by Laura V. Hilton
Benaiah Troyer has loved Susanna King for as long as he can remember, but when his parents died in an accident a year ago, he broke up with her—for her own good. After all, he was now the sole caregiver for his three younger sisters. What woman would want to put up with that? Still, against his better judgment, he can’t help leaving her a gift now and then, anonymously addressing her name in big block print, just to catch a smile. Roses one month, maple syrup candy another; and maybe this time, something special for Christmas.
Susanna has never gotten over losing Benaiah, but now the clock is ticking. Her father is selling his glass-blowing business, remarrying in January, and moving to Iowa with his bossy wife-to-be. Angry and frustrated, Susanna realizes she’s left with three options: one, go with Daed to his new home with a new mom; two, stay in Jamesport, Missouri, as an old maid; or, three, the best yet, flush out her mysterious secret admirer. But how could she be with anyone else when her heart is still with Benaiah?
****************************************************************************When Ben Troyer's parents are killed, he puts aside all his dreams and assumes responsibility of his grandparents and three younger sisters. But that doesn't stop his heart from loving Susanna King. He must learn to hide his feelings, which isn't easy, as he sees Susanna everyday since he works for her father. But Susanna's father is about to turn everyone's world upside down, when he announces that his intended bride is coming for a visit, on the morning of her arrival. This is the first that Susanna has heard her father intends to remarry. Not only that but she has 8 children, 4 boys and 4 girls. They arrive and immediately Irene begins to find fault and take over. Her children also have no manners. Susanna is put out of her room and told she may sleep in the attic or the basement. Ben can't believe her father can't see what is going on or maybe he doesn't care. He hurts deeply for Susanna but can't do anything without revealing his true feelings. He does still love Susanna and has been leaving her gifts each month without telling whom they are from. Susanna's father is going to sell his business and house and move to Iowa to run Irene's farm and he expects Susanna to go with him. But Susanna doesn't want to become another "Cinderella" and doesn't want to go. Will Ben solve his responsibility obligations and ask for Susanna's hand or will he have to tell her good-bye as she moves away to a life of unhappiness?
This was the first time I had read Laura Hilton's work and I thoroughly enjoyed it. She painted such a vivid picture of Irene that you became angry at Susanna's father for being so blind. I loved the "themes" she used concerning the gifts Ben was leaving Susanna. Very Creative! I also admired the fact that Ben was willing to give up his happiness to assume responsibility of his family. But the fact that she used the King James Bible when quoting Scripture was a big plus for me. I dislike reading books which use scripture from so called other versions of the Bible. I will definitely be reading other books by this author.
I received a complementary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.
Right before my youngest son joined the Coast Guard we went on a short mini-vacation to Springfield, Missouri, actually going farther north almost to Kansas City to see another Amish community near there in Osceola. There is a cheese factory there and my son wanted to try some of their cheeses – such as a ghost pepper cheese. Too spicy for me.
But upon the return to Springfield, Steve read about a glass blowers shop in the downtown area. We found the address and went to visit it. It is owned by an older gentleman and his son. They had a display area set up where people could see their wares and buy them and then a work area where the son mostly worked, and talked about how the fire needed to be so hot, and showed us how he worked and made things. As we watched, he made a lovely flower, a lily, in different colors of glass, green, white, pinks.
And I got to thinking what if…
So I did some more research. Asked questions. Probably drove them nuts. But when Whitaker House indicated they’d be interested in a Christmas novel, I proposed one about a glass blower.
The story is set in Jamesport, Missouri, and while completely stand alone, it does have some continuing characters from other books I’ve written set in Jamesport. If you are interested, the books set there are:
Amish Books set in Jamesport, Missouri:
The Snow Globe
The Amish Firefighter
The Amish Wanderer
The Kissing Bridge (part of Springs of Love collection)
The Christmas Admirer
Gingerbread Wishes (part of A Plain Thanksgiving collection–November 2018)
Love by the Numbers (February 2018)
All Amish districts are different and the rules vary depending on the bishop and preachers. Some are more liberal and some more conservative. Some keep themselves distant and don’t welcome attention from non-Amish and some embrace it. While Jamesport is not as touristy as some districts in Lancaster Pennsylvania or in Ohio, it is much more so than others.
SUSANNA’S CRANBERRY SALAD
- 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
- 1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
- 2 cups miniature marshmallows
- 1 medium apple, chopped
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- In a large bowl, mix the first six ingredients until blended. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
- In a large bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Just before serving, fold cream and walnuts into cranberry mixture.Makes 16 servings.
SUSANNA’S CRANBERRY SAUCE
For on top of turkey sandwiches as Becca requested
- 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water or orange juice
DirectionsIn colander, rinse cranberries. In sauce pan, add water or orange juice and sugar, boil until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook about 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries had burst. Let cool.
SUSANNA’S “LOVE PORTION” GINGERBREAD
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 T baking powder
- 1 T ground ginger
- 1 t ground nutmeg
- 1 t ground cloves
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- 1 cup shortening, melted slightly
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ c water
- 1 egg
- 1 t vanilla
In mixing bowl, mix shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until they are absorbed. Divide dough into three pieces, pat down until about 1 ½ inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for three hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness. Cut in desired shapes. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes in preheated oven. Cool on wire racks. When cool, decorate as desired.
ASC Book Reviews, November 9
Books n Baubles, November 9
Janices book review, November 9
Avid Reader Book Reviews, November 10
Have A Wonderful Day, November 10
A Greater Yes, November 10
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 11
God’s Little Bookworm, November 11
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 11
Eat, Read, Teach, Blog, November 12
A Holland Reads, November 12
Simple Harvest Reads, November 12
Reading Is My SuperPower, November 13
Beck To Basics, November 13
Carpe Diem, November 13
Christian Bookaholic, November 14
Blossoms and Blessings, November 14
Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, November 15
Reader’s cozy corner, November 15
Christian Author, J.E.Grace, November 15
Baker Kella, November 16
Quiet Quilter, November 16
Karen Sue Hadley, November 16
Pause for Tales, November 17
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 17
Pursuing Stacie, November 17
For The Love of Books, November 18
Blogging With Carol, November 18
Pink Granny’s Journey, November 18
Bigreadersite, November 19
Vicky Sluiter, November 19
SusanLovesBooks, November 19
Locks, Hooks and Books, November 20
Moments Dipped in Ink, November 20
New Horizon Reviews, November 20
The Fizzy Pop Collection, November 21
A Simply Enchanted Life, November 21
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 21
Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 22
Daysong Reflections, November 22
Splashes of Joy, November 22
Grand Prize Package: The Christmas Admirer, “Unto Us a Child is Born” painting on decorative serving plate by Donna White, The Hearthside Collection, Inc., and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book (not in photo).
1st Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and The Very First Christmas by Juliet David with interactive illustrations by Pauline Siewert (children’s book).
2nd Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and “The Woman Who Honors The Lord Shall Be Praised” myrrh-scented candle from abba Jerusalem!
Click the link to enter! https://promosimple.com/ps/c16f