Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: An Hour Unspent by Roseanna M. White

About the Book

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancĂ© to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

In one word, An Hour Unspent by Roseanna M. White is exquisite. I don’t know when the theme of a series and its characters have more completely captured my heart. These stories – A Name Unknown, A Song Unheard, and An Hour Unspent – are so very well written, rich with interesting historical detail, and filled with memorable characters who tug at the heartstrings. Reading the entire series in order will provide the most fulfilling reading experience, but An Hour Unspent stands alone and should be read, no matter what.

White’s stories feature women who are strong, and the clockmaker’s daughter, Evelina Manning, continues that trend. It took me a while to warm up to her, but that certainly happened as some of her insecurities and family background came to light… “The Manning house…it hadn’t been alive, not really, in fifteen years. It had just kept ticking along, because that was what gears did when set in motion.”

The heart of this story, and one of its strengths, is Barclay Pearce – founder, caregiver, leader. Barclay, who we’ve followed as a background character through the two previous books. Barclay, once a thief, now a moral leader working to assist the government as war deepens. Barclay, father to the most precious group of orphans, who emulate what real family means. Barclay, longing to find his brother who “had vanished into London’s orphanage system as surely as their mother had into its prisons.” And Barclay, a relatively new-to-the-faith Christian who struggles with the same questions that seasoned believers face as he asks, “When one’s government told one to slip back into one’s old habits…was it wrong? Or justified?” I have been hoping for and eagerly anticipating his story, and it is so much more than I could have imagined.

The element of faith is the sustaining thread that flows gently and effectively throughout. As Roseanna said in her guest post below, this is “a story about how far people should go for love.” And really, should there ever be any limit, deadline, or last chance? An Hour Unspent is an incredibly moving story and Barclay one of my favorite characters ever. While this may complete the series, I certainly hope to see this family and the younger siblings in the future.

I can’t resist adding this thought… While the cover perfectly fits the story’s theme, I would love for Barclay to have been featured on it.

An Hour Unspent is an all-time favorite, best of the best, highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House through the author and Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

About the Author

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. 

When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. 

Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. 

You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

Guest Post from Roseanna

Last year, as I finished up the writing of An Hour Unspent, my great-grandmother passed away at the age of 103. As I sat at her funeral service and listened to the heartfelt memorial raised up to her by her kids and grandkids, I realized anew that this woman had been a matriarch in the truest sense of the word. She’d taught my family for generations how to love the Lord and each other, how to serve the Lord and each other, and how to trust the Lord and each other. Grandma Seward was, in so many ways, the one who instilled in me my idea of what family really is. 

That idea—that it’s those knit together by love more than blood, and that faith is the strongest foundation—is what I built my unusual family of thieves upon in the Shadows Over England series. And strange as it is to liken my twenty-something reformed-thief hero to my 103-year-old-grandmother, Barclay Pearce is very much to his family what Maxine Seward was to mine. 

The founder. The caregiver. The leader. 

I knew as I began the series that I would write about Barclay in book three, and as I got to know him better throughout the series, I grew so excited to share his story! This is a man who led his family first into and then out of a life a crime, always for the right reasons—so he could provide for the children under his care. All he ever wanted to do was give them what he himself had lost. To show them love. To prove to them that they were worth any sacrifice. 

It was truly a blessing for me to get to write the story in which Barclay found someone to come alongside him, to appreciate and learn to understand him. To finally share what started him down this path. I loved the idea that only a reformed thief could steal the time another family needed to overcome their own trials. 

There are many historical items in the book that were such fun to explore—watchmaking of the era, the suffrage movement in England, technological advancements of the war—but at the heart, this isn’t a story about any of those. It’s a story about how far people should go for love. 

I hope you enjoy Barclay’s story as much as I did!


To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a grand prize of a signed book, a London mug, and a 48-pack Twinings tea sampler!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the image above or the link below to enter.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, October 30
The Power of Words, October 30
Back Porch Reads, October 30
Kat’s Corner Books, October 30
Faithfully Bookish, October 31
Genesis 5020, October 31
Fiction Aficionado, November 1
Among the Reads, November 1
The Lit Addict, November 1
Just the Write Escape, November 1
Multifarious, November 2
Godly Book Reviews, November 2
Madeline Clark, November 2
Christian Bookaholic, November 3
Bookworm Mama, November 3
Bigreadersite, November 3
Blogging With Carol , November 4
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 4
Life with the Tribe, November 4
The Becca Files, November 4
Kathleen Denly, November 5
Cordially Barbara, November 5
Simple Harvest Reads, November 5 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
All-of-a-kind Mom, November 6
Faery Tales Are Real, November 6
Carpe Diem, November 6
Margaret Kazmierczak, November 7
Blossoms and Blessings , November 7
Maureen’s Musings , November 8
Book by Book, November 8
Just Commonly, November 8
cherylbbookblog, November 9
Have A Wonderful Day , November 9
With a Joyful Noise, November 9
KarenSueHadley , November 10
Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 10
Baker kella, November 10
Bibliophile Reviews, November 10
Inklings and Notions , November 11
Two Points of Interest, November 11
Henry Happens, November 12
Texas Book-aholic, November 12

Spotlight/Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: A Southern Season: Four Stories from a Front Porch Swing


Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for A Southern Season: Four Stories From a Front Porch Swing by Eva Marie Everson, Claire Fullerton, Linda W. Yezak, and Ane Mulligan, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! Pull up a front porch swing and enjoy learning more about this collection from 4 great authors :)


a southern season Title: A Southern Season: Four Stories From a Front Porch Swing
Authors: Eva Marie Everson, Claire Fullerton, Linda W. Yezak, Ane Mulligan 
Publisher: Firefly Southern Fiction 
Release Date: November 1, 2018 
Genre: Inspirational Southern/Women's Fiction Four seasons. 

Four stories. Each one set in the enchanting world of the South. These are the kinds of stories your grandmother told you from a front porch swing.  

Ice Melts in Spring by Linda W. Yezak
When Kerry Graham's boss forces her to return to the Gulf of Mexico where her husband drowned years ago, she feels only spring's chill and not the warmth of the Texas sun. Can the joy of a reclusive author and the compassion of a shrimp-boat preacher thaw Kerry's frigid heart?  

Lillie Beth in Summer by Eva Marie Everson
With the untimely death of his wife, Dr. James Gillespie believes God has abandoned him. He also believes he's never met anyone like the young widow Lillie Beth, whose beloved Granny lies dying at home, and who sees a God who sweeps hope through a farmhouse window. Can a young woman whose husband died in Vietnam restore a faith that is all but dead.  

Through an Autumn Window by Claire Fullerton
Because her larger than life mother Daphne Goodwyn is dead, forty-year-old Cate returns to Memphis with one thought in mind: something always goes wrong at a Southern funeral. But surrounded by the well-mannered society that raised her, the nostalgic rites of a three-day, autumn mourning bring the unexpected gift of the end of sibling rivalry.  

A Magnolia Blooms in Winter by Ane Mulligan
With Broadway stardom within her reach, Morgan James returns home in winter to help an old friend. Maybe it s just nostalgia, but when she sees him again, an old flame rekindles. When she's called back to NYC to take the lead in a new musical, will fame be worth losing the man she loves?  

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

EXCERPT from Ice Melts in Spring by Linda W. Yezak...

      He studied her for a moment, and she raised her chin. She would not squirm under the scrutiny of the local preacher. He had no clue what she’d gone through, no inkling of how cold that Being he worshiped could be.
      “You know your Bible,” he said. “You should know that He promised He’d never leave you or forsake you. Doesn’t matter if a person is faithless to Him, He remains faithful. He can’t go back on His promises.”
      Oh, but He could, and He had, and she’d given up waiting for Him to offer some measure of comfort.


A Southern Season is a creative and delightfully entertaining collection of southern inspiration. Each story is pure delight! I’m a southern girl, so this collection hits close to home. It amazes me how the stories – encompassing the four seasons and traveling from Memphis, to the Texas Gulf Coast, to my home state of Georgia – can be so different, yet convey the essence of southern charm in their own way. I can’t pick a favorite, for they all ministered to me.

      -- Ice Melts in Spring by Linda W. Yezak – Anyone who has experienced heartbreak and doubted God’s presence will see themselves in Kerry. I was inspired by the honest faith of Mrs. Marino, the famous author Kerry worked for, and loved the bond of friendship between them.
      -- Lillie Beth in Summer by Eva Marie Everson – Another great story of faith during difficult times. And traditional south to the core! If I didn’t know better, I’d think that Everson knew a few of my ancestors. So entertaining and inspirational.
      -- Through an Autumn Window by Claire Fullerton – I recently read Fullerton’s excellent novel, Mourning Dove, so I eagerly anticipated this story. The main character, Daphne Goodwyn, is seen through the eyes of her family gathered in Memphis for her funeral. This is a wonderful relationship drama infused with some delightful southern humor.
      -- A Magnolia Blooms in Winter by Ane Mulligan – Small-town life and sweet romance in Sugar Hill, Georgia. I loved the reminder, through Morgan’s experience, that God’s plans for us are better than anything we could ever imagine.

A Southern Season is a great inspirational collection and I hope for many more stories like these.

I received a copy of this book through JustRead Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Eva Marie by Mary Denman Photography 2

Eva Marie Everson (Lillie Beth in Summer) is a multiple award-winning author and speaker. She is the president of Word Weavers International and the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference & North Georgia Christian Writers Conference.  

CONNECT WITH EVA: website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

2 Claire LvgRm 3 set 2 828 465 360-1010730

Claire Fullerton (Through an Autumn Window) is the author of Mourning Dove, Dancing to an Irish Reel, and A Portal in Time. She is a transplanted Southerner from Memphis now living in Malibu, California.

CONNECT WITH CLAIRE: website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest


Ane Mulligan (A Magnolia Blooms in Winter) writes Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea. She's an award-winning, multi-published novelist and playwright, who believes chocolate and coffee are two of the four major food groups.

 CONNECT WITH ANE: website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Linda Yezak

Linda W. Yezak (Ice Melts in Spring) lives with her husband and PB, the original scaredy cat, in a forest in Deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. Author of several novels, novellas, and short stories, she is best known for her award-winning Circle Bar Ranch series.  

CONNECT WITH LINDA: website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

a southern season giveaway


(1) winner will receive a print copy of A Southern Season, signed by all 4 authors! (US only)  

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight October 30, 2018 and last through 11:59pm November 5, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustRead for a full list of stops!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: Miles from Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti

About the Book

Book Title: Miles from Where We Started  
Author: Cynthia Ruchti  
Genre: Christian Romance/Family life  
Release date: October 16, 2018  

These no-longer-newlyweds want out of this road trip—and their marriage. Too bad they can’t find the off ramp.

Weeks away from their one-year wedding anniversary, Mallory and Connor Duncan can’t even agree on how to end their marriage. But when a last-minute crisis lands them on a three-thousand-mile road trip together, Mallory wonders if their story may not be over after all.

The trip begins to unravel before the key is even in the ignition, and an at-risk, trouble-seeking missile of an eleven-year-old is unexpectedly launched into their travel plans. Close quarters get even tighter, and the couple believes this whole experience will spell disaster.

Their first year of marriage hasn’t been the arm-in-arm togetherness they expected. How can they find a new beginning when the road ends?

Click here to purchase your copy!

Microcamper teardrop trailer

My Thoughts

     A surly preteen was ensconced behind her, grumbling under his breath. The man she loved but couldn’t keep was positioned behind the wheel. And they were towing an impossible housing situation to parts unknown.
     She couldn’t think of a single reason for peace to have appeared on the scene. But there it was.

Cynthia Ruchti is consistently among my very favorite authors, and Miles from Where We Started is her latest release in a long line of outstanding, hope-filled stories. She has the ability to craft real situations and characters – imperfect characters – place them in tough circumstances where self-reliance isn’t enough, and infuse them with the hope and grace that we all long for. Miles from Where We Started is filled with Ruchti’s lyrical prose, emotional, humorous, heartwarming, and relevant to our daily Christian walk.

Work had always anchored him when his
thoughts whipped up whitecaps of what-ifs.

It’s refreshing to read a story that focuses on the marriage rather than courtship. If ever a couple needed the hope that Ruchti beautifully reflects in everything she writes, it’s Connor and Mallory, a young couple who are almost one year into what seems to be a failed marriage. Connor lived with the 50/50 chance that he had inherited the gene for a debilitating disease, and thought he was acting in Mallory’s best interests by walking away.

Mallory had a heart for troubled teens, working to help “displaced, confused, bullied or bullying, lost or listing – God love them – teens in search of a secret passageway to hope. Some had never seen a glimpse.” With no advance warming, Connor and Mallory are given a unique road-trip/video blog opportunity, which will hopefully impact their respective businesses – and maybe impact their marriage and the life of a young boy in the process. Eleven-year-old Judah tugs at the heart and is one of the most memorable characters ever. A delightful secondary cast, rich in all they contribute, populates this novel also.

A mile of silence is longer than a regular mile.
- Day 2

As each day’s journey increases the physical miles beyond the starting point, the spiritual miles also increase. Faith, mercy, grace, commitment and second chances are a huge part of this story, skillfully woven in the narrative for maximum impact. Two things stood out to me … One, that the waterfalls they visited were symbolic of God’s peace and healing. Secondly, that directions for each stop were given in daily increments, just like God only gives us enough light for the step we’re currently on.

Miles from Where We Started is to be treasured and read slowly, so as to savor each nuance and thought. “Best of the Best” list for me!

Very highly recommended.

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

About the Author

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of hope through novels, nonfiction, devotionals, and speaking events. 

She serves as the professional relations liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers and is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences across the country. 

She married her grade school sweetheart, and the two live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.

Guest Post from Cynthia

I have a confession to make. I heart millennials. 

My other novels have had a few millennial characters. Some even played starring roles. But I knew there was more to the heart of millennials than I could gain from listening to the often unfair sighing or comedy routines about that generation. As a person, I wanted to know them better—what are they really like? What challenges do they face with which previous generations saddled them? What strengths to they offer our culture? 

Until now, I hadn’t written a story about a millennial couple whose marriage was in crisis. Like, serious crisis. I-don’t-want-to-be-married-to-you-anymore. That kind of crisis. 

As any good novelist knows, part of what we do to our characters is make the situation worse. So, millennial couple, approaching their one-year anniversary, ready to call it quits because “This marriage thing is really hard. Is it supposed to be so much work?” But what if…? What if they were forced to be together for three weeks…in a micro-camper…on America’s backroads…with an 11-year-old foster boy troublemaker…and both the husband’s AND the wife’s jobs depended on the trip’s success? 

Plot idea in hand, I set off to write Miles from Where We Started, not entirely sure when I began the journey where they would end up or how they’d get there. It was an education for me in so many ways. The impact of the turning point of the story? In the words of my millennial friends, “That’s lit!” 

Side note: I’m a big fan of a young teen musician at our church. The boy has mad skills as a keyboard artist. He approaches life as if it’s an endless game of Ninja Warrior. Why walk when you can vault into the room? Why walk up a flight of stairs when you can hop four at a time? He also sports a perpetual smile and is famous for his kindness, but his eyes give away that a little mischief may be hiding behind that smile. I asked Judah’s permission to use his name (and a little bit of his personality) as the foster child character in Miles from Where We Started. I can’t wait for him to read the part he inspired. 

Can’t wait for you to read it, too. 

Hemmed in Hope, 


To celebrate her tour, Cynthia is giving away a grand prize of the Adventure begins” large tote bag, “This way to adventure” travel notebook, “Home is Where We Park It” metal wall hanging, a teardrop camper birdhouse, PLUS a $50 gift Visa gift card…to start your adventure fund!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the image above or the link below to enter.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, October 25
All-of-a-kind Mom, October 26
Lighthouse Academy, October 26
Quiet Quilter, October 27
Christian Bookaholic, October 27
cherylbbookblog, October 28
Simple Harvest Reads, October 28 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
Remembrancy, October 28
Godly Book Reviews, October 29
Captive Dreams Window, October 29
By The Book, October 29
Maureen’s Musings, October 30
Spoken from the Heart , October 30
SusanLovesBooks, October 30
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 31
Mary Hake, November 1
Book by Book, November 1
amandainpa , November 1
Pause for Tales, November 2
Just Commonly, November 2
Baker Kella, November 3
Inklings and Notions, November 4
Bibliophile Reviews, November 4
Texas Book-aholic, November 5
Carpe Diem, November 6
A Diva’s Heart, November 7
Bigreadersite, November 7

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: When You Look at Me by Pepper Basham

When you look at me

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for When You Look at Me by Pepper Basham, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours.


when you look at me front Title: When You Look at Me
(Pleasant Gap Romance #2)
Author: Pepper Basham
Publisher: Woven Words Publications
Release Date: October 25, 2018
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Romance

An unexpected mother-to-be
A romance-leery composer
And a forgotten melody from the past that holds the keys to their futures

When Julia Jenkins' great aunt dies and leaves her a Victorian mansion with decades of secrets, Julia never expects to unearth a World War 2 espionage mystery. Struggling with her own past since an assault left her pregnant, her future as a solo parent leaves her dreams uncertain. The inheritance from her great aunt gives Julia the ability to take a step back into her future, but also sends her into the discovery of a love story she’d never anticipated. As she goes through her aunt's treasured possessions, Julia uncovers some oddly written piano music with a musical code she can’t decipher on her own. Not to worry, introverted Englishman and composer, Henry Wright, is thrust on the scene by a pair of homespun matchmakers who know the ‘right’ man for Julia’s wounded heart.

Henry arrives in Pleasant Gap with the task of composing the soundtrack for his best mate’s newest film. The Jenkins’ family’s southern welcome and gregarious personalities set his reticent nature on edge, but he’s inexplicably drawn to his gentle and music-loving hostess, Julia. Uncertain how to build a friendship with the wounded woman, and rather hopeless in communicating well through words, the bond of music becomes a bridge between her uncertainty and his awkwardness.

But her broken past and his families’ expectations build a wall much greater than the cultures that separate them. As they work together to solve a musical mystery from the grave, will an unlikely romance from the past inspire their hearts to trust in a God who’s written the perfect melody for their lives?  

PURCHASE: Goodreads | Amazon


When You Look at Me is so good that I hardly know where to begin. Pepper Basham excels at crafting stories that entertain and touch the heart, but there’s something very special and personal for me about this one. Those who have read the previous Just the Way You Are will enjoy seeing the story of Wes and Eisley continue, but this story easily stands alone.

Set in the hauntingly beautiful Appalachians, When You Look at Me is about turning to God for strength, trusting that His plans are better than anything we could devise. It’s about the love and support of family. Well written and laced with the most delightful humor, we see the Christian life lived out by imperfect people. Some of my favorite scenes are the initial meeting between Julia and Henry, interactions at Jenkins family meals, and Henry’s mountain walks outside the town of Pleasant Gap. And the fascinating historical storyline involving Julia’s Aunt Millie, a world-renown pianist, adds depth and richness.

In Julia and Henry, Basham has created two of my all-time favorite characters. Henry comes to Pleasant Gap to compose a musical score for Wes’s production, seeking inspiration by studying Appalachian culture and music. I have always been drawn to the Appalachian Mountains, sensing the “music of the mountains” along with Henry. Julia’s reticence in the company of men and Henry’s social awkwardness make them unlikely romantic leads, yet such appealing characters. I loved how Henry’s first meal with the family, when they held hands for prayer, awakened a longing for connection in him … “This place, these people, stirred his senses – his heart – to life in a way words fell short. And when words failed to comply, music swelled to the rescue.”

That I connected with Julia and Henry on a personal level is one reason why I loved this story so much. Julia and Henry are both musicians and introverts, as am I. When Henry uses music to speak where words have proved wholly inadequate, I see myself. When Julia plays the piano to wind down or convey emotions, again, I see myself. When Henry needs to retreat to a quiet place, away from a loud, glorious Jenkins family meal, I can relate. There’s such a sweet chemistry between these two, as the “something” that each senses in the other initially slowly grows into friendship and much more.

“Sometimes God uses what we least expect
to bring us what we need the most.”
- Sophie

Those words reflect the heart of When You Look at Me. Because of Julia’s past experience, two voices were fighting for control in her life – one of fear, the other of the God who says, “Fear not” – and that’s something to which most readers can relate.

I’ve enjoyed all that I’ve read by Pepper Basham so far, especially stories with Appalachian settings, and When You Look at Me just might be my favorite. The conclusion is delightfully satisfying, but with the promise of much more to come. “Best of the Best” for me!

Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through JustRead Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


pepper basham

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes historical and contemporary romance novels with grace, humor, and culture clashes. She’s a Blue Ridge Mountain native and an anglophile who enjoys combining her two loves to create memorable stories of hope. Pepper is also a mom of five, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of Jesus and chocolate. She resides in Asheville, North Carolina with her family.  

CONNECT: website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

wylam blog giveaway

(1) winner will receive:
  • print copy of Just The Way You Are (Pleasant Gap Romance #1)
  • print copy of When You Look at Me (Pleasant Gap Romance #2)
  • a plaque which says: Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life.... love comes along and brings you a fairy tale
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight October 22, 2018 and lasts through 11:59pm October 29, 2018. Void where prohibited by law. US addresses only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

Review: Gathering of Sisters by Darla Weaver

Gathering of Sisters
By Darla Weaver
Herald Press, 2018


Spend a day with sisters.

Once a week Darla Weaver bundles her children into the buggy, hitches up her spirited mare, and drives six miles to the farm where she grew up. There she gathers with her four sisters and their children for a day with their mother. In Gathering of Sisters, Weaver writes about her horse-and-buggy Mennonite family and the weekly women’s gatherings that keep them connected. On warm days, the children play and fish and build houses of hay in the barn. In the winter, everyone stays close to the woodstove, with puzzles and games and crocheting. No matter the weather, the Tuesday get-togethers of this Old Order Mennonite family keep them grounded and centered in their love for God and for each other, even when raising an occasional loving but knowing eyebrow at each other.

The rest of the week is full of laundry, and errands, and work that never ends. But Tuesday is about being sisters, daughters, and mothers.

Hear straight from Amish and Mennonite people themselves as they write about their daily lives and deeply rooted faith in the Plainspoken series from Herald Press. Each book includes “A Day in the Life of the Author” and the author’s answers to FAQs about the Amish and Mennonites.

My thoughts

Often, it’s in the seemingly ordinary that the truest gems are found, as is the case with Darla Weaver’s Gathering of Sisters. This “only child” reveled in Weaver’s extended family and their Tuesdays together. I always longed for a sister and suspect there’s a lot of truth in this thought … “Sisters are some of God’s best gifts, a happy reason not to go life solo.” And to all who delight in Amish fiction, Weaver’s non-fiction work gives realistic insight into the heart of Amish life.

The years have been kind for the most part, if relentless; and what we’ve lost of the bright merriment of youth has been amply replaced by the settled contentment of these full, ripe, mellow years lived alongside the ones who grew up with us and whose lives are forever entwined in the memories of yesterday.  (Darla Weaver)

Those words reflect the beautiful heart of Gathering of Sisters. As I read of these month-by-month experiences – fun activities based on the season, sewing, baking, laughter, reading, chatting – the phrase “stop and smell the roses” came to mind. Not just a brief, pleasurable experience, but one of finding contentment in everyday living. It was fun to read about the room at the farmhouse set aside for books and other reading material, and to be reminded how similar we all are in the things we enjoy.

Baking (a few recipes are included) and sewing are huge activities. I laughed along with the sisters when their Mom shared a list of reasons to buy fabric. Here’s just a few …

     -- It insulates the closet where it is kept.
     -- It is less expensive and more fun than psychiatric care.
     -- Because it’s on sale.
     -- It keeps without refrigeration, you don’t have to cook it to enjoy it, and you never have to feed it, change it, wipe its nose, or walk it.
     -- Buy it now, before your husband retires and goes with you on all your shopping expeditions.

Gathering of Sisters … fifteen years of Tuesdays, where Darla, Regina, Ida Mae, Emily and Amanda can simply be sisters, daughters, and friends. I enjoyed all that they had to share and the spiritual insight gleaned as they lived out their faith.


I received a copy of this book from I Read with Audra and Herald Press. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


About the Author

Darla Weaver is a homemaker, gardener, writer and Old Order Mennonite living in the hills of southern Ohio. She is the author of Water My Soul, Many Lighted Windows and Gathering of Sisters. Weaver has written for Family Life, Ladies Journal, Young Companion, and other magazines for Amish and Old Order Mennonite groups. Before her three children were born she also taught school. Her hobbies are gardening and writing.