"Say goodbye to the snow and aloha to the sun!"
Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted July 1, 2018
Amish | Inspirational Romance | Romance Contemporary
To paraphrase: you can take the girl away from the Amish
farm, but you can't take the Amish farm away from the girl.
This second in the Hawaiian
romance series is a novel of
contrasts. The first book was called THE HAWAIIAN QUILT
which apparently brought some Amish people to Hawaii. Now
the interwoven tale continues in THE HAWAIIAN DISCOVERY.
From the snowy Indiana B&B she owns, Mandy Williams moves
to sunny Hawaii when her husband Ken's father has a heart
attack there on his organic chicken farm. After a few
months she and Ken are confident enough that they are
needed here to instruct the sale of their B&B.
Ellen Lambright has been running the B&B, learning to make
decisions and resolve any problems. She can spend a lot of
time here as she doesn't have a beau; well not unless you
count her dad's helper, Ezra Bontrager. While Ellen is
Amish she doesn't mind using a telephone, even a computer,
and dealing with tourists. The news that the sale is on the
cards, comes as a blow. She enjoys the work and would not
be given a loan to buy the establishment; Amish girls are
supposed to settle down with a husband and babies.
The adventure moves from one crisis to another and Ellen
finds herself out in the Aloha State in her turn, giving
aid to Mandy and Ken. They have one helper on the chicken
farm -- Rob Smith. He never expected to meet anyone Amish
out in the tropical paradise, but Ellen knows her way
around a chicken run. She's not used to his brusque ways,
but Rob quickly starts learning to be more thoughtful.
I found this book reads like a soap opera with scenes in
varying states, insuperable financial difficulties,
hospital scenes, contenders for romance, and even the odd
glimpse of enjoyment of the Hawaiian beaches. I gave up
trying to guess who would end up doing what as twists came
frequently and new characters or backstories kept being
Wanda E. Brunstetter has written almost ninety books and has
many devoted fans, so it's no surprise that she mixes it up
and departs from traditional romance formulas. Discerning
readers would not keep buying essentially the same book
from her -- I can assure you that THE HAWAIIAN DISCOVERY is
unusual in more ways than one. Jean Brunstetter got to know
Amish customs through her husband's family. At the end of
this lively book the authors give us a recipe for Hawaiian
lemon chicken, which sounds delicious.
Ellen Lambright mourned when her best friend, Mandy, moved
from Indiana to Hawaii. But now Ellen has received the Amish
churchâ€™s permission to go to Hawaii and help Mandy through
challenging times. Rob Smith works on the Williams familyâ€™s
organic farm, far from his past mistakes and burning
regrets. When Ellen befriends Rob, the attraction is mutual,
but her commitment to the Amish faith stands between them.
Could a heartfelt discovery lead to forgiveness, reunion,
and love? Or is Ellenâ€™s destiny waiting for her in Indiana?
Find out in this sequel to THE HAWAIIAN QUILT from New York
Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, writing with
her daughter-in-law Jean Brunstetter.
Ellen Lambright finished sweeping the kitchen floor and
paused from her work to brew a cup of tea. Since the
Pleasant View Bed-and-Breakfast currently had no guests, she
and her friend Mandy had spent most of the day giving each
of the guest rooms a thorough cleaning. While they worked,
Mandy's husband, Ken, made a few repairs on the front porch.
Mandy and Ken had purchased the B&B two years ago, soon
after they were married. They'd hired Ellen to help out,
since she'd had previous experience working at another
bed-and-breakfast in the area. Ellen enjoyed her job and was
glad her friends' business had been doing well. Many
tourists came to the area, looking for lodging, and
information had quickly spread about their B&B. Mandy,
having been raised in an Amish home, was an excellent cook.
Ellen knew her way around the kitchen too. With their
culinary skills, every guest woke up to a tantalizing breakfast.
As she sat at the table, sipping the soothing lavender tea,
Ellen's thoughts took her back to Hawaii, where she'd had
her first taste of what quickly become her favorite
beverage. It seemed like yesterday when Mandy, Ellen, and
their friends Sadie and Barbara went on a cruise to the
When Ellen and Mandy became stranded on Kauai, it turned
into quite an adventure. Thanks to a caring Hawaiian couple
who owned a bed-and-breakfast in the town of Kapaa, the
young women were taken care of. It was during their stay on
the island that Mandy fell in love with Ken, whose family
owned a business raising organically grown chickens. At
first, Ellen hadn't understood her friend's infatuation with
Ken, but as time went on, she realized the couple had fallen
in love. The most difficult part was trying to understand
Mandy's decision not to join the Amish church. However, by
the time Ken moved to Indiana and married Mandy, Ellen had
accepted the changes.
A chilly January breeze blew outside, and Ellen rose from
her seat to put a log on the fire in the adjoining room.
Things had slowed down at the B&B since the holidays.
But that was okay. It would give Ellen more free time to
spend with her parents and siblings.
The phone rang. "Good evening," Ellen answered. "Pleasant
"Hello. This is Vickie Williams. Is my son available?"
"Yes, he's around somewhere. Would you like me to see if I
can find him?"
"Please do. It's urgent that I speak with him right away."
Ellen heard the anxiety in Vickie's voice. I hope
nothing bad has happened. Just then she heard a noise
in the kitchen and looked up.
"Oh, wait. Ken just came inside." Ellen held the receiver
out to him. "It's your mother."
Ken reached for the phone. "Hi, Mom. How are things on sunny
Kauai?" He shifted the receiver to his other ear. "What was
Mandy moved closer to him.
"Oh, no!" The color drained from Ken's face as he lowered
himself into a chair. "I'll book the next flight available.
And don't worry, Mom. Just pray."
Ken hung up the phone and leaned forward, his face in his
hands. "What's going on?" Mandy put her hands on his
shoulders. "What did your mother say?"
"Dad had a heart attack. He's in the hospital being prepped
for surgery." Ken looked up, slowly shaking his head. "It
sounds serious. I have to go to Kauai, Mandy. My folks need
me right now."
"Of course they do, and I'm going with you." Mandy's brown
eyes darkened as she turned to face Ellen. "Do you think you
can manage the B&B while we're gone?"
"Of course." Ellen slipped her arm around Mandy's waist.
"Now that it's winter, things are likely to be slow here
anyway. So don't worry. Everything will be fine. It
shouldn't be difficult to run the place by myself."
Two weeks later
Ellen was up by six and ready to face the day. After Mandy
and Ken left for Kauai, she'd brought some of her things
from home before new guests arrived. With people coming and
going, someone had to be in the house at all times.
Once in the kitchen, Ellen fixed a piece of toast with apple
butter and heated a cup of her favorite tea. She appreciated
the door separating the kitchen from the dining room. The
noise of her breakfast preparations would hopefully go
unnoticed, and neither of the guests would be disturbed.
Ellen nibbled on the toast and watched the sun slowly climb
into the sky. The Lord can surely create beautiful
sunrises and sunsets. But I can't sit here all day, taking
in the view. Ken and Mandy are depending on me, and it's
time to start breakfast for the guests who arrived last
After she finished eating and had put the dishes in the
sink, Ellen spotted the neighbor's cat darting through the
yard with a sparrow in its mouth. Poor little bird. Wish
that feline would go after mice and leave our feathered
When the cat disappeared, Ellen double-checked the menu
she'd planned for the middle-aged couple who'd checked in
last evening. She would serve them scrambled eggs and
sausage, sliced bananas mixed with vanilla yogurt, and
blueberry muffins with sweet creamy butter. There were also
two kinds of juice in the refrigerator.
She glanced at the clock. I need to hurry.
After spending most of the morning and a good chunk of the
afternoon scurrying to get everything done before another
set of guests arrived, Ellen felt tired. She went into Ken
and Mandy's room, where she'd been sleeping since they left,
to freshen up before her friend Sadie Kuhns arrived.
Two boxes of Christmas decorations sat in the corner. A few
days after New Year's, Ellen had helped Mandy and Ken take
down the simple holiday trimmings and box them up for next
year. But in the rush to get Ken and Mandy packed and to the
airport, some of the boxes didn't get put away. "In one of
my spare moments, I'll need to get those in the attic."
Turning from the decorations, Ellen eyed the bed longingly.
She wished she could take a short nap. But with Sadie coming
soon, there was no time for rest.
Things hadn't slowed down as much as she'd expected, and
Ellen had soon realized it would be difficult to run the
place without Mandy's help. So she'd asked Sadie to help out
whenever she could. Since her friend worked weekdays at the
hardware store in Shipshewana, she was available most
evenings and Saturdays.
Ellen smoothed a few wrinkles in the lone-star quilt
covering the queen-sized bed. Mandy's mother had made it, as
well as several others for the guest rooms. Most of the
rooms were decorated with an Amish theme, so it was
appropriate to have homemade quilts on all the beds.
Ellen glanced at the calendar on the far wall. It was hard
to believe Ken and Mandy had been gone only two weeks. It
seemed much longer. But it was a good thing they left when
they did. Ken's father had died three days ago, and his
mother and brother needed emotional support, as did Ken.
When Mandy had called the other day, she learned that Ken's
brother, Dan, had taken their dad's death harder than
anyone, and he could barely function. This meant most of the
duties at the organic chicken farm fell on Ken's shoulders.
Mandy had also mentioned that it could be a few months
before they returned to Indiana. Ellen hoped they'd be back
before spring. Things slowed down during the winter months,
but tourists flocked to the area during the rest of the
year, keeping hotels, B&B's, restaurants, and gift shops
in Elkhart and LaGrange Counties very busy.
With only two guests in the house this morning, Ellen's load
had been a little lighter. But this afternoon, another
couple checked in, so Ellen was glad she could count on
Sadie for extra help.
After changing into a clean dress and apron, Ellen stepped
into the hallway. Glancing at her reflection in the entryway
mirror, she saw the telltale signs of exhaustion beneath her
blue eyes, in addition to worry lines creasing her forehead.
Even her blond hair didn't look as shiny as usual. Truth
was, Ellen wasn't sleeping well, and her energy level was at
an all-time low. How much longer would it be before Mandy
and Ken returned? Could Ken's brother handle the family
business on his own, or would he end up hiring someone to
Ellen hadn't said anything to Mandy, but she hoped Ken's
mother might sell the organic farm and move to Indiana.
Ellen couldn't imagine living so far from her parents and
siblings. She figured it must be difficult for Ken too.
Someday, when he and Mandy had children, it would be nice
for the little ones if they lived close to both sets of
Studying her reflection, Ellen tapped her chin. I
wouldn't want to be separated permanently from my family or
The months Ellen had spent with Mandy on Kauai had been
difficult, despite the beautiful scenery surrounding them in
every direction. Had it not been for the companionship of
Mandy, as well as the kindness of Luana and Makaio Palu,
Ellen would have given in to depression during their
unexpectedly long stay. She'd always been close to her
family and missed them terribly during the months she'd been
gone. Ellen had developed a special bond with Luana. The
generous Hawaiian woman was as beautiful on the inside as
her outward appearance. Her caring, gentle spirit was
exactly what Ellen needed, being so far from home.
Mr. and Mrs. Hanson stepped into the hall from their guest
room, pulling Ellen out of her musings.
"We're going out to eat an early supper." Mrs. Hanson, a
silver-haired woman in her midsixties, gave a rosy-cheeked
smile. "Do you have any restaurant suggestions, Miss
Lambright? This is our first time visiting the area, and
we're not sure which establishment to choose."
"If you're looking to stay fairly close to the B&B, then
I would suggest Das Dutchman Essenhaus. They have many good
choices on the menu, as well as a buffet with a variety of
delicious food. Of course," Ellen added, "there are several
other nice places to eat as well."
"We appreciate the suggestion." Mrs. Hanson put her hand in
the crook of her husband's arm. "Shall we seek out the
closest restaurant, dear?"
He nodded agreeably, then called over his shoulder as they
moved toward the door, "Thank you, Miss Lambright. When we
get back, we'll let you know how we liked the food."
Ellen smiled as the pleasant couple stepped outside. Of
course, most of the guests who came here were kind and
polite. Ellen couldn't recall anyone saying anything
negative during their stay at the Pleasant View
"Guess I'd better head for the kitchen and fix myself some
supper." Ellen snickered as she padded down the hall to the
kitchen. Since no one else was in the house, it didn't
matter if she talked to herself. But she'd have to be
careful not to do that when guests were present.
Soon after Ellen started washing her supper dishes, Sadie
knocked and entered through the back door.
"Sorry for being late. I had some errands to run for my
mamm after I got off work, and it took longer than
I expected." Sadie's hazel eyes, with flecks of green,
seemed to sparkle as she removed her heavy jacket and hung
it over the back of a kitchen chair. Her pretty auburn hair
couldn't be seen under the black outer bonnet she wore on
"No problem." Ellen lifted a soapy hand. "As you can see, I
haven't started the breakfast casserole I'm planning to
serve to the guests tomorrow morning."
"I've eaten your delicious casserole before, and I'm sure
they will enjoy it as much as I did." Sadie removed her
outer bonnet, placed it on the chair, and picked up a
dishcloth. "I'll dry and put the dishes away, unless there's
something else you need me to do."
"I could use your help with the casserole, but let's get the
dishes done first."
As Ellen and Sadie completed the task, they talked about the
"It's sure nippy out there," Sadie said as she placed a
plate in the cupboard. "Makes me wonder if it might snow yet
Ellen glanced out the window at the darkened sky. "I hope
not. I have another set of guests coming in later, and the
roads could get icy if it snows."
Sadie bumped Ellen's arm and gave a playful wink. "It is
winter you know. Most people expect a little snow this time
of the year."
"True." Ellen sighed. "I wonder if Mandy has been able to
take a little time to enjoy the beautiful weather they're no
doubt having on Kauai. I should have asked when she called
the other day."
"I'm sure even though she's busy helping Ken's mother with
things, she's been able to spend some time outdoors in the
sun." Sadie reached for a glass to dry. "The balmy weather
was the one thing I enjoyed most when we visited the
"Same here. Although the beautiful flowers and colorful
birds made it special too." Ellen pulled the drain plug,
letting the water out of the sink. "Well, that chore is
done. Guess I'll set out the ingredients for the breakfast
casserole." She made her way to the refrigerator and paused.
"Unless you'd like to have a cup of tea before we start the
"That does sound nice. I'll put the teakettle on the stove."
Sadie got the water heating, while Ellen placed two cups and
some slices of banana bread on the table.
As they ate their snack and drank the tea, Sadie brought up
the topic of Mandy again. "You don't suppose Ken and Mandy
will decide to stay in Hawaii permanently, do you?"
Ellen shook her head. "I'm sure they have no plans of
staying. If they did, Mandy would have said something when
we last spoke." She reached for a piece of the moist bread
and slathered it with creamy butter. "She did say Ken's
mother really needs their help right now, so it could be a
month or two before they return to Indiana."
Sadie raised her pale eyebrows. "That's a long time for you
to run the bed-and-breakfast on your own."
Ellen pointed at Sadie. "You're here helping me, so I'm not
completely on my own."
"But a lot of work will fall on you when I'm not able to be
here. Have you considered hiring someone full-time? Maybe
one of your sisters could help out."
"With the exception of my younger sister, they all have
jobs, and Mom needs Lenore at home to help with chores."
Ellen took a sip of tea and set her cup down. "Besides, so
far I'm able to manage on my own. And once Mandy and Ken get
back, we won't need anyone else."
"You have a point." Sadie fingered the edge of the
tablecloth. "Let's hope they get back before too many people
make reservations and you end up with more responsibility
than you can handle. Not to mention that with me working at
the hardware store all week and helping out here evenings
and Saturdays, it could end up being too much for me too."
The phone rang, and Ellen excused herself and stepped into
the hall to answer it. "Pleasant View Bed-and-Breakfast.
Ellen Lambright speaking."
"Hello. This is Tammy Brooks, and I'd like to make a
reservation. It will be for my husband and myself, as well
as our little one. Do you have any vacancies for this Friday
and Saturday night? We'll be attending my aunt's funeral
Saturday morning, and we haven't been able to find suitable
Ellen found it hard to believe that all the hotels and other
B&Bs in the area could be booked, but she gave the woman
the benefit of the doubt. The fact that the couple had a
baby might be a problem, since the policy here was to rent
only to adults. And she couldn't lie to the woman, because
four of the six rooms were vacant this weekend.
"Umm. . .would you please hold on while I check on this?"
"Yes, of course."
Ellen set the receiver on the entryway table and rushed back
to the kitchen. "There's a woman on the phone who wants to
make a reservation for this Friday and Saturday night." She
moved closer to Sadie. "The only problem is, they have a
baby, and we're not set up to accommodate children here."
Sadie rubbed the bridge of her nose. "You could borrow a
crib and set it up in the parents' room."
"Jah, but what about the policy of no children?"
"Did you tell her that?"
Ellen shook her head. "She sounded desperate for a place to
stay, so I thought I'd get your opinion before I responded."
"What do you think Mandy would do if she was here?"
"I'm not sure, but I believe she might make an exception."
Sadie patted Ellen's arm. "Then my advice is to follow your
"Okay, I will. After all, it's only one little child. What
could it hurt to let them stay a few days?"
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