Mary Elizabeth always thought there was nothing lovelier than springtime in Paradise, Pennsylvania.
Today the sky was a rich blue, not the gray it had been for too long this winter. The clouds that scudded overhead were soft clumps and a pure white, not heavy and dark and spitting snow or rain.
A warm breeze carried the scents of flowers and plants and . . .
Manure and fertilizer.
Her nose wrinkled as she stood on the back porch of her schweschder Lavina’s big old farmhouse and watched David, Lavina’s mann, working with his bruders, Sam and John, fertilizing the fields.
Well, to be honest, she watched Sam, not the other men. Sam and John came nearly every weekend now that spring planting was taking place in Lancaster County. It took all three of the bruders as well as occasional help from their dat, Amos, to do the planting, as would the eventual nurturing of the crop. It would take the four of them and some of the men from the community to harvest come November.
Mary Elizabeth had begun to think Amos would never turn the farm over to his eldest sohn, David, and her schweschder Lavina. David had finally despaired at fighting with his dat. Amos had been so difficult he’d driven David, then Sam and John away.
David had returned to Paradise to help his mudder take care of his dat when he got the cancer. No one had been more surprised than David and Lavina when Amos had a change of heart after recovering and decided to turn the farm over to his sohn.
Mary Elizabeth knew she would never forget this Christmas past when Sam and John walked into her haus and surprised both families after an absence of more than a year. But that return was brief and temporary.
It was a miracle, she’d thought, when they came to celebrate the birth of the Christ child that night. But her hopes that Sam would stay had been dashed just hours later. The two bruders
went back to their apartment in town that night.
Both Sam and John said it was wunderbaar that their dat had recovered and they were thrilled that David would take over the family farm. But they refused to return home or to the Amish community the bruders had grown up in.
Mary Elizabeth had thought her heart was broken when Sam followed David out of the community, but that Christmas night she’d found it was possible for her heart to be broken a second time.
Click here to continue reading Chapter 1. Plus, enter below for a chance to win a copy of Seasons in Paradise!
Barbara Cameron has a heart for writing about the spiritual values and simple joys of the Amish. She is the author of more than 40 fiction and nonfiction books, three nationally televised movies, and the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Barbara currently resides in Jacksonville, Florida. Find out more about Barbara at Amishliving.com.
Sign up here to be the first to get exclusive news delivered to your inbox monthly. New books, cover reveals, coupon codes, giveaways, first-look excerpts and much more.