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His Amish Teacher

His Amish Teacher, March 2017
The Amish Bachelors 3
by Patricia Davids

Harlequin Love Inspired
Featuring: Lillian Keim; Timothy Bowman; Debra Merrick
224 pages
ISBN: 0373622619
EAN: 9780373622610
Kindle: B01IP7XMH2
Paperback / e-Book
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"The heart-wrenching dilemma of a teacher with no children"

Fresh Fiction Review

His Amish Teacher
Patricia Davids

Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted June 1, 2017

Romance Series | Inspirational Amish

I enjoy Patricia Davids' looks at various aspects of Amish life. In her latest offering, we meet Lillian Keim who is quite content to be a teacher at Bowman's Crossing. Unmarried women usually get this job, and if she marries she will have to leave. What a dilemma for a woman to face! HIS AMISH TEACHER is third in a series called The Amish Bachelors.

Lillian has asked a carpenter friend who volunteers with the local fire department to demonstrate some fire safety to the children. This is vital in a community which doesn't like to use electricity. Timothy Bowman hopes to marry a good Amish girl someday, and start his own family. Although he's known Lillian for years, he doesn't know she's had life-saving surgery which will have the side-effect of preventing her from having children. In short, the only children she can expect to raise are the forty school kids, including one with inherited dwarfism. She's not looking for a husband - just a career. So she keeps her eyes off Timothy, much as she likes him and the books he brings her.

Debra Merrick is the local health inspector provided by the county, and when she arrives at the school Lillian explains various aspects of Amish life to her, so she takes the place of the reader. Lillian is sure Debra's a nice person but that doesn't give her the right to smile and chat with Timothy. Really, they were almost flirting. But all that is forgotten when a wildfire comes towards the wooden school house and its propane tank.

I enjoyed the characters and their realistic interactions. Just as much, I was interested in the relative paucity of education among the Amish. In previous books I'd seen how a girl about to make her own way didn't know the nearest states on a map. We are told now that many Amish children end school at fourteen and move on to the important vocational training for their chosen work. Lillian took correspondence college training, but she is an exception among teachers. We also learn about fire fighting and arson investigation, as well as Amish crop science. Threaded through the tale is a developing romance. Will the community be strong enough to withstand repeated suspicious fires? The tale moves swiftly and is full of convincing detail. HIS AMISH TEACHER will certainly reward a read by anyone interested in Amish inspirational romance.

Learn more about His Amish Teacher

SUMMARY

The Teacher's Choice

For Lillian Keim, instructing children in her one-room schoolhouse is as close to being a mother as she'll ever get. Lillian has a calling to be a teacher, and she won't give it up to marry. But her plans—and her heart—are at risk when she begins to feel more than friendship for lifelong pal Timothy Bowman. When Tim rescues Lillian and her class from a fire, the volunteer firefighter suddenly sees what he's been blind to all his life: he wants his friend as his wife. But something beyond her professional goals is holding Lillian back. He's got to unlock her secret before he loses his friend—and his forever love.

Excerpt

“We all know Teacher Lillian is a terrible cook, don’t we, children?”

Lillian Keim’s students erupted into giggles and some outright laugher. She crossed her arms and pressed her lips together to hold back a smile.

Timothy Bowman winked at her to take any sting out of his comment, but she wasn’t offended. They had been friends for ages and were members of the same Amish community in Bowmans Crossing, Ohio. She knew he enjoyed a good joke as well as the next fellow, but he was deadly serious about his job today and so was she. The lessons they were presenting might one day prevent a tragedy.

He stood in front of her class on the infield of the softball diamond behind the one-room Amish schoolhouse where she taught all eight grades. Dressed in full fireman’s turnout gear, Timothy made an impressive figure. The coat and pants added bulk to his slender frame, but he carried the additional weight with ease. His curly brown hair was hidden under a yellow helmet instead of his usual straw hat, but his hazel eyes sparkled with mirth. A smile lifted one side of his mouth and deepened the dimples in his tanned cheeks. Timothy smiled a lot. It was one reason she liked him.

His bulky fire coat and pants with bright fluorescent yellow banding weren’t Plain clothing, but their Amish church district approved their use because the church elders and the bishop recognized the need for Amish volunteers to help fill the ranks of the local non-Amish fire company. The county fire marshal understood the necessity of special education in the Amish community where open flames and gas lanterns were used regularly. The Amish didn’t allow electricity in their homes. Biannual fire-safety classes were held at all the local Amish schools. This was Timothy’s first time giving the class. With Lillian’s permission, he was deviating from the normal script with a demonstration outside. Timothy wanted to make an impression on the children. She admired that.

It was another unusually warm day for the last week of September. It had been a dry, hotter than usual summer. Timothy had chosen the bare dirt of the infield with an eye to safety rather than setting up on the brown grass of the lawn that could catch fire. The children were seated on the ground in a semicircle facing him. Only two of her older students, cousins Abe and Gabriel Mast, weren’t paying attention. Abe was elbowing his cousin and the two were snickering and whispering behind their hands.

A red car sped past the school, and the driver laid on the horn. Abe jumped to his feet and waved wildly. The car didn’t slow down.

Lillian did a double take. Was that her brother Jeremiah in the front passenger seat? Surely not. The vehicle rounded the sharp bend in the road and was gone from sight before she could be certain.

Abe grinned from ear to ear and kept jumping. “That’s Davey’s new ride. He’s gonna teach me to drive, too. I want to go fast, fast, fast!”

Davey Mast was Abe’s eldest brother. Davey had chosen to leave the Amish faith after his baptism and had been shunned for his decision. He had taken a job with a local Englisch farmer instead of leaving the area as most young people did when they didn’t remain Amish. Lillian hoped her brother hadn’t been in the car. If he had been, Jeremiah ran the risk of being shunned, too.

Abe ran toward the road. She called him back. “Abe, come sit down.”

He ignored her.

“You need to pay attention. This is important.” Timothy spoke sharply and leveled a stern look at Abe. The boy sheepishly returned to the group and sat down. Lillian wished she could use the look with the same effectiveness.

Timothy turned to a long table he had fashioned from wooden planks on a pair of sawhorses. A propane cook stove in the center held two pans that were both smoking hot. Various household items were arranged along the table, and a large pail of water sat on the ground in front of the table along with a red fire extinguisher.

He carefully carried one pan to the end of the table. Using a long-handled lighter, he clicked it once and the pan burst into flames. He looked at the children. “Let’s pretend Teacher Lillian is frying chicken and a pan full of hot grease catches fire when no one else is around. What should you do?”

“Throw water on it,” little Carl Mast shouted. The second grader was Abe’s youngest brother.

“Carl says water will put out the fire. Let’s see if that works.” Timothy picked up a glass and filled it with water from a bucket beside the table. He flipped down the face shield of his helmet and tossed the liquid onto the skillet.

With a wild hiss and roar, the fire shot skyward in a flaming mushroom eight feet high. All the children drew back with wide frightened eyes. Lillian jumped, too. She wasn’t expecting such a fireball. Puddles of burning grease dotted the ground.

Timothy lifted his face shield and looked at Carl. “Water isn’t the right thing for putting out a grease fire, is it?”

Carl slowly shook his head, his eyes still wide.

Timothy used the extinguisher to put out the fires; then he lit the second pan ablaze with his lighter. “What is a safe way to put out a grease fire like this? Gabriel, Abe? What would you do? Quick. What’s in the kitchen that will help?”

“I’d run outside and watch the whole thing go up in smoke,” Abe said with a smirk, and elbowed his cousin. Gabriel nodded.

Timothy’s eyes narrowed. “Not a very good answer, Abe. This isn't a joking matter.”

“I’d get the fire extinguisher,” Gabriel said quickly.

Timothy pointed to him. “Goot. Where is it kept in your home?”

A puzzled expression replaced Gabriel’s grin. “I’m not sure.”

Lillian calmly walked to the table. “A fine bunch of firefighters you are if you can’t put out a simple grease fire without help.”

She picked up a dish towel, soaked it with water and gently draped it over the pan. The fire was instantly smothered. The children cheered.

Timothy nodded in appreciation. “I see Teacher Lillian has had lots of practice putting out her burning chicken. She did it the correct way. She smothered it. How else could she have smothered a grease fire?”

The children began calling out suggestions. He acknowledged each answer with a nod and a comment if it was a good suggestion. If it wasn’t, he explained why. As he spoke, Lillian noticed he held the attention of all the children now. He had a knack for engaging them.

Timothy laid aside his lighter. “Now let’s imagine that Teacher is burning leaves in the fall and she sees her boo-friend driving past.” Again, the children giggled.

Lillian scowled at him, not amused this time. Timothy continued speaking. “She is so busy waving at him that she doesn’t notice the hem of her dress has caught fire.”

Sending him a sour look, she said, “I don’t have a boyfriend, but I would certainly wave if one of my scholars were to pass by my home.”

He wiped the grin off his face. “All right, one of your students has distracted you and now your hem is on fire.”

She raised her arms in mock horror and shouted, “This is terrible! Help!”

“What should she do?” Timothy cupped one hand to his ear and leaned toward the children.

“Stop, drop and roll,” the group yelled.

Lillian covered her face with both hands, dropped to the ground and rolled back and forth. She lifted her hand from her face and squinted at Timothy. “Did I do that right?”

He looked at the children. “Scholars, did Teacher Lillian do it correctly?”

“Ja!” they shouted in unison.

He held out his hand to help her up, his eyes sparkling. “Exactly right, Teacher.”

She took his offered hand. His firm grip sent an unexpected rush of pleasure spiraling through her. As soon as she was on her feet, she pulled her hand from his and brushed at her dusty dress. “Next time you can do the stop, drop and roll while I ask the questions.”

He grinned. “But you did it so well. You were far more graceful than I could ever be.”

Turning to the children, she said, “Let’s all thank Timothy for taking the time to teach us about fire safety.”

“Thank you, Timothy,” they said in unison.

Hannah added, “Danki, Onkel Timothy.” Hannah was the stepdaughter of Timothy’s brother, Joshua. Lillian tried hard not to have favorites, but she couldn’t help it where Hannah was concerned.

“We only speak English at school, Hannah,” Lillian reminded her.

Hannah ducked her head. “Sorry, Teacher. I forgot. Thank you, Uncle Timothy.”

Lillian softened her tone. “It’s all right. Sometimes I forget, too. Now, let’s review some of the points Timothy made. Susan, can you tell us how often to change the batteries in our smoke detectors?”

“Twice a year, and the detectors should be replaced if they are more than seven years old,” the eighth-grade girl said quickly, proving she had been listening. Susan Yoder was one of Lillian’s best students. The girl hoped to become a teacher someday.

Lillian gestured to Timothy’s niece in the front row. “Hannah, what are some ways to prevent fires?”

Hannah wasn’t a bit shy. She shot to her feet. “Don’t ever play with matches. I don’t, but Carl does.”

Seated beside Hannah, the young boy leaned away from her and scowled. “Not anymore,”

“I’m glad to hear that,” Timothy said, a smile twitching at the corner of his lips.

Lillian raised her hand. “How many of you have practiced a fire escape plan with your family at home?”

Nearly all the students raised their hands. Abe didn’t and neither did his little brother Carl.

“All right, I want you to go inside, take out a piece of paper and draw a diagram of your home. I want you to show at least two ways to escape from the house in the event of a fire and mark where your meeting place is outside. Siblings may work together on the project.”

The children rose and filed toward the school. Lillian stopped Susan. The girl served as Lillian’s much-needed teacher’s aide. “Will you help Hannah with this project? She doesn’t have older siblings.”

“Sure.” Susan smiled and followed the others.

Abe shoved past Hannah, almost knocking her down when they reached the steps at the same time.

“Sorry,” he said quickly, but he didn’t sound remorseful in the least. He caught Gabriel’s eye and whispered something to him. They both laughed as they went in.

Timothy moved to stand beside Lillian. “I noticed the son of our school board president is a bit of a troublemaker.”

“Abe is, but I don’t treat him differently because of his father.”

Silas Mast, the school board president, had brushed aside her concerns about Abe’s behavior when she tried to speak to him about it. His lack of support was making it more difficult to handle the boy.

Lillian watched until the last student entered the building; then she whirled to face Timothy with her hands on her hips. “What possessed you to suggest in front of my students that I have a boyfriend?”

He looked taken aback. “I didn’t mean anything by it. I was making a point that you were distracted.”

“You should have chosen better.”

“Are you upset with me?”

She crossed her arms over her chest. “Ja, Timothy Bowman, I’m upset with you.”

He relaxed. “Nee, you aren’t. I can tell by the look in your eyes.”

“How do my eyes look when I’m upset?” she demanded.

“Frosty.”

Did he really know her so well? “And how do they look now?”

“Like you’re trying to be serious, but you’re smiling inside.”

He was right, but she wasn’t about to admit it.

He leaned one hip against the table. “How did I do for my first time giving a program?”

“Very well. You clearly have a knack for teaching.”

“Danki. I tried to think about what I would say to my own children.”

“Do you have a mother in mind for them?” she asked with false sweetness, knowing he was a single fellow. She had heard a bit of gossip about him and wondered if it was true. Courting relationships were often closely guarded secrets in the Amish community.

He shook a finger at her. “Lillian Keim, you’re prying.”

She spread her hands wide. “You brought up the subject of children.”

“I want a wife and children someday. I pray I will have sons to work beside me in our business as I have worked beside my father. I hope I may teach all my children to be good and faithful members of our church.”

His voice had grown soft. Lillian realized he was sharing something important with her.

“I hope God answers your prayers.” A family of her own was something she would never have.

He tipped his head to the side as he regarded her. “What about you? How many children do you want?”

She gave a laugh but knew it sounded forced. “I have forty-one children to care for. That’s more than enough. There will be forty-four next month because we have a new family transferring to our school. I hope the school board approves the hiring of a second teacher when they meet next Friday. I’m not sure I can manage that many.”

“Still, you must want children of your own someday.”


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