today’s book: An Unexpected Amish Christmas
Happy New Year’s Eve, and welcome to the last post in our annual blog series spotlighting (over 60 this year) new and recently-released Christmas reads! I have to take a minute to send HUGE THANKS to all of the authors who participated this year, for their posts & excerpts & giveaways – and for the way each one of them extended me abundant grace & compassion when I had to pause the series for two weeks following the death of my father. I wanted to finish the remaining posts because I love this series so much each year, but I never felt pressured to do so. For that I am immensely grateful. These authors are THE BEST, y’all. Not just as writers, but as people and as friends.
The final book in our Christmas Reads posts involves an unexpected romance between two hurting pen pals, and author Rachel J. Good shares an excerpt!
AN UNEXPECTED AMISH CHRISTMAS by Rachel J. Good
SERIES: Surprised by Love #3
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary / Amish Romance
RELEASE DATE: October 26, 2021
A crackling fire, the promise of snow, the delicious smell of fresh-baked cookies and fallen pine needles . . . when Christmas is coming, every heart lifts in song. In this moving Amish romance series by Rachel J. Good, a bountiful farmer’s market is the source of all kinds of goodies—especially love . . .
Recovering from a horse and buggy accident that took the lives of his family, Jacob Zook is struggling to regain both his spirit and his body. While his legs remain stubbornly opposed to moving, he exercises his hands by writing, and finds the perfect outlet for his grief in inspirational letters to the Amish newspaper. When Keturah Esch, a woman who works at the Green Valley Farmer’s Market, responds with gratitude, Jacob has no idea that his hardship is about to become a blessing . . .
Dealing with her own loss, and responsible for her three siblings, Keturah’s new correspondence with the anonymous letter writer becomes a source of joy. And when a shy young man confined to a wheelchair begins to visit the market, Keturah is happy to make his acquaintance—never knowing that Jacob is afraid to reveal himself as her pen pal. After all, what can he offer her, when he can’t even walk? Can faith bring two lonely people together in perfect union? As Christmas approaches, Jacob and Keturah get a chance to make their gifts to each other worthy of the blessing of love . . .
“[A] story about finding hope in the aftermath of tragedy… the message of finding God’s purpose within for those who feel wounded at every turn comes through clearly. Good’s light touch keeps the story uplifting, and the author has a sure hand in depicting a young but mature couple interacting positively with the Englisch world. This is Good’s best work yet.” – Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW
Ten minutes ago, Jeremiah had wheeled himself into the line that snaked around the Esch’s stand and down the aisle, although he was more interested in Keturah than the pretzels they sold. The four girls with strawberry-blonde hair looked enough alike he could tell they were sisters. He’d picked out Keturah as the oldest one immediately. Dressed in black, which emphasized her lovely porcelain complexion, she seemed to be rushing everywhere at once.
The closer he got, though, the more he sensed the heaviness of her sorrow. Despite the Christmas music blasting around her, her whirlwind activity, and her cheery greetings to each customer, he read the sadness in her eyes. But the set of her jaw revealed a determination to hold herself together.
After he gave his order and her cheeks reddened when she realized they were all out of plain, Jeremiah regretted not choosing one of the other pretzels from the warmer instead of embarrassing her. But having to wait gave him a chance to observe all four girls as they worked.
While he sat watching, he’d spotted the impending accident. He’d cried out, but not in time to stop the collision of the broom and the tray that sent pretzels cascading everywhere. That mishap, along with running out of pretzels, had added to Keturah’s frantic motion. She rushed back to help her little sister dip the pretzels in butter, sprinkle salt, or add cinnamon sugar.
The peaceful notes of “Silent Night” drifted around them. Jeremiah prayed God would touch Keturah with the calm and beauty of the song.
When she headed back to the counter, she spotted him and clapped a hand over her mouth. Her cheeks flushed an attractive shade of pink. “Ach, I forgot to keep a plain pretzel out for you.”
“I have nowhere to go.” Now his face flamed. “I mean we won’t be leaving yet, so I can sit here until another batch is ready. I really don’t mind.” That was true. He’d been engrossed in watching her work.
“Neh, I can’t ask you to do that.”
“You didn’t ask me. I offered. It’s no trouble at all.” What could he say to ease her mind? “I enjoy watching how you make pretzels.”
Her face turned a deeper shade of red—almost the color of cranberries. “I’m sure we gave you quite a comedy show. We aren’t normally this disorganized.”
“I understand, and I’m sorry for your loss.”
Her startled eyes met his, and he drowned in their velvety green depths. But they also questioned how a stranger knew about her parents. By speaking the words weighing heavily on his heart, he’d given himself away.
To cover up how much he knew, he motioned to her black dress, her younger sisters’ gray ones. “You’re in mourning.”
“Jah, we lost both our parents a few weeks ago.”
“You’re doing quite well under the circumstances. In addition to dealing with sadness, you have to fill in for your missing parents.”
Teardrops trembled on the tips of her lashes as she nodded, making him want to sweep her into his arms. He scolded himself. Whatever had caused that odd thought to flit through his mind?
“Mamm kept things running smoothly,” she said in a broken voice. “She kept track of all the details. I don’t have her skills.”
“But how can you do her job when you’re so busy with customers?” He gestured toward the line, and it dawned on him that he’d been holding her up. “Can I help with anything?”
The words popped out of his mouth before he realized his question sounded foolish. He’d always been the first to help neighbors and friends, but that had been before the accident.
Keturah stared at him, surprise written all over her face. Her eyes strayed to his wheelchair. “I, um, don’t think so. Danke for offering.”
The pain in her eyes lessened a little, but Jeremiah’s face heated again as she scrutinized him. Why had he called attention to himself? He squirmed. No doubt she wondered what he could possibly do.
At that moment, a tiny spark inside him burst into flames. He had to get out of this wheelchair and walk again. He had to regain the use of his fingers. Whatever it took, he’d never stop working until he accomplished that. He wanted to reclaim his freedom, his ability to be useful to others.
Please, Lord, give me the strength to reach these goals.
A still, small voice spoke to his heart. I have put you here, and this is where I want you. You don’t need to be able to walk to assist others.
More than anything, Jeremiah wanted to help Keturah. But how?
Rachel J. Good, An Unexpected Amish Christmas
© 2021. Used by permission.
Rachel J. Good is offering a signed, print copy of An Unexpected Amish Christmas to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read An Unexpected Amish Christmas by Rachel J. Good?