Molly Ebersol’s life changes in a few minutes when an arsonist torches their barn. Her husband, Caleb, rushes inside the burning barn to save his horses. Although Amish firefighter, Jonathan Mast, tries to save Caleb, he fails. Suddenly Molly becomes a widow. A month later, an anonymous person gives money to cover the lumber and food expenses for the barn raising. One late night more money is left for Molly on the porch. The fire investigator wonders if the arsonist feels guilt about Caleb’s death and is responsible for the money gifts. During the continued investigation, it’s learned that Caleb had secrets he kept from Molly. She is crushed by what Caleb did before meeting her. How could the love of her life kept his English past from her? Her new neighbor, Jonathan, helps her to make the difficult transition from wife to widow. Although Molly develops feelings for Jonathan, can she ever trust him to be truthful to her? She isn’t sure she can fall in love again. Her trust in relationships is shattered because of Caleb’s past actions.
My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, A PLAIN WIDOW is the first book I've read by Ms. Craver. It is also one of the few books I've read mentioning an Amish firefighter.
Molly's barn burned and her husband died a result of the fire. I'm not sure if this book is a romance or if it's a romantic suspense. The fire chief is investigating the fire, everyone wants to know who done it, and Jonathan is under fire for volunteering for the fire department -- or is it just something to pick at him for because the bishop is single and wants to marry Molly?
If you aren't familiar with a lot of Amish customs and why they do things, this book goes into detail about the beliefs and reasons behind them. But you also have to keep in mind that Amish rules differ from district to district, depending on the bishop and what he believes.
While part of the book does read as an information dump, and the rest is told rather than shone, fans of Amish fiction will be interested in reading this. Will Molly marry Jonathan or the bishop? Who started the fire and why? Was it murder? Or just a terrible accident? There are lots of secrets coming to life, lies that have been told, and some of it is unexpected. If you are interested in other books about Amish firefighters, there is one by me (The Amish Firefighter) and I think I read one recently by another author, but I can't remember who right now. In most Amish communities, volunteering and giving back to the community is encouraged, and Amish work as firefighters, EMTs and other emergency services.
Diane grew up on a farm outside Findlay, Ohio, and she often acted out characters from her own stories in the backyard. In high school she would read during classes and hide a novel in front of her in a propped up textbook. After Diane graduated from the Ohio State University, she became a schoolteacher and play director. She met her husband while teaching at an orphanage, and they married three years later. Diane says that it took her that long to convince him she was the one for him! While raising their family in southwestern Ohio, she started writing nonfiction and was published. Later, Diane decided it would be a nice escape to write fiction. They were blessed with five daughters and one son. Two daughters were born with Down syndrome and live at home. Their other children live close by. Diane has four adorable grandchildren. Her favorite vacation is going to the beach with the whole family. Non-fiction articles of Diane’s have been published in Woman’s World Weekly, The Catholic Telegraph, Virtue, Down Syndrome Today, WritersWeekly.com, and other publications. Several of Diane’s books have been a reviewer’s top pick from Night Owl Reviews as well as receiving 5 star reviews and A Joyful Break (Dreams of Plain Daughters) received the CTRR Reviewer’s Recommend Award from Coffee Time Romance and More. Diane gives thanks daily to God for all her blessings.
Guest Post from Diane Craver
Back in 2012, when I told our adult children I had written my first Amish book, they looked surprised. In the past I had written contemporary Christian romance, but I had never mentioned anything about researching the Amish faith for my future books. My great-grandfather was a Mennonite minister, but I never knew him. My mother shared stories about his faith and his strictness in raising children. With many similarities between my great- grandfather’s faith and the Amish beliefs, I was drawn to learn more about the Plain life. Another influence came from my father. While growing up in Findlay, Ohio, my father respected and enjoyed talking with the Amish from Kenton, Ohio. As a farmer, he used both work horses (something he had in common with his Amish acquaintances) and a tractor. In my book, A PLAIN WIDOW, my character, Jonathan Mast, is from Kenton. Unfortunately, my children never knew my father, but they learned how precious he was to me from reading my book, A GIFT FOREVER. Now several books later, I am still writing Amish fiction. I feel blessed that God directed me on this writing path. A wonderful aspect of writing
in this genre is finding Amish recipes to prepare in my kitchen. One of
my favorite recipes is also my character Molly’s specialty in my new
release. This Amish recipe is an easy bread to make and takes around
twenty minutes to prepare.
Delicious Amish Cinnamon Bread (Makes 2 loaves) Batter: 1 cup butter, softened 2 cups sugar 2 eggs 2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice 4 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking soda Cinnamon/sugar mixture: 2/3 cup sugar 2 teaspoons cinnamon Cream together butter, 2 cups of sugar, and eggs. Add milk, flour, and baking soda. Put 1/2 of batter (or a little less) into greased loaf pans. (Basically pour 1/4 of the total batter into each pan.) Mix in separate bowl the 2/3 cup of sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle 3/4 of cinnamon mixture on top of the 1/2 batter in each pan. Add remaining 'batter to pans; sprinkle with last of cinnamon topping. Swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min. Or until toothpick tester is clean. Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan.