The Amish Bride of Ice Mountain is really an ode to my father, Gilbert Stout, who passed from this life into the next on August 22, 2013. His loss left me with profound grief tangled with peace in knowing he was a follower of Christ and he is in heaven.
Before he entered hospice, we had the chance for one last drive. We went to Coudersport, Pennsylvania to the then boarded-up Ice Mine, which was the site of many a pilgrimage in my childhood. We went there often because in the humid heat of a Pennsylvania summer there were only a few things to do to cool off when you didn’t have a pool: beg Mom to squirt you with the hose, float down the Susquehanna River or drive to the Coudersport Ice Mine. The latter was, by far, my favorite and became the big event for many hot Sunday afternoons.
The Ice Mine was a strange, mysterious place for my child’s mind to fathom. I couldn’t understand having to put on a coat to enter the mine when I had been sweating outside a minute before, or the guide’s clear explanation of how the mine was full of ice in summer but completely dry in winter. Now I know this to be somewhat explained by rock fissures and pressurized steam, but I still believe the Ice Mine was made by God to reveal the secret aspects of His glory. I also rediscovered part of that secret during that last ride with my dad. It was he who suggested writing about the mountain Amish.
If the time of the modern world seems to stand still for the Amish, the mountain Amish live an even more secluded and traditional life. In fact, when interviewing Lancaster Amish, they say the mountain Amish are “strange and behind the times.” In truth, there are places in Appalachia where children go barefoot most of the year, where ancient hardwoods grow—oak, hickory, ash, walnut, cherry, and where a Pennsylvania Dutch farmer might say with vigor and a strong dialectal hint of the past—“Doh sin mer daheem!” (This is my paradise!)
The other aspect of The Amish Bride of Ice Mountain that is worthy to note is it’s a more PG-13 Amish read, with an emphasis on the natural, God-given, physical relationship between a man and wife. This is NOT a book to give to your younger teens, yet I feel it is the story God laid on my heart and I wouldn’t want it any other way! So, thank you for reading and discovering the secrets of Ice Mountain!
Kelly Long was born and raised in North Central Pennsylvania where there was an Amish hitching post at the small grocery store in her town. She loves to write Amish romance and is the author of a number of different novels including Threads of Grace, Sarah’s Garden, An Amish Love with Beth Wiseman and Kathy Fuller, and Lilly’s Wedding Quilt. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and children.
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