by Charlotte Hubbard
GENRE: Amish/Inspirational Romance
For the peaceful town of Willow Ridge, November presents an early holiday surprise. Stranded in the snow, 18-year-old Lena Esh and her boyfriend Josiah Witmer need more than a place to stay for the night. Lena defied her strict family and their judgmental beliefs to run away with Josiah and have his baby. But she’s starting to wonder if he can prove as responsible as he is passionate. And she isn’t sure how—or if—they can ever find a place to truly call home.
Expecting their own miracle baby, Miriam and Ben Hooley rally the town to help the young couple, and Lena draws strength from their unexpected support. Though trouble may come calling, in this season of joyous rebirth, a little child will lead them. And two couples will see their dreams of forever family come true…
Josiah’s lips twitched. How did women figure out what he was caught up in—and how he should respond—before he knew? “You and I have been asked to cater a wedding dinner next week,” he replied. “I’m guessing we could use the kitchen of that café I’ve told you about—”
“We’ve worked in worse places.”
“—and the whole town would probably come out for it,” Josiah continued in the most nonchalant tone he could muster. “We could run our business from there, too, once everybody got a taste of our food. Miriam’s all for it but Ben wants the details in writing. I just don’t know about that.”
Savilla planted a fist on her hip. “Fine and dandy, but what’ll we do with this farm and the animals? What’ll we say to the neighbors? And what’ll you tell that Knepp fellow?” she demanded. “Lots of questions have been hanging fire since you saw his ad, and I’ve not heard any answers!”
“You know, I’ve had enough of people telling me what to do,” Josiah retorted.
“Then do something,” his sister shot back. “You suddenly have some new opportunities, and until you commit to one of them, Lena and I are left hanging. I don’t like feeling so betwixt and between, Josiah.”
“So marry Floyd Stoltzfus and your troubles will be over,” he blurted, regretting his words even before they rang in the high-ceilinged kitchen.
As Savilla faced the stove again, her crestfallen expression made Josiah kick himself. Why did he smart off to everyone lately, wounding the two young women who loved and depended on him? Floyd had wanted to court Savilla for months, but why would his beautiful sister hitch up with a widower who was ten years her senior and had four rambunctious kids? Stotzfus ran a sawmill and he had all the personality of the sawdust that clung to his shaggy hair.
“That was a low blow. Sorry,” Josiah mumbled.
The color rose in Savilla’s cheeks. “Join the church and marry Lena, and your troubles will be over,” she shot back. “Or at least your soul—and your baby—will have a future. If marrying Floyd would make you take charge of your life, Josiah, I’d do it in a heartbeat.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community in Missouri, longtime Missourian Charlotte Hubbard writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her Seasons of the Heart series. Like her heroine, Miriam Lantz Hooley, Charlotte considers it her personal mission to feed people. Faith and family, farming and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle. She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, she loves to try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Charlotte now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie.
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