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Her Christmas Pen Pal: An Amish Second Christmas Novella

Her Christmas Pen Pal: An Amish Second Christmas Novella

Автор Ruth Reid

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Her Christmas Pen Pal: An Amish Second Christmas Novella

Автор Ruth Reid

4.5/5 (11 оценки)
157 страниц
2 часа
21 окт. 2014 г.


Joy was expecting a wedding proposal from Henry; what she got instead was news of another woman. But when her heartfelt letter to a cousin ends up in the hands of a young cabinetmaker, an unexpected correspondence between two strangers gets interesting fast.

21 окт. 2014 г.

Об авторе

Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA bestselling author of the Heaven on Earth, the Amish Wonders, and the Amish Mercies series. She’s a full-time pharmacist who lives in Florida with her husband and three children. When attending Ferris State University School of Pharmacy in Big Rapids, Michigan, she lived on the outskirts of an Amish community and had several occasions to visit the Amish farms. Her interest grew into love as she saw the beauty in living a simple life. Visit Ruth online at RuthReid.com; Facebook: Author-Ruth-Reid; Twitter: @AuthorRuthReid.

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Her Christmas Pen Pal - Ruth Reid


Joy Stolzfus tossed the basin of dirty water from the foot-washing service over the porch banister. The tradition of humbling herself before God and the members of her district during the foot washing was good for the soul, but Joy couldn’t think of anything but the loss of her parents in last year’s fire.

Meredith came up beside her and laid her hand on Joy’s shoulder. Are you doing all right?

Joy forced a smile. The fire was a year ago today. It doesn’t seem possible.

I know.

"I still think mei parents must have left the oil lamp burning for me. If Henry hadn’t been late driving me home . . ." Joy touched her throat. Dry with a lump the size of a bar of lye soap.

No one knows what caused the fire.

The bishop had tried to reassure her of that too. But the memory of flames shooting out the window where the lamp table sat led her to believe otherwise. Maybe the cat had knocked the lamp over as Joy’s sisters thought. Still, her parents couldn’t be saved. A section of the roof caved just as more help arrived.

The screen door snapped and several other women brought their basins outside to empty. The women chatted about the upcoming annual quilting bee, which served to jump-start Sugarcreek’s fall tourism sales. Joy’s thoughts drifted back to her mother who had looked forward to the all-day frolic every year.

Meredith took Joy by the arm. Let’s go to the kitchen and get a glass of water.

Her friend always seemed to know exactly what she needed. Entering the house, Joy scanned the sitting room where Henry had been standing, but didn’t find him. He must’ve gone out the back door with the other unmarried men. She followed Meredith into the kitchen.

Are Lois and Sarah holding up all right? Meredith removed a glass from the cabinet.

"We had a gut cry earlier today and we spent some time reminiscing about Mamm and Daed. I suppose it’s gut for the soul."

Meredith handed Joy the glass of water. I think you should focus on Christmas. Isn’t October when you start planning what you’re going to serve for the Second Christmas sleigh ride?

Joy nodded as she raised the glass to her mouth. The long drink brought a cooling relief to her sore throat. Danki, she said. Then added, For everything, Meredith.

Her friend reached out and patted her arm. Your parents would be proud of how you’ve taken over the bakery. But I don’t think they would want you to stuff yourself in a hole and become a recluse.

I haven’t done that. Joy tapped her thumb against her chest. "And I’m nett a recluse. Maybe a workaholic, but that isn’t all mei fault. Sarah isn’t interested in the bakery, and Lois isn’t able to spend time in town with a new boppli. Besides, I do get out of the kitchen. I have to wait on customers at the bakery, don’t I?"

Meredith smiled. There’s the spunk I’ve missed all week.

She had spent a lot of time alone this week, praying and preparing for the fall feast and communion service.

"Well, nau that your mood has lifted, I have some news to share."

Oh? Joy expected with the way Meredith was smiling that she was about to share engagement news. Her friend and Walter had courted almost as long as she and Henry. Only, she and Henry hadn’t spent much time together since she started going into the bakery at four a.m. to prepare the daily specials. Lately it seemed whenever Henry would stop at the house to sit on the porch swing with her, she either had already gone to bed or would fall asleep sitting on the swing with him.

Your Henry must be ready to propose, Meredith blurted. "I overheard him talking with mei bruder about the acreage for sale across the pasture from us." Her voice rose with enthusiasm.

He did? Joy covered her mouth to catch her gasp.

"You and I both know when a man is looking for property to build a haus—he’s looking to wed." Meredith opened the cabinet next to the sink and removed a glass.

That certainly was the case with her sister. Matthew put a down payment on the farm the same day he proposed to Lois.

"I’ve got so many goose bumps, mei arms feel like a plucked turkey. Joy rubbed her arm. Henry’s been acting a little strange lately. Even tonight he avoided direct eye contact with me."

Meredith refilled the glass with water and handed it to Joy. "He was watching you all right, the entire time you were washing mei feet."

Danki. Joy sipped the drink.

Henry hadn’t always understood why Joy spent so many hours at the bakery. Occasionally he even accused her of preferring to spend time at the bakery over being with him. But learning the ins and outs of running Sugarcreek’s only bakery left her feeling like she had been stuffed into a pressure cooker and was about to blow. And even though she was a proficient baker, she had to learn how to manage a business. Things her parents did every day, like maintaining the proper amount of inventory on the shelves and knowing when and how many supplies to order.

"Maybe he’ll ask you tonight? He’s driving you home, jah?"

Joy shook her head. I waited for him to ask all week but he didn’t. Sarah and I drove together, but she’s already secured a ride home with Abram. Joy smiled. "Maybe if I leave nau, Henry will follow to make sure I arrive home safely."

You be sure to share the news with me tomorrow.

"Jah, I will." Joy hand-pressed a damp crease in her dress. It hadn’t fully dried since she sloshed water on it earlier. Vain. Here she was concerned about her appearance when the foot-washing ceremony had ended only minutes ago, but she worked out the wrinkles as best she could. I look all rumpled, don’t I?

"Nay, you look fine." Meredith placed her hand on Joy’s back and nudged her toward the sitting room.

The bishop’s wife, Martha Byler, stopped Joy on her way to the door. How are you doing? She frowned. "I sure miss your mamm."

I do too. Joy looked away from Martha’s tearful eyes.

Lois approached, cradling Stephen in her arms. Are you going home so soon?

"Jah, I have to open the bakery in the morning."

"I was just telling Joy how much I miss your mamm."

Excuse me, Joy said, reaching for the door handle. She stepped outside into the cool breeze and pulled her shawl tighter around her shoulders. She should have thought to bring her cloak instead. The sun was fading into the horizon and the temperature was plummeting.

Joy meandered toward the buggies while keeping an eye out for Henry. He wasn’t with the unmarried men who were grouped near the barn. She proceeded down the row of buggies where she had tethered Candy.

She located Henry’s horse tied one horse over on the opposite side of the rail. Drawing closer, she recognized his voice coming from the passenger side of his buggy.

You can lean on me, he said.

Joy shot under the railing, startling the horses nearby.

A woman’s giggle stifled.

Joy reached them as Henry was helping Priscilla Byler into his buggy. Joy clamped her teeth over her bottom lip and whirled around.

Henry’s footsteps tromped at her heels. They reached Candy at the same time.

"It’s nett what it looks like. She twisted her ankle."

Joy untied her mare from the post and boarded the buggy. She would regret anything she said right now.

"Her bruder asked if I would see her home."

Without a chaperone? Joy bit back voicing her thought and reined Candy away from the other buggies. Once she rounded the tree-lined bend in the country road, she looked back as the Detweilers’ farm disappeared behind the crimson canopy of low-hanging maple leaves.

The road ahead blurred. Joy was still sobbing two miles down the road when she reached the house. She unharnessed and fed Candy, then trudged across the yard to the house. At least she was alone. But Lois and Matthew wouldn’t be long—baby Stephen had been coughing most of the evening. Joy went upstairs to the room she shared with Sarah and pitched herself on the bed. If it wouldn’t raise questions with her sisters at this late hour, she would bake. Instead, she pulled out a pen and pad of paper from the lamp table drawer and wrote a letter to her cousin. Even though Emily couldn’t offer much support ten miles away, Joy still poured out her heart into the letter, which was the next best thing to baking.

She finished and extinguished the lamp flame before her family returned. When Sarah entered their shared room, Joy pretended to be asleep. As much as she hated to admit it, she hoped Henry would appear outside her window. She lay awake half the night waiting for the tap of pebbles against the glass, his way of beckoning her outside so they could talk.


By the time the bakery opened the following day, Joy had the display case chock-full with a wide assortment of apple pie turnovers, cookies, brownies, and sweet breads. She even mixed up a new peppermint-frosted sugar doodle, which she offered to the early-bird customers to sample. Yet even receiving rave reviews from her customers didn’t take her mind off of Henry.

Joy reached under the counter for the cleaning bottle, then misted the display case with the watered-down vinegar solution. She wiped the finger smudges off the glass as the bell over the door dinged.

Joy lifted her gaze fully expecting to see Henry. Her heart deflated a little more each time the door opened and it wasn’t him.

"Gut afternoon." Sarah strolled into the shop.

Jah, it was well past noon all right. Joy tossed her cleaning rag onto the counter. She had given her sister plenty of leeway since Sarah didn’t enjoy working at the bakery, but Joy needed a reprieve.

Sarah pulled an apron from the wall hook. Anything I should know? She glanced about the room as she tied the strings around her waist.

"I suppose you could make another pot of kaffi. I sold almost three pots. Nau that it’s colder outside, everyone wants something warm to drink."

Joy headed to the kitchen area. She packed an assortment of everything she had baked that morning into a pastry box, making sure not to cram

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  • (5/5)
    An Amish Second Christmas was a quick and enjoyable read. Some of the characters are centered in previous stories from these authors, and made it fun to come home. They all have a continuous theme of the Amish Christmas, the second one, and all have a little surprise to go along with the holiday.We travel to different communities with the Amish, so we are in various US states, but most of the traditions and religious aspects of these stories tie in beautifully.How would you feel if someone, you really didn’t know, started following you? Um…very uncomfortable, yes! This happens in one of the stories, and loved how one member after another found the same person. Coincidence? I think not.Then we have Joy and Henry, and you feel like you want to shove Henry. In the end, it was not our will but Gods, yes he knows what he is doing and we can try to be in charge, but not.In the third story, Gift for Anne Marie, was rather like you really don’t see what is in front of your face. It takes a real wake up call to make things right, yes and trust in God, with lots of prayer.In the last story we are back with the bachelors in Montana, and a new twist in the Second Christmas story. This one is based on a secret pie recipe, vanilla crumb, and how it ends up not being a secret. Love how all pull together here, and how we come to accept who we are, and what God’s will is for us.What a special treat to enjoy for this Christmas season, come and get lost in this one!I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Thomas Nelson, and was not required to give a positive review.
  • (4/5)
    An Amish Second ChristmasBeth Wiseman, Ruth Reid, Kathleen Fuller & Tricia GoyerBook Summary:Celebrate Second Christmas, a treasured, lighthearted time of community, with four Amish romances.“When Christmas Comes Again” by Beth WisemanKatherine knows the first Christmas without Elias will be hard for her and the children. But when a mysterious Englischer appears with photographs of her late husband, Katherine begins to wonder what other blessings Christmas could have in store.“Her Christmas Pen Pal” by Ruth ReidJoy was expecting a wedding proposal from Henry; what she got instead was news of another woman. But when her heartfelt letter to a cousin ends up in the hands of a young cabinetmaker, an unexpected correspondence between two strangers gets interesting fast.“A Gift for Anne Marie” by Kathleen FullerAnne Marie and Nathaniel have been best friends since they were kids. Now things are evolving . . . in ways everyone else predicted long ago. But when her mother suddenly decides to remarry in another state, Anne Marie’s new chapter with Nathaniel looks doomed to end before it begins.“The Christmas Aprons” by Tricia GoyerVanilla crumb pie has been Esther’s mem’s calling card for decades. But when Esther finally gets her hands on the secret recipe, she discovers that vanilla crumb pie is more than just dessert . . . it’s bachelor bait.Review: I loved the cover! It was such a striking contrast of white and red. I enjoyed the entire book. out of the 4 I found only one of the stories slow to get into. I liked the characters in each book. For the most part they were fast reads and enjoyable. It was enjoyable to visit each story for Christmas and the fun of the season was present. I think that I liked ‘When Christmas Comes Again’ the best it was a moving story of family and mending broken relationships. It was not romantic in the man to woman relationship but it was full of love in restoring broken people. ‘Her Christmas pen pal’ was fun and I found Joy & Noah to be perfectly suited for each other throughout. Sadly poor Henry was not even that sympathetic to Joy’s needs or loss. ‘A Gift for Anne Marie’ was a nice sweet story with a few bumps in the road. The sweetest part was her mother finding new love after loosing her husband earlier in life. I liked the honesty of Nathaniel when it came to his changing feelings. A perfect life changing situation of friends becoming husband and wife. ‘The Christmas Aprons’ was sweet. I found Esther & Ammon to be generous people. Although Esther was a bit of a wallflower she improved in this as the story progressedI would like to thank BookLook, Net Galley and Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
  • (5/5)
    n When Christmas Comes Again, Kathleen and her four children are having their first Christmas without a love one. Kathleen starts to see an English man around the town. She receives a package at the door. There some photos in the box. There more to this story and quite a few twist and turns. There seems to be a mystery about this man. The man seem to know what or how some of the feeling of the family. Do they need help or will Kathleen mislead the what going on with her children?

    In Her Christmas Pen Pal, Joy has to deal with her boyfriend who want to see other women. She starts to write a letter to her cousin. Though it happens it sent to the wrong person. The mystery man writes back to Joy. The Cabinet maker and Joy send letter back and forth with each other. There are twist and turns in this story and has a good mystery in the story as well. Do Noah and Joy get together? This grandmother starts talking to Joy about her grandson. Will Joy find out that the woman was talking about?

    In A Gift for Anne Marie, Anne Marie wondering about the changes that are coming. She finds out about her mothers letters. When she does she finds out that her mother is getting re-married and they are moving. Anne Marie does not like it at all. She start to feel the changes between her and Nathaniel. Nathaniel does not like the fact that Annie Marie may be moving. Is there anything either can do about it?

    In The Christmas Aprons, Easter Glick is a nanny for her cousin until her cousin can deal with her baby. While here Easter receives her mother recipe that every popular. She learns what she want to to be accepted for herself and not though the pies she bakes. Will she learn about Love?