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1956 – Pennsylvania
In a time of grief and heartache, an unlikely friendship provides strength and solace.
After leaving her son’s grave behind in Montgomery, Alabama, Delilah Evans has little faith that moving to her husband’s hometown in Pennsylvania will bring a fresh start. Enveloped by grief and doubt, the last thing Delilah imagines is becoming friends with her reclusive Amish neighbor, Emma Mullet—yet the secrets that keep Emma isolated from her own community bond her to Delilah in delicate and unexpected ways.
Delilah’s eldest daughter, Sparrow, bears the brunt of her mother’s pain, never allowed for a moment to forget she is responsible for her brother’s death. When tensions at home become unbearable for her, she seeks peace at Emma’s house and becomes the daughter Emma has always wanted. Sparrow, however, is hiding secrets of her own—secrets that could devastate them all.
With the white, black, and Amish communities of Sinking Creek at their most divided, there seems to be little hope for reconciliation. But long-buried hurts have their way of surfacing, and Delilah and Emma find themselves facing their own self-deceptions. Together they must learn how to face the future through the healing power of forgiveness.
Eminently relevant to the beauty and struggle in America today, The Solace of Water offers a glimpse into the turbulent 1950s and reminds us that friendship rises above religion, race, and custom—and has the power to transform a broken heart.
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1793 – Pennsylvania
Lacemaker Vivienne Rivard never imagined her craft could threaten her life. Yet in revolutionary France, it is a death sentence when the nobility, and those associated with them, are forced to the guillotine. Vivienne flees to Philadelphia but finds the same dangers lurking in the French Quarter, as revolutionary sympathizers threaten the life of a young boy left in her care, who some suspect to be the Dauphin. Can the French settlement, Azilum, offer permanent refuge?
Militiaman Liam Delaney proudly served in the American Revolution, but now that the new government has imposed an oppressive tax that impacts his family, he barely recognizes the democracy he fought for. He wants only to cultivate the land of his hard-won farm near Azilum, but soon finds himself drawn into the escalating tension of the Whiskey Rebellion. When he meets a beautiful young Frenchwoman recently arrived from Paris, they will be drawn together in surprising ways to fight for the peace and safety for which they long.
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1863 – Pennsylvania
Levi Albright rebelled against his Quaker roots to fight for abolition in the Union army in the first year of the Civil War. Two years later, 19-year-old destitute orphan Josephine Winters, with chopped hair, boy’s clothes, and new name, “Snipp,” enlists in the Union army out of sheer desperation.
Just over five feet tall and barely weighing as much as a newborn calf, Snipp seems to Levi to be barely old enough to hold “his” gun. But despite being teased by the regiment, Snipp quickly earns admiration for skill with a musket and unequaled bravery. When Levi explains one night that he is a Quaker leading a regiment, it leads to a late-night discussion of faith and a developing friendship.
But Snipp’s secret can only be hidden for so long. After an injury forces Josie to reveal her real identity, Levi is angered by her deception. Worse, Josie is marched out of the company without a chance to explain—or even say goodbye. Will their friendship survive? Or will the hatred saturating the war-torn nation affect even the heart of a peace-loving Quaker?
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Revolutionary War/Present Day – Pennsylvania
At age twenty, Jessica Bachman left her two beloved sisters and her Amish community after clashing with the new bishop about her role in the family and the future of their farm. She tried to convince Silas Kemp, who’d been courting her for two years, to join her, but when he said no, she fled anyway.
Three years later, she returns home for the first time since leaving Lancaster to attend her father’s funeral. Her arrival back revives all sorts of emotions–yearnings and sorrows alike. Jessica knows things will never return to how they were. But in seeing Silas again, she can’t help but wonder what might have been.
Struggling to decide where her next step should take her, she learns the story of a Revolutionary War-era ancestor that echoes her own choices. Will Jessica leave her family and community forever, or is there peace and healing and love yet to come?
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
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
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?
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?
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?
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.
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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Hester, the startlingly beautiful Native American who was rescued as an infant by an Amish couple, now lives in downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She shares a house with Bappie King, another Amish woman, living their independent lives in the fast-growing mid-18th-century city. Bappie runs a highly successful stand at the downtown farmers market; Hester is Bappie’s assistant when she isn’t out in the city nursing desperately sick children and their impoverished parents with her tinctures, teas, and rubs.
And then one day, Noah comes back; Noah, the first child born to Hans and Kate Zug, the Amish couple who had welcomed Hester during their childless years.
Both Hester and Noah are refugees from this Amish family gone awry. Both were victims of Hans’ deep attraction to the lovely Hester. Two hurt souls, they have each had their own adult troubles. Noah left his family and the Amish to join the War. Hester is the widow of William King, an Amish man who was determined to possess his wife and dictate her life.
When Noah invites Hester to join him on a visit to their childhood home, Hester can no longer ignore her buried anger at her adopted father or her bitterness toward Annie, his second wife. Nor can Hester deny the tempting thrill of spending time with the steady but sensitive Noah, who since childhood showed special care for Hester.
Hester and Noah both know that the visit home will force them to face blistering questions: Can they possibly forgive their ill father, Hans, for his misplaced love for Hester and his utter neglect of Noah? Can Hester and Noah risk marriage, especially if they can’t forgive Hans? Can Hester trust herself—and Noah—enough to marry again after her failed marriage to William?
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
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?
Which Way Home?
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?