Thursday, January 18, 2018

Review (+Tour GIVEAWAY): Courtship on Huckleberry Hill

About the Book

Title: A Courtship on Huckleberry Hill  
Author: Jennifer Beckstrand  
Genre: Christian Amish Fiction  
Release Date: December 26, 2017 

Elsie Helmuth’s plain-spoken ways got her in trouble once before, so she needs to make a good impression at her new teaching job. But she’s not about to let disabled student Wally Sensenig work below his potential. And she definitely won’t put up with his hot-headed older brother sabotaging her efforts, no matter how handsome he is. . . 

Sam is nearly at the end of his rope caring for his ailing, widowed mother, working their farm, and raising his siblings. He’ll admit Elsie’s ideas are bringing Wally out of his angry shell—but why does she have to be as stubborn as she is pretty? Yet as it turns out, Elsie has taught Sam something about himself as well. And he’ll do whatever it takes to make up for his mistakes—and win her heart forever.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

It just doesn’t get any better than returning to Huckleberry Hill and spending time with Anna and Felty, the most precious and memorable octogenarian couple I’ve ever come across. In fact, they’re among my very favorite literary couples. Beckstrand has crafted a series that brings home important spiritual truths in the midst of thoroughly engaging stories – and while each one can stand alone, I highly recommend reading all of them.

In true matchmaker form, Anna is attempting to pair up her granddaughter, Elsie, with Sam, a local Amish farmer who is taking care of his siblings after his father’s death. We see Anna and Felty at the beginning and end, but most of this project is carried on by Anna’s letters inviting Sam to their home for dinner – accompanied by her knitted gifts, of course. And her recipes are still as creative and unappealing as ever!

Courtship on Huckleberry Hill just might be my favorite of the series so far (hoping for many more, though). There’s so much going on relationally and some scenes that brought tears to my eyes. Sam and Elsie are strong, multifaceted characters. Sam is a protector, with a heart for the weak and downtrodden – yet he could be petulant, demanding, stubborn and proud. Elsie is a talented, smart, outspoken and caring teacher who tries to make a difference in her students’ lives – especially Sam’s brother, Wally, who had lost his leg and a couple of fingers in an accident. There’s also an incredibly rude and obnoxious young lady who has set her cap for Sam, making for great tension.

I believe this story will affect how readers think about people with disabilities – in a positive way. Wally was good at manipulating people into feeling sorry for him, and Sam played right into his hands by trying to make his life easier. Sam “had tried to spare Wally the pain of failure, the pain of shame and hard things. But it was the hard things that gave Wally a purpose, that made him try for happiness, even if the happiness was hard to come by and the purpose was impossible to see.”

But Wally’s peaceful world is shaken up by the arrival of Elsie and Maizy, a sweet little girl with Down syndrome. One precious scene that got to me was Maizy’s first time at bat in the children’s softball game, with Wally on first base – making this story well worth the read. The growing bond between Maizy and Wally is priceless.

I loved everything about this story and hope for many more visits to Huckleberry Hill. It would especially be wonderful for a grown-up Wally to eventually have his own story.

Highly recommended.

I was provided a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

About the Author

Jennifer Beckstrand is the RITA-nominated, award-winning Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series and The Honeybee Sisters series for Kensington Books. Her much-anticipated Amish series, The Honeybee Sisters, has created a lot of romantic buzz. Sweet as Honey received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and Sweet as Honey and A Bee in her Bonnet were both awarded Top Picks from RT Book Reviews. 

Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth and the Honeybee sisters’aendi Bitsy. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a passion for Jane Austen and Shakespeare. She and her husband have been married for thirty-three years, and she has six children and six adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Guest Post from Jennifer Beckstrand

I have a very special place in my heart for teachers. My dad was a high school math teacher. My mother taught second grade for over twenty years. My son-in-law taught choir in high school, and my daughter taught seventh-grade science. Another daughter taught American history labs at the university and still another daughter taught classes for a youth summer program. 

Elsie Stutzman is a dedicated teacher who was dismissed from her last teaching job in Ohio and is trying to make a fresh start and a good impression in Bonduel, Wisconsin. Unfortunately one of her students, Wally Sensenig, is making things difficult for her, and Wally’s hot-headed older brother seems determined to get her fired. But Elsie is a dedicated teacher, too stubborn to back down and too steadfast to give up on anybody. 

Elsie’s grandparents, Anna and Felty Helmuth, have other plans for her. They want her to fall in love with one of the local boys, but they’re finding it a little difficult to get the two young people together. 

Teachers have an immense impact on our lives. We all remember a favorite elementary school teacher who inspired a love of learning or a high school teacher who encouraged us to reach for greatness. One of my favorite teachers was Mrs. Zobell, who taught ninth grade English. I distinctly remember her reading “The Outsiders” out loud to our class. She had a way of making great books and great stories come to life, and she sparked a love of reading (and writing) that I will always be grateful for. The teacher who had the most impact on my life is my dad. He helped me through Calculus in high school and inspired me to major in math in college. 

I hope we will take the time this month to thank the teachers in our lives for all they do for us and all they do for our kids. 

Who was one of your favorite teachers and why?

Blog Stops

Blossoms and Blessings, January 16
Mommynificent, January 17
Bibliophile Reviews, January 18
The Power of Words, January 18
Multifarious, January 19
A Greater Yes, January 19
Texas Book-aholic, January 20
Karen Sue Hadley, January 21
Splashes of Joy, January 21
A Reader’s Brain, January 22
Mary Hake, January 22
SusanLovesBooks, January 23
Janices book reviews, January 24
Carpe Diem, January 25
Quiet Quilter, January 26
margaret kazmierczak, January 26 (Interview)
cherylbbookblog, January 27
Simple Harvest Reads, January 28 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Pursuing Stacie, January 28
Vicky Sluiter, January 29
Bigreadersite, January 29


To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to three winners!! 

Click image above or link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!


  1. Carole, you are so kind and I really appreciate your wonderful review. It really made my day! Thank you, thank you!

  2. I absolutely LOVE this series, thank you for the chance to win a gift card toward the next book in the series!!!!

    wfnren at aol dot com

  3. This is a new series to me. I like reading about the Amish way of life and would like to read the book.

  4. I am ordering this book because it is about a teacher! I have been teaching 3rd grade for 34 years in the elementary school I attended as a child. I knew back then I'd be returning there to teach.
    Susan in NC

  5. I've loved the Huckleberry Hill books I've read.
    My second grade teacher was one of my favorites. Mrs. Van Beek was so loving and caring.

  6. I’ve read one of her books and really enjoyed it.

  7. I love that teachers are highlighted in this story. I'm a teacher, and my husband was too (he's an administrator now).

  8. I would like to win the book instead of the 10 amazon card. This book sounds that great.

  9. Congrats on the tour and thanks so much for your review and giveaway.

  10. As a retired teacher, I have a special interest in this book. Teachers do have a tremendous influence on their students and also on their parents.

  11. Love your books,would love to win

  12. Anna and Felty are my all time favorite characters, quirky and oh so lovable! Keep writing, and I will keep reading

  13. I just finished the first 2 Huckleberry Hill books and I am hooked.Carol

  14. I am looking forward to reading A Courtship on Huckleberry Hill.I enjoy reading your books.Have a wonderful week.