About the Book
Book: A Brighter Dawn
Author: Leslie Gould
Genre: Amish Romance
Release date: March 28, 2023
Zimmerman is successfully navigating her life as a young Mennonite
woman, one generation removed from her parents’ Old Order Amish
upbringing. But when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, Ivy’s
way of life is upended. As she deals with her grief, her younger
sisters’ needs, the relationship with her boyfriend, and her Dawdi and
Mammi’s strict rules, Ivy finds solace in both an upcoming trip to
Germany for an international Mennonite youth gathering and in her
great-great-aunt’s story about Clare Simons, another young woman who
visited Germany in the late 1930s.
As Ivy grows suspicious that her parents’ deaths weren’t, in fact, an
accident, she gains courage from what she learns of Clare’s time in
pre-World War II Germany. With the encouragement and inspiration of the
women who have gone before her, Ivy seeks justice for her parents, her
sisters, and herself.
Click here to get your copy!
About the Author
Leslie Gould (www.lesliegould.com)
is a Christy Award-winning and #1 bestselling author of over 35 novels,
including four Lancaster County Amish series. She holds an MFA in
creative writing and enjoys studying church history, research trips, and
hiking in the Pacific Northwest. She and her husband live in Portland,
Oregon, and are the parents of four adult children.
More from Leslie
The historical thread of my dual-time novel A Brighter Dawn
is set in Nazi Germany from 1937 to 1939. During that period of time,
Germany incorporated Austria, mandatory registration of all Jewish
property began, and concentration camps opened. Then came the Night of
Broken Glass—the anti-Jewish pogrom in Germany, Austria, and the
Sudetenland. Soon following was the German occupation of Czechoslovakia
before the Nazis invaded Poland in September 1939.
My main character, Clare Simons, is a Mennonite young woman from
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, who is staying with her uncle and
cousins in Frankfurt, Germany. She doesn’t follow current events much
and struggles to balance the Nazi propaganda her uncle and oldest cousin
believe with the events unfolding around her. Slowly, she begins to see
the truth behind the Nazi lies.
One thing that broke up the narrative of the heavy events I researched and wrote about? The food.
When I traveled in Germany with my husband (who had lived there
during his Army service years ago), I marveled over the scenery, became
engrossed in the history, and definitely enjoyed the food. My background
is Swiss, so it wasn’t that the food was unfamiliar. It was just at a
level I hadn’t experienced before!
As I researched what Clare would fix for meals, I pored through
cookbooks. For added inspiration, hubby and I ate at German restaurants.
Jägerschnitzel (seared pork with gravy). Rinderbraten (paprika and caraway spiced beef roasted in red wine gravy). Wienerschnitzel (breaded and fried pork loin with warm potato salad and a vegetable remoulade.)
I noted food in research books, documentaries, and films. The entrees
became focal points in the stories, including rabbit stew, a Christmas
goose, and Sauerbraten with Spätzle and red cabbage. So did the desserts, including trifle and Black Forest cake.
When I visited Germany with my hubby, one of the things I really loved was stopping in a café for Apfelkuchen (apple cake) and coffee in the afternoon. In one scene in A Brighter Dawn,
when Clare and her cousin Lena stop for coffee, they order apple cake
too. Then, in another scene, Clare bakes an apple cake for the family of
the nearby Jewish grocer who will soon lose their property.
Below is a recipe for a simple and dense German apple cake (which may
have originated in Poland and been influenced by a Jewish apple cake
The food in A Brighter Dawn doesn’t take away from the
narrative, but it is a reminder that a nurturing soul, such as my
character Clare, can stand against the lies of an evil regime.
German Apple Cake
- 1 cup salted butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ½ to 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 5 cups apples—peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (to soften apple
slices before baking, place in a microwavable dish with a lid and
microwave them with a Tablespoon of water for 3–4 minutes)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 cake pan.
- Beat butter and eggs with an electric mixer until creamy. Add sugar and vanilla; beat well.
- Stir together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
in a bowl. Slowly add flour mixture to egg mixture; mix until combined.
The batter will be very thick. Fold in apples and walnuts by hand using a
wooden spoon. Spread batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center
comes out clean, 45–50 minutes. After 30 minutes, put a sheet of foil
over the top of the cake to keep it from burning. Cool cake on a wire
Crumble: ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup white sugar, ½ cup
flour, 4–6 Tablespoons softened butter. Combine ingredients and evenly
spread over the top of cake.
Butterscotch: Sprinkle a package of butterscotch chips over the top of the cake.
Almonds: Sprinkle almond slivers over the top of the cake.
Dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Drizzle with caramel sauce.
Sprinkle with white sparkling sugar.
Top with whipped cream.
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 23
Lakesidelivingsite, April 23
Locks, Hooks and Books, April 24
Cover Lover Book Review, April 25
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 25
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 26
Lighthouse Academy Blog, April 27 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)
Connie’s History Classroom, April 27
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 28
Vicky Sluiter, April 28
She Lives To Read, April 29
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, April 30 (Author Interview)
Christina’s Corner, April 30
Texas Book-aholic, May 1
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 2
Mornings at Character Cafe, May 2
Bigreadersite, May 3
Bliss, Books & Jewels, May 3
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 4
Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 5
For Him and My Family, May 5
Splashes of Joy, May 6
Pause for Tales, May 6
To celebrate her tour, Leslie is giving
away the grand prize package of a a paperback copy of A Brighter Dawn
and one $15 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.