Join Amish writer Linda Byler on a trip into a world few are allowed to visit—the world of Amish romance.
Hannah, feisty and independent as ever, has put everything into building up her family’s homestead in North Dakota. Despite tragedy and almost unimaginable hardship due to the Great Depression, unpredictable weather, and unforgiving landscape, she and her new husband Jerry are leading their Amish friends and family in their homesteading venture. When the winter storms and the untimely death of a child become too much for the rest of the community to bear, they move back east. But Hannah and Jerry stay on, doggedly pursuing Hannah’s dreams of a successful ranch.
But even Jerry’s spirits begin to fail and when a flag of grasshoppers destroys every last morsel of vegetation after yet another drought, Hannah finally relents and they too return to the fertile soil of Pennsylvania, where life will be safe and predictable. Or so they think, but when tragedy strikes again, Hannah is suddenly a widow, in a place that no longer feels like home and with family who cannot grasp the depth of the losses she has experienced.
Hannah grapples with her faith, struggling to understand who she is and where she belongs. Always before, a flash of anger or defiance had fueled her strong will in the face of adversity and allowed her to push on toward her goals. But what did she have left to fight for now? Slowly, painfully, her heart begins to change. As she begins to reclaim her faith and her strong sense of self, she also starts to notice a handsome, burly man who is unlike anyone she’s known before. Is it possible she could find love again in Lancaster? What will it take for her to feel like she’s home, like she finally belongs somewhere?
By the time I finished the first chapter of this book, I already knew that Linda Byler would become one of my favorite authors. This is the story of a Hannah and Jerry, a young Amish couple who move in the 1930s from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to North Dakota, to establish a homestead on the prairie. They endure and grow, as individuals and a couple, through droughts, blizzards and other challenges and tragedies. At times, Jerry is tempted to return to PA, but Hannah has the soul of a prairie resident - loving the freedoms, space and solitary nature of the environment. I appreciated the authenticity of the characters; they were not at all plastic. They are real and very human, like the rest of us. That was so refreshing. I will not give away spoilers about whether or not Hannah learns to love Jerry and whether they will return to where their families live. Suffice it to say that this is a very moving story. Byler is a gifted writer, and she makes you feel with Hannah. You will rejoice with her, worry witt her, and at times, your heart will break with hers. Some parts of this were not easy to read - but to me, that is one thing that makes it great writing. It is REAL LIFE. Do I recommend this? Very hignly, and I rarely say that. I will be looking into more of her books, and will be recommending her writing to my family and friends