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About the Book
Author: Jennifer Beckstrand
Genre: Inspirational Amish Romance
Release Date: May 30, 2017
When it comes to matchmaking, Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin’s unstoppable octogenarians Anna and Felty Helmuth never seem to run out of opportunities—or grandchildren…
Reuben Helmuth is plenty bitter. John King, his best friend—or so he thought—is engaged to the girl Reuben loved. Humiliated, Reuben flees from Ohio to his grandparents’ home on Huckleberry Hill, where he knows he’ll find comfort. He’s enjoying wallowing in his misery—until John’s sister, Fern, shows up. She won’t stop pestering Reuben about forgiveness—or trying to help him find love again. Yet Fern’s efforts only reawaken Reuben’s long-buried feelings—for her…
With her brother too ashamed to face Reuben, it’s fallen to Fern to help mend fences. But as she and the Helmuths do all they can—even organizing a knitting club event filled with eligible girls—it may take one more challenge to inspire Reuben to forget his heartache, recognize his own blunders, and embrace the true love that’s right in front of him…
My ThoughtsJennifer Beckstrand will never be able to write enough Felty & Anna stories to quench my hunger for them, so I am thrilled with Return to Huckleberry Hill. Fans of this couple in their eighties will find that Anna’s cooking is still extremely creative, Felty is still making up his own song lyrics and playing the license game, they continue to successfully play matchmaker with their grandchildren – and they reflect a lifetime of love for God and for each other that sets an example for all of us. On the surface, this is a sweet romance with Beckstrand’s signature humor, but there’s much spiritual depth to this story with its nod to the Prodigal Son parable.
Reuben, Anna and Felty’s grandson, isn’t very likeable for most of the book. This rich and handsome minister’s son seems like a good catch, except for the fact that he’s prideful, concerned with popularity, acceptance, and reputation. Betrayed by his best friend and the girl he planned on marrying, Reuben visits Anna and Felty for an extended time, and he “wore his self-pity like a badge.” I loved Fern, sister of Reuben’s best friend, who has loved him since childhood. She’s goodhearted and caring; she recognizes his flaws and calls him out on his attitude, yet offers unconditional love. There’s some really funny scenes, such as Reuben's visits to the ladies of Anna’s knitting club in an effort to apologize for his loss of temper.
Social structure plays a prominent part and Beckstrand does a great job at humanizing the Amish through the concept of underlings, something I’ve never come across in Amish fiction before … “Underling families were never completely accepted by the rest of the community. Their opinions didn’t count for much in the church – no matter how upstanding they were – and their children had a difficult time finding someone to marry.”
Spiritual journey and growth are key elements in this story, and Reuben’s transformation is so very satisfying. I loved Felty’s words to Reuben, which reflect the essence of Return to Huckleberry Hill …
The measure of a man isn’t how popular he is with his friends,
but how he treats those who have nothing to give him.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the romance and humor, it’s the spiritual gems that made this book special – because it made me examine how I perceive other people, consciously or subconsciously.
I believe Return to Huckleberry Hill is a book that all would enjoy, even if Amish fiction isn’t your thing. And if you're new to the series, this story stands alone. Highly recommended.
I was provided an electronic copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
About the Author
Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a passion for Jane Austen and Shakespeare. She and her husband have been married for thirty-two years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and soon-to-be six adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.
Guest post from Jennifer Beckstrand
Anna Helmuth is starting a knitting club, but that’s not all she’s got up her sleeve.
In Return to Huckleberry Hill, Anna Helmuth and Fern King decide to start a knitting club in order to introduce Anna’s grandson Reuben to some girls from Bonduel, Wisconsin. Anna is a very good knitter, with years of practice making baby blankets, scarves, mittens, and potholders. One of Anna’s scarves actually saved someone’s life, and her potholders have helped her make many a match.
When I was a young teenager, I learned how to knit and crochet. My mom taught me how to sew and quilt, and I made several of my own dresses in high school. I never learned to love sewing, but it was an invaluable skill that I am so grateful to have. Now that I’m a little older, I love putting together simple quilts for baby gifts and making quilts for the local children’s hospital. There is nothing like a homemade gift to say, “I care about you.”
I have a friend who is a wonderful cook. Making a delicious, beautiful meal is how she tells her family she loves them. I don’t consider myself a great cook, but I still take pride in putting something nutritious and satisfying on the table for my family.
It seems to me that some of the “home arts” that our mothers and grandmothers practiced are dying out. Who knows how to tat anymore? Or embroider? Some of these arts have died because of expediency. Who doesn’t think today’s stocking choices are more comfortable and practical than knitted wool ones? Others have died out because so few people want to learn.
What about you? Do you still practice any of the home arts that your grandmother did? What do you want to pass on to the next generation?
To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a $15 Amazon gift card to three lucky winners!! Please help by clicking on this link and sharing my Facebook post, then leave a comment here.