The third book in the beloved Every Amish Season series by bestselling author, Kelly Irvin.
"Kelly Irvin’s Through the Autumn Air is a poignant journey of friendship and second chances that will illustrate for readers that God blesses us with a true love for all seasons." —Amy Clipston, bestselling author of Room on the Porch Swing
The past filled her mind even as her heart yearned for stories yet to be told . . .
The mother of ten and a widow of seven years, Mary Katherine is a bundle of energy, always willing to step in and help her friends around her Amish community. Now that her last child is married, she pours her abundant creative spirit into writing stories, even as she speaks aloud to her late husband every day. Her dream is to open a bookstore with an English friend, but the church elders want this wayward widow to work in an Amish-owned store instead. When her old school friend, Ezekiel, offers her a position as a cook in the restaurant he opened after his wife died, she knows she should accept. But does she really want to spend her time working over a hot stove?
When a mysterious English stranger breaks into her house to make himself a sandwich one autumn night, Mary Katherine doesn’t call the sheriff. She turns to Ezekiel. They both see that Burke is need of more than a meal, and Ezekiel offers him the job at the restaurant.
As they set out to care for their new friend, Mary Katherine and Ezekiel find themselves often working together. Mary Katherine is drawn to Ezekiel, but she remembers the terrible risk of giving her heart to someone. Can two people in the autumns of their lives and so well-versed in the pain of loss put the past behind them and trust in the hope that comes with each new season?
“A moving and compelling tale . . . that reminds us how we become strongest in our most broken moments.” —Library Journal review of Upon a Spring Breeze
About the Author
Kelly Irvin is the bestselling author of the Every Amish Season and Amish of Bee County series. The Beekeeper’s Son received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who called it a “beautifully woven masterpiece.” The two-time Carol Award finalist is a former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional. Kelly lives in Texas with her husband, photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, three grandchildren, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to read books by her favorite authors. Visit her online at KellyIrvin.com; Instagram: kelly_irvin; Facebook: Kelly.Irvin.Author; Twitter: @Kelly_S_Irvin.
Read an Excerpt
At what point did a person realize that the special moments in life streak by in a flash, distilled into memories before they could be truly lived? Mary Katherine Ropp stood motionless in the middle of her kitchen, a platter holding a two-layer German chocolate cake covered in whipped cream cheese frosting nestled in her hands.
The other women bustled in and out, serving two hundred wedding guests seated at tables set up in all the other rooms and spilling out across the broad expanse of the front yard. Serving spoons clinked on bowls. Pots banged. The fire in the wood-burning stove sizzled. Mary Katherine closed her eyes and inhaled the mingled scents of roasted chicken and dressing, gravy, coleslaw, freshly baked cookies, cakes, and bread.
Like every mother, she'd imagined her daughter Barbara's wedding day since the night of her birth, nineteen years earlier. She imagined the blue dress Barbara would don. The crispness of her white kapp. The way her eyes would tear up when the bishop took her hand and put it in her husband's for the final blessing.
A lump lodged in Mary Katherine's throat. She breathed and wiped at her eyes. Oh, Moses, if only you could see this. Your youngest daughter is a bride today. She's only a passable cook, she hates to sew, and she never knows when to stop talking, but Joseph loves her anyway.
I'm here, Fraa. I see her. She sounds a lot like the girl I married. Gott has blessed us.
Mary Katherine sighed at the imagined deep, always amused voice in her ear. Of course, he was here. Even after seven years of widowhood, she could depend on Moses to be at her side. He would never forsake her.
She needed to write these thoughts down. Her notebook lay on the counter, splotches of lemonade and chocolate frosting on the outside. She took two steps toward it.
"What are you doing, Mudder?" Beulah's voice sounded irked — which was nothing new.
Mary Katherine turned to find daughter number four standing in the doorway. Her hands were full of dirty dishes and her face beet red with exertion. "You're in my way, and Thomas is looking for you."
"Just taking a second to breathe." Mary Katherine cleared her throat and edged away from the counter. Her habit of taking notes in the middle of life's events baffled some of her loved ones. "Your bruder will have to wait until after the wedding to boss me around."
As her oldest son, Thomas considered himself the head of the house, even if he hadn't lived in Mary Katherine's house in many years. When it came to bossiness, he was much more like her than his easygoing father. Her other sons, being more like Moses, let him do the bossing. For the most part.
"You know he only wants what's best." With her slightly rounded body, sandy-blonde hair, and blue eyes, Beulah was the spitting image of Mary Katherine when she was younger. "You're always tired. If you moved into the dawdy haus, you'd have him and Joanna nearby. Do you really want to be alone in this big house? You know you don't."
Everyone seemed to know what she wanted and what she needed, except Mary Katherine. If she was tired, it was only because of the wedding preparations, not because she needed to be put out to pasture at the mere age of sixty. During the two weeks since the wedding announcement for Barbara and Joseph Beachy at the church service, she had worked nonstop. Writing wedding invitations, cleaning and scrubbing the entire house, borrowing extra tables and chairs, stoves and refrigerators, pots and pans, buying groceries and baked goods they didn't have time to make from scratch. Lining up the cooks and the servers. Praying that September's fall weather would hold, allowing them to serve people outdoors.
Plain weddings were simple, without adornment, but the receptions were mammoth in the sheer amount of food needed to serve all the guests who'd come to Jamesport, Missouri, from Ohio, Indiana, and as far away as Texas. It might make a much younger woman tired, but Mary Katherine only felt invigorated.
That was her story and she was sticking to it. "I'm fine. Take this cake out to the tables outside."
"Fraidy cat!" Beulah deposited the dirty dishes on the counter but made no move to take the cake. "You can't hide from him forever."
"Who are you hiding from?" Laura Kauffman trudged through the door with empty serving dishes in both hands. She might be seventy-two and a little hard of hearing in one ear, but she had avoided the pasture as well. She served as not only a good friend but an excellent example of how to live and grow after losing a husband. "Dottie? Why would you be hiding from Dottie? She's looking for you."
Dottie Manchester, the Jamesport Branch Library's only librarian and Mary Katherine's closest Englisch friend, meant well, but she had a one-track mind and a penchant for taking the long road to make a short point. As much as Mary Katherine enjoyed a good chat, she didn't have time right now. "I' ve got a lot on my plate at the moment."
Beulah snorted and Laura chuckled.
"So to speak. You could eat the cake instead of serving it." That bit of wisdom came from Jennie Graber, who stood at the sink washing dishes in an enormous plastic tub. She too had been a widow until she remarried a few months earlier. That she was exceedingly happy was apparent in the smile on her heart-shaped face and the sparkle in her pale-blue eyes. "You should pay attention. There might be someone else looking for you. Weddings make minds turn to romance."
The women giggled in a chorus that made them sound like young girls at their first singing, not mature women from every stage of life — from just married to a widowed great-grandmother. Mary Katherine couldn't help herself. She rolled her eyes. "The last thing an old Plain woman thinks about is romance."
Not so. If memories of Moses' sweet kisses rushing through her like a warm summer breeze could be called romantic, she was guilty. But she would never admit such foolishness, not even to her dearest friends.
"Speak for yourself." Laura plucked a roll from an overflowing basket with knuckles swollen with arthritis. "Besides, I think I spied a certain old Plain man staring at you during the service."
"You're talking about Ezekiel, aren't you?" Jennie was eager for her friends to find marital bliss again. "He did look distracted during Solomon's message."
"You're dreaming. Ezekiel thinks of nothing but his kinner and his restaurant." Hoping her own distraction during the minister's message hadn't shown as well, Mary Katherine wiped tiny drops of sweat from her warm forehead with the back of her sleeve. Ezekiel had been a widower for about ten years. He was a kind man with a generous laugh. He always refilled her tea glass when she ate at the Purple Martin Café and always asked about her day — but then, he did that with everyone he served. "Anyway, I have too much to do to worry about such silliness."
A smirk on her face, Beulah swiped a dollop of frosting from Mary Katherine's cake and stuck it in her mouth. She smacked her lips. "If you think marriage consists only of silliness, you' ve been a widow far too long!"
This from her own daughter. Another round of giggles rippled through the kitchen.
"I reckon I'm better off out there than I am in here." Mary Katherine headed for the door, dodging Beulah's outstretched fingers. "I'll deliver the cake myself. I'll be back. In one minute. In one piece."
She strode through the doorway and into the fray. The front room was filled wall to wall with tables covered with white tablecloths and chairs occupied by friends and family — some she hadn't seen in years. No time to visit now. She edged through, cake platter held high.
"Mary Kay! Mary Kay!" Dottie's high voice carried over the dozens of conversations that created a low-pitched, continuous roar. She squeezed through the narrow aisle between tables, her husband, Walt, right behind her. His portly figure struggled with the tight fit much more than Dottie's skinny frame. "Congratulations, my friend. You did it! You married off number ten. You're done."
"Yep, thanks for inviting us. It's a joy to watch all your kids get married. You must be relieved to marry off the last one." Walt laughed and his belly — which reflected his love for his wife's pecan pie — shook. "And you know they'll stay married. Not like us Englisch folks with a 50 percent divorce rate."
They were the only Englischers invited to those weddings. Their friendship stretched back years to the first time Mary Katherine ventured into the library to do research on covered wagons on the Oregon Trail. Dottie had helped her find sources and quickly. A mother with ten children waiting at home didn't have time to dally. Dottie approached research like she did everything else — full steam ahead. A friendship had blossomed.
"Danki. Right now, I'm up to my kapp in food."
"Joseph and Barbara look so happy. I always cry at weddings." Dottie dabbed at her smooth pink cheeks with an embroidered hankie. "They're a perfect couple."
At times Mary Katherine had despaired that any man in his right mind would consider Barbara a good catch. It would take another man like Moses, and those were few and far between. Finally, Joseph had accepted the challenge. Love truly was blind. An occasion to be celebrated to be sure. A strange void bloomed in Mary Katherine's midsection, like a hole that seemed to grow deeper and darker as the day progressed. Forcing a smile, she shifted the platter to one hand and waved. "I don't know about perfect, but they'll do."
Dottie wore a flowing, dark-purple broomstick skirt and a white, long-sleeved, Western-style blouse with pearl snap buttons. It matched Walt's purple Western shirt with its white piping. He wore blue jeans pressed with a seam down the middle and black cowboy boots. Why a librarian and an accountant chose to dress like cowboys remained a mystery to Mary Katherine.
"I need to talk to you. Bob Sampson put his building on Grant Street up for sale yesterday." Dottie's voice rose with uncontained excitement. Her turquoise chandelier earrings shook. "It would be perfect for our bookstore. He's including the furniture — a bunch of wooden shelves and tables and that wooden counter he had by the front door."
Our bookstore. The words had a sweet ring to them — sweet and bitter like life itself. "I told you, I'm not able to commit to another store yet."
It had only been a year since Amish Treasures caught fire right before local businessman Lazarus Dudley took over its lease. Jennie and Leo Graber wanted her to help with their newly opened Combination Store. Everyone wanted something from her. Cake held high, she dodged a gaggle of toddlers and zigzagged around two teenagers who stopped to talk in the middle of the aisle.
Dottie and Walt stuck to her like bubble gum on the sole of her favorite sneaker. "I love the idea of a bookstore, don't get me wrong, and working with you would be wonderful. It's just not possible right now."
Maybe ever. It had taken years to save the money to join three other families in opening Amish Treasures. Their investment went up in smoke and flame six months later. She didn't have the funds to share in ownership of the Combination Store, but she could contribute goods for sale there as a start. It was finding the time to sew that was the problem.
"It would be more than wonderful." One hand patting the jewel-encrusted comb that held back her shoulder-length silver hair, Dottie took Walt's hand as if to anchor her to the floor in her euphoria. The two wore matching plain silver wedding bands. "I mean, me with you. I have savings. Tourists and local folks alike will flock to a store with Amish fiction, romances, mysteries, and travel books and cookbooks and cards and such. We'll earn back our investment in no time. I have a business plan. A good one."
They'd said the same thing about Amish Treasures.
"It's a good investment." Walt removed his black cowboy hat, revealing his shiny, perfectly round, bald pate. "I've run the numbers several times. The square footage is perfect for a bookstore and Bill's asking price is decent. Not a steal, by any means, but fair."
A bookstore was more problematic than a craft store. Tourists loved Amish quilts and toys and jams and jellies. They came to Jamesport seeking Amish-made products. People didn't read as much as they used to. Plain folks didn't often read the fiction written by Englisch authors about them. It was hard to believe readers found their simple lives that interesting. "Can we talk about this later?"
"Meet us there Saturday afternoon to see the space." Dottie stopped short of saying "pretty please with sugar on top," but her thrust-out lower lip and puppy-dog eyes said it for her. "Just look at it, okay? For me?"
"I have a quilting frolic Saturday. When does Bill need an answer?"
"He says he has a couple of other offers. He'll wait one week for us, but then he'll have to consider them."
"It can't hurt to look at the space, but not Saturday morning." It couldn't hurt, could it?
"You'll come with us, won't you, Walt, after your appointments?"
"Anything for you, sweets."
"We're set, then." Dottie stretched on tiptoe and gave her husband a big smooch on the cheek, leaving pink lipstick behind. "You can skip out of your quilting frolic by two. We'll see you at three."
"I want some more chicken and stuffing." Walt swiped at his cheek with an abashed look on his face. "I think the wife needs another plate — she's gotten so skinny she might blow away. She worries too much about her girlish figure. The more of her I see, the better I like it, personally."
"Oh, you." Dottie blushed as she turned back to Mary Katherine. "We'll talk to you later. If you need any help cleaning up, let me know. I'll drag Walt over here."
"We have it covered. I'll talk to you later, though."
"Jah, you will, because right now you need to talk to me." Thomas, who looked so like his mountain of a father, Moses, blocked the doorway. He kept his voice low as he glanced around, but his scowl said he meant business. At thirty-six and the father of six himself, he took his role as head of the house seriously. "Have you started packing yet?"
"Let's get another plate." Still hand in hand, Dottie and Walt melted into the crowd. Dottie knew all about this skirmish, and she also would surmise that Mary Katherine wouldn't want an audience. She would be right.
Mary Katherine stepped closer to her son. "Nee."
"Mudder," he grumbled, but at least he didn't raise his voice. "We've talked about this."
He talked about it. "Suh."
"Don't get your dander up with me." Shaking his head so hard his blond beard swayed, Thomas sighed. "You cannot live alone in this house. It's not right. It's time you moved into the dawdy haus at my place. The kinner love having their groossmammi around, and you know Joanna likes your company."
It would also open up her house for son number two, Dylan, and his wife, Samantha, and their four children, and Samantha's parents, who lived with them. They needed a bigger place. Besides, Dylan worked the farm. It would save him time and effort to live on the homestead. It all made sense, but her heart simply refused to acquiesce. The empty nest loomed in front of Mary Katherine yet again. Besides, Thomas's wife, Joanna — she'd never told a soul this — rubbed her the wrong way more often than not. Mary Katherine didn't want to live with her. She had ten children. Did it have to be Thomas? Not something a mother said aloud.
She tightened her grip on the cake platter and lowered her head, preparing to bulldoze her way past her son. "I've lived in our house my entire adult life."
"You lived here with Daed." Thomas had his father's deep voice, his blond hair and blue eyes, but his personality was all Mary Katherine's. Stubborn as the flu. "But that time has passed. You can tell your stories to the kinner like you did us when we were little."
His smile said he remembered story time sitting on his daed's lap in the rocking chair next to the fireplace with the same tenderness she did. It seemed eons ago, but at the same time, only yesterday.
"We'll talk about this later." She edged forward. Thomas's expression turned stony. His feet were planted, his arms crossed. Mary Katherine stared back at him, refusing to waver. "This isn't the time or the place. You don't want to spoil your schweschder's wedding, do you?"(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Through the Autumn Air"
Copyright © 2018 Kelly Irvin.
Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Through the Autumn Air was a sweet story. It was not my favorite of the series, yet I did enjoy it. I found myself frustrated with Mary Katherine’s son, Thomas, who was extremely stubborn and a bossy man toward his mother. The men in her district truly thought that they knew better than she did and that came through in the story. This made me like Ezekiel even more, because he saw Mary Katherine’s value as a person. The interest and love that grew between Ezekiel and Mary Katherine was slow to develop, as they were both still very attached to their late spouses. These two had known each other their whole lives in the community, loved and married others, raised children, and only grew into love together later in life. If you are looking for a hero and heroine in a story who are slightly older than the normal main characters that appear in books, this would definitely be a good choice. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
In my own mind I saw a parallel in the title of the book and the main character Mary Katherine. Although it is autumn in the story I also saw Mary Katherine as in the “autumn of her life”. I liked that an older character was featured as the main “heroine” of the story. Even the cover pictures an older Amish woman rather than a young “spring chicken”. Mary Kay as she is sometimes called, is very outgoing and outspoken, not your usual Amish submissive woman. She is a widow of seven years with ten children. Ezekiel, the main male character is a widower that owns and runs the local community restaurant. His wife has been gone for ten years. Both find their children butting into their lives and trying to tell them what to do. They both have some good years left and resent to a certain extent their bossy children. But they also try to realize that they do it out of love and concern. This is a wonderful story about second chances, dreams for the future and a mystery that is puzzling right up to the end. I enjoyed getting to know each of the characters and could relate to the older aged characters. We need more books of this type. There was another story by O’Henry that came to mind as I was reading about the dreams of Mary Kay and Ezekiel, The Gift of the Magi. Sometimes what we think our future dreams are to be turn out totally different and right along with God’s best plans for us. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the Fiction Guild but was not required to write a review positive or otherwise.
New Beginnings I received a copy of this book from the Fiction Guild, I was not required to give a favorable review. This was another wonderful story from Kelly. She writes such touching stories and bring the life and stories of the Amish and English communities. This ones deals with the older Amish women in the community. They are often forgotten or have had full lives but sometimes when they have lost a spouse that they still need the companionship of a helpmate. I loved this story. It tells so much.
It was refreshing to read of characters who have lost their mates and are trying to move on in their 60’s. What does love look like? Is it only for teens and those twenty some ages? We can be lonely and left alone through death or circumstances beyond our control trying to navigate life in the best way we know how when a funny incident happens that brings two people together. I love how spunky and free spirited Mary Katherine is. Ezekiel is kindhearted and burying himself in work. The Englisher, Burke is so easy to identify with and his loss is heartbreaking. This story with leave you laughing, shedding a tear, and rejoicing when JOY comes in the morning. Add mysterious break ins and the loss of cherished mementos and you have a culmination of a wonderful story that keeps you turning the pages. An enjoyable fall read to cuddle up with and sip a cup of apple spice tea. I received a complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction Guild. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
Mary Katherine is the mother of ten and a widow. She is full of energy and always willing to help. Her last child marries and she has a dream of helping to open a bookstore with an English friend and write Amish stories but will the church elders allow her to do this? Her friend Ezekiel offers her a position as a cook in his restaurant but is that what she wants to do? Then an English stranger is found in her kitchen and she decides to help him with Ezekiel's help. Will they get involved in some intrigue? What will the elders say now? A good story. I received this book from the Fiction Guild.
This has been such an enjoyable story to read. Mary Katherine is a wonderful character who loves her ten children. She has been widowed for several years and some people in the community think its time for her to start courting again. I loved that the author made the main characters a bit older. It is refreshing to read about older people finding love again. I loved Mary Katherine's desire to open a bookstore. That has been a dream of mine for a long time. Ezekiel is also widowed and owns the Purple Martin Cafe. He is always busy and has little time to socialize. Things may be changing because I feel that love is in the air. Will these two wonderful people find their way to each other? My favorite character was Burke. He seemed down on his luck and was in need of a helping hand. I loved how Mary Katherine and Ezekiel take an interest in Burke. I'm not sure what I would do if I found a stranger in my home making a sandwich, but Mary Katherine is graceful as she offers him a place to sleep in the barn. Burke is a man of God but he has lost his way. What caused him to stray from God? The story is a delight to read and I loved the mystery that the author included in the story. Someone is going around to Amish homes and stealing things. They aren't items of real value but the thought of someone breaking in makes the town uncomfortable. I loved how the author used people in the story to help them overcome heartbreak and loneliness. Burke is not from around the community but their hospitality was very encouraging. It reminds us not to judge and remember that people are out there in the world hurting. I loved the story and how nice it was to see people working together. The book is well written and fills readers with hope, fellowship and a feeling of belonging. I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild. The review is my own opinion.
A Real Gem and Lovely Read One of my favorite things is when I find a book that I love by an author whose work is new to me. I found a gem in Through the Autumn Air by Kelly Irvin. I absolutely loved this book, from the moment I first started reading it. I haven’t read a lot of Amish themed novels, but there was something about storyline that caught my attention. Mary Katherine Ropp is a sixty-year-old widow and her last daughter is getting married. Most in the community would have her living with one of her married children and helping to raise her grandchildren. But Mary Katherine isn’t like most Amish women. She’s little bit spunky, independent, she likes to read, write stories and even dares to dream about opening a book store with her English friend Dottie. Also, part of the community is Ezekiel Miller who has been widowed for many years. In spite of grief, he kept family going through his business the Purpose Martin Café. Both Mary Katherine and Ezekiel can’t imagine getting married again so late in life, especially since they had wonderful marriages. But Ezekiel can imagine hiring another cook to help at the restaurant. In to the storyline steps the not so skilled, but very hungry burglar, Burke McMillan, who has a late-night encounter with Mary Katherine. What I loved best about this book were the characters. They were very likable people that I would enjoy knowing. Mary Katherine was my favorite and I loved her ongoing conversations with her husband Moses. I loved Ezekiel’s tender caring heart, tender for Mary Katherine, open to help and give a new start to a stranger, loving to his grandchildren, especially Kenneth. Burke is a man of mystery. Is he just a down on his luck kind of guy, is he the thief that’s been plaguing the Amish community or is something more going on with him? Kelly Irvin is a wonderful writer. She knows how to make characters interesting and very likeable, even in plain every day ordinary life. She gives insight into the characters and what they are going through at this stage in their lives. The Amish community setting is interesting but doesn’t overwhelm the story, instead it’s the background and reveals how these characters live their lives. I could identify with many of the feelings that Mary Katherine was expressing. The one person, I wasn’t too keen on was her son Thomas because he was so disrespectful to his mother. I would think as a Christian, he would have tried to honor his mother, but instead he treated her more like a child who has misbehaved. I loved Through the Autumn Air by Kelly Irvin and I look forward to reading more of her books. I highly recommend this story, it was lovely! I read this book during a very difficult time in my life and I found it to be a very comforting place to escape to for a while. I would like to thank BookLook and Zondervan Publishers for the opportunity to read Through the Autumn Air in exchange for an honest review. I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.
Through the Autumn Air by Kelly Irvin is the third in An Every Amish Season series. Mary Katherine is a widow, mother of ten children and grandmother to over twenty. She dreams of helping to open a book store with an English friend, but the bishop won't allow it. Ezekiel is a widower, with children and grandchildren of his own. He opened a restaurant when his wife died to help him cope with her loss. When an English man breaks into Mary Kay's home to make a sandwich, she turns to Ezekiel rather than her son or the bishop. As they turn this stranger into "their project," feeling long forgotten develop between Mary Kay and Ezekiel. Can they open their hearts again in the autumn of their lives? It's an amusing, sweet story and one of my favorite Amish books.
Through the Autumn Air is the third installment from Kelly Irvin’s series, Every Amish Season. I thought it was good. I loved Mary Katherine from the start. I loved seeing a story that involves an older character that finds love. Especially, after she loses her husband, the father of her ten children. I give Through the Autumn Air four stars. A good inspiring story of faith that shows how to help others and moving on.
Well fall is in the air and this is the picture perfect book to read on a lovely fall day. Mary Katherine has a rather sad story. A mother of ten and a widow. But that doesn't deter Mary Katherine....she's a bundle of energy, always helping others and now that her last child has married she wants to do something with her life. Her dream has been to open a bookstore with we English friend. But then her friend, Ezekiel offer her a job as a cook in his restaurant when his wife passes away. But does she really want to spend her days cooking over a hot stove? And then a stranger breaks into Mary Katherine's house to make himself a sandwich. But Mary Katherine doesn't call the sheriff she calls Ezekiel. Ezekiel gives the job of cooking to Burke so he can get bacon his feet. This is a light and sometimes humorous read...so much real life scenarios the reader can just imagine the smiles and generous hearts of the Amish friends. *This book was provided for review by the Fiction Guild*
This "Every Amish Season" series just keeps getting better and better! I love seeing characters from previous novels - they add such a depth and familiarity to the subsequent stories. In this book, everyone seems to know just what's best for widow Mary Katherine Ropp...except Mary Kay! After her last child finally marries, Mary Kay hopes she has the freedom to set a new course for her life. More time writing? Starting a new bookstore with her best English friend? Even, just perhaps, a romance?! But between her controlling sons and Amish bishop, a chance would be a fine thing. Strangely enough, her strongest supporter is her dead husband, Moses. Mary Kay regularly "talks" with her late "mann," fully realizing that these conversations "were a lovely figment of her writer's imagination. Born of terrible loneliness and the sense that they hadn't had the chance to finish their conversation before he was ripped from her life so suddenly." Another Jamesport widow(er) still preoccupied with his late spouse is Ezekiel Miller. He lost his beloved wife Lucy so suddenly that it shook not only his household fabric, but his faith. He's been working hard to provide for his family and community at the Purple Martin Cafe until health problems cause him to reconsider his lifestyle. Thrown together by an English stranger and a string of thefts, these two mature friends begin to consider building a future together. But Ezekiel senses that "What drew him to Mary Katherine was (precisely) that which kept him from having her." Their dreams seem so different and contrary, until an O'Henry moment (think "Gift of the Magi") helps them realize the cost of NOT daring to love. I wonder what the Jamesport Budget scribe wrote about this conclusion! Another wonderful book from a predictably satisfying author. Kelly Irvin makes me want to move to whatever Amish community she's writing about - her characters are SO real and appealing! The only fault I can find with this book is its beautiful cover: Mary Kay is missing her oh-so-necessary eyeglasses! I can't wait for the fourth book in this series to see how the oldest widow in this circle of friends finds love "With Winter's First Frost."
Through the Autumn Air is a sweet story about second chances. This novel by Kelly Irvin is the third book in An Every Amish Season series. Mary Katherine, mother of ten, grandmother to many, is a widower. She has not considered the idea of ever starting another relationship. However, she and an old school friend, Ezekiel, start forming a friendship. Could this relationship blossom into anything more? Add a mysterious English man, Burke, into the mix and you've got a story that you won't be able to put down! Author Kelly Irvin really brings the characters to life in this book; you will feel like you are right there with them in beautiful Jamesport, Missourri. A definite must-read! I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book from the publisher and have given my honest opinion.
A great addition to the series. They may be in the autumn of their lives with no spouse, but that doesn't mean they can do what they please, especially Mary Katherine. She not only has to listen to the bishop but her children, mainly her sons, the oldest Thomas. I feel like Thomas has forgotten he's the son and not the father, lol, he is looking out for her safety with the mysterious break-ins going on, but he expects her to 'mind' him. WOW, can you imaging that in the Englisch world? A good story and some wonderful characters, Kelly has a great addition to the series here.
While Through the Autumn Air is the third novel in the series, it can be read alone. Each story focuses on a different character who has lost the love of their life. The series is set in Jamesport, Missouri is a close-knit Amish community where everyone knows your business. I thought Through the Autumn Air was well-written and had good pacing. There are smooth transitions between sections as the point-of-view switches between Ezekiel and Mary Katherine. I liked that the characters are older. Mary Katherine is sixty years old, but she is not ready to sit in a rocking chair and knit. She has raised ten children and they have provided her with twenty-seven grandchildren. Her children (especially her oldest son Thomas) are trying to force changes on Mary Katherine along with Bishop Freeman and the church elders. One of my favorite characters is Dottie Manchester. She is a lively woman with an unusual style of dress. It is lovely that Ezekiel likes Mary Katherine’s attitude (along with her creativity and curiosity) and does not want to change her (thank heavens). Some of the Christian themes present in the book are God is in control, to have a strong faith, power of prayer, events happen in God’s timing, and accepting God’s will and plan for our life. While I liked some aspects of Through the Autumn Air, I have others infuriating. I did not like how Thomas, Bishop Freeman and the other church elders were trying to control Mary Katherine (I understand it is the Amish way and Mary Katherine states it is a woman’s lot in life to have men in charge). They wanted to make her move out of her home of thirty-six years, tell her where she could work, who she could or could not go into business with, how she should react to situation, etc. Mary Katherine is a grown woman who, as long as she is not hurting herself or breaking the law, should be able to manage her own life (I will quit ranting now). I thought the name of the bookstore was clever along with the tagline (I do not want to spoil it for you). There are some entertaining moments in Through the Autumn Air that had me chuckling. One of my favorites is Mary Katherine riding in Tony’s rickety car. My rating for Through the Autumn Air is 3.5 out of 5 stars. Through the Autumn Air is sweet Amish novel with romance, mystery, humor, good food, and a love of books.
I’m absolutely loving the Every Amish Season series by Kelly Irvin. Through the Autumn Air is a beautiful story about an older widow Amish woman who is finding her new normal after her youngest child moves out of her house and she is now on her own. The depth of the characters was impactful and the storyline hit close to home. While I’m not as old as the main character and it’s only my oldest son graduating from high school, I could feel for the character as she was adjusting to the inevitable changes that mark the progressive of life. Beautifully written, I escaped into the book and felt as though I was a treasured friend in the community.
Through the Autumn Air. by Kelly Irwin We meet Mary a widower seeing her daughter getting married today. She has a habit of jotting her thoughts down in a notebook, in the middle of life’s memories. Alone now, the creaking awaken her, someone was in kitchen, fixing a sandwich. She fixes him food, and offers the barn to sleep in, he wants to work. Helping another friend Ezekiel, needing a cook she brings Burke to help him. They watch over him, which leads to them spending time together, and more than friendship is sparked. Though they have loved deeply, and lost, in the Autumn time of their lives, to find another to share. They feel this was a blessing from God. Given ARC from Net Galley and Zondervan for my voluntary review and my honest opinion.
I've been anxiously waiting for the next installment in Kelly Irvin's Every Amish Season series and was not at all disappointed with Through the Autumn Air. Like its two predecessors, Kelly's new book will touch your heart and soul. The characters are so real you can't help but laugh and cry with them. The youngest of widow Mary Katherine Ropp's ten children has just married leaving her alone in the family's big house. Her children want her to move in with one of them and be a doting grandmother. The church elders want her to work in an Amish store, but her dream is to open a bookstore with an English friend. When a stranger breaks into her house in search of food, Mary Katherine takes him under her wing and turns to her old friend, widower Ezekiel Miller, for help. The two friends find themselves working together more and more. Can their friendship turn into something different? Can they risk loving again after losing their dear spouses and start over in the autumn of their lives? Once again, Kelly Irvin has written a novel that will engage you on the very first page. You will be instantly drawn into the story and become involved with the characters. In fact, you will have a difficult time pulling yourself out of their lives when you have to lay the book down. Although this is the third book in the series, it is not necessary to read the first two books before reading Through the Autumn Air, but you will definitely want to read them, too. Kelly has a magical way with words and always creates stories of hope, faith, and love--with just the right amount of humor thrown in. Thank you, Kelly, for another wonderful story. Susan Simpson
This is the third in a series, Every Amish Season, however, the first I have read in the series. It can definitely be read as a standalone book and still be very enjoyable. It was very refreshing reading a book that dealt with an older generation of Amish. Both Mary Katherine and Ezekiel have lost their spouses and now find their children trying to “become the parent” and tell them where they should live and what they should do with their lives. Mary Katherine and Ezekiel have known each other since they were children in school. When an English intruder enters Mary Katherine’s home, she sees that he isn’t there to hurt her and that he needs more in his life. She feels that Ezekiel can be a help in this young man’s life. As they work together to help Burke, they find themselves becoming attracted to each other. They find that they both are having a problem moving past their lives and loves of their former spouses and discover they both have definite plans for their future, and they don’t involve anything similar to what the other wants. This keeps them from believing they would ever be able to be a part of each other’s life. I found this book very interesting regarding the interaction of the Amish and English, along with the adventure in the lives of two people in the Autumn of their lives. I highly recommend this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Through the Autumn Air is an awesome read! I love the interaction between Mary Katherine and Ezekiel; they’re like teenagers again. And I hate to admit it, but I for sure didn’t like how Thomas felt like he could boss her mother around. Even if he’s a wonderful husband and father, he’s not a respectful son — and it’s not right. He didn’t show respect for his mother when he ordered her to do things his way. Okay, other than him, I loved the story… and I hope there’s more about Burke in the last story of this series. Happy Reading!