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Every year, 30–40 young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive “resident” status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides!
Sarah Shelter has lived in West Kootenai for the last ten years and wonders if she will ever fall in love. Since the tragic death of her best friend, she carries her memories in a jar along with the small items connected to them. For just as long, she’s also been carrying around her emotions instead of allowing them to penetrate deep into her heart.
Now she’s met a kind and gentle man who may be able to break down the wall. But can Sarah risk her heart to finally achieve her dreams?
Enjoy this excerpt from Tricia Goyer’s The Memory Jar
Two years later
With one motion, Sarah Shelter puller her apron over her head. The garment smelled of fresh-baked bread, ham, and onions from the French onion soup she’d put on to simmer before leaving the West Kootenai Kraft and Grocery. Her Englisch friend told her once that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach. If that were the case, Sarah should have been married off years ago. She’d cooked for plenty of Amish bachelors, every year befriending the thirty or so men who came to Montana for a season. Problem was, their eyes were more on the wild game that filled the hills than on finding a wife. Typically, girls waiting back home had already captured their hearts. The bachelors appreciated Sarah all right—to fill their stomachs until their western adventure came to an end and they returned to their farms, their families, and their waiting brides.
Tossing the apron into a wicker basket filled with tomorrow’s wash, Sarah moved to her bedroom window and opened it. Warm, afternoon air that smelled of sunshine and pine wafted in. She paused, staring up at the trees and the green pasture beyond, but mostly at the large mountain that rose in the distance. Eve Peachy had come into the store earlier to tell Sarah they’d been invited to hike Robinson Mountain. Sarah had laughed, thinking it was a joke, until Eve announced it was a bachelor who’d planning the outing.
“Amos is planning it yet,” Eve had mentioned with a twinkle of her eye. Though not the most handsome bachelor, Amos had an outgoing, playful side. Eve knew if anyone could get Sarah to put on hiking boots to climb a mountain, it would be Amos.
Sarah placed a hand over her heart—which danced a double beat at the mere mention of Amos’s name—and smiled. She supposed it was time to hike the mountain. Her older brothers had both hiked it, even her father and mother had. Spring had brought plenty of sunshine and had already cleared the snow from the mountain trails. She had no excuse really. And maybe . . . maybe she’d even get a chance to get to know Amos a bit better.
She removed her kapp, placing it on her bed. She’d bathe early and spend the evening quilting on the porch. She never liked the sticky feeling that spending all morning baking at the store brought about. More than that, if one of the bachelors happened to stop for a visit, she’d look proper.
Sarah moved to her dresser and stopped short. Two large jars—previously used for pickles—sat there, filled with all types of curious things. Pretty rocks, old pennies, a rusty nail, a hand-carved whistle, each with a memory attached. But the third jar . . . she rested a hand on her hip. Its contents had been spilled out and the jar itself was gone. She picked up the white rock that had been dumped with the other items and fingered it. Then she set it back down.
She balled her fist. A rush of anger tightened her shoulders. How could someone treat her things so carelessly?
Stomping out her bedroom door through the living room, Sarah let out a shout. “Andy!”
Hearing his name, her twelve-year-old brother rose from where he’d been sitting on the front porch and darted into the woods. Through the open front door, Sarah spotted what she’d been looking for. Her jar. It sat there covered with what looked like tin foil and . . .
Tricia Goyer is a homeschooling mom of ten, grandmother of two, and wife to John. A USA Today bestselling author, Tricia has published over 55 books and is well-known for her Big Sky and Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors Amish series.