SERIES: The Amish of Mackinac County #1
GENRE: Inspirational Amish Fiction
PUBLISHER: Whitaker House
RELEASE DATE: July 10, 2018
Bridget Behr and her family migrate from the bustling Amish community where she grew up in Ohio to the mostly unpopulated Upper Peninsula of Michigan after a stalker breaks into their home. While her father and brother try to find work in the area, the family is forced to reside in a borrowed RV until the house and barn are rebuilt. While Bridget is hoping for a fresh start, she’s afraid to trust anyone—even Gabriel, the overly-friendly Amish man who lives nearby. Bridget thinks he’s a flirt who serial dates and doesn’t even remember the girls’ names.
Due to not enough construction work in his Florida community to keep him out of trouble, Gabriel Lapp has been sent to Michigan to work. His father is desperate for his son to settle down. When the family walks into Gabe’s home in the middle of a thunderstorm and he discovers their circumstances, he offers to help with construction. For Gabe, the beautiful girl he teasingly calls “the recluse” once he discovers she doesn’t attend youth events, confuses him like none other.
As Gabriel and Bridget grow closer, they realize there is more to a person than meets the eye. Just as Bridget is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding love, tragedy strikes. Now Bridget and her family must decide if they should move to another Amish community, or dare to fight for the future they’d hoped for in Mackinac County.
Laura V. Hilton doesn’t write about Amish utopias. Her characters are flawed, and they struggle with living rightly just like we do. They make mistakes. They sin. They say things they shouldn’t. They react in anger. They get caught up in passion. They also like to joke, grin, laugh, eat, and KISS.
In Firestorm, we are treated to more delightfully relatable characters, and despite the frigid Michigan winter the temps are heating up from some mighty fine kisses too. Gabe Lapp is a flirt, plain and simple, with mischievous twinkling eyes that wink audaciously at Bridget to rile her up. He’s not a ‘typical’ Amish hero – as evidenced by the fact that when we (and Bridget’s family) first meet him he’s in psychedelic lime green pajama pants. Bless him, he can’t quite seem to do anything right – at least that’s how he perceives himself. Yet, tucked behind a somewhat misguided-at-times facade beats a true heart that longs to be loved for who he is, mistakes and all.
Bridget is a young woman who has survived one harrowing situation already before we meet her. Now she and her family are thrust into a new life, one her father may not have prepared for as well as he thought he had. Stuck in an RV that sleeps 6 if you pile on each other … with a family of 7 … in the middle of an Upper Peninsula winter with no home yet to speak of. I would not have handled the same situation with nearly as much grace as Bridget does. When you also factor in her uncertainty of the solidity of Gabe’s so-called feelings for her, she has a lot of conflicting emotions to juggle as the story progresses. Hilton weaves this in naturally, and Bridget’s thought processes are easy to identify with.
The other characters in Firestorm are just as intriguing, and I’m really excited to see where Hilton will take some of them in future books. Even Agnes, I must admit, even though she made my whomping purse twitchy a time or two. I loved the bishop! He seems like a great guy with much wisdom – even if some of it made me laugh out loud. Suffice it to say I will never look at a grapefruit quite the same way again. 😛
Bottom Line: Firestorm kicks off a brand new series – in a brand new setting – for Laura Hilton, and her signature style is spot on, once again! Sizzling romantic chemistry and some pretty intense kisses add another of Hilton’s books to my KissingBooks 1o1 syllabus for future lessons here on the blog, too. Her characters are engaging and honest, with humor and heart and faith all combined to give them dimension and relatability. I really like this author’s writing style and I’m looking forward to more in this series!
(I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book which I bought for my own collection. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4.5 stars / Love it!
KissingBook Level: 4.5 / Keep those fans and fainting couches handy!
Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with over twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write.
Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.
When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.
Other Books by Laura V. Hilton
I read a series of books a year or so ago by another Amish author who had set her books in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. As a Michigan native, I was curious, and I researched, but found nothing about Upper Peninsula Amish except a notation that one had tried and failed. So I contacted the author. She told me that she’d never been there, and her research had all been hearsay, so with that lack of firsthand knowledge and no trip to the Upper Peninsula planned, no trip to see for myself would be possible. At least at that time.
Then God intervened. My son who is in the United States Coast Guard was stationed in the Upper Peninsula this past summer (2017.) He saw the Amish driving around in their buggies. And he felt like a stalker as he followed one to see where he went and drove through the area. He even sent pictures. (Shhhh.)
Yes, there are Amish in the Upper Peninsula – at least at the time this book was written.
Okay, as a Michigan native, I used some terms that may not be familiar to non-Michiganders. A Yooper is someone who lives in the Upper Peninsula. A Troll is someone from the Lower Peninsula. A pastie is kind of like a Hot Pocket, except it’s a meat pie made with root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and rutabagas. They are so good. And the straits are the area of the Great Lakes connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
As for the wildfire, the earliest wildfire I could find any documentation on in the Upper Peninsula was in April. It is generally a snowy area — trust me. I lived near the Muskegon area and saw snow drifts in May. We sometimes had over six feet of snow on the ground at one time. So, to get the wildfire when I wanted/needed the wildfire I used artistic license. Yes, fires really happened in Michigan’s history. Just not in the month mentioned in the book.
I am attaching a meme about Michigan seasons. We’ll call the fire set in “fool’s spring.” My son got married during the “third winter” this year. April 21 and there’s snow on the ground. He and his beautiful bride got married at a water fall (Tahquomenon Falls) very near where the story is set.
Thanks for reading Firestorm!!
To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away
Grand prize: Firefighter Puppet 9 (Melissa & Doug), Copies of Amish Firefighter and Firestorm by Laura Hilton.
First place prize of “I Love You to the Cross & Back” Mug (Gardenfire) & Firestorm by Laura Hilton!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!
This giveaway is hosted by Celebrate Lit, not RimSP
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