Amish bride-to-be Leona is thrilled to be in Florida, on a mini-vacation in the pretty town of Pinecraft. Her girlfriends think she’s happy because she’s away from the stress of wedding planning. They have no idea that Leona’s real joy is in being away from her fiancé.
Edmund is a good man, and will make a decent husband . . . just not for Leona. The more time she spends with him and his overbearing ways, the less she wants to be his wife. Her cousins are sure Edmund is the right man for her-and their certainty makes Leona begin to doubt herself. But when a chance encounter with a wayward cat brings her face-to-face with a handsome, fun-loving Amish man named Zachary Kauffman, Leona’s faced with two vastly different futures.
Leona must decide: Does she follow the path set out before her? Or take a chance with only the promise of what could be to guide her?
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.
Emma Keim was heartbroken when her husband Sanford passed away, leaving her to raise three young daughters alone. In the years since, her relatives have made it no secret that they expect Emma to remain a widow, mourning Sanford indefinitely. But when she meets Jay Hilty—a widower with three young sons of his own—Emma is delighted to have a new friend who understands her struggles. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s also handsome and kind. Still, Emma is dismayed that her family is so opposed to their friendship—and the idea of it ever becoming anything more. She honors her husband’s memory every day, but is she destined to be alone forever?
Jay knows that few people his age understand what it’s like to lose a spouse, and Emma’s gentleness with his boys stirs something in his heart that’s been quiet for far too long. But when Jay’s oldest son becomes engaged to a local woman, suddenly Jay, Emma, and their children are swept up in wedding preparations. Witnessing his son’s joy, Jay wonders if it’s time for him to move forward, too, and find happiness again.
Jay wants to court Emma in earnest, but Emma’s relatives remain troubled by the prospect of her moving on. Once again, love has come to Pinecraft. But can these two parties of four become a happy, healthy family of eight?
Phineas King knows better than to expect anything but shock and pity wherever he shows his face. Horribly scarred from the tragic accident that claimed his mother’s life, he chooses to keep his distance from everyone, focusing his time and energy on the bees his family raises. If no one sees him, no one can judge him. So why does he start finding excuses to seek out Deborah Lantz, the beautiful new arrival in town?
Deborah can’t get out of Bee County, Texas, soon enough. Once her mother and younger siblings are settled, she is on the first bus out of this dusty town. She is only waiting on the letter from Aaron, asking her to return to lush Tennessee to be his fraa. But that letter never comes. As she spends time getting to know Phineas—hoping to uncover the man beneath the scars—she begins to realize that she no longer minds that Aaron hasn’t sent for her.
As both Deborah and Phineas try to come to terms with lives that haven’t turned out the way they imagined, they discover that perhaps Gott’s plans for them are more extraordinary than they could have dreamed. But they need to let go of their own past sorrows and disappointments to find the joy and beauty that lies just ahead for them both.
It’s mid-September 1893 and Eloisa Carstairs is the reigning debutant of Gilded Age Chicago society. To outsiders she appears to have it all. But Eloisa is living with a dark secret. Several months ago, she endured a horrible assault at the hands of Douglass Sloane, heir to one of Chicago’s wealthiest families. Fearing the loss of her reputation, Eloisa confided in only one friend. That is, until she meets Detective Sean Ryan at a high-society ball.
Sean is on the fringes of the Chicago elite. Born into a poor Irish family, becoming a policeman was his best chance to ensure security. Despite social boundaries, he is enamored with Eloisa Carstairs. Sean will do anything to keep her safe—even if he can never earn her affections.
Eloisa longs to feel normal again, but a killer is on the loose. In the last month, three debutants have been accosted by an assailant wielding a knife, and Eloisa fears for her safety at every event she attends. As the danger in the city increases, and as the romance between Eloisa and Sean blossoms, they both realize they want to be seen as more than how the world views them. But will they catch the killer before all their hopes come crashing down?
Penny Troyer never disobeys her parents. But tonight she's bending the rules because Michael Knoxx—the most famous member of the Knoxx Family, a traveling Mennonite evangelical family—is scheduled to speak. Penny has heard of Michael—how he lost part of his leg in a terrible accident and uses the experience to inspire others—and knows she must meet him . . . even if it means challenging her parents' strict rules and taking the first step toward her own independence.
Though he speaks about living life to the fullest, Michael knows he needs to take his own advice. Life on the road is grueling and Michael wants to slow down, to rest . . . to perhaps meet someone who sees him as a man, not just a celebrity. So when a twist of fate allows him the chance to stay a little longer in Pinecraft, Michael knows God is showing him a new path, especially when he discovers that Penny has also survived a terrible ordeal.
But as Michael's time in Pinecraft comes to an end, Michael and Penny are left to wonder what kind of future they could possibly have together. Are they brave enough to take the chance given to them? Or will they choose to cling to what is familiar, even if it pushes away their dream of happiness?