Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Amish Teacher's Dilemma (North Country Amish #3) by Patricia Davids

The teacher next door could be the mother they need…

Will she return to her old life…or risk everything to build a new one?

Taking a schoolteacher position in another district is just the change Amish spinster Eva Coblentz needs. And with her new neighbor, blacksmith Willis Gingrich, struggling to raise his three orphaned siblings, Eva is determined to help them heal. But when her relatives insist she come home, Eva must choose between the life she left…and the one she’s growing to love.


About The Author

USA TODAY best-selling author Patricia Davids was born and raised in Kansas.
After forty years as an NICU nurse, Pat switched careers to become an inspirational writer. She enjoys
spending time with her daughter and grandchildren, traveling and playing with her dogs, who think fetch
should be a twenty-four hour a day game. When not on the road or throwing a ball, Pat is happily
dreaming up new stories.


Author Q&A, THE AMISH TEACHER’S DILEMMA by Patricia Davids

1.  Did you always want to write romance novels?
A: I knew when I was in high school that I wanted to write a love story. I started one set in war-torn France in WWII but never finished it. I think I had two chapters completed (those poor young lovers are stuck forever in the bombed-out ruins of a church hiding from the Nazis, but at least they are together). After that, I got caught up in life: dating, college, nurses training, marriage, motherhood and a nursing career. Sometime during those years, I fell in love with romance stories, but I read everything; Si-Fi, westerns, mysteries, not horror but some crime dramas and the cereal box if I had nothing else. When our daughter was grown and left home, I told my husband I wanted to write a book. I wanted to write a romance novel like the ones I enjoyed reading. He said I’d be good at it. As it turned out, he was right. I love happily-ever-after endings.

2.  Share in your own words what it means to experience That Harlequin Feeling?
A: Reading a Harlequin isn’t just about, “Will the couple fall in love?” You know they will. It’s a romance novel. Duh. The joy of reading a Harlequin is getting a front-row seat to the journey of two people finding out they are perfect for each other when they first thought they were not. The highs, the lows, the ahh—that was so sweet moments, the what-a-hunk scene, the you-go-girl cheering, every emotion the reader gets to live right along with the characters. The best part is closing the book feeling satisfied that love was the right answer all along.

3.  Can you share a recent book you have read that you would like to recommend?
A: I recently read Their Amish Reunion by Lenora Worth. I highly recommend it. Even if you think Amish romances aren’t your thing, this book will change your mind. It is an endearing and gentle romance that is everything a romance book should be.

Excerpt - THE AMISH TEACHER'S DILEMMA by Patricia Davids

Willis thought he had enough time to fix the new teacher’s chair, put four shoes on Jesse Crump’s buggy horse and get supper on the table by six o’clock. It was seven-thirty by the time he came in to find his family gathered around the kitchen table with a scowl on every face. Thankfully, he couldn’t see Bubble but he was sure she was scowling, too.
“I know I’m late. One of Jesse’s horses had a problem hoof and I had to make special shoes for him. I’ll fix us something to eat right away.”
He went to the refrigerator and opened the door. There wasn’t much to see. “I meant to set some ham­burger out of the freezer to thaw this morning but for­got to do it.”
“You should leave yourself a note,” Harley said. He was paging through a magazine about horses. He was always reading. Willis fought down the stab of envy.
If Willis could write a note, then he’d be able to read one. He couldn’t do either. The most he could man­age was to write his name. No one in New Covenant knew his shameful secret. Children as young as Maddie learned to read every day but he couldn’t. No matter how hard he’d tried. There was something wrong with him.
He hid his deficiency from everyone although it wasn’t easy. He’d been made a laughingstock by the one person he’d confided in years ago. He’d never been able to trust another person with his secret. The bitter memory wormed its way to the front of his mind.
He’d been twenty at the time and hopelessly in love with a non-Amish girl. She was the only person he had told that he couldn’t read. He hadn’t wanted to keep se­crets from her. She claimed to love him, too. He had trusted her.
Later, when they were out with a bunch of her friends, she told everyone. They all laughed. He laughed, too, and pretended it didn’t matter but the hurt and shame had gone bone deep. He didn’t think anything could hurt worse than Dalene’s betrayal, but he’d been wrong. She and her friends had much more humiliation in store for him.
He pushed those memories back into the dark corner of his mind where they belonged. He had to find some­thing to feed the children gathered at his table. “I guess I can scramble us some eggs.”
“Again?” Otto wrinkled his nose.
“Bubble says to be thankful we have chickens.” Mad­die beamed a bright smile at Otto.
“Bubble can’t say anything because she isn’t real, stupid.” Otto pushed his plate away.
Willis rounded on him. “Never call your sister or any­one else stupid, Otto. You know better than that. Apolo­gize or go to bed without supper.”
“Sorry,” Otto murmured. He didn’t sound apologetic.
A knock at the door stopped Willis from continu­ing the conversation. Who needed a blacksmith at this hour? He pulled open the door and took a step back. Eva Coblentz stood on his porch with a large basket over her arm.
She flashed a nervous grin. “I’m used to cooking for more than just myself and I made too much tonight. I thought perhaps you could make use of it for lunch to­morrow. It’s only chicken and dumplings.”
Willis was speechless. Maddie came to stand beside him. “Teacher, how nice to see you.”
Eva smiled at Maddie. “It’s nice to see you again, too. How is Bubble?”
Maddie stuck her tongue out at Otto. “She’s fine but kinda hungry. We haven’t had our supper yet. Willis had to give Jesse Crump special shoes so he was going to make scrambled eggs again, but Otto isn’t thankful for our chickens.”
Eva blinked her lovely green eyes. “I see.”
“Do you?” Willis couldn’t help smiling at her per­plexed expression. “Then you’re ahead of me most of the time.”
Harley came to the door. “Let me help you with that.” He took the basket from her and carried it to the table. He began setting out the contents.
Otto pulled his plate back in front of him. “That smells great.”
Harley dished up his own and then passed the plas­tic bowls along. Willis thought his siblings were acting like starving animals. He could hardly blame them. He was going to have to learn to cook for more than him­self. Normally, he didn’t care what he ate or when he ate it. That had changed when the children arrived, and change was something he didn’t handle well.

Eva folded her arms across her middle. “I will be going so you can enjoy your meal in peace. Have a won­derful night, everyone.”
He didn’t want her to go. He stepped out onto the porch and closed the door from the prying eyes of his family. “How’s your head?”
She touched it gingerly. “Better.”
“I fixed the chair. You won’t have to worry about tip­ping over again.”
“I appreciate that.” She turned to go.
“The school board hired me to supply and install the hardware in the new building. I’ll get the rest of the coat hooks, cabinets and drawer pulls installed tomorrow. Have you had your supper? You are welcome to join us.”
“I have eaten. Danki. Don’t forget to feed Bubble. She’s much too thin.”
Willis raked a hand through his hair. “I don’t know why Maddie makes things up.”
She gave him a soft, kind smile. “Don’t worry about it. A lot of children have imaginary friends.”
“Really?” He wanted to believe her. When she smiled he forgot his worries and his ignorance.
“Absolutely. She will outgrow her invisible friend someday soon. Until then, enjoy her imagination.”
“I reckon you have seen a lot of things like this in your teaching career.” It made him feel better to know Maddie wasn’t the only child who had a pretend com­panion.
“This will be my first year as a teacher. I was actu­ally surprised that the position didn’t go to someone with more experience. Perhaps my enthusiasm won the school board over.”
“I think you were the only applicant.”
She laughed and clasped a hand over her heart. “You have returned my ego to its normal size. How can I ever thank you?”
He smiled along with her. “We are blessed to have you.”
She leaned toward him slightly. “We will have to wait until we have Bubble’s assessment of my teaching skills before jumping to any conclusions. Guten nacht, Willis Gingrich.”
“Good night, Teacher.”
She walked away into the darkness. He watched until he saw her enter her house across the way. There was something attractive about Eva Coblentz that had noth­ing to do with her face or her figure. She was the first woman in a long time who made him want to smile.
He went back inside the house. The children were still eating. He took his place at the head of the table, bowed his head for a silent prayer, then reached for a bread roll. It was still warm. He looked at Maddie. “What did you say to your teacher that made her bring food here tonight?”
Maddie shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know.”
“You must have said something.” He took a bite of his roll.
Maddie had a whispered conversation with the empty chair next to her. She looked up and grinned at him. “Bubble says that she told teacher you need a wife who is a good cook.”
He started coughing. Otto pounded on his back while Harley rushed to give him a glass of water. When he could catch his breath, Willis stared at Maddie in shock. “Eva thinks I’m looking for a wife?”
Maddie nodded.
Willis hung his head. Nothing could be further from the truth. There was no way he could keep his secret from a wife. Even if he found the courage to reveal his handicap to a woman again, there was still one pressing reason he had to remain single.
Amish ministers and bishops were chosen by lot from the married men of the congregation. At baptism every Amish fellow vowed to accept the responsibility of be­coming a minister of the faith if he should be chosen. What kind of preacher would he make if he couldn’t read the Word of God? The humiliation didn’t bear thinking about. He would remain a single fellow his entire life. That was God’s plan for him.
He turned his attention back to Maddie. “You were wrong to tell your teacher that I’m looking for a wife. I’m not. Now what am I supposed to do?”
Maddie lifted both hands. “Just tell her you don’t want a wife. How hard can that be?”

My Review

This is a sweet book to get lost in. I loved that this young woman is finally able to have a life of her own, now at 30 she has changed states, moving from Ohio to Maine, and going to earn a living, becoming a teacher.
The author also gives us a man whose parents have passed away and has taken on the responsibility of his younger siblings, all the while holding on to a secret that has kept him single and afraid.
Now, things are about to change even before they start, and you wonder about how much power a brother has over his sister.
When this book was finished, and I wanted more pages, I could see this story continuing seemed like there was more, especially since there are some new people in the community?

I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Harlequin, and was not required to give a positive review.

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