Celebrate Second Christmas, a treasured, lighthearted time of community, with four Amish romances.
“When Christmas Comes Again” by Beth Wiseman
Katherine knows the first Christmas without Elias will be hard for her and the children. But when a mysterious Englischer appears with photographs of her late husband, Katherine begins to wonder what other blessings Christmas could have in store.
“Her Christmas Pen Pal” by Ruth Reid
Joy was expecting a wedding proposal from Henry; what she got instead was news of another woman. But when her heartfelt letter to a cousin ends up in the hands of a young cabinetmaker, an unexpected correspondence between two strangers gets interesting fast.
“A Gift for Anne Marie” by Kathleen Fuller
Anne Marie and Nathaniel have been best friends since they were kids. Now things are evolving . . . in ways everyone else predicted long ago. But when her mother suddenly decides to remarry in another state, Anne Marie’s new chapter with Nathaniel looks doomed to end before it begins.
“The Christmas Aprons” by Tricia Goyer
Vanilla crumb pie has been Esther’s mem’s calling card for decades. But when Esther finally gets her hands on the secret recipe, she discovers that vanilla crumb pie is more than just dessert . . . it’s bachelor bait.
"Characters in each story are sweet, kind and caring. . . . Each author brings a separate writing style, creating a cozy holiday collection." —RT Book Reviews, 4 stars
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Sold by:||HarperCollins Publishing|
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About the Author
Bestselling and award-winning author Beth Wiseman has sold over two million books. She is the recipient of the coveted Holt Medallion, a two-time Carol Award winner, and has won the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award three times. Her books have been on various bestseller lists, including CBD, CBA, ECPA, and Publishers Weekly. Beth and her husband are empty nesters enjoying country life in south central Texas. Visit her online at BethWiseman.com; Facebook: AuthorBethWiseman; Twitter: @BethWiseman; Instagram: @bethwisemanauthor.
With over a million copies sold, Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including the Hearts of Middlefield novels, the Middlefield Family novels, the Amish of Birch Creek series, and the Amish Letters series as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. Visit her online at KathleenFuller.com; Instagram: kf_booksandhooks; Facebook: WriterKathleenFuller; Twitter: @TheKatJam.
Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA bestselling author of the Heaven on Earth, the Amish Wonders, and the Amish Mercies series. She’s a full-time pharmacist who lives in Florida with her husband and three children. When attending Ferris State University School of Pharmacy in Big Rapids, Michigan, she lived on the outskirts of an Amish community and had several occasions to visit the Amish farms. Her interest grew into love as she saw the beauty in living a simple life. Visit Ruth online at RuthReid.com; Facebook: Author-Ruth-Reid; Twitter: @AuthorRuthReid.
Tricia Goyeris a busy mom of ten, doting grandma, and wife to John. A USA Today bestselling author, Tricia has published seventy books and is a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Finalist. She won the Retailer’' Best Award in 2015 and has received starred reviews from Romantic Times and Publishers Weekly. She is also on the blogging team at TheBetterMom.com and other homeschooling and Christian sites. Tricia is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries and currently leads a teen MOPS Group in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Read an Excerpt
An Amish Second Christmas
By Beth Wiseman, Ruth Reid, Kathleen Fuller, Tricia Goyer
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2014 Elizabeth Wiseman Mackey, Kathleen Fuller, Tricia Goyer, Ruth Reid
All rights reserved.
Katherine Zook fell into step with two Englisch women who were crossing the parking lot toward the Bird-in-Hand market. Normally, she would avoid the chatty tourists, but the tall man with the shoulder-length, salt-and-pepper hair and a limp was following her again.
"It's a lovely day, isn't it?" The middle-aged woman walking next to Katherine was a little thing with short, red hair and wore a blue T-shirt with Paradise, Pennsylvania on the front. Her friend had on the same T-shirt, but it was red.
"Ya, it is." Katherine glanced at the dark clouds overhead. There wasn't anything lovely about the weather. Frigid temperatures and the snow had just begun to fall again. She picked up the pace and hoped the women would speed up too. She looked over her shoulder, glad they were gaining some distance on the stranger. She'd first seen him a week ago, loitering outside the Gordonville Bookstore, and she hadn't thought much about it. Then when she saw him at Kauffman's Fruit Farm and Market, she'd thought it was a coincidence. She'd also spotted him outside Paradiso's when she'd stopped to pick up a pizza as a treat for the children. But this was becoming more than a fluke.
Katherine could feel the women staring at her, but she kept her eyes straight ahead and hoped they weren't about to ask a string of questions. Do you have a telephone? Can I take your picture? Is this where you do your shopping? How many children do you have? Are your people Christians? And Katherine's personal favorite: Do you know where I can get an Amish pen pal?
It wasn't that she held ill will against the curious Englisch tourists, but she often wondered what their reactions would be if the situation were reversed. They'd most likely run from her or summon the police.
"Ma'am, can I ask you a quick question?" The redhead spoke loudly, as if Katherine might be hard of hearing, making it impossible to ignore her. She looked over her shoulder again, but she didn't see the man anymore. She stopped a few feet from the entrance when the two women did. "Ya. What can I help you with?"
"I-I was wondering ..." The woman blushed as her eyes darted back and forth between Katherine and the other lady. "My friend and I were wondering ..." She pulled her large, black purse up on her shoulder. "We—well ..."
Katherine waited. She was anxious to get in and out of the market, then back on the road. She'd left her two youngest kinner home alone. Linda was old enough to babysit five-year-old Gideon, but he could be a handful even for Katherine. She pulled her black coat snug, looking forward to a brief reprieve from the weather once she got inside the market.
"Do Amish women shave their legs?" the woman finally asked. Luckily, she hadn't spoken as loudly as before.
This is a first. Katherine closed her gaping mouth and tried to find the words for a response. Before she could, the other Englischer spoke up.
"And ... you know ..." The woman was a bit taller than her friend with short, gray hair that was slightly spiked on the top of her head. She raised one of her arms and with her other hand she pointed under her arm. "Do you shave here too?"
The first woman touched Katherine lightly on the arm. "We can't find the answer to that question online, and it's been an ongoing argument during our book-club gatherings." She stood taller and smiled. "We only read Amish books."
Does that fact make it okay to ask such questions? Katherine considered telling the women that they were very rude, but changed her mind. She folded her hands in front of her and glanced back and forth between the ladies.
"Only when I've planned for my husband and me to be alone. But he died six months ago, so ..." Katherine smiled and shrugged. That will give you something to tell your book club. Both of the women's eyes went round as saucers. "Have a wunderbaar day," Katherine added before she walked into the market. She looked back once to make sure neither of them had fainted. She didn't know any Amish folks who used the word wunderbaar, but the Englisch seemed to think they did, so she was happy to throw it in for good measure.
She held her laughter until she was inside the store. On most days, it was a challenge just to get out of bed in the morning, much less to find humor in anything. But as she made her way to the back of the market, she thought about Elias. Her husband would have gotten a chuckle out of Katherine's response. I miss you, Elias.
She dropped off some quilted potholders for Diana to display in her booth. Katherine tried to make several per week for her Englisch friend to sell. The market in Bird-In-Hand catered to tourists mostly, and Diana had a permanent booth. Katherine and a few other local Amish women provided Diana with items to sell. And occasionally, when Katherine had time, she and Diana would sneak away and grab lunch and then split a dessert. They both suffered from an insatiable sweet tooth. But those times were getting more infrequent since she bore the entire responsibility of caring for the family.
Making small craft items used to be more of a hobby for Katherine, but now that money was tight, Linda and Mary Carol had been putting in extra hours sewing, knitting, and crocheting. Katherine hadn't told the children that they might have to sell their house, or at least part of the fifty acres that surrounded their home. That would be a last resort because the land had been in her family for three generations. She grabbed the last thing on her list, and as she made her way to the checkout line, she caught sight of an Englisch couple walking hand in hand. She missed having someone to bounce the important decisions off of. Her oldest, Stephen, was sixteen and trying hard to assume the role of head of the household, even though it should have been a time for him to be enjoying his rumschpringe.
As she made her way toward the exit, she saw the two women from the parking lot. The ladies actually bumped into each other as they scurried to avoid Katherine, but Katherine smiled and gave a little wave before she walked out the door.
She stuffed her gloved hands into the pockets of her coat. The snow was beginning to accumulate, and the wind was biting. It was colder than usual for December. Somehow, Katherine and her children had managed to get through Thanksgiving, but this first Christmas without Elias was going to be hard.
When she felt the tears starting to build in her eyes, she forced herself to think about the two Englisch women, and it brought a smile to her face. She was going to bottle that memory and pull it out when she felt sad, which was most days.
As she hurried toward her buggy, she tipped the rim of her black bonnet to shield her face from the snow, but every few seconds, she scanned the parking lot for signs of the tall man with the gray hair. Katherine didn't see him.
She stowed her purse on the seat beside her and waited for two cars to pass before she clicked her tongue and pulled back on the reins. She said a silent prayer of thanks when the snow started to let up. John Wayne was an older horse, and like so many others that pulled buggies in Lancaster County, he hadn't fared well at the racetrack. And as a result, he was no longer any use to his owner. Elias had paid a fair price at auction, and John Wayne had been a good horse for a lot of years, but these days the winters took a toll on the animal.
Katherine could still remember when, years ago, she and Elias let Mary Carol name the animal. They'd assumed their oldest daughter must have heard the name on television—maybe at an Englisch friend's house. Katherine and Elias had limited visits to the Englisch homes when their kinner were young since the Ordnung encouraged their people to stay as separate as possible from outsiders. But in Lancaster County, it was impossible to avoid the Englisch completely. Their district relied on the Englisch tourists to supplement their income. With each new generation, there was less land available for farming. More and more, Amish men and women were working outside their homes. The women in their district enjoyed having a little extra money of their own. "Mad money" was what the Englisch called it. Katherine had no idea why. But then, the Englisch seemed to get mad about lots of things.
It was several years before Katherine found out that John Wayne was the name of some kind of gunslinger. But by then, it was too late to change it. The name had stuck.
She picked up speed to get ahead of another car in the parking lot, and she was almost to the highway when she caught sight of the strange man again. He was standing beside a blue car, staring at her. A shiver ran up her spine. As she passed by him, she allowed herself a good, long look, tempted to stop and ask him why he was following her. But that wasn't always safe with the Englisch. Katherine was wise enough to know that there were good and bad people everywhere—even in her small Amish district—but the bad seemed to settle in around the Englisch. It was just simple math. There were more of them.
When Katherine locked eyes with the stranger, he hurried into the blue car. Would he follow her? She didn't know who he was, but something about him was familiar.
She turned around several times during her trip home, double-checking that he wasn't behind her. Thirty minutes later, she pulled into her driveway. She got John Wayne settled in the barn before she hurried into the house. She called out to Linda as soon as she walked into the living room. After she hung her bonnet and coat on the rack by the door, she pulled off her gloves.
"Linda! Gideon!" She edged toward the stairs and was relieved when Linda answered. "Up here, Mamm."
"Is everything okay?" she asked from the landing.
Katherine sighed as she started up the stairs. Out of her four children, Linda was what her friend Diana described as dramatic. Since no one was crying, she assumed no one had gotten hurt, always a good thing. "I'm on my way up."
"You're not going to be happy!"
Katherine picked up the pace. I'm already not happy. What now? She opened the door to Linda's bedroom, and when no one was there, she moved down the hall to Gideon's room.
Linda threw her hands up in the air and grunted. "I don't know what you're going to do with him." Linda stormed past Katherine before she could ask her why she hadn't kept a closer eye on the five-year-old, but right now, she needed to have a talk with her youngest.
She sat down across from Gideon's bed where the boy was playing with his shoelaces. Stephen disliked having to share a room with little Gideon. He would definitely not approve of these new drawings on the walls. Their home was plain. Everywhere except this room. Stephen had begged for a few luxuries when his rumschpringe began, and Katherine had given in since he seemed to be taking his father's death the hardest. Posters of hot rods and musicians on the wall, a battery-operated radio by the bed, a pair of earbuds on the nightstand, and a magazine with a fancy automobile on the front. Katherine didn't like all these things being in the same room with Gideon, but she was choosing her battles these days.
"Gideon, we've talked about this. You cannot draw on the walls." Katherine rubbed her forehead as she eyed her son's artwork and recalled how she'd just repainted this room a month ago. Diana had told her that drawing pictures on the walls was Gideon's way of expressing his grief. Katherine hadn't been sure about that, but today's imagery proved Diana was right. However, this was not a time for scolding. "What made you draw this, Gideon? We talked about where Daed went, remember?"
Her son hung his head for a few moments before he looked up at her with his big, brown eyes. He brushed his blond bangs out of the way. His hair needed a trim but it would have to wait. Maybe Stephen could do it.
Gideon started talking to her in Deitsch, but Katherine interrupted him. "Nee, when you're at home, talk to me in Englisch." It was Gideon's first year of school, so he'd just started learning Englisch as a second language. "It's gut practice for you."
"Daed is in a box in the dirt. I saw him put there." Her son pointed to his large drawing on the wall. An outsider might not have recognized it as a coffin in the middle of a bunch of stick people, but Katherine did.
"Nee." She leaned forward until she was close enough to gently grasp Gideon's chin, lifting his eyes to hers. "Daed is in heaven with God and Jesus and your mammi and daadi." Why was Gideon so fixated on thinking his daed was in the ground? From an early age, all of her kinner had been schooled about the Lord and taught the ways of the Ordnung. "Only Daed's body was buried. Daed's soul went to heaven."
For the hundredth time, Katherine tried to explain this to her son, frustrated that the other children had accepted this as truth by the time they were Gideon's age. But maybe it had been easier for the others because they didn't have to apply it to the death of their own father.
Katherine stood up and got to the bedroom door just as Linda blew into the room carrying a box wrapped in silver paper with a purple bow. Her face was red and her teeth chattered.
"You don't have to yell." She touched her daughter's icy cheek. "Were you outside?" She nodded to the box. "And what's that?"
"I saw a man in the driveway. By the time I got outside, he was in his car driving away."
Katherine rushed to the window in time to see a blue car going down the road. She rested a hand on her chest.
Linda joined her at the window. "This was on the rocking chair on the front porch." She handed the box to Katherine and smiled. "It has your name written on it." Her daughter bounced up on her toes. "Your first Christmas present!"CHAPTER 2
Mary Carol didn't think she'd ever get tired of kissing Abraham Fisher. She just wished that she didn't feel so guilty about it. Everyone in her house—except maybe Linda—was still mourning the loss of their father. Mary Carol heard her mother crying softly in her room sometimes. Stephen wouldn't say much to anyone. And Gideon had taken to drawing all over the walls, something he'd never done before. Mary Carol missed her father so much it hurt, but she was trying to give herself permission to find happiness again. And she was doing that with Abe. She'd known him all her life, but they'd only been dating for a few months. He'd just recently gotten baptized, something she hoped was the first step in what would lead to a marriage proposal.
Abe kissed her again, then pulled away. "I can tell you're distracted."
"What?" Mary Carol twisted the tie of her kapp between her fingers and tried to still her chattering teeth. Now that she was in her rumschpringe, they were spending more time together, but this was the first time they'd come to the abandoned farmhouse off Black Horse Road. Mary Carol was afraid the structure might collapse on them, but it was much too cold to sit in the buggy. The battery-operated heater in Abe's buggy had quit working earlier in the day.
Abe reached for her hand and squeezed. "You're feeling bad about being happy."
She'd done her best not to let it show. "Sorry."
"It's okay. I can just tell when your mind goes somewhere else." Abe blew a cold fog as he spoke.
Mary Carol snuggled up against him on the couch. The blue-and-red-checkered fabric was faded, and the cushions sagged in the middle. The house had been vacant for years, but from the looks of things, they hadn't been the only ones seeking privacy and a little relief from the weather.
"I wonder who else is coming here." She pointed to an empty Coke can on a TV tray next to an old tan recliner.
Abe got up and walked to the chair. "Maybe this has been here for a long time." He lifted the can and smelled it. Mary Carol giggled.
"Do you think smelling it will tell you how old it is?" She stood up and walked toward him.
"Ya, maybe, smarty-pants." He grinned as he tossed the empty can back and forth, his teeth chattering like hers. "Let's look around."
"Not upstairs," she said quickly. "I'm already worried the second floor is going to fall in on us, or we're going to step on a loose board down here."
"Nah." Abe pushed back the rim of his straw hat. "These old farmhouses were built sturdy, probably by gut Amish folks."
Mary Carol hugged herself to keep warm as she followed Abe into the kitchen. "Nee, Mr. Porter lived here until he died, and he wasn't Amish."
Excerpted from An Amish Second Christmas by Beth Wiseman, Ruth Reid, Kathleen Fuller, Tricia Goyer. Copyright © 2014 Elizabeth Wiseman Mackey, Kathleen Fuller, Tricia Goyer, Ruth Reid. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsWhen Christmas Comes Again by Beth Wiseman, 1,
Her Christmas Pen Pal by Ruth Reid, 95,
A Gift for Anne Marie by Kathleen Fuller, 231,
The Christmas Aprons by Tricia Goyer, 323,