Thursday, April 30, 2015


The Secret Voice (Shadow Street Press) by Bob Nailor is not a typical Amish romance novel.  This novel gives a historical view of early 1960’s Amish family life as well as the beginnings of the integration of an African American Chorus teacher in an all-white rural upstate Ohio high school.  The author skillfully weaves in the topical news of the early 1960’s, giving the reader an in-depth view of the times.  The Secret Voice is Book One in the new series by Bob Nailor entitled The Amish Voice.

The story begins in July, 1961 as the school board, on a close vote, has hired the first African American teacher, Julie Bronson, for the high school to teach Chorus.  Julie is offered a small trailer to rent since there would be no other rental opportunities for her in town due to her race.  Readers should be aware that crude and ugly language, typical for the 1960’s, is used throughout the book.

The protagonist, Daniel, is a 14 year old Amish boy who wants to continue his education beyond the eighth grade which is the time that Amish children stop attending school.  Daniel asks and receives his father’s and the Amish community’s bishop’s permission to enter high school.

Daniel begins his freshman year in high school knowing his father and the bishop have forbidden him to take General Science so Daniel has his Science class changed to Chorus.  As Julie Bronson listens to Daniel sing, she realizes what an extraordinary gift he has.  However, will it be possible for Daniel to convince his father and the bishop that he isn’t turning English with all this education and singing he is doing?  Will Daniel be able to compete in the state singing competition?

The author gives Daniel some romantic scenes as well.  He is confused between his attraction to a pretty English school friend, Molly, and an Amish girl, Ruth, that is attracted to him.  These scenes are well written and appropriately convey the angst of the early teen years.  The Secret Voice is an excellent new entrĂ©e in the Amish fiction genre.  It was published April 8, 2015 and is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Monday, April 27, 2015


Leslie Gould has begun an excellent new series.  Neighbors of Lancaster County, and Book One in the series, Amish Promises (Bethany House) more than lives up to the high standards readers have come to expect from Leslie.  She has penned a most interesting tale that will keep readers guessing until the end.  The characters are so well written that readers can’t help but care how their lives will turn out.

Englishers, Shani and Joel Beck and their twelve year old son, Zane, move into a home in Lancaster County.  Shani is hoping the move to this quiet county will help her husband recover from the war wounds he received in Iraq.  Besides serious leg wounds, Joel also suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  He has become withdrawn from both Shani and Zane and spends most of his time sitting in the dark watching television.

Right next door to the Becks live an Amish family headed by Tim Lehman, a widower, and his five children plus Tim’s sister, Eve, who takes care of the children and household.  Tim is a bitter, controlling man who is not happy that Englishers have moved next door and seem to constantly be in his home.  Eve and Shani have become fast friends and Zane is always over to play with Tim’s children.  Tim is constantly trying to eliminate the influence of the Englishers over his family.

The Amish bishop for the community is also a widower and has let it be known he is interested in Eve.  He is a kindly, decent man, although somewhat older than Eve.  Around the same time, Charlie, an Army friend of Joel’s comes to visit and is quite taken with Eve.  Eve, against her better judgement, is interested in Charlie too.  Tim is very emphatic that Eve is not to see Charlie ever.  Nothing good can come from an Amish girl and an Englisher boy having a friendship according to Tim.  Who will win Eve’s heart, the good natured Amish bishop or the Charlie, the ex-military Englisher?

This book is so enjoyable and readable.  It does deal with the emotional turmoil that serving during war time entails.  Also of note is the reminder that although neighbors are of different religions and beliefs, there is so much more that people share and have in common.  The timely message of “love your neighbor as you would love yourself” comes shining through.  Leslie Gould’s writing is very entertaining and uplifting.  Amish Promises will be published on May 5, 2015.

Friday, April 24, 2015


Readers looking for an Amish romance novel with adult content will be thrilled by An Amish Man of Ice Mountain (Kensington Publishing) by Kelly Long.  Kelly has long been a favorite author of Amish fiction.  Her stories are different, with twists and turns to keep her readers interested.  This story does contain explicit sexual scenes as well as story lines involving domestic violence and sexual abuse by an adult woman and an underage male.  Readers should be aware of this as you cannot judge this book by its cover.  Having said that, the book is captivating, filled with adventure, challenges, and the good people of Ice Mountain.  An Amish Man of Ice Mountain is book two in the Ice Mountain series, but stands alone without reading book one, The Bride of Ice Mountain, an intriguing novel.

The story begins with two Amish brothers, Joseph and Edward, working on a gas drilling rig in West Virginia.  The brothers rent a room at the Bear Claw Inn where a single Mom, Priscilla, with her five year old daughter, Hollie, have just rolled into town trying to outrun her abusive former husband.  Priscilla gets a job waiting tables at the Bear Claw Inn where she meets Joseph.

Joseph is immediately drawn to her and Hollie, but they agree to start as friends.  When they find a “Missing” poster of Priscilla and Hollie in the local hospital cafeteria, Priscilla realizes her ex-husband, Heath, is after her again.  She and Hollie are not safe any longer and must immediately move on.  Joseph volunteers to take them to his family’s home in the mountains of Appalachia.

Joseph’s family accepts Priscilla and Hollie immediately.  Even the Bishop of the Amish community is willing to accept the divorced mother and child.  That of course is not the end of the story, but only the beginning.  What follows are more adventures, romance, terror, reconciliation, and realization of God’s plans for Joseph and Priscilla.

The ending of An Amish Man of Ice Mountain nicely sets up book three in the series, The Amish Heart of Ice Mountain, coming out in November, 2015.  An Amish Man of Ice Mountain will be published April 28, 2015.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Readers looking for a fascinating, cannot put down Amish romance novel, please look at A Simple Prayer (Zondervan) by Amy Clipston.  A Simple Prayer is the fourth book in the highly regarded Hearts of The Lancaster Grand Hotel series.  This series features books that are loosely intertwined with some of the same characters yet each book stands on its own.  Each book is fresh and has a new storyline.

This novel is entrancing and beautifully written with the setting of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania as a backdrop.  The main characters of Linda Zook and Aaron Ebersol are written with realism and grace and wonderful character growth.  Readers will be rooting for them through all the twists and turns of their relationship as both are pleasing, God fearing characters with tragic backgrounds.  Linda was orphaned at age four and was raised by unwilling relatives.  Aaron started running with a wild crowd as a teen and left the Amish community at age 15 when he felt his parents disapproved of him.  Both feel unworthy of love and find themselves still single in their early 30’s.

After 17 years gone and making a new life in Missouri, Aaron comes back to Paradise, Pennsylvania when he hears his mother has suffered a severe stroke.  Not everyone in his family is happy to see him return.  Aaron is determined to make amends to his family and the community for his troubling behavior as a young teen before he leaves to go back to Missouri.

Aaron was not baptized in the Amish faith when he left so long ago and Linda is unsure if she should get involved with him as she is a baptized member of the church.  He feels that Linda could be the one for him but how does he know he is reading God’s plans for him correctly.  Indeed, how does anyone know that?  Painful relationships can make even a strong person want to retreat and run away.  How does one interpret what God wants us to do?  Should Aaron absorb the pain, run away, or stand up for himself?  Can Linda and Aaron resolve the religious differences between themselves?  Amy Clipston answers all these questions in a thought-provoking and realistic way.

A Simple Prayer will entrench itself in reader’s hearts, not soon to be forgotten.  Amy Clipston is a top notch writer with a five star hit in A Simple PrayerA Simple Prayer will be published May 5, 2015.