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?
1858 – Ohio
The Civil War battlefield is the last place Quakeress Faith Cathwell thought she’d find herself. But with a gift for nursing, Faith seizes this opportunity to join the fight for abolition―and to search for Shiloh, a freeborn childhood friend who was kidnapped and sold south by unscrupulous slave catchers.
Knowing it’s much too dangerous for her to search enemy territory alone, Faith enlists the help of Colonel Devlin Knight, who is indebted to her for saving his cousin’s life. A career soldier, Dev is committed to the preservation of the Union but conflicted about freeing his own slave and confidant, who plans to enlist as soon as Dev gives him manumission papers.
Blazing a trail east with the rest of Grant’s army, Dev and Faith fight their personal battles―and a growing attraction to each other. When beliefs clash and passions flare, they quickly find that the only thing more dangerous than the war surrounding them is the battle within their hearts.
1842 – Pennsylvania
Hannah Yoder loves her quiet life on the banks of the Conestoga Creek. In 1842, this corner of Lancaster County is settled and peaceful–yet problems lurk beneath the placid façade. Hannah’s father worries about the spread of liberal ideas from their Mennonite and Brethren neighbors. And Hannah blames herself for a tragedy that struck their home nine years ago. She strives to be the one person who can bind the threads of her family together in spite of her mother’s ongoing depression and her sister’s rejection of their family. But her world is threatening to unravel.
When two young men seek her hand in marriage–one offering the home she craves and the other promising the adventure of following God’s call west–Hannah must make a choice. Faithfully perform her duties to her family? Or defy her father and abandon her community?
Hester on the Run
Colonial – Pennsylvania
The setting is the beginning of an Amish settlement in colonial America in the forests of eastern Pennsylvania. There, a young Amish couple, Hans and Kate Zug, are in their ninth year of marriage, still waiting to have a child. Then, one April morning, Kate finds a Native infant, wrapped in deerskin and placed next to the spring where she went to fill her water bucket.
Kate and Hans cherish Hester, despite the pointed question of Hans’s mother—“What makes you think you can raise her Amish, with her Indian blood?”
Struck by his daughter’s unusual beauty, Hans insists on choosing the fabric for her handmade dresses. And when his and Kate’s first son is born a year later, Hans despairs of his homely face and nearly bald head. In fact, Hans continues to give his fullest attention and affection to Hester, even as eight more children are born to him and Kate.
Hester glows as she grows, an unmistakable beauty both inside and out, and charms her adopted Amish community. But then, an elderly Lenape woman hands Hester a package of medicinal herbs to rout an infection that is threatening Kate’s life. A trust passes between the wizened and the youthful Native women. In that moment, Hester recognizes that she belongs to two worlds, both intent on possessing her. When Amish Indian Hester realizes that she must leave her tension-filled home for her sake and her father’s, she takes only two possessions: the leather-bound book of remedies left for her by the old Lenape woman and her memories of the Amish ways.
Promise to Keep
1946 – Delaware
World War II Marine Joe Garrison returns home from war longing to be a father to his deaf daughter, Daisy, only to find that she is attached to Esther Detweiler, the Amish woman who has raised her since his wife’s death in this touching historical romance.
Orphaned as a child, Esther Detweiler is used to caring for herself and her ailing grandmother. They made the best out of a hard life and poverty without asking for help. They even take in her shunned cousin’s deaf daughter, Daisy, when her mother dies and her father goes off to war. When Esther’s grandmother dies, Daisy is all she has.
When war veteran Joe Garrison returns, all he can think about is recovering from the horrors of war and building a relationship with his seven-year-old daughter. Daisy, however, is unwilling to leave Esther, whom she loves. Joe and Daisy get to know each other again, but Joe struggles with nightmares and fatherhood is proving to be more difficult than he imagined. Esther loves Daisy and despite her Amish ways, Joe finds himself drawn to her as a woman and not just a caregiver.
As their love blossoms, Joe decides to send Daisy away to a school for the deaf which propels their lives into turmoil and a battle for love and family.
Brightest and Best
1918 – Ohio
The collapse of a schoolhouse puts pressure on Amish families and their long-held educational values. Ella Hilty anticipates marrying Gideon Wittner and becoming a mother to his children. In a whirling clash of values, Ella seeks the solid ground that seems to have slipped away. Margaret Simpson, an English schoolteacher, wonders if she is losing her last chance at love. As the local authorities draw lines in the sand, Margaret puts romance at risk one final time. All eyes turn to Ella to make a sacrifice and accept a challenge that can bring unity to the Amish and understanding to the English.
Change of Heart
1899 – Ohio
Soft-spoken midwife Becca Yost lived by her Amish faith’s strict rules—until her fiancé jilted her before their entire community. She’s never been away from home, but the bustling Englischer town of Massillon, Ohio, is a welcome unexpected refuge. Especially when she goes to work for Dr. Matt Carrington, who shares her passion for healing those in need. His outgoing spirit and gentle strength show Becca a surprising new world of choices—and irresistible love. But there is one formidable obstacle: Matt’s wealthy mother is determined her son will marry a society woman.
With her newfound resolve challenged, Becca decides that she and Matt must not be destined for each other after all. She accepts that she will have to forge a life alone—until a wrenching crisis and life-changing revelations teach her that true faith lies in all things, especially impossible second chances. . .
1848 – Ohio
An impetuous love swept Blessing Brightman away from the Quaker community, into the highest ranks of Cincinnati society. But behind the glitter of ballroom and parlor, her spirit slowly eroded in an increasingly dangerous marriage. Widowed young, determined never to lose her independence again, Blessing reclaimed her faith and vowed to use her influence to fight for women’s rights and abolition.
Gerard Ramsay, scion of a wealthy Boston family, arrives in Cincinnati hoping to escape his father’s clutches with a strategy that will gain him independence. His plan is soon complicated, however, by the enchanting widow. Never before has a woman spoken as if she’s his equal―or challenged him to consider the lives of others.
In a city nearly ablaze with racial tensions quickly dividing the country, can two people worlds apart possibly find common ground?
1737 -At Sea
On a hot day in 1737 in Rotterdam, Anna König reluctantly sets foot on the Charming Nancy, a merchant ship that will carry her and her fellow Amish believers across the Atlantic to start a new life. As the only one in her community who can speak English, she feels compelled to go. But Anna is determined to complete this journey and return home–assuming she survives. She’s heard horrific tales of ocean crossings and worse ones of what lay ahead in the New World. But fearfulness is something Anna has never known.
Ship’s carpenter Bairn resents the somber people–dubbed Peculiars by the deckhands–who fill the lower deck of the Charming Nancy. All Bairn wants to do is to put his lonely past behind him, but that irksome and lovely lass Anna and her people keep intruding on him.
Delays, storms, illness, and diminishing provisions test the mettle and patience of everyone on board. When Anna is caught in a life-threatening situation, Bairn makes a discovery that shakes his entire foundation. But has the revelation come too late?
Meek and Mild
1916 – Pennsylvania
The leadership in an Old Order Amish community requires shunning friends and family whose only offense is to embrace the new Protestant practice of Sunday school among the Mennonites, but teaching Bible stories to children is one of Clara Kuhns’ great joys. Clara’s on the verge of saying yes to Andrew Raber’s marriage proposal, but now he is flagrantly refusing to submit to the bishop’s authority by owning a car. When the lot falls to Moses Beachy to become the new bishop, the community waits for him to take bold steps toward change. Clara and Andrew step together into a more progressive Amish faith as the Beachy Amish take form.
Promise to Cherish
1945 – New York
As World War II draws to a close, nurse Christine falls in love with roguish Amish boy Eli and must choose between a new, uncertain life in the Amish faith or face the judgment of a conservative postwar American society for her past mistakes. It’s 1945, and Christine Freeman is a nurse at Hudson River State Hospital, where she works alongside members of a Civilian Public Service unit. Eli is one of the conscies—conscientious objectors to the war—and he is doing his best to become a man of character instead of the immature heartbreaker he used to be back home in his Amish community. Christine and Eli are friendly, but when an old acquaintance, Jack, returns home from the war, Christine’s world is violently turned upside down. Eli, heartbroken to see his friend so hurt, offers her an escape within his Amish community. Despite her misgivings, Christine is fully embraced by Eli’s community. She slowly begins to feel valued and loved as she learns the Amish way of life. Christine finds herself falling for Eli. But soon, the abusive Jack discovers Christine in her Amish hideaway and starts causing trouble for the quiet community. Christine can’t see herself becoming Amish, and she knows that if Eli leaves the church to be with her, he will be shunned. Will she escape Jack and possibly have to give up the one thing she holds most dear, or will she follow her heart and promise to cherish the Amish man who loves her?
1819 – Maryland
When unexpected circumstances leave Honor Penworthy destitute after the death of her grandfather, she is forced to leave her Maryland plantation—and the slaves she hoped to free—and seek refuge with a distant relative. With no marketable skills, her survival hinges on a marriage arranged through the Quaker community to local glass artisan Samuel Cathwell. Samuel is drawn to Honor, but he has been unwilling to open his heart to anyone since scarlet fever took his hearing as a child. A move west brings the promise of a fresh start, but nothing in Honor’s genteel upbringing has prepared her for the rigors of frontier life with Samuel. Nevertheless, her tenacity and passion sweep her into important winds of change, and she becomes increasingly—though secretly—involved in the Underground Railroad. Samuel suspects Honor is hiding something, but will uncovering the truth confirm his worst fears or truly bring them together as man and wife? Set against the backdrop of dramatic and pivotal moments in American history, the Quaker Brides series chronicles the lives of three brave heroines, fighting to uphold their principles of freedom while navigating the terrain of faith, family, and the heart.
1914 – Colorado
In a struggling Amish settlement on the harsh Colorado plain, Abbie Weaver refuses to concede defeat to hail, drought, and coyotes, even as families begin to give up and return east. The biggest challenge of all is the lack of a spiritual shepherd and regular worship. When Abbie discovers the root of a spiritual divide that runs through the settlement, she faces her own decisions about what she believes. She must choose between a quiet love in her cherished church, passion with a man determined to leave the church, or imagining her life with neither.
A Mother for His Children
1937 – Indiana
After her sweetheart’s betrayal, Ruthy Mummert leaves behind the small-town gossip of her Amish community for the first opportunity she can find: a housekeeper position in faraway LaGrange County, Indiana. Ruthy didn’t realize the job meant caring for ten children—and for their handsome widowed father. To Levi Zook’s mind, Ruthy is too young and too pretty to be anyone’s housekeeper. A marriage of convenience will protect her reputation and give his children the security they dearly need. But it could also give them the courage to grasp a new chance at happiness—if Ruthy is willing to risk her wounded heart once more.
WWII – New York
When journalist Suzanne Randolph hears about FDR’s plan to bring a boatload of displaced WWII refugees to America, she knows it may be her last chance to redeem her flagging career. Suzanne follows the story to Oswego, New York, where she meets Theo Bridgewater, a Quaker dairy farmer from Wisconsin who has come to reunite with his uncle and aunt and cousin. Theo’s fight to spare his relatives the return to Germany becomes Suzanne’s fight as she does everything that the “power of the pen” can muster to help win public sympathy for the cause.