Everything is going well for Grace: a loving family, a waitress job, and a wedding on the way. But when Gary Walker comes to her Amish community, Grace's secret threatens to destroy everything she holds dear. Grace is ashamed of her running-around years (rumschpringe), and has kept it hush-hush since returning to join the Amish church.
Gary shows up as a freelance photographer and writer, but he is capable of much more. Not only does he know some of Grace's secret, he is part of it. As a contrast to Gary's evil ways, fiance' Cleon Schrock is filled with all things good. Does Grace have the strength to reveal her secret?
Compounding the situation are the unusual pranks gone too far in hurting the Hostettler family. Is Gary to blame, or is someone upset with Grace's father? Why is it easier to turn the other cheek for strangers than for your own kin?
I love stories from an Amish setting ... something about them makes me long for a simpler time (no cell phones!) and a chance to slow down and enjoy the seasons of life. This book is another glimpse into that lifestyle.
Wanda E. Brunstetter is a nationally recognized expert on the Amish community. Last autumn her Amish-themed book sales surpassed the million mark, bringing her total of books sold to 1.6 million. She enjoys an uncommon kinship with the Amish community. Letters from all over the country arrive from her Amish readers, and she's been told her books are passed "from buggy to buggy." Wanda's books have received various honors including the 2006 Retailers Choice Award and Christian Book Distributor's Book of the Week, as well as topping the charts of the Christian Booksellers Association and CDA.
Here she answers a few questions for us!
Where did you birth the idea for A Sister's Secret? When? How did it come about?
Sometime ago, I read about some Amish people in Pennsylvania who had suffered a senseless attack, and it made me wonder how they dealt with it, and how it must have made them feel to be unjustly attacked. I decided to use that as a focus for this series and show my readers what true forgiveness is all about.
If your book was turned into a movie, who would play the main characters?
I would pray that whoever was chosen to play the main character would be a person of integrity. Also, it should be someone who respects the Amish way of life.
Which character do you most relate to, and why?
I think there are elements of all my characters that I can relate to on some level. Just like in life, it's not all that difficult to put yourself in someone else's shoes and relate to what they are going through.
What sort of research was involved in writing A Sister's Secret?
I visited Holmes County, Ohio several times before the idea came to me to set a series of books there. I also have spent many hours with Amish friends who live in that area, which helped me understand them better, but also gave me a good understanding of the lay of the land.
Tell us a little more about the series of books that starts with A Sister's Secret. Why did you choose this county for the setting of this series?
I chose Holmes County because my husband and I have visited there several times and we've come to appreciate the beauty of the area, as well as come to know and love many wonderful Amish and English people who live there. I wanted to tell a story of love and forgiveness, and show the reader that despite anything in our past, God forgives and can use us to His glory.
What takeaway points do you hope the reader pulls from A Sister's Secret?
Secrets from the past can sometimes be painful when the truth is revealed. Harboring resentment toward someone who has wronged you can only bring anguish. True forgiveness brings peace to the soul.
How do you deal with your other obligations (family, church, etc.) when it's crunch time near deadlines?
I sometimes have to let everything but my writing go, and with the help of my husband, I'm able to do that whenever necessary.
What's your favorite writer's block trick?
I take a shower. Ideas always seem to flow well under running water.
What book are you reading now?
I'm reading Freedom of the Soul by Tracey Bateman. It's Book 2 in the Penbrook series, and I highly recommend it.
What's your favorite worship song, and why?
"They that Wait Upon the Lord," because I know from past experience that it's sometimes necessary to wait for God's answers, and that His timing is always best.
What do you crave (beverage or food) when you have writer's stress?
A big bowl of fresh strawberries drenched with maple-flavored yogurt.
Can you share something with our readers about what God has been teaching you lately?
After spending time with some of our Amish friends recently, I was reminded of the importance of taking time out every day to enjoy all the beauty God has made for us, and to keep my focus on God and my precious family, not the "things" of the world.
Why do you think readers have an interest in the Amish/Mennonite way of life?
In this hectic world we live in, our souls cry out for simplicity. I believe many people are searching for ways to simplify their lives and put their focus on the important things in life, not on material things. Reading about the Amish and Mennonites, who don't put an emphasis on worldly things, helps others to be able to do that, too.
What does the Amish community think about your writings?
The Amish I know personally have told me that they enjoy reading my novels. I've had many Amish people who attended my book signings tell me that they appreciate the way I portray them.
Hope you all enjoyed a peek at this new book! Leave a comment if you are interested in winning a copy of this book!