the phrases “triumph of human spirit” and “sovereignty of God in all things”. I was disappointed with the ending. It was unsatisfying and odd. It felt incomplete. The Christian element was handled beautifully.
TrixiO More than 1 year ago
Let me just say first of all, I love learning history in fiction, and Suzanne certainly knows how to bring it to real life in the pages of a book! Of course I've heard of the Indian raids so many farmers had to endure and this was almost like living through it. Though I wouldn't want to for real, it was a brutal and bloody time! I also loved learning about the Amish immigrants who settled and made a life for themselves. I hadn't read the first two books in the Amish Beginnings series, but I was in no way lost or confused. I was immediately drawn into the lives of each character and immersed in the story. There's lots of emotion in this one! My heart went out to Betsy for all she went through, and her faith never wavered. I especially liked Bairn, a strong leader with the wisdom of God in his heart. Romance was in the air and I loved seeing it play out between several characters. This has everything a person could ask for in a historical book packed with plenty of depth and emotion. A strong character driven plot to uncover with each page. It'll keep you glued and you don't want it to end. I sure hope there will be more in this series! I'll definitely be reading the first two so I can learn more about these characters who've quickly become friends.
Blooming-with-Books More than 1 year ago
Moving historical fiction that examines the cost of hate & love.... The Return An Amish Beginnings Novel #3 By Suzanne Fisher Woods The Return continues the story of the early days of Stoney Ridge and this chapter is set, for the majority of the story, in 1763. For those who enjoyed the story of Anna Konig and Bairn Bauer and the journey that brought them together aboard the Charming Nancy and to the New World, this is the third book in their story. Time has passed and not only have they married, they have a daughter Tessa, who is on the threshold of womanhood and all the anguish that that entails. Tessa Bauer has a decided personality that once set on a particular path is hard to detour to a better one. Fortunately or not she speaks her mind and often to the dismay of her mother and those around her Tessa Bauer has long sought the attentions of Hams Johann Bauer to no avail. Hans' heart has been captured by Betsy Zook, a new arrival to the New World and Pennsylvania. Tessa has an admirer whom as a child offended her and unfortunately for him, Tessa's good opinion (much like Mr. Darcy's) once lost is likely to be forever lost. But Martin Gingerich is not easily dissuaded to Tessa's annoyance. But when an Indian raid occurs, many who lived outside of the Stoney Ridge settlement are slaughtered or captured. And Betsy Zook is among those who are taken. Those of Stoney Ridge are shocked and saddened by the news and to Hans disgust are unwilling to take action against those who perpetrated this savage attack. The Return is a story told from two vastly different viewpoint - that of those in Stoney Ridge (particularly Tessa) and that of Betsy as she lives among a people who are much more than savages. But hatred is a two edged sword that thrusts both ways with tragic consequences often for those who are innocent. This was a world in turmoil as the old and new tried to establish a balance and protect what they believed was theirs. I really believe that this series Amish Beginnings is one that anyone who has a love of historical fiction would enjoy (even someone who is not into Amish fiction). There is a depth to this story that will make one stop and think. Hate and the thirst for vengeance is examined along with its tragic and costly ending - a timely book no matter what year it is. Of note - if you have not read the previous books in the series that is not a problem as one can quite easily read this book on its own without the backstory. Either way, this is an excellent book that should not be missed. I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher Revell with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Christa4 More than 1 year ago
Accolade, astounding and amazing historical detail, best describe The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher. This book is the third and final book in the Amish Beginnings series. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the entire series. This book can easily be classified as one of the best books I have ever read! Hans Bauer cannot wait to marry Betsy Zook, who is a fairly recent immigrant, with her family. Tessa Bauer also has her eyes on Hans Bauer, but realizes she is far too young to gain his attention. It seems he has also been devoted to Betsy since her family and her immigrated. After a tragic Indian attack, Betsy and her brother are taken prisoner. Will she ever see her beloved Hans again? Will she survive with the Indians? What of the other settlers? And where does the Conestoga wagon come into play? To find out the rest of Hans, Betsy and Tessa's story, you will definitely want to check this book out. It will not disappoint! Suzanne Woods Fisher is an exceptional author! Once you start reading, you will feel like you are right there with all of the families as new settlers in the year 1763. The author writes with such historical accuracy and detail. I loved reading the author's note at the end and finding out that quite a bit of the story is true...fascinating! Much research has gone into this historical gem! Suzanne keeps the story moving; there are surprises around every corner! This book is definitely one I will be rereading again soon! I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book from NetGalley and have given my honest opinion.
SouthernGalLovestoRead More than 1 year ago
Suzanne Woods Fisher has long been one of my favorite Amish authors. Her stories have such a welcoming quality, drawing you in for a nice visit with friends, new or old. The Return draws you back into the earliest days of Amish settlements in America. While many of the characters and events are fictional, they are based on historical events. The Amish settlers are just finding their way in the new world, working their way through challenges of the unknown, including how to get along with Indians and other settlers. Suzanne does an awesome job of filling her story with complex characters, showing both the good and bad sides of humanity. The Return is the third book in the Amish Beginnings series. It could work as a stand-alone, but knowing the back stories of the characters from the other books adds to the interest level. Thanks to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of the book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.
SouthernGalLovestoRead More than 1 year ago
Suzanne Woods Fisher has long been one of my favorite Amish authors. Her stories have such a welcoming quality, drawing you in for a nice visit with friends, new or old. The Return draws you back into the earliest days of Amish settlements in America. While many of the characters and events are fictional, they are based on historical events. The Amish settlers are just finding their way in the new world, working their way through challenges of the unknown, including how to get along with Indians and other settlers. Suzanne does an awesome job of filling her story with complex characters, showing both the good and bad sides of humanity. The Return is the third book in the Amish Beginnings series. It could work as a stand-alone, but knowing the back stories of the characters from the other books adds to the interest level. Thanks to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of the book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.
vics49548 More than 1 year ago
In Book 3 of An Amish Beginnings Series, Author Suzanne Woods Fisher continues following the Amish community on the Pennsylvania frontier. I read this as a stand-alone and was able to follow it okay, so don’t hesitate to read it even if you haven’t read Books 1 and 2. The Return gives a lot of historical background to the settling of Amish communities in the early days of America. I found this information fascinating, and while it helped to explain many things but did not detract from the story line in any way. With mystery, intrigue, and romance, this book will appeal to many readers. I highly recommend it! I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
Bookworm_Debbie More than 1 year ago
An incredible historical Amish fiction book! In my mind this is part of a “true” series. You need to read these books in order to get the most enjoyment out of them. I love both Tessa Bauer and Betsy Zook. These young women are trying to figure out life when tragedy strikes and what they knew was turned upside down. I love the strong godly character that both of their fathers have displayed before them. Teaching them to hold on to the fact that God is with them no matter what happens. All of the characters are amazingly well developed. There are so many differing personalities it was great to see how they interacted with each other. I loved seeing how those that were in the previous books have matured. I was fascinated by the detailed descriptions given of some of the everyday aspects of life for these people. One that comes to mind is the way that metal rims were put on the wooden wagon wheels. I was also very interested in the description of training horses to pull wagons. I really enjoyed all of the information about the designing of the Conestoga wagon. I was heartbroken over what happened to Betsy and her family. The details of how the Indians treated her and the other captives was terrifying. I really did like the fact that she kept what she had been taught by her mother and father close to her heart.
conniet729 More than 1 year ago
First and foremost, I love this author. I have read just about all of her books and have never met one I did not love. She has a grand way of crafting characters and pulling you into the story within a few pages. "The Return" is the third book in the (Amish Beginnings) series, I have read the other two and loved them. This one was just as good! I love how this series is based on true events - and it helps me understand some of the struggles that those before us went through. This book was a different viewpoint then what you read in school, but it was a welcomed viewpoint. I loved the characters, the setting, the storyline and SO MUCH MORE about this book. I have read the other books in the series, but this could be read as a standalone also. If you are a fan of Amish/Historical Fiction, you will LOVE this book. I was provided a copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit blogging program. All opinions are my own.
ReginaFujitani More than 1 year ago
The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher Suzanne has always been one of my favorite Amish writers. She writes her stories with depth and inspiration that truly pulls you into the story. Her Amish history stories of a true story wove into fiction is no exception to this. I truly loved the entire series and am sad to see The Return be the last book in the series. The Early Settlers had a rough time, I cannot imagine the life and toil they had to make it from day to day. We have it so simple compared to back then. We don’t face the constant dangers that the settlers had to face. Our housing can be built in no time, whereas housing back then was a timeless effort of hard work and strenuous effort. The wagon that was built was a stunning marvel and what I didn’t realize, it was first made by the Amish! Betsy and Hans have a long road of healing to overcome but through faith and love and tenderness joy comes in the morning. Most notably forgiveness and an honest miracle. Anyone who loves historical fiction and Amish fiction will love this heartrending tale of faith, love, and hope! Disclosure statement: I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.