As the second book in my Journey to Pleasant Prairie series, Mattie’s Pledge, becomes a reality this month, I find myself looking back on how this book came to be. Like most stories, it was born when I started asking “what if” questions… questions that taught me about my characters.
We met the hero of the story, Jacob Yoder, in Hannah’s Choice, book one of the series. As I was writing Hannah’s story, and the Yoder family prepared to move west to Indiana, an idea for Jacob’s tale grew.
I knew Jacob’s desire was to establish his own home and family, but he wasn’t interested in any of the girls in the Conestoga area. Johanna, his sister Hannah’s best friend, wanted to get his attention, but nothing she tried seemed to work.
So what if there was someone else who had captured Jacob’s heart?
And what if he had also captured hers?
Enter Mattie Schrock.
The last time Jacob and Mattie had seen each other, they were both children. Jacob was a few years older than Mattie when they had said goodbye the day the Schrocks moved west to Somerset County. He was in his early teens, an age when boys don’t usually hang around little girls who aren’t their sisters.
But Mattie was special. A little wren of a girl who needed looking after because she tended to get into scrapes… like falling off the log bridge over the creek and nearly drowning. When Jacob had saved her life that day, she had lodged herself in his heart.
So the story idea began to take hold.
What if both Jacob and Mattie were looking forward to seeing each other again? And even better – what if their two families were traveling to Indiana together?
But even though this little wren of a girl has grown into a beautiful woman, she has inherited her father’s love of wandering, and she dreams of moving west. Beyond Indiana, beyond the rolling prairies of Iowa. Even beyond the snowy mountains… as far west as Oregon where the western sea laps the shores. Far from Jacob’s dream of land and a home in northern Indiana.
And what if Mattie meets another man, a stranger, who offers to take her west and fulfill her dreams? How could she leave Jacob behind?
Those are the “what ifs” that turned into Mattie’s Pledge. I hope you enjoy how the story answers those questions!
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Jan Drexler grew up surrounded by books and storytellers. With pastors and teachers populating both sides of her extended family, we aren’t surprised that she wanted to be a first-class storyteller herself. She is the author of The Prodigal Son Returns, A Mother for His Children, and A Home for His Family.
Born and raised in Michigan, Jan is the descendant of Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren immigrants who settled in Berks, Somerset, and Lancaster counties in Pennsylvania in mid-1700.
Her first love was homeschooling, but when her youngest son graduated she asked God to give her something useful to do for the next phase of her life. The answer was a computer and the deep well of family stories handed down from her parents and grandparents.