Blog Tour – The Road Home by Patrick E. Craig

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2013)
***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States. After ministering for a number of years in music and worship to a circuit of small churches, he is now concentrating on writing and publishing both fiction and non-fiction books. Patrick and his wife Judy make their home in northern California and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Author Patrick Craig continues the story of Jenny Springer, the child rescued in A Quilt for Jenna. Now an adult, Jenny begins a search for her long-last parents. As she opens doors to her past, she finds the truly surprising answer to her deepest questions.

Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Series: Apple Creek Dreams Series
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736951075
ISBN-13: 978-0736951074

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

“Du Schlecht’r!”

“Jenny Springer! You should not say such bad words! You should be ashamed.”

Jenny’s face burned as she reached behind the quilting frame with her left hand and pushed the errant needle through the quilt to complete her stitch. The finger of her other hand, showing a tiny red drop where she had pricked herself, went into her mouth. She stared angrily at the quilt she was working on. The design was awkward, and the edges of the pattern pieces were puckered where she had attempted to sew them together.

“Oh, Mama, I will never, ever be a quilter like you. I just can’t do it.”

Her mother’s shocked expression softened somewhat, and she put her arm around the girl’s shoulder. “Quilting is a gift from God, and it’s true that you don’t yet seem to have the eye for it. But you’re gifted in so many other ways. Don’t be disheartened. Sometimes you’re a little eigensinnig und ungeduldig, and these qualities do not fit well with quilting. You must learn to still your heart and calm the stream of thoughts rushing through your head.”

Jenny reached behind her head and rubbed her neck. She took a deep breath and stuck the needle back into the pincushion with finality.

“I need to stop for a bit, Mama. This quilt is making me vereitelt!”

Even in her present state, Jenny was a lovely girl of nearly twenty. Her reddish gold hair framed a strong brow and deep violet eyes that could flash with annoyance in an instant or radiate the most loving kindness a moment later.

Jerusha Springer reached down and enfolded Jenny in her arms. “Sie sind meine geliebte dochter,” Jerusha whispered softly into the curls that refused to be controlled by the heavy hairpins and happily tumbled out from under the slightly askew black kappe on Jenny’s head. Jenny turned on her stool, and her arms crept around her mother’s waist. She held on as though she would never let go.

“Are you ever sorry that you got me instead of Jenna, Mama?” Jenny whispered.

Jerusha paused before replying. “I was given Jenna, and then I was given you, my dearest. Jenna was a wonderful little girl, and your papa and I were blessed beyond measure by having her. When she died, we didn’t know how we would ever go on with our lives. But God in His mercy sent us a wonderful child to fill the emptiness in our hearts. That child was you. Sorry? No, my darling, I will never be sorry that you came to us. There will always be a place in my heart for Jenna, but now I have you to love and hold. I couldn’t hope for a better dochter.”

Jenny clung even tighter to her mother. Her mother’s arms had always been a safe haven for her since the day Jerusha rescued her from the great snowstorm so many years ago. Jerusha had kept Jenny alive by holding the child next to her heart all through the long nights until Papa and Uncle Bobby had rescued them. That was the earliest memory Jenny had of her mother. The calm, steady beat of her mother’s heart comforted her, and it was always in this place of refuge and life that she felt the most secure. But today, even in her mother’s arms, she couldn’t still the turmoil in her heart. She pulled away from Jerusha and began to talk in a rush.

“Mama, don’t you ever wonder where I came from and who my birth mother was? Maybe I’m the daughter of criminals or murderers. Maybe there’s a bad seed in me that will come out someday. It makes me afraid sometimes.”

Jerusha stroked her daughter’s hair. “There are some things we can never know, and you must not worry or fret about them. ‘Be careful for nothing—’ ”

“I know, I know, Mama, but sometimes I do worry. I would never want to do anything that would bring shame on you or Papa. But sometimes I think that I’ll never find real peace until I know…and yet that’s impossible.”

Jenny released her grip on her mother and grabbed up a scrap of material. She wiped another drop of blood from her finger, crumpled the cloth, and threw it down.

Jerusha took a breath and then answered. “You are so standhaft in all your ways. Many times your papa and I have had to pick you up and dust you off when you went too far. But that same quality has helped you to overcome difficulties. The accomplishments in your life are proof of that.”

Jerusha reached over and softly stroked Jenny’s cheek. “You’re a gut student. No one in our community has such a grasp of the history of our people as you do. Someday you will be a teacher who can pass down to your children the things that keep the Amish separate and distinct from the world.”

Jenny looked away and shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t think I will ever have children, Mama.”

Jerusha stiffened, and a fleeting frown passed over her face. “Why not, my darling?” she asked quietly.

“I don’t think any man could put up with me, for one thing, and for another, I think I’m just too independent. I’m not sure I could ever submit to a husband ruling over me.”

Jerusha’s mouth tightened slightly. “If I were true to our ordnung, I would tell you what my grandmother told me when I was a girl, and insist that you follow it,” Jerusha said. “She used to say that marriage is not built first on love but on the needs of our community and our faith.”

“But, Mama…” Jenny said.

“Let me finish, dochter,” Jerusha said quietly. “I loved your father very much before we were married, and someday that may happen for you. You’ll meet a man whom you will love so deeply that you will gladly surrender everything of yourself into his care and protection. I used to be so bound up in my quilting that I thought there was no room in my life for love or marriage. But the first time I looked into your father’s eyes, I was lost forever.” Jerusha’s face softened, and she smiled at a secret memory.

“Why, Mama! You’re blushing,” Jenny laughed. “I can understand why you lost your heart to Papa. He’s a handsome man.”

“Did I hear someone talking about me?” Reuben Springer came into the room. His face was stern, but there was a smile behind his eyes.

“Papa!” Jenny broke free from her mother and ran to her daed.

Reuben took the girl into his arms. “This is always the best part of my day, when I come home to my girls,” he said as he kissed his daughter on the forehead. “I used to have to bend down so far to reach you. Now you’re all grown up.”

Jerusha smiled at him, a tinge of pink in her cheeks.

“I can still make you blush, eh, Mrs. Springer?” he asked.

Jerusha turned away with a reluctant smile.

A frown passed over Jenny’s face like a small dark cloud, and her father noticed it.

“What is it, dochter?”

“Jenny was asking me about her birth parents,” Jerusha said. “Not knowing about her past troubles her.”

“Jenny, you mustn’t concern yourself with things that can’t be known,” Reuben said. “When your mother found you, there was no identification or any means to discover who you were. The police found a man’s body in Jepson’s pond the next spring, but he had been in the water far too long to make a clear identification. The car was stolen in New York, so there was no way to trace the man. You must be content with the wisdom of God. He sent you to us because He knew you needed us and we needed you. That’s all we need to know.”

“But, Papa, sometimes I feel like a stranger, as if I don’t really belong here.” Jenny saw the pain in her father’s eyes and stopped. “I’m sorry, Papa. I didn’t mean it exactly that way. I don’t know why it’s so important to me to find out these things, but it is. Sometimes I think I’ll never be who I’m supposed to be until I find out who I really am. It doesn’t help that I’m so stubborn.”

“Your Mama was just as stubborn when I first met her,” Reuben said. “Even twenty-four years later, I feel the sting on my face where she slapped me the first time I kissed her.”

“Husband!” Jerusha exclaimed as her cheeks once again turned rosy pink.

Reuben smiled at his wife and then looked at Jenny. His voice took a sterner tone. “Your mama has changed over the years, and you will change too. For the good of our family, you must put these things out of your mind.”

Jenny felt a small flash of anger at her father’s words. She wanted to speak but wisely stayed silent. Then she decided to take a different approach.

“Papa, maybe if I did know, I could be more peaceful inside and not be so much trouble for you and Mama. Maybe if you helped me to find my birth parents I could be a better dochter to you and—”

Jenny’s papa stiffened at her words. “Jenny, I love you very much, but I am still the head of our home, and until you’re married and under the care of your husband, I will decide what’s best for you. There’s much in the world that you’re too young to understand. God has entrusted me with your care and safety for a good reason. The man you were with may have been your father, or he may not, but judging by what the police found in the car, he was not a good man. There were drugs and alcohol—”

“But what if he wasn’t my father and he just kidnapped me or—”

“Dochter! That’s enough! I know what’s best for you. Asking questions that can’t be answered will only cause you heartache and sorrow. I want you to put these wild ideas behind you. We will not discuss this further!”

Jenny stared at her father, and he stared back at her. She started to speak, but her mother placed her hand on Jenny’s arm and squeezed a warning. “Your father is right, Jenny. You must listen to him and obey. Now, is anyone hungry, or should we go on working on this quilt?”

Jenny took a deep breath, looked at her masterpiece, and smiled ruefully. The star design she had labored over for so many hours was crooked and wrinkled, and the colors she had chosen clashed.

“I think we’d better have dinner, Mama. I don’t think there’s anything I can do to fix this mess.”

“Well, let’s go then,” Reuben said. “I need kindling for the stove, and Jenny can go out and close in the chickens.”

“All right, Papa,” Jenny said, still stinging from Reuben’s rebuke. “Do I need to bring in any milch, Mama?”

“Yes, dear,” Jerusha said, “there’s some fresh in the cooling house.”

When Jenny had banged out the back door, Jerusha turned to Reuben. “She’s so impetuous. I worry there’ll come a time when she crashes into a predicament we can’t get her out of. But you must not be so hard on her. She’s still young.”

“I know. But young or not, her curiosity worries me,” Reuben said. “She’s headed for disappointment if she keeps searching for answers that don’t exist. I want to keep her from that as long as I can.”

Jerusha nodded. “I want her to be happy, but in my heart I’m afraid that if she does somehow find her birth parents, she’ll want to be with them more than with us. And their way would be so different from ours. The world out there is filled with danger, and I don’t know if she would be able to understand it. I’m afraid for her, Reuben.”

“I’m afraid for her too, Jerusha,” he said quietly, taking his wife in his arms. “And that’s why I want her to forget about her past. I’m trying hard not to crush her spirit, but the girl doesn’t think things through. She thinks she’s all grown up, but she still has many kindisch ways about her. There may soon come a day when she goes her own way, and the thought of what she might choose…”

Jerusha felt a momentary chill grip her heart, and she pulled herself deeper into the circle of Reuben’s arms.

Review: Pennsylvania Patchwork by Kate Lloyd

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Cover Rating:


Series: Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy, Book 2
Date Published: June 1, 2013
Pages: 384
Publisher: David C. Cook
Author: Kate Lloyd
Genre: Christian Fiction, Amish Fiction
ISBN-10: 0781408733
ISBN-13: 978-0781408738
Book Source: The book was provided by the publisher through Bookfun.org for my honest opinion.

Blurb:

ONE HEART. TWO LOVES. ONE CHOICE.

Seattle native Holly Fisher is smitten by Lancaster County, its simplicity and her long lost relatives. In the sequel to bestselling Leaving Lancaster, Holly embraces the Amish culture, learning to slow down to see what – and who – really matters.


Meeting the family that her mother had kept hidden from her, Holly comes face to face with her real life and blood legacy. She also falls for the charming Zach, a handsome Mennonite veterinarian who is everything she’s ever wanted in a husband: confident, kind, successful, and authentic. And Zach proposes marriage. Is this too soon? Is this the right choice? Mother and Amish grandmother think she’s rushing into too much of a lifestyle change. Holly is in love with Zach and that precludes everything. Until she meets an attractive Amish man. And an old suitor shows up.

Pennyslvania Patchwork is the moving, richly told story of one woman’s heart, her faith and trust, and the choices she makes. Never easy, but one choice can change your destiny.

You can purchase it Here:
Deeper Shopping  *  Amazon  *  Barnes & Noble  *  Parable.com  *  Family Christian  *  BAM




Author Bio:

Author Kate Lloyd is a passionate observer of human relationships. A native of Baltimore, Kate spends time with family and friends in Lancaster County, PA, the inspiration for her novel Leaving Lancaster. She is a member of the Lancaster County Mennonite Historical Society. Kate and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest, the setting for Kate’s first novel, A Portrait of Marguerite. Kate studied painting and sculpture in college. She’s worked a variety of jobs, including car salesman and restaurateur.
You can find her at the links below. She loves hearing from readers!

You can find Kate Here:
Website  *  Facebook  *  Twitter

Favorite Scene:

“Nee. Don’t ya see? Zach’s putting these ideas in your head so you’ll steer clear of me. He’s afraid you’ll decide you prefer the Amish life to his.”

Holly would never become Amish,” Zach said.

“That’s not what I hear.” Armin tossed the grass away. “Nathaniel told me she wore his daughter’s dress and apron, and even figured out how to secure the pins. And he said she relies on her computer less and less.”

“We don’t have internet up at my grandma’s,” I said. But Armin was speaking the truth. And I’d neglected to put on makeup today. Not to mention, I’d all but given up driving.

“She loves riding in the buggy,” Armin said. “I can tell that. ‘Tis plain as the pout on your face, but you’re too dickkeppich—thick-headed—to see.”

“How do you know so much about my future wife?”

“You ain’t married yet, Zach…”

Synopsis:

After finding out about her Amish heritage that had long been hidden, Holly Fisher abd her mother, Esther, move from Seattle to Pennsylvania so she can get to know her “new” family and the Amish lifestyle. Once there, things aren’t quite as simple as they seem. Holly finds she loves the Amish life and takes pleasure in the simple things, eventually forgetting the lack of modern conveniences. The local Veteranarian, Zach Flemming soon sweeps her off her feet. Holly thinks she knows what her heart wants until she meets a local Amish man. Armin King makes Holly’s determination to marry Zach waver and she constantly finds herself second guessing what her heart wants. When an old friend from Seattle shows up at her door asking for her hand in marriage, Holly is shocked. Amidst her indecisions about her love life, Holly is struggling with her grandmother’s failing health and a surprise package from her deceased father. Who will Holly choose and what lifestyle will she be happy with?

I always love Amish Fiction. There is just something about the close relationship the Amish share with God and their readiness to forgive that draws me. Pennsylvania Patchwork made me experience this feeling all over again. The scenes were so descriptive I felt like I was there enjoying the Amish countryside. I must say I was rooting for one of Holly’s suitors in particular. While they all had things about them I loved and admired, one stood out among the rest for me. I won’t give out any spoilers but I am looking forward to Book three so I can follow the rest of the story. Kate Lloyd wrote a thoroughly enjoyable story that kept me turning the page to find out more. While you don’t have to read book one to follow along with what’s happening, you will want to after reading this book. If you like Amish Fiction, you’ll love Pennsylvania Patchwork.

My Rating:



**While I was given a free copy of this book for my honest opinion, I was in no way compensated for this review**

Review: The Struggle by Wanda E. Brunstetter

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Welcome back to Kentucky, where an Amish couple from Lancaster County seeks a new future in the land of tomorrow. When Timothy Fisher decides to move his wife, Hannah, and daughter Mindy to Christian County, where two of his brothers now reside, Hannah is very reluctant to go. Will the new home Timothy builds for them there do anything to lift her spirits? When a tragic accident occurs, Timothy and Hannah are inconsolable. Is an abrupt separation the beginning of the end of their marriage, or will they rally to seize a God-given second chance?

I just finished reading “The Struggle” and I loved it. It was very aptly named because the characters in the book faced alot of struggles along the way. I laughed and cried with them. I felt like I was apart of their families. It was a story of unending love and forgiveness. The writing was excellent and I look forward to reading more of her books!

Buy The Struggle At:
Amazon or Barnes & Noble

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Palms

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Review: Lilly’s Wedding Quilt by Kelly Long

null When Sarah King, the love of Jacob’s life, weds another, Jacob is crushed and knows in his heart he will never love another. Then one day, he finds himself spontaneously agreeing to marry Lilly Lapp. Lilly, the local school teacher, has loved Jacob secretly for most of her life. She agrees to marry Jacob to save both of their reputations but silently prays he can forget Sarah and come to love her instead. Lilly has also felt alone and trapped taking care of her depressed mother ever since her father passed away. Can Jacob finally love again and set Lilly free? Can she help Jacob forget his past love and start a new life? With God at work in their lives, their love soon flourishes and they find that each other is all they will ever need.

This is my first book in the Patch of Heaven series and I have to say I am looking forward to reading the first book in the series as well. The good news is you don’t have to read the first book in order to read this one. Each books stands on it’s own. Kelly Long is a marvelous writer and it shows in the pages of Lilly’s Wedding Quilt. This is my first Amish inspired book as well. At first I thought it a little daunting with the Amish language sprinkled throughout it’s pages but my worries soon faded and I fell in love with the Amish ways. I will definitely be reading more of these in the future!

Buy Lily’s Wedding Quilt At:
Amazon or Barnes & Noble

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Palms

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Review: Plain Proposal by Beth Wiseman

null Miriam Raber has loved Saul Fisher since they were kids. She dreames of a life with Saul. When her friends dare her to go and speak to him, it sends her on a path she never thought she would take. Miriam loves God with her whole heart but will she leave the community to be with Saul?

Saul Fisher has a dream he hopes one day to fulfill. After the loss of his mother and sister he finds himself taking care of his brothers and his father who has taken to drinking his homemade wine. It leaves Saul wondering just what God’s will for him really is. Should he leave the community to fulfill his dreams? Would Miriam go with him if he chose to leave?

This is a book that proves love conquers all. Beth Wiseman has done a fabulous job in the continuing “Daughter’s of the Promise” series. This a book of God and Love and Family where nothing is too big to face when you have all three of these things in your life. The best part is you don’t have to read the previous books in order to read Plain Proposal. I definitely recommend it!

Buy Plain Proposal At:
Amazon or Barnes & Noble

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Palms

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