Benaiah Troyer has loved Susanna King for as long as he can remember, but when his parents died in an accident a year ago, he broke up with her—for her own good. After all, he was now the sole caregiver for his three younger sisters. What woman would want to put up with that? Still, against his better judgment, he can’t help leaving her a gift now and then, anonymously addressing her name in big block print, just to catch a smile. Roses one month, maple syrup candy another; and maybe this time, something special for Christmas.
Susanna has never gotten over losing Benaiah, but now the clock is ticking. Her father is selling his glass-blowing business, remarrying in January, and moving to Iowa with his bossy wife-to-be. Angry and frustrated, Susanna realizes she’s left with three options: one, go with Daed to his new home with a new mom; two, stay in Jamesport, Missouri, as an old maid; or, three, the best yet, flush out her mysterious secret admirer. But how could she be with anyone else when her heart is still with Benaiah?
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Amish Fiction
PUBLISHER: Whitaker House
RELEASE DATE: September 5, 2017
“Love gives the other person a choice.”
There are a few things I can count on whenever I pick up a book by Laura V. Hilton.
- Swoonworthy kisses
The Christmas Admirer delivers all that and more!
Besides the coziness of the snow and of the holiday season, there are moments of laughter and those swoonworthy kisses I mentioned. (Still fanning over here) I loved Susanna’s personality and knew she and I would be friends if such jumping between real life and fiction worlds were possible. Ben is definitely hero-material, a dashing romantic with a heart for God, his family, and Susanna. And a dang good kisser, if the heat level of those interludes is any indication 😉
I didn’t care for Susanna’s father – or her impending stepmother. Irene was supposed to be obnoxious, I’m sure, but I wanted so much more from Susanna’s father. That’s probably the Daddy’s girl in me talking, and I know I’m blessed … but my heart ached for Susanna. And my purse-whomping book-filled tote was getting a little twitchy. <insert innocent smile> lol
Bottom Line: Susanna and Benaiah’s story is fun, romantic, and sweet – and it’s also wrapped in a tender message of grace and courage. Drawing on the portion of Scripture from where Benaiah’s name was gleaned, the author reminds us that facing the lions in our own lives may not look exactly like we think it must. God is the artist; it is our job to be moldable as He shapes our hearts into something more beautiful than we could have imagined. Plus, I loved the admirer gift themes – so creative! A great choice for your holiday gift (or reading) lists!
(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!
KissingBook Level: 4 / Read from the safety of a nearby fainting couch!
Amish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut novel, Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includes Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised of Healing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Amish of Jamesport includes The Snow Globe, The Postcard and The Birdhouse. In spring 2016 she released The Amish Firefighter with the setting in Jamesport, MO, the same as for The Amish Wanderer.
Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.
Other Books by Laura V. Hilton
Glass Blowing and The Christmas Admirer
Right before my youngest son joined the Coast Guard we went on a short mini-vacation to Springfield, Missouri, actually going farther north almost to Kansas City to see another Amish community near there in Osceola. There is a cheese factory there and my son wanted to try some of their cheeses – such as a ghost pepper cheese. Too spicy for me.
But upon the return to Springfield, Steve read about a glass blowers shop in the downtown area. We found the address and went to visit it. It is owned by an older gentleman and his son. They had a display area set up where people could see their wares and buy them and then a work area where the son mostly worked, and talked about how the fire needed to be so hot, and showed us how he worked and made things. As we watched, he made a lovely flower, a lily, in different colors of glass, green, white, pinks.
It was fascinating.
And I got to thinking what if…
So I did some more research. Asked questions. Probably drove them nuts. But when Whitaker House indicated they’d be interested in a Christmas novel, I proposed one about a glass blower.
The story is set in Jamesport, Missouri, and while completely stand alone, it does have some continuing characters from other books I’ve written set in Jamesport. If you are interested, the books set there are:
Amish Books set in Jamesport, Missouri:
The Snow Globe
The Amish Firefighter
The Amish Wanderer
The Kissing Bridge (part of Springs of Love collection)
The Christmas Admirer
Gingerbread Wishes (part of A Plain Thanksgiving collection–November 2018)
Love by the Numbers (February 2018)
I haven’t read any books about an Amish glass blower, but that’s not to say they aren’t out there. I haven’t read all the Amish books available. Jamesport is an area that is more tourist-oriented than the books set in Seymour / Webster County Missouri. They give buggy tours, have bed and breakfasts, open their homes for visitors to eat supper with them, and have businesses.
All Amish districts are different and the rules vary depending on the bishop and preachers. Some are more liberal and some more conservative. Some keep themselves distant and don’t welcome attention from non-Amish and some embrace it. While Jamesport is not as touristy as some districts in Lancaster Pennsylvania or in Ohio, it is much more so than others.
Susanna’s Cranberry Salad
- 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
- 1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
- 2 cups miniature marshmallows
- 1 medium apple, chopped
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- In a large bowl, mix the first six ingredients until blended. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
- In a large bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Just before serving, fold cream and walnuts into cranberry mixture.Makes 16 servings.
Susanna’s Cranberry Sauce
For on top of turkey sandwiches as Becca requested
- 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water or orange juice
In colander, rinse cranberries. In sauce pan, add water or orange juice and sugar, boil until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook about 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries had burst. Let cool.
Susanna’s “Love Potion” Gingerbread
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 T baking powder
- 1 T ground ginger
- 1 t ground nutmeg
- 1 t ground cloves
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- 1 cup shortening, melted slightly
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ c water
- 1 egg
- 1 t vanilla
Shift together flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Set aside.
In mixing bowl, mix shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until they are absorbed. Divide dough into three pieces, pat down until about 1 ½ inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for three hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness. Cut in desired shapes. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes in preheated oven. Cool on wire racks. When cool, decorate as desired.
In honor of her tour, Laura is giving away
Grand Prize Package: The Christmas Admirer, “Unto Us a Child is Born” painting on decorative serving plate by Donna White, The Hearthside Collection, Inc., and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book (not in photo).
1st Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and The Very First Christmas by Juliet David with interactive illustrations by Pauline Siewert (children’s book).
2nd Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and “The Woman Who Honors The Lord Shall Be Praised” myrrh-scented candle from abba Jerusalem!
This giveaway is hosted by Celebrate Lit, not RimSP
Follow along with the tour for more chances to win!