Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Return to Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand

May 24, 2017 Amish, contemporary, giveaway, Jennifer Beckstrand, romance 39

about the book

When it comes to matchmaking, Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin’s unstoppable octogenarians Anna and Felty Helmuth never seem to run out of opportunities—or grandchildren…

Reuben Helmuth is plenty bitter. John King, his best friend—or so he thought—is engaged to the girl Reuben loved. Humiliated, Reuben flees from Ohio to his grandparents’ home on Huckleberry Hill, where he knows he’ll find comfort. He’s enjoying wallowing in his misery—until John’s sister, Fern, shows up. She won’t stop pestering Reuben about forgiveness—or trying to help him find love again. Yet Fern’s efforts only reawaken Reuben’s long-buried feelings—for her…

With her brother too ashamed to face Reuben, it’s fallen to Fern to help mend fences. But as she and the Helmuths do all they can—even organizing a knitting club event filled with eligible girls—it may take one more challenge to inspire Reuben to forget his heartache, recognize his own blunders, and embrace the true love that’s right in front of him…

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SERIES: The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill #7
GENRE: Inspirational Amish Romance
PUBLISHER: Zebra
RELEASE DATE: May 30, 2017
PAGES: 352

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“Was Fern his saving grace or a wonderful nuisance?”

I cannot explain how giddy I was when I found out that this book was on its way. If you’ve been here long, you know I adore Felty and Anna, the endearingly quirky and precious matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill. They are funny and unpredictable and just so darn cute. And on a mission to see all their grandchildren happily married.

In Return to Huckleberry Hill, Anna’s figurative stash of Cupid arrows are pointed at her grandson Reuben, who I have to say is kind of a spoiled brat lol. He’s cocky,  sure of his good looks, more than a little arrogant and clueless at times. But, God bless him, he loves Anna’s cooking. Anna, in case you don’t know, loves to experiment in the kitchen – usually not with good results. Blueberry Egg Hash. Oyster and Water Chestnut Salad. Spam Pinwheels. At one point, Fern marvels at Reuben’s ironclad tastebuds and I had been wondering the same thing since chapter three when he ponders that the “best thing about being Huckleberry Hill, besides his grandparents, was the food.”

Reuben has a lot to learn. As Felty so wisely tells him, “The measure of a man isn’t how popular he is with his friends, but how he treats those who have nothing to give him.” And once he learns this lesson – without giving any spoilers – he had me in tears!

Fortunately for Reuben, Fern is around. I love Fern! She’s compassionate and loves to tease, and she has a warrior’s heart. She also has loved Reuben since childhood.

“She had a very full basket of ‘shouldn’t haves’ but it didn’t change the truth that she loved Reuben Helmuth like crazy…”

Bottom Line: Return to Huckleberry Hill is charming and sweet and tender at all the right moments, while still never losing the endearing qualities that go hand-in-hand with anything Jennifer Beckstrand writes. If you love Amish fiction – and even if you don’t – you need to read the Huckleberry Hill series. I guarantee you’ll come to adore Felty and Anna as much as I do 🙂

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / Love it!

KissingBook Level: 2+/ Mostly sweet and mild but occasionally you may forget to breathe

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about the author

Jennifer Beckstrand is the award winning Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hillseries and The Honeybee Sisters series for Kensington Books. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth and the Honeybee sisters’ aendi Bitsy. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a passion for Jane Austen and Shakespeare. She and her husband have been married for thirty-two years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and soon-to-be six adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

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Anna Helmuth is starting a knitting club, but that’s not all she’s got up her sleeve.

My family. I have five sisters and no brothers. I think my mom made every dress in this photo, including her own.

In Return to Huckleberry Hill, Anna Helmuth and Fern King decide to start a knitting club in order to introduce Anna’s grandson Reuben to some girls from Bonduel, Wisconsin. Anna is a very good knitter, with years of practice making baby blankets, scarves, mittens, and potholders. One of Anna’s scarves actually saved someone’s life, and her potholders have helped her make many a match.

When I was a young teenager, I learned how to knit and crochet. My mom taught me how to sew and quilt, and I made several of my own dresses in high school. I never learned to love sewing, but it was an invaluable skill that I am so grateful to have. Now that I’m a little older, I love putting together simple quilts for baby gifts and making quilts for the local children’s hospital. There is nothing like a homemade gift to say, “I care about you.”

I have a friend who is a wonderful cook. Making a delicious, beautiful meal is how she tells her family she loves them. I don’t consider myself a great cook, but I still take pride in putting something nutritious and satisfying on the table for my family.

It seems to me that some of the “home arts” that our mothers and grandmothers practiced are dying out. Who knows how to tat anymore? Or embroider? Some of these arts have died because of expediency. Who doesn’t think today’s stocking choices are more comfortable and practical than knitted wool ones? Others have died out because so few people want to learn.

What about you? Do you still practice any of the home arts that your grandmother did? What do you want to pass on to the next generation?

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a $15 Amazon gift card to three lucky winners!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

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This giveaway is hosted by Celebrate Lit. Follow along with the tour for a list of stops!


Carrie

39 Responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Return to Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand”

  1. Lori Smanski

    From what i have learned from my mother and grandmother i have passed on to our son and daughter both. sewing, quilting, count cross stitch, knitting and crochet. today our son is 31 and our daughter is 29. our son sews and sells civil war and world war one reenactment clothes for men. he is quite the Taylor and has made a name for himself in the reenactment community’s. our daughter still quilts when she has time. when they learned about count cross stitch, our son would design a pattern and our daughter would do the actual cross stitching.

  2. Marilyn R

    Great review, Carrie. Love reading this book.
    I learned to sew, embroidery work, canning and freezing fruits and produce from my mother.

  3. Dianne Casey

    I like to knit, but I am still on a beginner’s level. I would like to learn how to crochet some day.

    • Carrie

      I found crocheting much easier than knitting!

    • Jennifer Beckstrand

      There are a few girls in Anna Helmuth’s knitting club who can’t knit either, but they are mostly in the club to meet Anna’s handsome grandson. 🙂

  4. Marilyn

    I love Amish books. They can educational,too. Thanks for the generous giveaway.
    Marilyn

  5. Yvette-Bookworlder

    According to my grandmother, you are either a knitter or a crocheter, and she crochets. I love to crochet but each time I decide to knit something it is a struggle and I have to relearn everything, so she might be right 😀

    • Jennifer Beckstrand

      I agree, Yvette. In Huckleberry Hearts, Anna decides to switch from knitting to crocheting, but the change doesn’t last. I think it would be hard to do both and keep the stitching straight.

  6. Janet Estridge

    My grandmother crocheted but I never got the hang of it. I enjoy doing cross-stitch but as my eyes get older, not so much now.

    • Carrie

      i love doing cross stitch too, when i have time!

    • Jennifer Beckstrand

      I used to cross-stitch a lot and really loved it. Then I had six kids and I kind of didn’t have any time. 🙂 Maybe I should get back to it. I still have a few unfinished projects.

  7. Winnie Thomas

    I used to sew and quilt a lot, but I don’t do much anymore. I crocheted for a while but haven’t done that for quite a few years. My mother used to can a lot of fruits and vegetables. I canned peaches and pears when I could get them for a good price. I seldom do canning now that my kids are all gone. I make jam still sometimes, especially if our strawberries are prolific.

    • Jennifer Beckstrand

      Up until two years ago we had a very prolific apricot tree in our backyard. I canned a lot of apricots that none of my kids would eat. We took the tree down after it nearly went over in a windstorm. I’ll miss that tree, but my kids won’t. 🙂

    • Carrie

      Mmmmm I love homemade strawberry jam. Just sayin 😉

  8. Dianna

    I’ve been wanting to read these books forever!!

    I didn’t learn any cool skills from my grandmother, other than my love of reading. As an adult, I’ve developed an interest in learning how to do things like canning, quilting, etc. but my grandmother is glad she doesn’t have to do those things anymore.

    • Jennifer Beckstrand

      I think canning is a good thing to know how to do. Some of my most treasured memories are canning peaches and jam with my mom. 🙂

  9. Susan Fletcher

    I can crochet, cook, and take care of plants. I’d love to pass on my love of teaching and reading to others I’ve encountered.

    • Jennifer Beckstrand

      Susan,
      I love plants but I can only manage to keep one kind alive in my house. I’m working on my green thumb though. I admire you teachers out there. It is such an under appreciated skill.

      • Carrie

        I have yet to meet a plant I can’t kill 🙂

    • Carrie

      Your books always make ME so happy. A fair trade off 😉

  10. Brenda White

    I unfortunately have not picked up any of my mothers wonderful habits of knitting, canning, even cooking.

  11. shirley

    My grandmother taught me to embroider and quilt. I have tried to pass these along.

  12. Sabrina Templin

    I knit and crochet a little. I am an uber beginner in these arts. 🙂