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About the Book
Book: The Newcomer
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Historical; Amish
Release Date: January 31
In 1737, Anna Konig and her fellow church members stagger off a small wooden ship after ten weeks at sea, eager to start a new life in the vibrant but raw Pennsylvania frontier. On the docks of Port Philadelphia waits bishop Jacob Bauer, founder of the settlement and father to ship carpenter Bairn. It’s a time of new beginnings for the reunited Bauer family, and for Anna and Bairn’s shipboard romance to blossom.
But this perfect moment cannot last. As Bairn grasps the reality of what it means to be Amish in the New World–isolated, rigid with expectations, under the thumb of his domineering father–his enthusiasm evaporates. When a sea captain offers the chance to cross the ocean one more time, Bairn grabs it. Just one more crossing, he promises Anna. But will she wait for him?
When Henrik Newman joins the church just as it makes its way to the frontier, Anna is torn. He seems to be everything Bairn is not–bold, devoted, and delighted to vie for her heart. And the most dramatic difference? He is here; Bairn is not.
Far from the frontier, an unexpected turn of events weaves together the lives of Bairn, Anna, and Henrik. When a secret is revealed, which true love will emerge?
I have been reading Amish fiction for years, but most of the books I have read are set in present time. I was so excited that Suzanne Woods Fisher took on the difficult task of writing historical Amish fiction. I have often wondered how the Amish got their start in America, and while I realize this is purely fiction, I imagine there is some truth to the events in the story. Having read Suzanne’s books in the past and always enjoyed them, I assumed this would be just as good. It was all that and more!
In this second book of the Amish Beginnings series, the storyline picks up where the first book left off. Bairn’s storyline is what caught my attention from the start. This “long lost son hath returned to his family” storyline was so different than anything I ever read or thought of. I have read about outsiders becoming Amish, or even Amish going astray and coming back, but this was completely different. Suzanne did an excellent job of portraying Bairn’s internal battle – the one missing his old life versus the one wanting to return to his family. I found myself emotionally tied to him. I was frustrated when he made the wrong decisions, proud when he tried to do the right thing, and upset when he got hurt. It was exciting to see his growth as the book went on.
I was also fascinated by the journey of this new Amish community took to get to their new land. Although there was an underlying love story here, the focus was more on the journey as I felt it should be. Suzanne’s hours of research showed her dedication to the facts, even to the smallest detail. The glossary of historical terms provided in the front was a tool I found myself flipping back to often. It is the extra things such as this that make me appreciate an author and their story that much more.
If you are a historical or Amish fiction fan, I encourage you to read this series. Suzanne’s writing will grab your attention and hold it throughout the entire book. Having perspectives of male, female, young and old only add to the depth this story already has. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
This review first appeared on www.fiction411.com.
About the Author
Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.
Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher
Pennsylvania of 1737, the setting for The Newcomer, is like a foreign country. Parts of it might seem familiar—the same hills and creeks and blue sky, but we’d hardly recognize the settlers. People like Anna, or Bairn, or the mysterious Newcomer. We wouldn’t be able to understand their language, their customs and traditions. Their world was that different from our modern one.
The first group of Amish immigrants (first written about in Anna’s Crossing and followed up in The Newcomer) settled northwest of Philadelphia, then a vast wilderness, and relied on each other for safety, security, building projects, and church. In nearby Germantown, settlers were tradesmen, so they clustered houses together in small knots. The Amish farmers took out land warrants for sizeable properties and lived considerable distances from each other.
In The Newcomer, Anna cooked food in a cauldron over a large hearth. One-pot meals can trace their beginnings to open-hearth cooking when ingredients for a meal went into a large kettle suspended over the fire. Traditional dishes—ham and beans, pork and sauerkraut—used sturdy, available, and simple ingredients that improved with long, slow cooking. The dishes could be easily expanded when the need arose to set a few more places at the table. And it did, often. Large families and unannounced company inspired Amish cooks to find ways to “stretch the stew.”
Noodles (including dumplings and rivvels) could be tossed into a simmering broth to make a meal stretch. Most farms had a flock of chickens, so eggs were easily at hand. Today, homemade noodles are still a favorite dish.
Another “stew stretcher” was cornmeal mush, originally eaten as a bread substitute. Early German settlers who made their home in eastern Pennsylvania roasted the yellow field corn in a bake oven before it was shelled and ground at the mill. The roasting process gave a nutty rich flavor to the cornmeal. Mush is still part of the diet the Old Order Amish—cooked and fried, baked, added into scrapple, smothered in ketchup. Dress it up and you’ve got polenta.
Now here’s one thing we do have in common with 1737 Pennsylvania immigrants…a love of good food and a shortage of time! Here’s one of my favorite one-pot recipes—probably not the kind of stew Anna might have made for ship carpenter Bairn or the mysterious Newcomer (ah, which man one stole her heart?)…but definitely delicious. Enjoy!
Here’s one of my favorite “stew stretchers.” You can expand it even more by serving over rice.
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 c. water
1 lb. dry lentils
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt (season to your taste)
½ tsp. pepper
2 c. salsa (your favorite variety)
29 oz. canned tomatoes, crushed
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To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!https://promosimple.com/ps/b0d1