3 Short Stories of Love in a Unique Amish Community--Now a #1 Publishers Weekly Bestseller! In an area of Pennsylvania called The Big Valley, a uniquely blended Amish community thrives in which 3 distinct groups of Amish identify themselves by the colors of their buggy’s top—white, black, or yellow. Join New York Times Bestselling Author Wanda E. Brunstetter, her daughter-in-law, and granddaughter in experiencing the stories of three young women who search for faith and love within this special place. Deanna is a widow who sees her second chance of love slipping away. Rose Mary is at a point in life where she must choose the path of her faith and the right man to walk with her on it. Leila is burdened with family responsibilities and wonders when she will ever start a family of her own.
|Publisher:||Barbour Publishing, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written more than 100 books translated in four languages. With over 11 million copies sold, Wanda's stories consistently earn spots on the nation's most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards. Wanda’s ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs. When Wanda visits her Amish friends, she finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties. Wanda enjoys photography, ventriloquism, gardening, bird-watching, beachcombing, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Richard, have been blessed with two grown children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. To learn more about Wanda, visit her website at www.wandabrunstetter.com.
Jean Brunstetter became fascinated with the Amish when she first went to Pennsylvania to visit her father-in-law’s family. Since that time, Jean has become friends with several Amish families and enjoys writing about their way of life. She also likes to put some of the simple practices followed by the Amish into her daily routine. Jean lives in Washington State with her husband, Richard Jr. and their three children, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish communities in several states. In addition to writing, Jean enjoys boating, gardening, and spending time on the beach. Visit Jean's website at www.jeanbrunstetter.com.
Richelle Brunstetter lives in the Pacific Northwest and developed a desire to write when she took creative writing in high school. After enrolling in college classes, her overall experience enticed her to become a writer, and she wants to implement what she’s learned into her stories. Just starting her writing career, her first published story appears in The Beloved Christmas Quilt beside her grandmother, Wanda E. Brunstetter, and her mother, Jean. Richelle enjoys traveling to different places, her favorite being Kauai, Hawaii.
Read an Excerpt
Deanna Speicher hurried to set up her table at the flea market, all the while trying to keep her five-year-old son in tow. The place bustled with activity as other vendors did the same, unpacking boxes and putting prices on the articles they hoped to sell. Serious shoppers usually came before the initial crowds arrived, looking for the best bargains, freshest baked goods, and newly harvested produce — all part of the flea market appeal.
"Mammi. Mammi." Abner tugged on Deanna's dress with one hand while pointing in the opposite direction. "En sack voll eppel!"
"Jah, there are many sacks of apples. We will get some later." Deanna spoke in Pennsylvania Dutch so Abner would understand. He knew only a few words of English but would learn more when he started school next August. One of the teachers would teach him, along with three other special-needs children. The other teacher in their Amish schoolhouse would give lessons to the remainder of the students.
Deanna removed several colorful quilted table runners and pot holders from the box she'd set on one of her tables; at the same time, she tried to keep an eye on her rambunctious son. Abner had been born with Down syndrome. He was full of affection to those whom he recognized, but sometimes the child acted overly friendly with strangers. The latter gave her reason for concern. Here at the flea market, where Deanna came nearly every Wednesday to sell her quilted items, many strangers came and went, as well as people she and Abner knew. One person in particular always caught her son's attention whenever he visited the market or came by their house.
Deanna smiled. Elmer Yoder had been a good friend even before the tragic death of her husband a little over a year ago. Simon died after falling from their roof, attempting to replace missing shingles.
She had spent three months trying to manage on her own while dealing with the shock of losing him. Elmer had stepped in and given of his time during those painful days, coming over often to help with chores and entertain Abner while Deanna got other tasks and some quilting done.
One month later, Deanna's world fell apart again when her mother died from a brain aneurism. Her father was devastated by the loss of his wife of forty years. A few weeks after her mother's funeral, Deanna sold her house, and she and Abner moved in with her dad. It turned out to be a good arrangement. Dad helped them financially, and Deanna cooked his meals and took care of the house, since his pallet-making job kept him busy most of the day.
Deanna's stomach gurgled as the tempting aroma of fresh herbs, apple cider, and smoky cured meats reached her nostrils.
A good many people milled around, talking with friends, while others introduced themselves to sellers, but she saw no sign of Elmer.
Deanna sighed. If he's here, I hope he drops by — at least to say hello. If he isn't too busy shoeing horses today, I'd like to invite him over for supper tonight.
She turned her head abruptly when Abner shouted, "Hundli!"
Deanna looked in the direction he pointed. An elderly English woman moving past her tables had not a puppy but a full-grown dog walking in front of her on a leash. The woman wore a pair of dark glasses, which to some might seem strange on this overcast day in October. It didn't take Deanna long to realize the woman was blind; her dog was a service animal. Deanna wondered how it felt to live in a world of darkness. It would certainly be a challenge. She closed her eyes and opened them quickly, unable to imagine going through life with no vision.
As a man joined the woman and took hold of her arm, Abner hollered: "Die hundli is gross."
"Yes, it is big," Deanna responded in Pennsylvania Dutch. "Only it's a dog, not a puppy."
Abner's pale eyebrows furrowed, but he didn't argue with her. She guessed to him all dogs were puppies.
What a shame your daadi isn't here to see how you're growing. An image of Deanna's tall, blond-haired husband invaded her thoughts as she placed the rest of her quilted items neatly on the tables. Abner took after his dad with sandy blond hair and pale blue eyes. Simon had been a hard worker and always provided well for them through his carpentry work. Now the responsibility of raising their son fell mostly on her.
If she made enough money today, Deanna hoped to use some of it toward a gift to give Abner for his birthday next week. Of course, her option was to make something for him, the way her father had been doing out in the barn the past several weeks after Abner went to bed. Dad loved his grandson, and Abner couldn't get enough of him either. Deanna's father didn't have many free hours at home, but he always made time to spend a few minutes each day with her son.
Deanna's musings evaporated once more when a middleaged English woman stopped at her table. "How much are your pot holders? I'm doing a little early Christmas shopping, and these will make nice gifts for some of my family and friends." She gestured to a stack of the more colorful ones.
"I am asking five dollars apiece."
The woman's eyebrows raised a notch. "Seriously?"
Deanna gave a nod. "Is it too much?" She'd never had anyone question the price of her quilted items before.
"No, not at all. I've seen pot holders like this go for ten dollars down in Lancaster County. Yours are quite reasonable." The customer picked up twenty pot holders and handed them to Deanna. "I'll take these as well as ten of your table runners."
"Those are fifteen dollars each," Deanna explained.
"Not a problem."
Deanna accepted the woman's money and put the items in a plastic sack. She'd no more than handed over the purchase, when Abner whipped around the front of the table. "Daadi! Daadi!"
A lump formed in Deanna's throat, watching Elmer approach, pick up Abner, and lift the boy onto his shoulders. In his enthusiasm, Abner knocked Elmer's straw hat off his head, revealing the lanky man's full crop of auburn hair. When it landed on the floor, she picked it up. In the time her son had known Elmer, he'd never called him "Daddy" before. Could it be because Elmer came around so much and spent a good deal of time with Abner that the child now thought of him as his father?
* * *
Elmer grinned when Deanna picked up his hat and placed it on one of her tables. She looked so perky this morning, like everything was right with her world — a far cry from the sadness he'd seen in her brown eyes after Simon died. Elmer shared in Deanna's grief, for he and Simon Speicher had been close since boyhood.
Elmer stood silently, holding Abner's legs securely as he watched Deanna wait on a young English couple who had stepped up to her table. He'd never admitted it to anyone, but Elmer fell hard for Deanna way back when they were teenagers. But she and Simon began courting before Elmer had a chance to voice his feelings for her. Even if he had, she may have rejected him.
When Deanna married Simon, Elmer found it difficult to watch his best friend in the position he'd dreamed of holding. Because he cared about them both, Elmer wrestled with his unwanted feelings for his friend's wife. His heart ached whenever he'd seen them at church or any social event. Most times when he saw Deanna and Simon together, Elmer felt conflicted. It pleased him to see his best friend so happy, but at the same time he envied their contentment with each other. So as not to jeopardize his friendship with Simon, Elmer kept his emotions in check. As far as he knew, no one suspected how he felt about Deanna.
As time went on, Elmer accepted the strong bond of friendship with both Deanna and Simon. Inside, his conscience won out, for it was wrong to long for someone not meant for him. With God's help, Elmer had managed to let go of his feelings for the woman who could never be his. Instead, he focused on his job and leisure activities, always praying that someday he would find the same kind of happiness his best friend had with a very special wife.
When Deanna became pregnant with her and Simon's child, Elmer faced another hurdle. Since he had never met a woman he cared about as much as Deanna, Elmer resigned himself to the likelihood that he might remain a bachelor, never knowing the joy of married life or experiencing the rewards of fatherhood.
Unaware of Elmer's original desire to make Deanna his wife, Simon had invited him over for supper many times for special occasions or simply to get together. Then after Abner came into the world, Elmer became like an uncle to the precious little boy. He loved Deanna's son as if he were his own. The little guy illuminated happiness right from the start, willing to give pure, innocent affection to everyone. When Abner learned how to walk, he never hesitated to go to Elmer, holding his arms out to be picked up.
Now his best friend was gone, and without planning it, Elmer's feelings resurfaced for Deanna. Until recently, he'd fought his emotions, guilt eating away at him for how he felt. But as time went on and Elmer offered his support and help to Deanna, he sensed her healing process had begun. Only then did he slowly reveal how he felt about her.
A few months ago, he'd begun courting her. Although Deanna had never spoken words of love to Elmer, the evidence showed by the way she reacted to him whenever he came around — like now, as their gazes met and a warm smile spread across her pretty face. Elmer had to hold himself back not to shout to the world that he was in love with this special woman.
"Gaul reide!" Abner gave Elmer's hair a tug.
Deanna shook her finger at the boy. "Not now, Son. Elmer didn't come to the flea market to give horse rides, and you need to let go of his hair."
"Aw, it's okay." Chuckling, Elmer bounced his shoulders up and down. "How's this, little man? Does that feel like a bucking horse?"
Abner giggled. "Gaul reide! Gaul reide!"
"Okay," Elmer relented. "I'll give you a short ride, but then we're gonna come back here and help your mamm." He looked at Deanna to gain her approval and felt relief when she nodded.
"We'll be back soon." Holding tightly to Deanna's precious boy, Elmer trotted off at a fairly good clip. As he made his way around the exterior of the market, passing cars and plenty of white-top, yellow-top, and black-top buggies in the parking lot, Elmer's smile grew wider. Several people looked his way and waved. Elmer gave a nod in their direction, and Abner kept laughing. Elmer wished the game of horsey ride could last forever, but unfortunately, he had a real horse to shoe on the other side of town. Later this evening though, he planned to stop by Rufus Kanagy's place to see Deanna. If things went well, by the end of the day, he'd be counting the weeks till his and Deanna's wedding.CHAPTER 2
Elmer stood at the pump outside his house, washing the grime from his face, hands, and arms. An evening breeze swept across the yard, rustling the colorful leaves remaining on the trees and stirring those on the ground. The cool air made him shiver.
At moments like this, Elmer wished he had indoor plumbing. If he wasn't in a hurry to get over to Deanna's, he'd fill the washtub with warm water heated on the stove and soak awhile.
Before Elmer had left the flea market that morning, Deanna had invited him to join them for supper this evening. So if he wanted to be there on time, taking a hot bath was out of the question.
As Elmer finished washing and drying off, he rehearsed in his mind the exact words he hoped to say to Deanna. Saying them to himself was simple, but looking into Deanna's eyes could easily make him forget the perfect speech he wanted to memorize. It was important to word his proposal just right. If Elmer didn't say it properly, she might turn him down. "Deanna, will you marry me?" or "Deanna, will you be my wife?" Should I just blurt it out or say something else to lead up to it?
One thing was for sure. Elmer had no intentions of admitting how his love for her reached all the way back to their teen years.
Elmer looked across the yard and saw his dog, Freckles, heading his way. The German shorthaired pointer, with a white body and liver spots, always seemed eager to see his master — especially during bird-hunting season. In Mifflin County, small game–hunting season started in ten days. Elmer wasn't a serious hunter; he simply enjoyed the time in the fields, hunting with his dog and watching Freckles go into a point when a rabbit or pheasant crouched nearby. When he gave the command, Freckles flushed out the animal. It was gratifying when he and Freckles worked together to bring a pheasant home for supper or to share with his parents.
Freckles brushed against Elmer's leg and let out a few more barks.
"Not now, faithful hund. I don't have time for play, but soon you and I will have some time to hunt the fields together." Elmer leaned down and gave the dog's head a few pats. "I'm going to see my girl and need to get changed in a hurry."
Freckles cocked his head to one side and stared up at Elmer with pathetic brown eyes. Too bad the dog didn't talk. Elmer felt certain he'd ask to come along. Under different circumstances, Freckles might be going. Abner always got a kick out of tossing a stick and watching Freckles bring it back. But tonight, Elmer didn't need the hassle of being responsible for the dog's every move.
With one more quick pat, Elmer left Freckles and went into the house. Hopefully, he had a clean white shirt and pair of brown trousers to wear. He chuckled, remembering the time an English boy he'd met asked why he and the other Nebraska Amish who lived in the Big Valley didn't wear suspenders, while Amish from the other districts wore one suspender across their right shoulder. Elmer had replied: "Don't rightly know. That's how it's always been."
* * *
When Elmer arrived at Rufus's home, it surprised him to see Deanna outside taking laundry off the line. It was almost six o'clock. He figured she'd be inside fixing supper by now. With it being flea market day, Elmer wondered if Deanna had gotten home later than normal.
Should have considered how busy she'd be and declined her supper invitation, Elmer berated himself. I could have come by after the meal. Well, I'm here now, so I may as well offer to help her.
Before he went over to join Deanna, Elmer sat quietly in his buggy a few minutes, watching her. Was it any wonder he felt the way he did? Even as she took clothes off the line and folded them neatly where she stood, one could see how she did this task with care. Deanna had been a good wife to Elmer's friend. Simon had mentioned numerous times how blessed he felt to have a woman like Deanna. Without a doubt, she was a loving mother to Abner too. Elmer would never be able to fill Simon's shoes, but if Deanna accepted his proposal, he'd work night and day to make her happy and be a good role model for Abner.
After Elmer climbed down from the buggy and secured his horse to the hitching rail, he gave his shirt a tug. It felt awfully tight around his throat. Walking toward Deanna, Elmer's sweaty hands trembled, but his eyes never drifted from her lovely face.
* * *
Deanna smiled when Elmer approached. "Am I here too early?" he asked.
She shook her head. "You're right on time. Chicken's in the oven, and mixed vegetables are on the stove. My daed's keeping an eye on Abner while I get the clothes off the line."
"Here, let me help you." Elmer removed two towels and put them in the wicker basket by Deanna's feet.
She flapped her hand in his direction. "Oh, no need. Why don't you go in the house and visit with Dad and Abner? I'll be in shortly, and then we'll eat."
"If it's okay, I'd rather help you." Elmer pulled another towel down and shuffled his feet a few times.
Is he nervous about something? Deanna wondered. If so, what could it be?
When everything was off the line and the basket filled with clothes, Deanna bent to pick it up, but Elmer beat her to it. He stood staring at her with the oddest expression. Elmer wasn't acting like himself this evening.
"Is something wrong?" She looked up at him, tilting her head to one side.
Blinking rapidly, beads of sweat erupted on his forehead. "I uh ... Th–there's a q–question I want to ask you."
"What is it, Elmer?" Deanna had never heard him stutter before.
He took a step forward then two back. "The thing is ..." Elmer paused, dropping his gaze to the ground. "I wondered if you ..."
His words were cut off when Abner came out the door, waving his hands and shouting, "Sis zeit fer's nachtesse!"
"Jah, we know it's time for supper," Deanna called to him. "Go back inside now, Son. We'll be there in a few minutes."
Abner's chin jutted out, and he pouted. Deanna hoped the boy obeyed and didn't embarrass her in front of Elmer.
A few seconds went by, and then Abner turned and went back in the house.
Deanna faced Elmer. "Now what was the question you were about to ask?"(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Brides of the Big Valley"
Copyright © 2019 Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter & Richelle Brunstetter.
Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
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
Rose Mary's Resolve,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
n a world full of unpleasantness, "The Brides of the Big Valley" by Wanda, Jean, and Richelle Brunstetter is a pleasant read to make anyone smile. Readers you will learn about three romances from an unique Pennsylvania community. Within this community, the yellow toppers, black toppers, and white toppers live. You will learn about Elmer and his love for Deanna, Rose Mary and Kevin, and the quiet and misunderstood Leila and Aden. You will laugh with them, cry with them, and rejoice as they live their simple way of honoring God. Enjoy!
Life can be similar and different "The Brides of the Big Valley. 3 Romances from a Unique Pennsylvania Amish Community" was published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. (Shiloh Run Press) and was written by New York Times best-selling and award-winning author and one of the founders of Amish fiction, Wanda E. Brunstetter, her daughter Jean Brunstetter, and her grand-daughter Richelle Brunstetter. The Amish in the Big Valley in Pennsylvania define and distinguish themselves by the color of their buggies - white, black, or yellow. And though these differences carry on into their lifestyle, there are also similarities among them. Deanna, Rose Mary, and Leila are the three women who readers encounters in this book. They situation of their life is different, but they all long for love. Will they find it? Wanda E. Brunstetter is an author well known to me and I highly appreciate and recommend her stories. This was the first time I read contributions by her daughter Jean and her grand-daughter Richelle and I also like them very much and look forward to read also more of their writings. The characters in the book are good and wholesome, they are believable and the book is encouraging and challenging. The complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley free of charge. I was under no obligation to offer a positive review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. #TheBridesoftheBigValley #NetGalley
I've enjoyed every book I've read by Wanda Brunstetter and now her daughter in law and grand daughter are writing with her as well. These are such charming Amish stories. The Amish romance stories are set in in an area called The Big Valley in Pennsylvania. I found it interesting that three different communities lived here and they are distinguished by the colors of their buggy tops. These wholesome romances were enjoyable and I'll be looking forward to more by these authors. Published June 1st 2019 by Shiloh Run Press. I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.
I love Amish fiction stories. It's a fascinating way of life and I like to see inside! The Brides of the Big Valley is a series of three short stories, each a romance written by three generations, Wanda E. Brunstetter, her daughter-in-law and her granddaughter! I love this! Each has written an excellent short story that are set in neighboring Amish communities, the communities make up the Big Valley! Each Amish community had different traditions and ways so it was fun to see those in these three stories. Deanna's Determination by Wanda E. Brunstetter is a story about Deanna Speicher who is a widow with a small son, who also has Down's Syndrome. She is from the white buggy, plain Nebraska Amish. Rose Mary's Resolve by Jean Brunstetter is a story about Rose Mary Renno who is part of the black top, conservative group. She is faced with deciding between her heart and her faith. Leila's Longing by Richelle Brunstetter - Leila Fisher is from the yellow top buggy community, can she possibly love someone from the black top Amish? I recommend this book to anyone who loves romance, fiction, and Amish fiction. Pleasure to read! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Three different Brunstetter authors have combined to create three equally good short Amish romances all set in Big Valley located in Mifflin County. The Amish situation that is unique in this area is that in the 1840’s the congregation broke into three groups based on beliefs, customs, and later the colors on the tops of their horse drawn buggies. Deanna’s Determination by Wanda E. Brunstetter tells the story of Deanna Speicher, a young Amish widow with a sweet little boy who has Down syndrome. She lives with her father and contributes to their support by creating quilted goods to sell at the local flea market. Her deceased husband’s best friend, Elmer, is the romantic interest in this story until tragedy strikes again. Will Deanna and Elmer’s love survive the new crisis? In Rose Mary’s Resolve, by Jean B. Brunstetter, we are introduced to a family that was mentioned in the first story, the Rennos, who own a furniture company. With older sister Linda getting married, Rose Mary is learning the ins and outs of the show room so she can help in the family business. Romance is in the air as Tom Yoder courts Rose Mary, but problems arise as Tom thinks of going Englisch and pressures Rose Mary on all of their decisions. Meanwhile Kevin literally drops out of the sky as he crash lands in the Renno field and develops an interest in Rose Mary and the Amish way. Will Rose Mary stay true to God and her family customs? Leila’s Longing by Richelle Brunstetter is the story of Leila Fisher, a shy young lady who was bullied at school when she was younger and now carries the emotional scars of those experiences. She is a gifted artist, creating sketches and making greeting cards and selling them. Will her new friends Aden and his sister Sue and her new employee Mollie be able to help her emerge from her reclusiveness? Will anyone ever want to court her? The Brides of the Big Valley is comprised of three novellas, gentle stories combined to make an interesting tale for a calm afternoon’s reading. The characters are likable and the plots are not overly predictable. God and faith are an important part of these tales. I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Barbour Publishing (Shiloh Run Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. Rating: 4/5
Deanna Speicher has a wealth of responsibilities. Her son, Abner, was born with Downs Syndrome which didn’t mean she loved him any less. Rather, his sunny disposition inspired her to do anything to provide for her child. Deanna lost her husband, Simon, to a tragic accident when he fell from their roof while repairing shingles nearly a year ago. Her grief was compounded when shortly after his death, she lost her mother to a brain aneurism. Thankfully, with her faith and the support of the community, Deanna would get by; especially due to the kindness of Elmer Yoder. He had been a good friend even before Simon’s untimely death. They would meet at the local flea market each week where Deanna would sell her crafts. Elmer had a unique connection with Abner and it warmed Deanna’s heart to have this male influence in her son’s life. Maybe the future has more than friendship for Elmer and Deanna. Rose Mary Renno loved working in her family’s furniture shop. Having just turned nineteen, she was excited to take older sister Linda’s lead and contribute more to the family business. While her tasks could seem mundane at times, Rose Mary enjoyed dusting the collections of decorative knick-knacks to make the showroom shine and welcoming. Over time, she would have the confidence Linda had with the customers. The area where Rose Mary could use more guidance was her current relationship. Best friend Marlene often put her two cents in when it came to Rose Mary’s affections for Tom. While he was raised the Amish way, Tom had bigger plans once he left for college. His hopes and dreams were to convince Rose Mary to try life beyond the Amish community. Bestie Marlene could see exactly what Tom was up to. Unfortunately, Tom’s hypnotic blue eyes and charismatic ways had Rose Mary smitten. When an ‘Englisher’ crash-lands his plane in the Renno fields, the signs begin to appear for Rose Mary. Maybe it isn’t she who should venture beyond her Amish life, but perhaps welcome an outsider into it. Leila Fisher loved to sketch. It was her safe place. She used to enjoy school and socializing, but that changed when her friend Hannah decided she didn’t want to be friends anymore. To compound the difficulties she had with school, Leila was tasked with more responsibilities at the family store. Her mom, Darla, was pregnant with her fourth child and it was proving to be a difficult pregnancy. This situation forced Leila to take on more responsibilities beyond being a teenaged girl. After Hannah decided not to be friends, Leila much preferred to recede further into her sketching and card crafting. When Leila least expects it, Aden Troyer comes into her life. Maybe there is room for more than creating cards and sketching in her future. Wanda, Jean and Richelle Brunstetter have penned three spiritually rewarding stories in The Brides of the Big Valley. I’ve had the pleasure of reading many of the Amish series by Wanda Brunstetter and hands down, these stories never disappoint. There is a perfect blend of faith and heartfelt lessons to be learned without the slightest notion of ad nauseum preaching. The pace holds a steady ebb and flow throughout the read and the ending to each story is never predictable. The Brunstetters have a signature style of planting subtle seeds throughout the story line that grow into a garden of ‘feel good’ at story’s end. I continue to be a fan of their work and always look forward to the next book in this series.
This book is a collection of stories by Wanda Brunstetter, her daughter-in-law Jean Brunstetter, and her granddaughter Richelle Brunstetter. Each story stands on its own and is in its own unique area of Belleville Pennsylvania, but all are about the Amish way of life and their trust in God. I am a long time fan of Wanda Brunstetter and have enjoyed her books about the Amish way of life for years. In Deanna’s Determination, the young widowed mother Deanna is having a hard time raising her six year old son as well as helping her recently widowed father cope with his loss. Long time friend Elmer helps as much as possible, but Deanna isn’t sure it is a good idea to lean on him too much. Her White Top Amish community is very strict. Jean Brunstetter writes about Rose Mary who belongs to the Black Top community of Amish in Rose Mary’s Resolve. Rose Mary resolves to stay in the Amish faith in spite of the fact that the young man courting her wants to leave and breaks off their relationship. Then she meets someone outside her community and there is a strong connection. Now Rose Mary understands the pull to leave her community for love. Richelle Brunstetter writes of Leila from the Yellow Top community. Leila longs for a husband and a home of her own, but is so bound by past hurts she finds it difficult believe she will ever find true love. Three stories, three different Amish communities, and one God make pleasant and enlightening reading. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
The Brides of the Big Valley contains three Amish stories by Wanda Brunstetter; her daughter-in-law, Jean; and her granddaughter, Richelle. The stories take place in three distinct Amish communities in the Big Valley region of Pennsylvania. The three communities are the very conservative white-toppers, the conservative black-toppers and the more progressive yellow-toppers. Each story is about a young Amish woman’s faith and love. The first story, Deanna’s Destiny, takes place in the white-top community. She has been widowed and struggles to raise Abner, her young son with Down syndrome. Can she find love again with Elmer Yoder who was her husband’s best friend or with an accident stand in their way? The second story, Rose Mary’s Resolve. is about a young woman from the black-top community who is dating a young man determined to leave the church for the outside world. When an airplane lands on their property, Rose Mary meets a young Englisher named Kevin Presley. The two are immediately attracted to each other. Will she stay in her Amish community or follow her heart? The third story, Leila’s Longing, is the story of a shy young woman from the yellow-top community who still lives at home with her family. Her mother is having a difficult pregnancy so she takes care of her father and siblings as well as running their family’s shop. Ever since Leila was bullied as a child, she has had a hard time with trusting people. When she meets Aden Troyer, from the black-top community, she wonders if she can find love or if the differences between their two communities will keep them apart. I enjoyed reading The Brides of the Big Valley and highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys reading books about the Amish way of life. It was written by three generations of Brunstetters and I look forward to more great books from these talented writers. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Another winning trio of novellas by Wanda, Jean, and Richelle Brunstetter. I love the fact that it's three generations of writers each writing their own story. These stories focus on three different Amish communities in Pennsylvania. All three stories are focused on trusting God. I loved all three stories, but my favorite was actually Richelle's. Leila had been hurt many times in the past and began to doubt herself and was overly concerned with what others thought of her, so that she closed herself off from other people. If you love Amish fiction or even if you are curious about the genre, I highly recommend it. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the copy. All opinions are my own.
3 Amish novellas by 3 Brunstetter Women. Three wonderful stories in one book by Wanda E Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter & Richelle Brunstetter. Each one written with a different Amish community with different rules and different color buggies within the same area of Big Valley. In Deanna's Determination by Wanda E. Brunstetter, I really enjoyed reading this one because it involved a special needs child with Down’s syndrome and it touched my heart. Rose Mary's Resolve by Jean Brunstetter was a surprise to me in the end. An Englisher makes a surprising decision which I didn’t see coming. Leila's Longing by Richelle Brunstetter was heart breaking and sad in some parts but turns into a really good story especially in the end. All three stories were well written and an interesting read. If you like reading Amish fiction, I would recommend this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Three authors, three Amish communities, three colors of buggies all add up to one delightful book to enjoy. The main characters of each story must have perseverance to overcome the difficulties that they each face. The widow Deanna works diligently to earn a living for herself and her special-needs son Abner. Rose Mary faces serious questions in her commitments to her faith and her friends. Shy, artistic Leila must be strong for her family, but she struggles with communication at times, because she keeps remembering past failures. This book’s theme is clear in Aden’s statement, “We all walk different paths, yet those paths can have similar obstacles.” Although the Amish of the white, black, and yellow buggy tops live in different areas of the Big Valley, they show good will towards one another and good interaction at appropriate times. I very much enjoyed learning about their similarities and differences. I highly recommend reading the Brides of the Big Valley. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Another good book by authors Wanda, Jean, Richelle Brunstetter, it’s especially fun to see the younger Brunstetter coming into her own as an author. I think her story was my favorite in this collection. Maybe a typical Amish story, I enjoyed learning about the way of identifying different groups according to the color of the buggy tops. We also learned about how strict (or not) a group was based on the buggy top color. I really like it when I learn things while reading a novel. I would have liked a bit more excitement but I know fitting three stories into one book cuts down on the space an author has to expound on things. All in all it’s a clean, relaxing read and I recommend it if you enjoy Amish fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
Each of these three novellas were wonderful. It was interesting to see how each of the characters were a little different since they were each from a different sect of the Amish. The first story, Deanna’s Determination, made me laugh and cry. I loved the characters. The second story was Rose Mary’s Resolve. Rose Mary and Kevin have to figure out if they really love each other enough to marry and either become English or for Rose Mary to remain Amish. This was so well done. The third story is Leila’s Longing. I loved Leila and how she learns to keep her responsibilities to her family and to learn to love Aden. This is a great story that made me laugh and cry. I received a copy of this book from Barbour Publishing for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
I really enjoyed this book. It contains three stories. They each were a contrast between religious factions as well as romance, I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review."
A unique take on relationships and romance in the Amish community. Written by three generations of the Brunstetter family insured the books remained true to Amish culture. Each story is a unique look at developing a relationship in a climate that is fundamentally different than the current outside world. Wonderfully touching and a please to read, these stories will leave you smiling for the rest of the day.
Review of The Brides of Big Valley The Brides of Big Valley is a set of 3 novellas written by Wanda Brunstetter, her daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter. Each story relates to each other, but has unique characteristics in that each is set in a different distinct Amish community within Big Valley. Each story ends with a bonus recipe, too. They are all romances, each with a different twist. If you like Amish fiction, this won’t disappoint you. You will learn about different groups of Amish and you will see how those differences impact the people. The stories are stories of faith, family, and love. They are truly enjoyable. “I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.”
THE BRIDES OF THE BIG VALLEY has three wonderful, uniquely written romances from the Amish Community, and written by three wonderful authors. Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter, and Richelle Brunstetter. I love their books, and reading about the Amish people. The story of DEANNA'S DETERMINATION, started out in, Belleville, Pennsylvania, where she and her family belong to the white-top community, had a table set up at the flea market. Deanna Speicher had lost her husband, Simon, and then, a month later lost her mother and now she was having to raise her son mostly on her own. Deanna's dad was devastated, so she sold her house and moved in with her dad. Then her good friend Elmer Yoder helped out from time to time while Deanna suffered through the loss of her husband. As the story developed, Elmer began to see Deanna more. But one day something happened to change all that. Will Deanna ever be happy again? This story will bring you to tears. I know it did me. I had to think about this story for a while before I went on to the second one, because I was so overwhelmed from the sadness, the deep abiding love, and devotion. Wonderful story. ROSE MARY'S RESOLVE, opened in Belleville, Pennsylvania, at Rose Mary Renno's father's furniture shop, which is in the black-top community. Today was the day she would start training with her sister, Linda. Rose Mary had been dating Tom Yoder, when suddenly, this young English pilot, by the name of Kevin Presley, had to land his plane in their large field. Rose Mary was completely taken aback by his good looks. While Kevin recouperated from the harsh landing, and getting the plane checked out for damage, he and Rose Mary became good friends. Will their friendship develope into something more than friendship? Will Rose Mary fall for this English guy and follow her heart? Or will she follow her faith? A story that will strike the inmost thoughts or feelings of your heart. Awesome read! Our next story, LEILA'S LONGING, opened up with Leila Fisher, from the yellow-top community, after getting her younger brother Henry off to school, she then hurried off to the family shop. Hopefully, since her mother has to take time off from work for a while, Leila will be able to deal with the customers. Although her shy ways may slow her down a bit from getting to know people. Will she be able to do it? Or will she need help? Leila's mother wanted Leila to get out and socialize and perhaps meet a young man. But every time she tried to talk to someone her stuttering acted up. So Leila's other brother, Leon talked to her about a singing event. After some thought, Leila decided to go. Will she meet a young man? If so, will the two hit it off, or will her shy ways and stuttering stand in her way? A great read! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
While this book includes three stories, each one can be a stand alone. It was interesting to learn some about the three different Amish communities, yellow, white top buggies and the black buggies. My personal favorite (by far) was the first story written by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Deanna's Determination. This story's main character is Deanna, a widow with a young son who has Down Syndrome. Her deceased husband's best friend eventually expresses his love for her and plans for their future are being made. Then, disaster strikes and he is left blind, and no longer wanting a future with Deanna. I thoroughly enjoyed this story! The second story, Rose Mary's Resolve's main character is Rose Mary who is dating an Amish man who wishes to go English. Rose Mary does not share his desire. She has told him she wishes to break things off with him, but he doesn't take 'no' for an answer. It was most irritating to me how she continued to go out with him. Does the girl not have a brain? Then, she turns around and starts spending a lot of time and developing feeling for an English man whom she met when he had to make an emergency airplane landing in their field. What will Rose Mary do? Stay with the faith she's been raised in, or leave it to go English? For me, this story did not flow well. The third story in this book, Leila's Longing, is set in the yellow-topper community. This community is more lenient than the others. Leila enjoys making cards to sell in the family's shop next to their home. The story begins with her running the shop alone as her mother is dealing with a pregnancy that has her depleted of energy. I did admire the responsibility of Leila in running the shop, taking care of her young brother, Henry, as well as the household. Leila has hurts from her childhood that she hangs on to and allows to control her as an adult. Most of this made her difficult for me to like. It did not flow well, or even seem believable. Leila met an Amish man from the black top community that she began to spend time with after he pursued her. Can she leave her family who needs her and join the black tops? I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Barbour Publishing and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. The review is my own opinion.
This was an interesting collection of stories. How fun that it was written by three generations of storytellers in the same family! All of the stories were interesting and captured my attention. This would be a great book to take to the beach or camping this summer!!! I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I'm always happy to review books, and these are my own opinions.
Amish romance novel called THE BRIDES OF THE BIG VALLEY. Set IN the Big Valley area in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, these charming novels will have its reader quickly turning pages. I found this to be an interesting read, my favorite being DEANNA'S DETERMINATION about a little boy with Down's Syndrome and his mommy's search for love after her husband was killed in an accident. That being said, however, all three novels are interesting and enjoyable reads. In Big Valley, there are three separate Amish communities known by the color of the tops of their buggies and each novel highlights one of them. Any Amish romance fan will thoroughly enjoy and savor this newest wonderfully-well-written offering by the three Brunstetters. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing.
I loved each story in this book. The book contains three different romances centered around Big Valley, Pa. Each story is written by a different author. Each community can be identified by the color of their buggy tops. I enjoyed learning the customs of the different communities. I can't pick a favorite because I loved them all and thought they were great. Go grab your copy today you will be glad you did.
This is a wonderful collection of stories that examine the different lifestyles of the Amish. Each have different rules and even different colors of buggies. Some are very strict as others are a bit more relaxed. I loved finding out more about the differences and how they each had one common thread. They were dedicated to their faith and always helped their neighbors out. I enjoyed how the author brings characters from the different stories together at some point. It was a surprise to have them a part of each story and for me brought the entire book together. Be sure to look for cameos of different characters as you read these charming stories. Deanna’s Determination I enjoyed this story and how one of the characters, Abner had Downs Syndrome. The author doesn’t shy away from talking about the handicap and how much of a blessing the child is. Deanna is trying to make ends meet when her husband dies. Going to the market and selling her goods is hard when you have an active child to watch as well. The author explains about Down Syndrome and helps readers understand the challenges families face. Abner was a delight to get to know and I especially loved that he seemed to always be happy. Deanna has been through several tragedies but has a great friend in Elmer. He has been there to help her when needed but his feelings go deeper than just friendship. There is joy when Deanna says yes to marrying Elmer. He has wanted this for so long and he is excited to have Abner as his son. The bond between them is very special, but something happens to change everything. Will Elmer and Anna overcome this setback? Can Elmer swallow his pride and allow the woman he loves to help him? I loved the story and found it interesting to read about how in a minute your life can change forever. Rose Mary's Resolve This story is about Rose Mary and finding her way to what God has called her for. She has a young man who adores her, but she has said several times she is not interested. He will not take no for an answer and seems to push her to continue going out with him. I did like how excited she was to work in the family furniture store. It is a big step for her and shows her becoming more responsible and maturing. Tom can be pretty persuasive and he is trying hard to push Rose Mary into the English world. It can be tempting to some who wonder what it would be like to drive a car, wear clothes other than Amish and go anywhere you wanted. Will Rose Mary be tempted to dip her toes in another culture? When a plane lands in an Amish field, I could just image the shocked look on the neighbors faces. Luckily the pilot is not seriously injured and Rose Mary's family takes him in to help him. As Kevin stays with the family while his plane is being repaired, Rose Mary seems to be getting attached to him. They share lunches together and he enjoys helping around the farm. I think Rose Mary's parents are hoping his plane gets fixed soon so he can leave. They are becoming concerned about the closeness Rose Mary and Kevin are sharing. It is a wonderful story of making choices and following God's direction. I loved the way Rose Mary stuck to her belief's while deciding if Kevin was the right person for her. The story is a nice look at the Amish life and how devoted they are to family. Leila's Longing Leila is a sweet young woman who helps run the family shop. She is very uncomfortable around people at times. She is not sure of herself and often wonders why she has not cau
The Brides of the Big Valley is a book with 3 novellas inside, one written by Wanda, one by her daughter-in-law, Jean, and the final one by Wanda's granddaughter, Richelle. All three stories are individual, but all tie together and are related through the characters, which is a pleasant surprise and really made the stories flow together. All three stories are engaging and enjoyable to read, with characters that are interesting to get to know. I especially enjoyed Deanna's Determination as it touched on characters with special needs, which is not seen in writing often enough. The story incorporated the two issues of Down's Syndrome and blindness. Rose Mary's Resolve touches on the main character having to make life choices based around her faith and upbringing, and deciding what is right for her. In Leila's Longing, the main character must overcome personal doubts and make a decision about her future. She makes friends with others outside of her community and finds that they aren't really so different after all. I really enjoyed reading these stories, the plots and characters were pleasant and realistic, and I liked seeing how each woman relied on her faith to lead her in the decisions each one makes. I also enjoyed learning a bit about the three different Amish communities that live in this area of Pennsylvania. The extra background information was a nice addition, as are the recipes included at the end of each story. I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher. My review is based on my own personal opinion of the book.
The Brides of The Big Valley is a compilation of three Christian contemporary Amish romance stories penned by the three Brunstetter ladies. Matriarch Wanda is joined by daughter-in-law Jean and granddaughter Richelle to produce a delightful fiction book that is unique and engaging. I have never read any Amish stories such as these. The Amish lifestyle fascinates me and by reading these three books I was able to learn even more about it. Opening this paperback is an Introduction section that describes The Big Valley and Amish there. The three different buggy colors intrigued me. Their language and cooking do, too. The Brunstetter ladies have done their research well and really know the Amish culture. It is evidenced in their well written books. Each story has believable characters that are true to life. They struggle with life issues such as strife, forgiveness, coveting, and not wanting to accept help from others. Through their tale solutions are given on how to deal with these unfortunate and stressful topics. God is frontmost in each of the three books. All three novellas are set in an area in Pennsylvania known as Big Valley. There are many Amish here but they aren’t all alike in their beliefs and rules. The three separate districts here range from Conservative to Liberal. Each one has their own color of buggy to distinguish themselves. Wanda has written the first book, Deanna’s Determination. In this story Deanna is a widow with a young son who has Down’s Syndrome. It is a heart wrenching story that has stayed with me long after I finished reading it. I was a bit bothered by switching between Dad and Daed throughout the book, but it could be a Big Valley practice. I loved the little boy, Abner. There are so many life lessons to be learned in this poignant tale. Jean took on Book Two, Rose Mary’s Resolve. The common thread between these two books is Elmer. He works for her father. In this tale, Mary Rose is deliberating on her faith and finding a man to help her in her walk. She has been considering jumping the fence over into the Englischer World. It is a wonderful story and filled with faith, decisions, consequences, and inspiration. Jean has a very nice style of writing and knows her Amish, also. Richelle wraps up the book with Leila’s Longing. Leila has been helping her mother and has done so without complaining. Secretly she yearns for a house and family of her own. Her friends are all married or getting married. She is goes to a singing where young people gather and mingle. Her dilemma is can a strict yellow topper be interested in beginning a relationship and family with someone from a different group? I would highly recommend this to anyone. If you aren’t certain if you like Amish books, this is a sampling from three excellent authors. Each of the stories is equally entertaining and inspiring. After the novella each author has included a recipe from her story. There are no Discussion Questions at the end, but these would be great book club choices for many reasons. There is heartache, disabilities, and making choices involved in these captivating tales. After reading these three novella, I am ready for a real trip to Amish Country. This gave me a taste for the real thing! I gladly rate this book 5 out of 5 stars. Each individual story would get a 5, also. A copy was provided by the publisher but these were my own, honest thoughts.
Wanda E. Brunstetter, her daughter-in-law Jean, and her granddaughter Richelle have each written a short story about a young woman from a different district in the Big Valley who finds herself destined to become a bride. None of the three women are the same age and their lives and circumstances have nothing in common but they all find themselves facing issues and conflicts that threaten their chance at happiness. I was especially interested in Wanda Brunstetter's contribution because she centers her story around a widow with a young child with Down Syndrome and I admired the way Brunstetter describes her situation. Each of these authors has a different approach to storytelling but they each captured my attention and they all stress the deep religious commitment of the Amish. At the beginning of The Brides of Big Valley, there is an explanation of the history of this area and I enjoyed learning about the Lancaster County families who purchased land in the Big Valley in 1791 and eventually divided into three districts. Big Valley is so special because of these three unique horse-and-buggy Amish groups who live there. It is true that they all share the same deep religious beliefs and dedication to living a simple and peaceful life but some of their practices vary from being lenient to being very strict. I was especially intrigued with the unique difference in the color of their buggies. Black buggies are commonly seen among the Amish in our area of Kentucky but each district of The Big Valley Amish has its own special color of buggy; either black, yellow, or white. Wanda E. Brunstetter is known for her ability to entertain as she shares her intimate knowledge of the Amish way of life and this book is certainly no different. The Brides of the Big Valley is an enjoyable book and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Amish stories and Christian fiction. I received a complimentary copy from the author but I was under no obligation to write a favorable review.