Tag Archive | Pennsylvania

“Gladden the Heart” by Olivia Newport

In “Gladden the Heart”, Olivia Newport has taken historical events from the mid 1800’s in Pennsylvania and created a very poignant novel.  Susanna and her family are Amish.  Her best friend, Patsy, is the daughter of a Methodist minister.  During a Methodist tent revival Susanna is drawn to the preaching as is her cousin.  Noah begins to preach while under some sort of trance and never remembers what he does or says during these trances.  The Amish bishop and the Methodist minister are at odds with each other over this phenomenon which sets people against each other.  Fear is a potent motivator and folks are caught up in this, even to the point of moving to another state to get away.  Adam loves Susanna, but is fearful of being involved with her because she cares for her cousin and stands by him.  He is afraid that he will lose his vision of God and redemption.  I thought that the way Ms. Newport found the solution to these dilemmas in her novel was compassionate and understanding.  It was an enjoyable read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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“When Winter is Past” by Janice Cole Hopkins

“When Winter is Past” by Janice Cole Hopkins is a novel about the life in colonial Pennsylvania in 1739.  Stanton Klein was a farmer in the area outside of Philadelphia.  He has lost his wife and unborn child a year ago and was trying to run his farm along with an indentured servant.  He knew he needed a wife to help run the farm and decided to go into the town of Middleville to search for an appropriate bride.

He wisely went to his minister to ask for suggestions as to where he might start to look.  He was enamored of a beautiful girl, Fiona Fletcher, whose parents seemed eager for her to wed.  But after witnessing her treatment of a crippled young woman, he determined that she would not be a caring wife.  He asked about Beth Evans, the crippled woman who was caring for her father who was very ill.  She had endured the bullying and scorn from Fiona and her friends by turning the other cheek and walking away.  After befriending Beth, Stanton found his bride.  Beth’s father asked that they wed soon as he was aware that his time on earth was limited.

After they wed, Beth proved to be a loving wife and helping companion to him and the farm.  However, alarming incidents started occurring which no one could explain.  It all began when someone had entered their home during the night and left grotesque severed chicken parts on their dining table.  Beth was shot as she searched for mushrooms; Ralph, the indentured servant was shot, and Beth was abducted briefly as she was doing her farm work.  Finding the culprit(s) and staying safe consumed Stanton.  The end to this story was heart-warming.  I enjoyed reading this novel very much.

I purchased a Kindle copy of this book from Amazon.com.  No review positive or otherwise was required – all opinions are my own.

“Hope in the Land” by Olivia Newport

I enjoyed reading “Hope in the Land” by Olivia Newport.  This novel is set during the Great Depression near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  It involves the farms of an Amish family and an Englisch family.  Henry Edison is sent to the area by the WPA to survey farm women about how they are coping with the Depression in their home life.  It is obvious that no one has money, but it is very interesting how each family goes about their business during this time of great deprivation.

The Amish family is quite large and they are a self-sustaining bunch.  All of the members of the family help on the farm, growing a vegetable garden, working the fields, caring for the livestock, canning the overabundance, mending, cleaning, cooking and the myriad other tasks that it takes to make a living from the land.  In contrast, the Englisch family has problems not spending money.  The farm wife does not help on the farm and lets her husband and farm hands to the work.  She spends money like she has it, although it is probably her husband’s fault that he has spoiled her unmercifully.

I found this to be a most interesting book to read.  Not only is it written about one of my favorite times in history, but it shows amazing contrasts between two different ways of life.  How the two come together is enlightening.  I think the novel is a good representation of the way life was during that terrible time in our nation’s history.  It shows the resilience and resourcefulness of people with the chips are down.

I was offered a free print copy of this book from Barbour Books in return for my honest review.  I highly recommend it.

“Hester on the Run” by Linda Byler

“Hester on the Run” by Linda Byler was an Amish novel with a different twist.  This book was set in Pennsylvania in the 1700’s, earlier than most Amish stories that I’ve previously read.  The story about a Lanape baby foundling taken in by a childless Amish couple, Kate and Hans Zug, and raised as their own was refreshing in that it was a different plot than the usual.  I enjoyed the novel because it portrayed the western frontier in the 1700’s as a harsh environment, but tamed by hardy settlers.  Hester Zug, the Lanape girl is loved and cherished by her Amish mother and father.  Even when Kate is blessed with more children, Hester is Hans’ favorite child.  Her Indian heritage is evident in her graceful and knowing ways, her ability to commune with nature, and her stoic countenance.  I think readers will enjoy this departure from the normal Amish novel.  Since this is the first book of the series Hester’s Hunt  for Home, there will be subsequent novels to enjoy.

I received a print copy of this book from NightOwlReviews.com in return for my honest review.

“The Amish Bride of Ice Mountain” by Kelly Long

“The Amish Bride of Ice Mountain” by Kelly Long was different from other books I’ve read in the same genre.  While the Amish influence and dictates were somewhat the same, there seemed to be a genuine concern and appreciation for the “Englisch” way of life.

The story is about an “Englisch” Amish historian who has come to Ice Mountain, Pennsylvania to study and write a book about the Amish people who live there.  He has been granted a lot of leeway by the bishop and is ready to write his book when he makes overtures to one of the girls.  Her father and brothers insist on a “shotgun” wedding.  Jude Lyons and his new bride, Mary, leave the mountain to live near Jude’s family.  However, there are so many secrets and undercurrents with Jude’s parents, that the situation becomes impossible.

You will have to read the book to find out what happens in the end for Jude and Mary’s relationship.  This was a really good book.  I enjoyed reading this novel and would highly recommend this book to those who enjoy Amish stories.

I was sent a free print copy of the book by NightOwlReviews.com in return for my honest opinion of the book.

“Widow of Gettysburg” by Jocelyn Green

“Widow of Gettysburg” by Jocelyn Green, book two of the “Heroines Behind the Lines” series, kept my interest and gave much insight into just what it was like to live on the battlefield during the Civil War.  Women, children, men not involved in the armies…all these were caught in the middle during the Battle of Gettysburg.  The armies overran farms, homes, businesses, fields of wheat, forests and all in the way of their cannons, horses, and troops.  Those who did not want to get involved in the war certainly were involved when the war came right to their doorstep.

As frightening as it must have been to be in the middle of the bombardments from both sides, so in must have been more frightening to be present during the aftermath when so many men on both sides were killed or maimed.  Civilians were pressed into service as nurses and orderlies.   So many horrible sights were seen by women and children alike, free men and slaves that their dreams would haunt them for the rest of their lives.

I loved this book and was so disappointed that the book ended when it did.  I am eagerly awaiting the sequel.

I thought that this book was well written and researched and I look forward to reading all in this series.  “Heroines Behind the Lines” gives a powerful witness to what must have been the most horrible events of this time in our country.

I was given a kindle copy of this book from Moody Publishers and NetGalley.com in return for my honest review of the book.