Set in 1846 Indiana, Naomi’s Hope by Jan Drexler, is the third stand-alone novel in the Journey to Pleasant Prairie series. While I enjoyed the entire series, Naomi’s Hope turns out to be my favorite of the three.
Jan writes with a delicate touch through the emotional trials of the members of the fledgling Amish community in northern Indiana. The hard work of creating homes and farms from the wilderness comes to life along with the inherent dangers of their world. In the middle of it all, we are touched by the love of a young woman for her adopted son, as well as the hope for a tender love story of her own.
Naomi's Hope combines everything I love about an Amish love story with everything delightful in a historical novel for a beautiful capstone on this series.
Meet the Author
Welcome, Jan Drexler!
Jan is joining us from her home in South Dakota with breath-taking views of the prairie on one side and the Black Hills on the other.
Amy: Hello Jan. Thank you for taking time from your writing schedule to be here.
In your series, Journey to Pleasant Prairie, you take us on tour of the wilderness and prairies of northern Indiana in the 1840's. I know you love research. Did you have a favorite source for descriptions of the land over one hundred seventy years ago?
Jan: I used a combination of resources, but I started out with my familiarity of the land as it is today. That part of Indiana is “home,” since my 3 x great-grandparents settled there in the 1850’s. Between knowing the area so well and being a frequent visitor to nature preserves when we lived there several years ago, I found it easier to imagine the way the area must have been for the first pioneers. I also found a fabulous resource, a book about the pioneer history of Elkhart County by a man who had interviewed the first settlers. It provided details that would have been lost to memory, otherwise.
Amy: Wow. Interviews with the first settlers—what a treasure!
Naomi's Hope pulled on my mama heart-strings. I also found the story to be full of wisdom and gentle hope for mothers in all stages of their journey. You're a home school mom veteran, and even married off a son during this process. Congratulations! How do you manage the balance between writing and family?
Jan: It’s much easier now that the children are all adults, and two of them are married. Once our youngest children graduated from our home school, I was able shift my time from teaching to writing. The discipline needed for home schooling also translated well into the writing life, although without anyone but the dogs to keep me accountable during the day, I find that procrastination is a constant battle!
Amy: I believe Naomi’s Hope is your seventh published novel! Can you give us any hints about upcoming books?
Jan: Naomi’s Hope is my sixth published novel, and I still have a hard time believing that! My next series is from Love Inspired Historical, and the books are set in the same time period and area as my first two books from LIH, so readers will see some familiar characters. The first story from that series, “An Amish Courtship,” will release in August.
I’ve also recently signed a contract with Revell (publishers of the Journey to Pleasant Prairie series) for another historical series with Amish characters. This one takes place during the Civil War in the Amish communities in Holmes County, Ohio. I’ve been deep in the research for this one, and I can’t wait to start it!
Amy: As a Civil War buff, that’s a series I wouldn’t miss. I can hardly wait for you to write it.
Aside from a good piece of chocolate—a favorite indulgence we share—how do you celebrate writing The End to your books?
Jan: Yes, I do love chocolate! But when I finish a book, my husband and I head to our favorite local restaurant – The Alpine Inn in Hill City, not far from Mt. Rushmore.
Amy: Last but not least, for all of us bibliophiles, which book title is currently at the top of your TBR pile?
Jan: I love to read historical romance, and right now I’m reading the first book in Susan Anne Mason’s Courage to Dream series, “Irish Meadows.” The next book on my TBR pile is the second one in the series, “A Worthy Heart.”
You can find more about Jan Drexler and her books on her website or on Facebook. Each Monday she hosts on the YankeeBelleCafe and often shares a delicious recipe. Click here for her heirloom Molasses Cookies recipe.
What I look for in an Inspirational WW2 Novel.
When Tides Turn nails all the above.
Book #3 and the final of the Waves of Freedom series, this story is a stand-alone novel. While you may fully appreciate this book without knowledge of the previous two, I recommend reading the series in its entirety.
1. Because they’re that good.
2. When you’re done, you will want to go back and read the first two anyway.
Why I always read Sarah’s novels as soon as they release?
I am partial to a great WW2 love story. I expect authentic history, a sense of the turmoil of the times, as well as flawed heroes and heroines who exemplify ordinary men and woman making a difference. Sarah delivers again and again, just as she does in this novel. But she also handles the spiritual struggles of her main characters with a realism, perhaps even more precise than her meticulous research. The families and communities of her novels come to life in a way that compels me to remember them all.
What I can tell you about When Tides Turn without spoilers.
Both Quintessa Beaumont and Dan Avery have made an appearance previously in the series. Both are somewhat misunderstood characters. But from the start of When Tides Turn, we are confronted with the truth of what makes them each tick. I think you’ll like them. And like me, you’ll be rooting for them. I can truthfully say, they are my favorite of Sundin’s heroes and heroines to date.
As with all the Waves of Freedom stories, there is a mystery subplot. Another character whom we have met before, Yvette, plays a more significant role in this story bringing a new intrigue with her. You will experience lesser known historical events in Boston, the vantage point of the newly minted WAVES, as well as a sneak peak into the war from the vantage point of a military strategists and engineers.
A must read for an eventful and satisfying end to a terrific series.
The Appalachian Blessings series by Sarah Loudin Thomas delighted me all the way through. Each book in the series is a stand-alone story even though the characters of Wise, Virginia re-appear in each story. This third installment is a tapestry of its own, as it weaves together the lives we've come to love with delicate charm.
I couldn't wait to travel back to Appalachia according to the talented pen of Sarah Thomas. A Tapestry of Secrets held all the pleasures, challenges and old-fashioned good storytelling I have come to expect.
You know I don't give spoilers. It's hard sometimes ... like now, not to spill the beans! Get ready for sweet romance, generational twists, country wisdom and faith a plenty.
An emotionally satisfying story, The Red Door Inn delivers everything a heart hopes for from Prince Edward Island. I felt swept away to the home of Anne of Green Gables--a hundred years later. Liz Johnson crafts a charming present-day PEI with delightful and surprising characters.
The Prophetess by Jill Eileen Smith is the newest in her Daughters of the Promised Land series.
The story of Deborah, the only female prophet of the Old Testament, has intrigued me since my mother first told me the biblical story many years ago. I've studied the prophetess in detail, so I was eager to read this account of the biblical narrative and ancient history told with this author's tremendous storytelling ability.
The result is spectacular. Deborah's story is bigger than blockbuster cinema and Jill Eileen Smith brings it to life in the reader's imagination, perhaps better than CGI could. You will come away from this book in awe of the Hand of God, just as Deborah would want it.
Admittedly, I have a real soft-spot for Appalachia and the Blue Ridge. When an author captures the culture, she has my attention. A Twist of Faith by Pepper Basham had me so drawn in that my family almost didn't get fed. Don't judge. There just wasn't a good place to stop ... until the end.
This is my favorite contemporary romance of 2016, thus far. I can pretty much guarantee it will stay at the top of that list. Things I love include the setting and culture. There's romance ... really sweet, toe-tingling romance. But the real shining star of this book is the actual twist of faith.
The redemption story on these pages is inspiring, hopeful and real.
If your heart is longing for the Blue Ridge, A Twist of Faith is the next best thing to an actual visit.
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