The Amish Woman And Her Last Hope (PAPERBACK)
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Amish Women of Pleasant Valley Book 1
She'd given up on love...
But had love given up on her?
Alone in life, Karen was pleasantly surprised when she met the Amish bishop's nephew, a single man her age. At twenty-eight, Karen had given up on finding a suitable husband. Seeing her best friend's unhappy marriage made her all the more cautious.
When a sudden windfall came Karen's way, Karen and Jason were thrust together on a road trip, but they weren't alone. While Jason holds onto his secrets, Karen wonders if he is too good to be true.
Could he be the one, or was Karen going to become like her friend and make the biggest mistake of her life?
You will love this sweet easy-reading Amish romance about love, hope, and trust in God.
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Karen Glick finished tying her apron strings around her back as she hurried to get to her Saturday job at the Amish bishop’s household. Their house was a little less than a mile away from Karen’s home; not far enough to hitch and unhitch the buggy except in the wintertime. She helped out every Saturday, and Hannah, the bishop's wife, needed her more than ever seeing she was soon to give birth to their thirteenth child.
The children were all boys except for the second oldest, Rebecca, who was fourteen. Karen had a sneaking suspicion the bishop and his wife were hoping for another girl; they’d never say so.
Saturday, weather permitting, was nominated the second laundry-day of the week for the Shroder household. It was unbelievable how the children could get through so much clothing, but everything was multiplied by twelve and then there were the two adults.
As Karen approached the house, she saw the children kicking a ball around in one of the paddocks. That was unusual for so early in the morning. In the summer months, the children often played in the fields in the afternoon after they had finished their chores.
There was a horse and buggy parked outside the house, which wasn't unusual. The bishop had many daily visitors and greeted them in the front room of the house where it was quiet, away from the children.
She’d given up knocking a long time ago. Nowadays she walked in because she was rarely ever heard if she knocked, especially at the back door.
* * *
As Jason listened to the bishop, his uncle on his father's side, he looked out the window and saw a slender young woman walking briskly toward the house. He couldn't help but admire the look of determination on her attractive face, but why that faraway look in her eyes? He knew that look. This young woman carried a burden just as he did.
The bishop stopped talking and followed his gaze. “That's our Karen. She helps Hannah on Saturdays.”
Bishop Elmer Shroder chuckled and stroked his silver beard. “She’s like our adopted dochder, and it’s no secret that she was adopted and her adoptive parents are now with Gott. Hannah and I are very fond of her. She helps out here at the haus every Saturday. If we’d had more girls we’d have no need of outside help. The boys do their fair share, though. They don’t escape household chores because of the lack of women. The work has to get done and it can’t all fall onto Rebecca and Hannah.”
“Married?” he asked of the young woman he’d seen.
The bishop looked over the top of his thin-rimmed round glasses. “Nee, she's not.” He pointed his finger at Jason. “And come to think of it, she just might suit you. Hannah tries to find her a husband all the time.”
That made her sound less attractive, as though she’d been passed over many a time. “Why has she never married? Is there something wrong with her?”
The bishop was silent for a while, appearing taken aback by the brutal question. “I can ask the same of you.”
Jason shrugged his shoulders realizing the bishop was right. He, too, was single, and could be looked upon in the same unflattering light. “There's been no one suitable for me … apparently.” He had thought he’d found someone until the relationship had come crashing down around him like an old barn during a storm. There was a woman for him out there waiting somewhere—there had to be.
“Don't you think it's the same for her?”
“What was that?” Jason had been lost in his own thoughts.
“You’ve found no one you like enough to marry; don’t you think it’s the same for her?”
“Maybe. Unless there's something you're not telling me?” He stared at the bishop to see if he was holding anything back. What if he was, because he was fonder of Karen than he was his own nephew? When the bishop offered no further information, Jason had to probe further. “Does she have any vices?”
The bishop laughed. “We’re not talking about a horse here. As far as I know she doesn’t kick or bite.”
Jason smiled and then looked out the window hoping to catch another glimpse, but the woman had gone around the corner. “She seems upset about something.”
“There’s nothing wrong with her. She’s had a few worries. I can assure you, you couldn’t do better than to find a woman such as Karen.”
“That's good enough for me.” Maybe there was hope for him after all.
The bishop leaned forward. “Perhaps we can invite you to dinner on Monday night?”
“You mean Karen will be at dinner too?”
A big smile broke out on the bishop’s face. “We’ll invite her and see how you both get along.”
He hadn’t intended to find a woman while he was here. His sole intention in coming to Pleasant Valley was to sort himself out, and figure out what to do with the bakery. “Denke. I'd like that very much.”
“How long can you stay?”
“I'm only intending to be here for a week.”
“That's not long if you’re trying to find a fraa.”
Jason laughed. “Onkel Elmer, I told you I was here looking for work ideas.” That was kind of true.
“Your vadder told me the bakery’s doing well. How come you’d want to change your vocation?”
He didn’t want to bore his uncle with the whole sorry tale. “I’m exploring my options.”
Uncle Elmer stared at him blankly. It was a look Jason had seen on his father’s face many a time. In their day, they were raised working hard in the fields and didn’t have a choice. The older generation never understood how the younger men of today wanted to find different ways of making money and find job satisfaction along the way.
Jason smiled and added, “If things go well, I might be able to stretch my stay a little longer.” He then stood. “I should go. Denke, Onkel, for the loan of the buggy for the week. Do you want anything while I'm in town?”
“I don't, but you could ask Hannah. Women are always needing something from the store. Or, they always think they do.”
“I'll do that.”
* * *
Karen found Hannah in the kitchen washing a pile of dishes stacked halfway to the ceiling. “Morning, Hannah. Do you want me to finish up in here?”
Hannah turned around, her pregnant tummy just missing the kitchen cabinets. “Nee, I'll finish these. Good morning to you. Do you mind filling and starting the washing machine?”
“Sure. I mean, I don't mind, and I'll get started on it. You have a visitor?”
She looked at Karen, a peculiar smile on her face. “A young man from out of town.”
“When you get the first load going, I might take you to meet him.”
“Okay.” Karen was always interested in meeting the men who passed through their community. In the past, she’d had crushes on men, but nothing had ever worked out. There was certainly no one in her own community who suited her.
There were plenty of young men but, already being twenty-eight, the single men were way too young for her. The couples usually paired up before they were twenty, leaving Karen with little prospect of a suitable match. Karen had already half-resigned herself to the fact she'd never marry but, she figured, there was always hope.
* * *
After Jason finished talking to his Onkel Elmer, he headed to the kitchen to find Hannah. She was nowhere about, but he heard sounds in the adjacent room. “Hannah?” He stuck his head around the door. It was the young woman he'd seen earlier, and he’d startled her. “Oh, I’m sorry.” She’d been placing clothes into the gas-powered washing machine.
She straightened up and smoothed down her dress, barely looking him in the eye. She was prettier up close and although she wasn’t a raving beauty something attracted him to her. She was just the right height to rest his arm comfortably around her shoulders.
“You gave me quite a fright,” she finally said, making him realize he’d been standing there staring at her for a little too long.
“I'm sorry,” he repeated. He stretched out his hand. “I'm Jason Shroder.”