When we start on a journey across the country, we consult a road map. Since Hannah’s Choice is the first book in the series, Journey to Pleasant Prairie, I thought you would appreciate a “road map” of the characters you’ll be meeting. So pour yourself a cup of tea and I’ll introduce you!
Hannah Yoder: Hannah is a nineteen-year-old Amish girl who lives with her family along the Conestoga Creek in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The year is eighteen forty-two, and Hannah loves her quiet life on the farm her grandfather carved out of the wilderness of “Penn’s Woods” almost one hundred years earlier. Hannah’s biggest problem, though, is her family. Tragedy struck nine years earlier – a diphtheria outbreak that caused the deaths of her three youngest siblings and changed the lives of the Yoder family forever.
Annalise Yoder: Hannah’s mother has been fighting recurring bouts of depression ever since the three children passed away. Autumn is the most difficult time of year for her, as the October chill and freezing winds remind her of the day they buried the little ones. Only God can release her from this prison, but will she let him?
Christian Yoder: Hannah’s father feels helpless in the face of Annalise’s depression, but he feels even more powerless as he tries to keep his children from being influenced by their non-Amish neighbors. When he hears of a new Amish settlement being started in northern Indiana, he thinks this might be the answer to both of his problems.
Liesbet Yoder: Not quite sixteen years old, Hannah’s younger sister survived the diphtheria outbreak nine years earlier, but her recovery was slow and she remains susceptible to every illness that comes her way. She is a bit spoiled, but that is understandable, isn’t it? What Hannah doesn’t understand is Liesbet’s hatred for the Amish life. Why is she so attracted to the young teamster who hangs around the neighborhood every chance he gets?
Adam Metzler: The Mennonite boy next door was Hannah’s salvation when she was young and Annalise’s grief was still so fresh. As children, Adam and Hannah would spend hours together exploring the creek and forest, and Adam’s family welcomed Hannah’s visits as if she was one of their own. But as Adam has grown to adulthood, his priorities have changed. While attending revival meetings, he was introduced to the Underground Railroad movement and found his calling. He dreams of the day when he and Hannah can toil together in this great labor, the day when she is finally his wife.
Josef Bender: Josef is a newcomer to Pennsylvania. Raised in the Amish settlements in Germany, his widowed mother sent him to America when he was fourteen, with the hope that he would escape being conscripted into the local lord’s army. Now, seven years later, he has worked off the cost of his passage and is ready to settle on his own land and find a wife. When Hannah catches his eye, he knows that she is the one for him. But will she agree?
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Hannah’s world. What choice do you think she will make?
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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.