GENRE: Inspirational Romance (Amish)
For Leah Otto, marrying Jude Shetler is a long-held dream come true. As a young girl, she was captivated by his good looks and talent as an auctioneer. When Jude, now a widower with three children, begins to court her, Leah doesn’t hesitate. Other men may not appreciate her tomboy ways, but Jude values Leah’s practical nature and her skill with the animals she tends, and both enter the marriage with joy and optimism.
Three months later, Leah feels as if her world is coming down around her. Her twin teenage step-daughters, Alice and Adeline, are pushing boundaries and taking far too many risks, while five-year-old Stevie deeply misses his mother. Leah, more at ease in a barn tending her goats and chickens than in a kitchen, struggles with her housekeeping duties.
Then a baby is abandoned on their doorstep, and Leah must search her soul. Caring for little Betsy fills her with renewed purpose and the strength to begin pulling her family together. With Jude’s steadfast support, Leah finds that what she once thought of as a happy ending may be something even better—the beginning of a life rich in love, faith, and unexpected blessings.
Jeremiah Shetler leaned his elbows on his kitchen table, gazing earnestly at his younger brother—who, at thirty-three, was surely old enough to know better about what he was getting into. “Last chance to see reason, Jude,” he stated bluntly. “If you go through with this wedding tomorrow, you’ll be signing on for a lifetime of sorrow and regret.”
Jude’s dark eyes flashed with resentment. “Sounds more like my marriage to Frieda—God rest her soul,” he added quickly. “Why can’t you let me find my happiness with a woman who won’t keep secrets? A woman who adores me and makes me laugh?”
“Leah’s a nice girl, jah,” Jeremiah said with a shake of his head, “but she’s clueless about such basic activities as putting a gut meal on the table—”
“Why are you telling me this?” Jude demanded.
Jeremiah exhaled forcefully. He’d never understood what Jude saw in Leah. He could only assume that his widowed brother was so desperate for affection and companionship that he was willing to settle for a woman who’d never progressed beyond being the tomboy daughter Raymond and Lenore Otto hadn’t taught much about a wife’s responsibilities.
“Have you ever eaten a meal Leah cooked?” he challenged. “Vernon Gingerich has told me that any time he’s visited the Otto home, Lenore’s been bustling around in the kitchen and Leah’s been in the front room chatting with him and her dat. And at our family dinners these past months, Leah’s cleaned up the dishes, but I’ve not seen any signs that she knows how to operate a stove.”
“Lenore does the cooking when Vernon visits because he’s her bishop, and she enjoys cooking for a man now that Raymond’s gone,” Jude explained impatiently. He raked his hand through his disheveled dark waves, glancing downward with an anguished sigh. “Come on, man. You know how it is to lose a wife—and you don’t even have kids to look after. Doesn’t the loneliness—the need for adult conversation—eat you alive at times?”
Jeremiah looked away, his heart pierced by the blatant reminder of Priscilla’s absence. After three years of living without her, he did indeed know how the silence of nights alone clawed at a man’s heart like a relentless beast. But he needed to pursue his present purpose before Jude made the biggest mistake of his life.
Charlotte Hubbard is the acclaimed author of Amish romance and fiction that evokes simpler times and draws upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi. Faith and family, farming, and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle—and the foundation of all her novels. A deacon, dedicated church musician and choir member, she loves to travel, read, try new recipes, and crochet. A longtime Missourian, Charlotte now lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her husband and their border collie, Vera. Please visit Charlotte online at www.CharlotteHubbard.com.
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