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I'm on tour!!! I think the best part about being a Celebrate Lit blogger is all the great new books I've had the pleasure of reading and reviewing. I've "met" so many great authors and have gotten to read lots of books. This is Book 2 in An Amish Beginning.
From the back: 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?
Wow. Normally I have words and a lot of them. But this book absolutely blew me away and I'm afraid that I may not be able to do it the justice that it is due in my review but I'm going to try.
First, this is not a fluffy Amish book where boy meets girl, they ride in a buggy, fight over something, then they make up and get married. Nope. This book goes back in time when the Amish were escaping to America in hopes of finding a better way of life. Being a history buff I can always tell when an author does their homework and Ms. Fisher must have spent a great deal of time doing hers. The details of the time period and the area were amazing.
The main characters, Anna and Bairn, walked off the pages and lived. They started a romance in book 1 (which I need to go back and read, I think it will give me a deeper understanding of some of the story lines) that is so beautiful to see.
Bairn has been reunited with his birth family and is struggling to find himself. He accepts a position on a ship and I seriously wanted to sit and yell at him! I mean what was he thinking here?!? Anna is upset (and so was I, what was he thinking?!?!). When Henrik joins the group he beings lavishing attention on Anna and leads the new colony while they are figuring out what to do since Bairn's dad and mom have gone missing. Will Anna wait for Bairn or succumb to Henrik's charms?
There were also wonderful secondary characters and a famous American makes an appearance in the storyline. Felix won me over with his spunk! The character that resonated with me was Dorothea. Her struggles with her new life, the fear of possibly loosing her husband, and the peace she finds in the most unlikely place. Her story echoes parts of my life and drew me to her.
This book was amazing. I truly loved it. I have a special shelf of books that I go back and read again and again. This book is going on that shelf. If you love a good Amish story I would encourage you to pick up a copy today! Also enter the contest to win a Kindle below! Happy Reading!
About the Author
Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.
Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher
Pennsylvania of 1737, the setting for The Newcomer, is like a foreign country. Parts of it might seem familiar—the same hills and creeks and blue sky, but we’d hardly recognize the settlers. People like Anna, or Bairn, or the mysterious Newcomer. We wouldn’t be able to understand their language, their customs and traditions. Their world was that different from our modern one.
The first group of Amish immigrants (first written about in Anna’s Crossing and followed up in The Newcomer) settled northwest of Philadelphia, then a vast wilderness, and relied on each other for safety, security, building projects, and church. In nearby Germantown, settlers were tradesmen, so they clustered houses together in small knots. The Amish farmers took out land warrants for sizeable properties and lived considerable distances from each other.
In The Newcomer, Anna cooked food in a cauldron over a large hearth. One-pot meals can trace their beginnings to open-hearth cooking when ingredients for a meal went into a large kettle suspended over the fire. Traditional dishes—ham and beans, pork and sauerkraut—used sturdy, available, and simple ingredients that improved with long, slow cooking. The dishes could be easily expanded when the need arose to set a few more places at the table. And it did, often. Large families and unannounced company inspired Amish cooks to find ways to “stretch the stew.”
Noodles (including dumplings and rivvels) could be tossed into a simmering broth to make a meal stretch. Most farms had a flock of chickens, so eggs were easily at hand. Today, homemade noodles are still a favorite dish.
Another “stew stretcher” was cornmeal mush, originally eaten as a bread substitute. Early German settlers who made their home in eastern Pennsylvania roasted the yellow field corn in a bake oven before it was shelled and ground at the mill. The roasting process gave a nutty rich flavor to the cornmeal. Mush is still part of the diet the Old Order Amish—cooked and fried, baked, added into scrapple, smothered in ketchup. Dress it up and you’ve got polenta.
Now here’s one thing we do have in common with 1737 Pennsylvania immigrants…a love of good food and a shortage of time! Here’s one of my favorite one-pot recipes—probably not the kind of stew Anna might have made for ship carpenter Bairn or the mysterious Newcomer (ah, which man one stole her heart?)…but definitely delicious. Enjoy!
Here’s one of my favorite “stew stretchers.” You can expand it even more by serving over rice.
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 c. water
1 lb. dry lentils
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt (season to your taste)
½ tsp. pepper
2 c. salsa (your favorite variety)
29 oz. canned tomatoes, crushed
To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! Click here.
February 7: cherylbbookblog
February 7: Moments Dipped in Ink
February 7: inklings and notions
February 8: Just Commonly
February 8: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
February 8: Ashley’s Bookshelf
February 9: A Reader’s Brain
February 9: Genesis 5020
February 9: A Simple Life, really?!
February 10: Lane Hill House
February 10: Blogging With Carol
February 10: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog
February 11: Quiet Quilter
February 11: Daysong Reflections
February 11: Southern Gal Loves to Read
February 12: Christian Bookaholic
February 12: Jeanette’s Thoughts
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February 13: Karen Sue Hadley
February 13: Just the Write Escape
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February 15: Blossoms and Blessings
February 15: Connie’s History Classroom
February 16: Bibliophile Reviews
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February 17: Pause for Tales
February 17: A Holland Reads
February 18: A Greater Yes
February 18: The Power of Words
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February 19: A Baker’s Perspective
February 20: By The Book
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