When my Seasons of the Heart series ended, and it was time to propose a new one, I got the wild idea to set the Promise Lodge series at an abandoned church camp in a rural town I called Promise, Missouri! Because so many readers have gone to church camp, I figured the setting would bring to mind a timbered lodge with rows of little brown cabins, a lake, shaded woods—you get the picture. And an abandoned camp would be an affordable place for the Bender sisters, Mattie, Christine, and Rosetta, to buy so they could start a new Plain colony, away from the rise of vandalism in Coldstream. They sell their farms, pool their money, and never look back—and they ignore everyone who says Amish women can’t do that.
Preacher Amos Troyer goes to Promise Lodge with the sisters because he’s disgusted with the Coldstream bishop’s lack of control over his teenage son—and because he and Mattie were engaged back in the day. Now that they’ve raised their families and they’re both widowed, the sparks are flying again.
Promise Lodge has a row of cabins needing repair, a lodge with rooms Rosetta plans to rent to single Plain women, Rainbow Lake, an overgrown orchard, and plenty of room for Christine’s dairy herd and for Mattie to raise garden vegetables and sell them at a roadside stand. The good-looking Mennonite neighbor, Truman, who helps them with tree removal and other major improvements, is a definite plus—and he falls for Rosetta right off, even though he’s not allowed to marry an Old Order Amish woman. In so many ways, Promise Lodge seems like paradise for these folks who crave a fresh start.
But trouble follows them in the unwitting form of Deborah Peterscheim, who comes seeking forgiveness from Mattie’s son, Noah, for breaking their engagement. The secrets and fears she can’t fully confess will eventually bring heartache—and the Coldstream bishop’s errant son—to wreak havoc at tranquil Promise Lodge. And just when Mattie, Christine, and Rosetta think they’ve put a headstrong, contrary Coldstream bishop behind them, along comes Bishop Floyd Lehman, claiming God has already proclaimed him the new leader of Promise Lodge. When he moves in with his family, his first plan is to make the sisters get married and give up their new pursuits.
Will the Bender sisters prevail over Bishop Floyd? Will Noah forgive Deborah and propose to her again? Will Mattie and Amos get hitched? You’ll find these answers and more—along with recipes!—in Promise Lodge, the first book of my new series. For an excerpt and a peek at those recipes, go to my website, www.CharlotteHubbard.com. I think you’re gonna love these folks!
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Charlotte Hubbard is the award-winning author of The Christmas Cradle, which released September 29 and concludes her Seasons of the Heart Amish series. She has two new series debuting in 2016—Promise Lodge in March and Simple Gifts (a spin-off of the Seasons series) in June. She has also written a four-book series, Home at Cedar Creek/One Big Happy Family, as Naomi King.
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