Enjoy a snippet from chapter one of Suzanne Woods Fisher’s The Letters. Make sure you enter below to win a copy!
The air had the sweet burn of frost. Long out of habit, even in the winter months, Rose Schrock woke before dawn to carve out a little time for herself before the day began. She liked the bitter cold, a cold that seemed to sharpen the stars in the wide Pennsylvania sky. Dawn was her favorite hour, a time when she felt most keenly aware of how fragile life truly was. Between one breath and the next, your whole world could change. Hers had.
On this morning, wrapped in her husband’s huge coat, she walked along the creek bordering the farm and climbed the hill. The thin February moon, low in the horizon, lit the sky but not the ground. Her golden retriever, Chase, trotted behind her, saluting trees along the path, baptizing each one as he went. When Rose reached the top of the hill, she sat with her back against a tree. In its awakening hour, the farm below seemed peaceful, lovely, calm. The birdsong symphony had just begun—something that always seemed like a miracle to Rose. How did that saying go? “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.” And wasn’t that the truth?
Rose Schrock had been raised not to complain, so she didn’t, but the truth of the matter was, the last seven months had been the hardest stretch of her life: so many things had gone wrong that it was hard to know which trouble to pay attention to at any given time.
Her mother-in-law, Vera, assured her cheerfully that in- crease in trouble was something she had better get used to. “You can’t expect mercy.”
“I don’t expect it,” Rose had told Vera. “I just wish things would go wrong one at a time. That way I could handle them.”
Soon, she would need to head back down the hill and wake her boys. Her girls would already be stirring. They were un- usually helpful and did whatever chores there were to do without being asked, whereas her two young sons were so sluggish in the morning that it took them half an hour just to get themselves dressed and downstairs. Before Rose left this quiet spot, she had something to do. To say. No, no. She
had something to pray.
Lord, I beg your pardon, but I am in a fix. I’m about wrung out from all this, and it’s getting so I can barely tell which way is up. I’ve got four fatherless children—five, if I knew where that oldest boy had run o to—an addle-minded mother-in- law, and barely thirty-six dollars left in my pocket. I’m fresh out of backbone, Lord. And near out of fight. Near out. Lord, if you’d be so kind, look down here and let me know what to do. I need a Plan B.
Rose waited quietly, hoping for a word from above, or maybe just an inkling. Reflecting, she decided it was funny how life could change so fast. She used to have so many plans. Now, her plans for the future were foggy at best. Years ago, money had been the last thing on her mind. Now it was all she thought about. Scarcely seven months ago, she had a husband. Now Dean was gone. A few years earlier, she hadn’t minded so much being with her mother-in-law. Not so much. Now she couldn’t think of anything worse.
Anything you want to say, Lord? Any advice? A word of wisdom? Rose heard the gentle hoot of a screech owl, once, then twice. A rooster began to crow. That would be Harold, the loudest rooster in the county. The day would soon begin.
A moving bright light in the sky caught her eye. She watched for a moment, intrigued. Then, fascinated. It was a shoot- ing star, darting over little Stoney Ridge in all its glory and majesty. Her jumbled thoughts gave way to a feeling of peace.
What a thing to see at a time when she needed it so badly!
More about The Letters:
Rose Schrock is a Plain woman with a simple plan. Determined to find a way to support her family and pay off her late husband’s debts, she sets to work to convert the basement of her Amish farmhouse into an inn. While her family, especially her cranky mother-in-law, is unhappy with Rose’s big idea, her friend and neighbor, Galen King, supports the decision and he helps with the conversion. As Rose finalizes preparations for visitors, she prays. She asks God to bless each guest who stays at the Inn at Eagle Hill. As the first guest arrives and settles in, Rose is surprised to discover that her entire family is the one who receives the blessings, in the most unexpected ways. And she’s even more surprised when that guest decides to play matchmaker for Galen King.
Four Stars from Romantic Times: “…a glimpse of life few outsiders are privileged to see, with some surprises, twists and turns.”
Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing and The Newcomer in the Amish Beginnings series, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California.