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The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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The Return

1763 – Pennsylvania

Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family’s rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans, but then she never had to. Not until the night when she’s taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. During her captivity, Betsy faces brutality and hardship, but also unexpected kindness. She draws strength from native Caleb, who encourages her to find God in all circumstances. She finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the intense new feelings this compelling man awakens within her.

Handsome and complex, Hans is greatly anguished by Betsy’s captivity and turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. Eagerly, Tessa responds, overlooking troubling signs of Hans’s hunger for revenge. When Betsy is finally restored to the Amish, have things gone too far between Hans and Tessa?

Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.

A Rebel in My House by Sandra Merville Hart

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A Rebel in My House

1860s – Pennsylvania

Sarah Hubbard makes her living as a seamstress in her solitary home beside Willoughby Run, a creek near Gettysburg. Her loyalties are firmly on the side of the North so when Confederate soldier, Jesse Mitchell, seeks refuge at her home she cautiously agrees to help him.

Jesse promised his sister-in-law to bring her husband, Jonas, home safely. With all the death he’s witnessed fighting for “The Cause,” protecting Jonas has become a matter of honor. He is prepared to die for his brother and his country. He appreciates his luck in finding a caring woman behind enemy lines.

When Union soldiers spill onto their property, Sarah’s compassionate decision to conceal Jesse’s presence in her home leads to more hardships than she can imagine.

More than borders separate the couple. Can a Southern soldier and a Northern seamstress overcome the bitterness of loss and find the love amidst the horrors of war?

Gladden the Heart by Olivia Newport

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Gladden the Heart

1847 – Pennsylvania

“When you have experienced the Holy Ghost as I have, you would see that it is difficult to turn back.”
 
When the lively fervor of nineteenth century revivalism endangers the staid customs of the Amish community in the lush but rugged Kishacoquillas Valley of central Pennsylvania in 1847, the Amish church must deal with a divisive question: What is a genuine spiritual experience?

The question turns personal when Susanna’s beloved cousin Noah begins preaching while under trances and even though he is not a minister he gives long sermons that attract increasing attention. Curious, she helps to keep Noah safe during his trances. At the same time Adam, Susanna’s intended, feels pressure from the bishop to speak out against the ways of revivalism.

Susanna and Adam are pushed to opposite sides of a controversy that threatens their traditional Amish faith..  Now they must grapple with whether love is possible…even if they come to different conclusions.
           
When Noah goes missing at a time of day when he often preaches while asleep, circumstances thrust community members with divergent opinions into a crisis that demands they recognize the humanity they share regardless of beliefs.  But can strong-held opinions be softened by the truths that shape their lives? 

The Return by Bob and J. M. Hochstetler

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The Return

1757 – Pennsylvania

Jakob Hochstetler’s refusal to take up arms against the Indians who attacked his Amish family’s home on the Pennsylvania frontier during the brutal raids of the French and Indian War cost the lives of his wife and two of his children. Carried away with his younger sons, Jakob is enslaved by the Seneca, while Joseph and Christian are adopted into different divisions of the Lenape tribe and struggle to adapt to new lives.

Jakob plots a perilous escape in spite of overwhelming odds against succeeding. But even if he can get away, could he survive a harrowing journey over the hundreds of miles of rugged terrain that lie between him and his Northkill community? Does home still exist? Are his older son and daughter, Johannes and Barbara, still alive? Will he ever find his boys and bring them home?

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The Newcomer by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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The Newcomer

1737 – Pennsylvania

In 1737, Anna Konig and her fellow church members stagger off a small wooden ship after ten weeks at sea, eager to start a new life in the vibrant but raw Pennsylvania frontier. On the docks of Port Philadelphia waits bishop Jacob Bauer, founder of the settlement and father to ship carpenter Bairn. It’s a time of new beginnings for the reunited Bauer family, and for Anna and Bairn’s shipboard romance to blossom.

But this perfect moment cannot last. As Bairn grasps the reality of what it means to be Amish in the New World–isolated, rigid with expectations, under the thumb of his domineering father–his enthusiasm evaporates. When a sea captain offers the chance to cross the ocean one more time, Bairn grabs it. Just one more crossing, he promises Anna. But will she wait for him?

When Henrik Newman joins the church just as it makes its way to the frontier, Anna is torn. He seems to be everything Bairn is not–bold, devoted, and delighted to vie for her heart. And the most dramatic difference? He is here; Bairn is not.

Far from the frontier, an unexpected turn of events weaves together the lives of Bairn, Anna, and Henrik. When a secret is revealed, which true love will emerge?

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Summer on Sunset Ridge by Sharlene MacLaren

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Summer on Sunset Ridge

1855 – Pennsylvania

Brought up on a Quaker farm near Philadelphia at the brink of the Civil War, plainspoken Rebecca Albright is expected to be charitable, peace-loving, and submissive. But she is feeling anything but. A feisty abolitionist, Rebecca is determined to aid the Underground Railroad no matter the cost, until her path collides with slave-catcher Sheriff Clay Dalton who’s grimly fighting battles of his own. When tensions between the North and South escalate, the two find themselves propelled on a journey to discover just who God has called them to be—and whether friendship needs a common enemy.

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The Christmas Secret by Wanda Brunstetter

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The Christmas Secret

1880 – Pennsylvania

Will a Christmas Eve Wedding Be Cancelled by Revelations in an Old Diary?

Bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter delivers a poignant historical story of a couple on the threshold of marriage who are suddenly pulled apart. Elizabeth Canning discovers an awful secret in her deceased mother’s diary. Believing her chances for a happy marriage are spoiled, she leaves her fiancé a letter and flees town. Anticipating a Christmas Eve wedding with Elizabeth, David Stinner is confused by her letter and desperate to find her. Can David root out the truth about the past and bring back his bride? Or is the truth destined to bring an ultimate end to their romance?

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Dawn of Liberty by Amber Schamel

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Dawn of Liberty

1776 – Pennsylvania

Liberty comes with a price. Can a fledgling nation bear the cost?
British forces advance upon a struggling colonial army. The time of decision has come. Declare independence, or give up the fight. The weight of a nation rests on Samuel Adams’ shoulders as he joins the delegates of the Second Continental Congress. Can he raise the cause of Liberty above the fear of the King’s wrath in the hearts of his countrymen?
Three riveting short stories follow Samuel Adams as he struggles through the events surrounding the Declaration of Independence and evokes the Dawn of Liberty.

Hope in the Land by Olivia Newport

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Hope in the Land

1930s – Pennsylvania

When Henry Edison turns up in Lancaster County to survey farm women about their domestic contributions during the 1930s, the last thing Amish housewife Gloria Grabill has time for is the government agent’s unending questions. Gloria’s hands are already full with a farm to run alongside her husband, a houseful of children, and an English neighbor, Minerva Swain, who has been trying Gloria’s patience for forty years. Gloria’s oldest daughter, Polly, wants nothing more than the traditional path of an Amish farmer’s wife, but everything she does seems to push Thomas Coblentz further away. While the Great Depression shadows the country in gloom, can Amish and English neighbors in Lancaster County grasp the goodness that will sustain hope?

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Which Way Home? by Linda Byler

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Which Way Home?

Colonial Pennsylvania

Born a Native American, but brought up Amish, Hester Zug, at age 20, flees her Amish home. Her father’s too-tender care of her has made her stepmother wildly jealous, and so Hester sets off, knowing only that she can’t stay. Hester’s natural instincts for navigating the forests in colonial Pennsylvania along with the book of medicines and remedies given to her by an aged Native American woman allow her to survive until she gets sick from drinking river water.

Twice rescued—first by matronly Indian women who find her unconscious in the woods, and then by a boy in downtown Lancaster, where she’d been left for dead by the dreaded Paxton boys—Hester finds herself in the kind, if rough, hands of Emma Ferree. Because of her wide heart, Ferree, a widow, offers her home to fugitives.

The dazzlingly beautiful Hester eventually marries an Amish man, who is more in love with the way she looks than with her heart and mind. And when that childless marriage falters, she is met one day in the fields by Running Bear, a Native American brave who has watched her for years. He asks her to marry him, giving her until wintertime to decide.

Belonging in part to two worlds, but experiencing a subtle yet clear rejection from both, Hester comes to wish that her Amish mother, Kate, had never rescued her.

Author Linda Byler shows the lovely and enduring Hester caring for others as the Amish do, with the use of Native American remedies and tinctures from the old woman’s book. Her practices raise accusations of witchcraft from the very people she sets out to help. Byler, an active member of the Amish, centers this second book in the Hester’s Hunt for Home series on two anguishing questions: Where is Hester’s heart most at home? And can she ever be married happily?

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