"Can the past jeopardize the future?"
Reviewed by Susan Dyer
Posted December 23, 2015
Inspirational Amish | Holiday | Inspirational Romance
AN AMISH NOEL is the second book in the Amish
Bachelors series. This
is Luke Bowmans story. He got into some trouble a few
years back and
went to prison because of it. Now he is back with his
family and must
report to his parole officer every month. Luke isn't sure
what he wants to
do with his life, and he is fighting his inner demons. He
isn't sure if staying
Amish is in the cards for him. He still loves
his childhood sweetheart, Emma, but feels as if he isn't
good enough for
her. He brought so much trouble and shame to her as well
family and feels he will only hurt them again if he stays.
Luke carries so
much pain and guilt for what he put everyone through and is
certain he will
fail them again.
Emma Swartzentruber is the oldest child in her family, and
she has been
helping her father raise her two brothers. She tried to
follow Luke to the
Englisch life when he ran, but he told her to go back home.
He didn't want
her with him, and leaving her behind was the hardest thing
he ever had to
do. He was trying to protect her, but all he really did
was break her heart.
Can Emma let go of those feelings and give Luke a second
Emma feels like Luke never loved her, and she tries her
hardest to stay
away from him. When her father hires Luke to help with
hardware store up and running, her world is turned upside
I did not want AN AMISH NOEL to end. The conversations
and Emma are so heartbreaking at times, and I love how Emma
that Luke is so much more than his past and the troubles he
brought to his
family. This story is filled with humor, lost love,
forgiveness, and how
everyone deserves a second chance. Patricia Davids is
going to pull you
right in from the very beginning and have you cheering for
Luke. I had a hard time putting this book down because I
had to know what was
going to happen. AN AMISH NOEL is a fantastic addition to
series. I can't wait to read to read Timothy's story next.
There are five boys
in the Bowman family and each one is going to have their
own story in the Amish Bachelors series.
growing to really care about this family, and I love when
an author can do
An Amish Homecoming
Luke Bowman's homecoming is turning Emma Swartzentruber's
carefully ordered world upside down. Gone is her
girlhood crush, and in his place is a handsome man who
committed to serving the community. Luke's even agreed to
work for Emma's ill father, whose last wish is to see his
daughter wedded to a stable, loving man. But Luke—a man
flirted with the outside world with disastrous
consequences—is hardly marriage material for a good Amish
woman. Yet this Christmas, when her family is flung into
crisis, Emma finds that he may just be the one to capture
her heart for good.
Excerpt"He's not going to try and cross the river. No one is
that stupid." Luke Bowman drew back on the reins of the
draft horses pulling the large bobsled. The massive gray
Percherons stopped, but they tossed their shaggy heads,
making the harness bells jingle. They were eager to
finish the task and head home. Their snorts sent duel
puffs of white mist into the cold November air. Luke
watched in disbelief as a snowmobile with two riders
continued to barrel toward the frozen river winding
through the snow-covered valley below his father's
Noah, Luke's youngest brother, leaned on his ax handle as
he stood behind the driver's seat. "I remember when you
did it on Jim Morgan's snowmobile. More than once. That
looks like the same machine."
It did look like the same machine, but Luke doubted it
was his Englisch friend aboard. More than likely it was
Jim's younger brother Brian riding into trouble. "We
never crossed this early in the year. The ice isn't thick
enough. It won't hold them."
Noah pulled his scarf up to cover his face. "This cold
snap has been bitter even for late November. Maybe the
ice is thicker than you think."
Luke didn't mind the cold. His stint in prison made him
cherish every moment he could spend out in the open. "It
would have to be this cold a lot longer to freeze running
He and Noah had come out to gather a load of firewood
from the stand of trees along the river. Four inches of
fresh snow from the night before made easy pulling for
the team. The sled was three-quarters full of logs lashed
together, and the men were on their way home.
Luke watched the snowmobilers a second longer, then he
turned the horses toward the river. Noah almost lost his
balance on the flat sled at the unexpected move and had
to grab hold of the seatback to keep from falling off.
"What are you doing?"
"We're gonna pull those fools out of the water unless
they drown before we reach them."
The red-and-white machine didn't stop. It hit the river's
edge at a fast clip and traveled a full fifty feet out
onto the ice before the front end broke through, spilling
the riders. Luke shouted at the team and slapped the
reins, sending the horses into a fast trot across the
snow-covered field, knowing he might be too late. If the
riders were dragged under the ice by the current, they
One of the snowmobile riders had been thrown clear of the
open water. He lay sprawled facedown on the ice. The
second rider was desperately trying to claw his way out
of the river but the edge of the ice kept breaking in
front of him. The snowmobile teetered precariously, half
in and half out of the water as it hung by the rear
"Whoa, fellas." Luke drew the horses to a stop at the
riverbank. He saw the first rider trying to stand. It was
a young boy.
"Help! Somebody help us!"
Luke shouted to the boy struggling to get to the other
rider. "Lie down! Spread your weight out on the ice!"
Tossing the lines to Noah, Luke jumped off the sled. From
the toolbox under the seat, he grabbed his ax along with
a coil of rope and started toward the river.
The boy was following Luke's orders. He lay down and
wiggled toward the rider in the water. He grasped his
buddy, but Luke saw he was too small to pull the bigger
boy to safety.
Luke quickly tied a loop around his waist as Noah joined
him at the river's edge. "I should go. I'm smaller."
Luke considered it for a second then shook his head. "I'd
rather drown than face Mamm and tell her I let you get
killed. Take a hitch around that tree so you can pull me
back if I go through. The current is strong in this
"Don't make me tell Mamm I let you drown."
"I'll do my best. Hang on, boys, I'm coming!" Luke hacked
a long branch from a nearby tree and stepped out on the
ice. The thick layer of fresh snow made it hard to see
where he was putting his feet. He used the branch to feel
his way, making sure the ice was solid until he got near
the two boys. At that point, he lay down and edged toward
them. The cold bit through his pants and gloves as he
"Hurry!" the little one shouted, looking over his
Luke recognized him. "Alvin Swartzentruber, are you
"Help me, Luke." The fourteen-year-old stayed sprawled on
the ice, holding on to the other rider.
Every time Luke thought he could move faster, the ice
cracked with a sickening sound beneath him. Would it
hold? He couldn't help the boys if he went through, too.
Finally, he worked his way to within a few feet of them
and stopped, not wanting to add his weight to their
precarious spot. "I thought you had better sense than
"I reckon I didn't today."
"I reckon not. Who you got with you?"
"It's Roy. Hurry, Luke, I can't hold him."
"You can. I'm almost there. Roy, can you hear me?" Roy
was Alvin's older brother. Luke knew them well. He knew
their sister, Emma, even better, or he had once. They
didn't speak to each other these days.
"Help." Roy's voice was barely audible through his
chattering teeth. His lips were tinged with blue and his
eyes were wild with fear.
Luke was close enough to reach them with the branch. He
slid the end past Alvin. "Hang on to this, Roy, and let
go of your brother."
He was afraid the bigger boy would pull the smaller one
in if he went under.
Roy grasped the limb with first one hand and then the
other. "I—I got it."
Luke needed room to pull Roy free. "Alvin, roll away from
the hole and go to my brother. Stay on your hands and
knees until you get close to the shore. Follow my trail.
The ice was strong enough to hold me—it should hold you."
With the younger boy headed to safety, Luke inched closer
to Roy. He heard the ice beneath him groan.
I'm not ready to meet you, Lord, but if this is the
reason You got me out ofprison and put me here today, at
least help me save this boy first. Don't give Emma one
more reason to hate me.
He forced his thoughts away from Emma and the heartache
he had caused her. "Roy, I'm gonna slip a loop of rope
over you. You're gonna have to get it under your arms.
Can you do that?"
"I think so."
"Goot." Luke worked the rope off over his head and
shoulders and prepared to lay the loop over Roy. "Is…
Luke glanced back. The boy was climbing the bank to where
Noah stood with the rope snubbed around a tree. "He's
fine. You will be, too, in a minute."
"I can't…hold on. Can't…feel…my hands." Roy started to
"Don't give up."
The boy's head went under. Luke made a grab for him,
plunging his hands into the frigid water.
Emma looked up in relief when she heard a horse and buggy
come into the yard. Rising from her quilting frame, she
crossed to the window. Her father should've been back an
hour ago. She was anxious to hear what his doctor had
told him about the fatigue he couldn't shake.
Her father, Zachariah Swartzentruber, had always been a
big man. He stood six feet tall, but she hadn't noticed
until this moment how his clothes seemed to hang on his
frame now or how bent he was becoming. He moved slowly,
as if his actions were painful or difficult as he got out
of the buggy. She hoped the English doctor had discovered
what was wrong and prescribed some medicine to make her
She held open the door as he came up the walk. "How was
your trip, Daed?"
"It was a long way. The traffic gets worse every time I
must go into town. The foolish Englisch rush past without
a care in their big cars."
Their little Amish community of Bowmans Crossing was more
than five miles off the state highway. Even so, the
traffic in the area was increasing, as were the accidents
involving buggies and cars.
She waited until her father took a seat at the kitchen
table. "What did the doctor have to say?"
"Is there any kaffi??"
"Ja, I made a pot about an hour ago." Going to the stove,
she pulled a brown mug from the shelf overhead and filled
it to the brim with the strong brew from her coffeepot.
"Danki." He accepted the cup from her hand and stirred in
a heaping spoonful of sugar. He sat staring into the
liquid, stirring slowly.
Fear crept into Emma's heart. It wasn't like her father
to be so quiet. Something was wrong. "What did the doctor
have to say, Daed?"
Her father took a sip of coffee. "This is goot. You
always could make good kaffi. Not like your mother. Her
kaffi was always weak as dishwater."
Emma swallowed hard. It was unusual for her father to
speak about his deceased wife. The Amish rarely talked
about loved ones who had passed on. Her worry spiked, but
she knew better than to keep pressing him. When he was
ready, he would tell her what the doctor had discovered.
She poured herself a cup and carried it to the table.
"Mamm was a frugal woman. She could stretch a nickel into
a dime and give you two cents change."
A tiny smiled lifted the corner of his lip. "That she
could. I think sometimes she used the same grounds for
three days in a row."
"I like my coffee stout. I would rather save on other
He looked at her then. "You need a new dress. I would not
have you looking so shabby."
The front of her everyday dress was stained and the cuffs
were getting thin, but it had at least another year of
use before it went into the rag bag. "I can't wear a good
dress to do laundry and scrub floors. This one will do
for a little longer. My other workday dress is not so
worn, and I have a nice Sunday dress. I don't need
"If a fella was to come courting, you'd want to look
nice. We can afford the material."
They couldn't, but that wasn't the point. She saw her
father had something serious on his mind. "No one is
coming to court me. What's wrong, Daed?"
"Wayne Hochstetler intends to ask you out."
She sat back in surprise. "Wayne? How do you know this?"
Wayne was a widower and the eldest son of their neighbor
to the west. He and his family belonged to a different
church group, one that was more conservative, but Wayne
was known as a stalwart member of the Amish faith and a
good farmer. His father was the bishop of their church
"I spoke with his father. Wayne is looking for a wife. He
has a young daughter who needs a mother."
"I hope he finds one, but what makes you think I would be
interested in going out with him?"
"Because it's time you married. It's past time. You will
be thirty soon. That is old enough to be settled."
"I'm barely twenty-five, Daed."
"That is still plenty old enough. I want you to seriously
consider Wayne as a husband. His father and I are good
friends. This would make us happy."
"I thought marriage was a question of who would make me
happy." She once believed Luke Bowman was that man, but
she had been mistaken. Sadly mistaken.
"Love can grow from friendship and mutual respect. If
there is someone else, dochder, please tell me now."
"I have enough to do taking care of you and the boys.
There isn't anyone I'm interested in."
"Goot, then you will consider Wayne?"
"Not until you give me a better reason than my age and
your friendship with his father. What's this about? Why
this sudden interest in seeing me married off? I have
plenty of time to meet the right man and fall in love."
He sighed heavily. "You may have the time, but I do not.
The news from the doctor was not goot, but it was what I
have been expecting."
Her heart pounded painfully, stealing her breath. "You
are frightening me. What did he say?"
"I have inherited the same disease that took my father
when you were but a small child. My kidneys are failing.
The doctor thinks I have a year, maybe two, before it is
my time to stand before God and be judged."
She stared at him in disbelief. "Is the doctor sure?
Can't there be some mistake? I know you've been ill, but
you'll get better. You can see another doctor."
He reached across the table and took her hand in his. "I
knew this was coming when I started having the same type
of pain that wore down my father. I can only pray that
God has chosen to spare my sons."
"And me? Can this disease come to me and my children?"
"You forget. You are my stepdaughter. I married your
mother when you were only a babe. Your father died in a
farming accident. This disease I inherited cannot come to
It was true. She always forgot that Zachariah wasn't her
real father. "You have been a father to me in every sense
of the word save that one small thing. I could not love
you more if we were bound by blood."
"You are a true child of my heart, Emma, but I won't be
able to care for you and the boys for much longer. I need
to know someone will look after the lot of you when I'm
gone. It falls to you now. The boys are too young."
"I don't have to be married to take care of my brothers.
You know I will always do that. The church will help us."
"Wayne has a prosperous farm. Combined with my land, it
will be more than enough. You will not be dependent on
the charity of others. Do not mistake me—there's nothing
wrong with accepting charity when you need it, but it is
much better not to need it. I'm not afraid to face death
but I am afraid of leaving you and your brothers without
a secure future. Can you understand that?"
"Ja, I do. I can't believe this is happening." She didn't
want to believe it. Not her big strong father. There had
to be some mistake.
"I'm sorry to burden you with this news, but in one
sense, it is a blessing. Few men are given the chance to
know when their end is coming. I have time to prepare.
You will have time to prepare as well. You must find
someone to care for you when I cannot. Wayne is a goot
man. A fine farmer. I hope you will consider him."
Emma arose and carried her mug to the kitchen sink.
Setting it carefully on the counter, she stared out the
window. How could she refuse Zachariah's request? She
couldn't. Everything she had, everything she believed in,
was due to the kindness and love of the man who had
chosen to become her father.
"Where are the boys?" he asked.
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