Monday, March 7, 2011

Book Review: Patchwork Dreams by Laura Hilton

Patchwork Dreams (Amish of Seymour V1) (Amish of Seymour County)Patchwork Dreams by Laura V. Hilton
Publisher: Whitaker House
Publish Date: April 5, 2011
Paperback, 144 pages 
Romance, Amish
Amish of Seymour County #1
ISBN: 978-1603742559

***For more information about this book, see my tour post***

My Review:
Why I read this:I like Amish stories and was fascinated with this one since the main character comes back from her Rumspringa pregnant.  Talk about conflict from the start!

My thoughts: I loved this book, it's short and a quick read, but very enjoyable.  I started it later in the evening on Friday night and finished it in the early hours of Saturday morning (and I usually don't stay up that late).  I just could not put it down.  I had to find out what would happen between Becky and Jacob.

I'll start with the characters.  I like how Becky was introduced and how different she seemed from Jacob who was a little more spirited.  But as the book goes on, more and more is revealed about Becky and how she is treated by her community and her family.  I love that her family still treated her well even though she had a baby out of wedlock which I would guess is a huge no-no in the Amish community.  Her parents were still loving and supportive and  her best friend and her mother were supportive as well.  I liked that - I am kind of turned off by the stories where the children are shunned by the family when they make a mistake.  So that was refreshing.  Jacob was great too.  He has been sent away by his father because his father does not like Jacob's choice of a girl to marry since this girl seems to want to give up the Amish community.  Only Jacob does not know this, he thinks he is being sent to help out for a time.  I really like Jacob.  He seems to make the best of his situation even when things seem really bad.  I like how he changes during the book and how he finds making Becky smile to be a challenge and how sweet he really is to her and her baby.

The plot moves quickly with the reader learning more and more about the characters and with little surprises here and there.  It is plotted well and I loved it from page one until I finished.  It's just a light and enjoyable romance.  Sweet, romantic at times and an interesting look into the Amish community.

So come and meet Becky and Jacob and the families of the Amish of Seymour County.  I can't wait to meet more of the community in books to come and hopefully see some more of Becky and Jacob as well.
My Rating: 4.75/5.0

About the Book:

Ever since returning from her rumspringa pregnant and unwed, Becky Troyer has been a pariah in her Amish community in Missouri. Even after the young mother confesses her sin and rejoins the church, her peers continue to shun her, and she despairs the unlikelihood of marrying for love. It seems that her only hope is to eventually marry a widower with a family of his own.

Becky's world changes when Jacob Miller arrives at her family's farm with the understanding that he will help with chores during the summer and then return to Pennsylvania. What Jacob does not know is that his father, who disapproves of Jacob's sweetheart, Susie, sent him away as part of a plan to introduce new blood into the Amish community of Seymour. In addition to his work around the farm, Jacob undertakes the task of cheering up the lovely yet listless Becky, inviting her to various youth gatherings and offering her the only unconditional friendship she's known.

As their relationship grows, the two find themselves inexplicably drawn to each other. Will Becky and Jacob overcome their insecurities and self–doubts so that their love can grow, or will Jacob keep his pledge to Susie and turn his back on Becky, as so many others have done?
About the Author: 

Laura Hilton graduated with a business degree from Ozarka Technical College in Melbourne, Arkansas. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, she is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with more than a thousand reviews published on the Web. Prior to Patchwork Dreams, she published two novels with Treble Heart Books: Hot Chocolate and Shadows of the Past, as well as several devotionals. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Arkansas.
FTC Information: I received this book FIRST Wild Card Tours for a honest review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Patchwork Dreams by Laura Hilton

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Whitaker House (April 5, 2011)
***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling of Whitaker House for sending me a review copy.***

My review will be coming later today.  But I can say this - I stayed up late reading this so I could finish it and no it wasn't last night :) It was because I was deeply involved in the book and wanted to know how it would end.


Laura V. Hilton is a pastor’s wife, mother of five, author, and book reviewer. Although for her formal education she studied business, books have long been Laura’s passion. Her first two novels, Shadows of the Past and Hot Chocolate, were published by Treble Heart Books; she’s also a contributor to Zondervan’s It’s The Year Life Verse Devotional. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Laura reviews primarily Amish fiction for the ACFW ezine Afictionado. She also serves as a staff reviewer for the Christian Suspense Zone. At last count she’d published over 1,000 reviews appearing on her book review site,, as well as Dancing Word, Faith Webbin, A Romance Review, and Christian Review of Books among others. A stay-at-home mom who home schools her children, Laura lives in Arkansas with her family.

Visit the author's website.


Since returning from her rumspringa pregnant and unwed, Becky Troyer has been a pariah in her Seymour, Missouri Amish community, shunned by her peers. Her world changes when Jacob Miller arrives from Pennsylvania to work at her family’s farm for the summer. What Jacob doesn’t know is that his father, who disapproves of Jacob’s sweetheart, Susie, sent him away with the hopes he’ll find a more suitable mate.

Product Details:

List Price: $6.99
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (April 5, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603742557
ISBN-13: 978-1603742559


Jacob Miller hunkered on the middle seat of a white van. He wasn’t a prisoner, but he might as well have been.

Could he say, “I quit”?

Could he say, “Stop this ride, I want to get off”?

No, to both questions.

Despair roiled in his gut as the van passed a McDonald’s on the right, then pulled off the southbound lane of Highway 60, turned left at the light, and continued down a road covered with snow. The ice-laden trees, while beautiful to behold, did nothing to settle his inner turmoil. The heat from the van’s air vents only dispelled the outer chill. This was possibly the worst thing that ever happened to him—having to leave his girl as he was tossed out like an old copy of the Amish newspaper, The Budget.

Jacob leaned forward, his black felt hat clutched in his hands, as the vehicle lurched over a bump. Or something. Seymour, Missouri, wasn’t too far from Springfield, which the driver called the “Queen City of the Ozarks.” But the trip dragged by as if in slow motion. Maybe because he’d been dreading it for so long.

Fearing it.

Having nightmares about it.

Mama’s fourth cousin twice removed lived somewhere in this rural Missouri town. What would his family be like? Would Cousin Daniel be a harsh disciplinarian like Daed? Or would he be more easygoing, like Mamm? Jacob blinked hard, remembering Mamm’s tears when he’d boarded the transport driver’s van for a ride to the bus station.

He wished he could use his contraband cell phone to call home to talk to Mamm. But his parents didn’t own a phone; there was only the community one in a shack a couple of miles down the road.

Jacob grimaced as the van rumbled past several small businesses and then turned down a narrow dirt road.

“Not too far now. A bit anxious, are you?” The driver glanced at Jacob in the rearview mirror, then reached forward and adjusted the heat. “Getting a mite warm in here.”

Jacob made a noncommittal grunt and looked away. The driver had made a couple of attempts at conversation since picking him up at the bus station, but with nausea clogging his throat, he didn’t want to risk opening his mouth to speak.

How could Daed do this to him? It seemed wrong in so many ways.

Instead of building his farm in Pennsylvania, Jacob would be working the rocky red clay of southern Missouri. If he were home, he could be drinking a mugful of hot apple cider made from the family’s orchard and then going out to prune the fruit trees, working alongside his brothers—something he’d always imagined himself doing for life.

Jacob pushed that thought away. Better not to think of what might have been.

Instead of marrying sweet Susie during wedding season, he’d be spending a year helping out a distant cousin he’d never met. Susie’s warm, brown eyes flashed in his mind. Her quick laugh. Her willingness to try new things, never content to settle for the old. Ach, he already missed her. He reached for his cell phone to send her a text message but couldn’t get a signal. No coverage.

Well, if Daed thought this would destroy their love for each other, he had another thing coming. Jacob couldn’t imagine living without Susie for a week, let alone a year.

Bare trees dotted the edges of someone’s property, and in the distance, the rolling hills made a rather hazy background picture. Pretty, though not at all like home.

Would he be able to get past the homesickness—and this streak of bitterness toward Daed—to embrace this as an adventure? A chance to learn about another part of the country, to expand his boundaries, and, more important, to minister to this needy relative and his family?

Too bad his pep talk wasn’t working. He didn’t like his bad attitude, but it seemed impossible to get rid of it.

All too soon, the van arrived in the gravel driveway of a large two-story farmhouse. The trees surrounding the house would provide plenty of shade during the hot summer months, though now they were decorated with dripping icicles. Jacob imagined the wide front porch would be a good place for shelling peas or shucking corn for the womenfolk during the harvest. A porch swing hung at one end, possibly a silent testament to a courtship from days gone by.

A whitewashed barn stood sentry several yards away. With a casual glance around, Jacob noted cows, horses, chickens, goats, and pigs, plus the usual array of dogs and cats.

The driver pulled to a stop in front of the house. Almost immediately, the front door opened, and a woman appeared, her honey-blonde hair pulled back into a bun and tucked under a prayer kapp.

She peered out at the van, then disappeared behind the door before reappearing with a wrap tossed over her slim shoulders.

Jacob opened the sliding door and clambered out of the vehicle as the driver went around to the back to get his luggage.

“Hello, Tony.” The woman stopped on the porch. She spoke to the driver, but her blue eyes were fixed on Jacob.

“Miz Becky.” The driver bumped his hat in what Jacob took as a greeting. “Brought your cousin by.”

Becky nodded. “Jah. That I see. Welkum, Jacob.”

She didn’t smile, and her eyes remained somber. Distant. As cold as the wind that howled around the corner of the house.

Jacob hoped the rest of the family wasn’t as distant. Maybe she wanted him here as much he wanted to be here.

Not so much.

Jacob straightened his shoulders. Like it or not, he was here. He pulled in a deep breath, trying to get the nausea under control. “Hello, Becky.” He hoped that the smile he aimed in her direction would convey excitement about this new venture. Might as well turn on the charm and start making the best of a bad situation.


Becky Troyer didn’t want to look at this Jacob. She didn’t want him here. Not now. Not ever. Besides, she thought the bishop had said that they were sending several boys—not just one—down from Pennsylvania to settle in this area, bringing new blood to the small district. And not the middle of February. In the spring, sometime. Or maybe early summer.

Maybe the rest were coming later. Or maybe not. All Becky knew was that Mamm had gotten letters from her family in Pennsylvania saying that they were sending Jacob out. Now. In February. Made her wonder what this man did to make his family send him away so soon. And did they really want him here, potentially defiling the community?

Ach, her attitude. Becky thought she’d gotten it all worked through, but seeing this stranger brought it all back.

Still, she couldn’t keep her eyes off this man. He was tall, even standing next to Tony, and she’d thought Tony was big. Jacob stood at least half a head higher. And he was very handsome, with sandy blond hair and eyes that were so blue, he might have fallen straight from heaven and soaked up the color from the skies as he passed through on his way to earth. He was clean shaven, too, a sign he wasn’t married. Broad shoulders. A dimple in the left cheek.

Her stomach flipped.

There was a spark of something in his eyes, a glint that reminded Becky of the mischievous boy who used to sit across from her at the one-room schoolhouse when she was young enough to go, right before he reached forward and stabbed Lindy Beuler’s braid to the wood desk with his pocketknife.

Jah, this one was trouble. Too cute for his own good, and dangerous underneath.

Becky straightened, realizing she was being rude, staring like she was. The driver had unloaded the van of luggage, along with a blue bicycle, and now he and Jacob stood there next to the vehicle, both of them staring up at her. Behind her, her younger sisters jockeyed for position, trying to move her out of the doorway so they could see.

Becky forced herself to move and felt the hem of her skirt brushing against her bare ankles. “Ach, sorry. Please, welkum, welkum. Won’t you kum in? Daed is in the barn, and Mamm has gone to a quilting, but she should be home soon.” She gripped the shoulder of whichever sister was pressed up against her and looked down. “Abbie, run to the barn and tell Daed that Jacob has kum.”

Abbie twirled a lock of hair around her finger, stared at Jacob for a second longer, then took off at a run toward the barn.

Jacob reached down and picked up some of his bags with one hand while removing his felt hat with the other. “Nice to meet you, Becky.” His accent was different from those around here. As he climbed the steps, Becky moved further from the door, allowing him access to the house. He’d be sleeping in the dawdi-haus next door, in the spare room upstairs across from Grossmammi and Grossdaedi’s room, but Grossmammi had gone to the quilting bee with Mamm, and Grossdaedi had taken the buggy to the store an hour ago. She didn’t feel comfortable sending him over there for the first time when no one was home.

It was getting hard to breathe with Jacob standing so close to her. She backed up another step and noticed that her fourteen-year-old sister, Katie, held the front door open. “Go on in. I’ll make you some tea. Or coffee. Whichever you’d like.” She looked back at Tony, who had followed Jacob with another bag. “Can you stay for lunch?” she asked him.

“Oh, no, no. Have to get back to the missus. Thanks for the offer. We’ll be seeing you, Miz Becky.” He placed the rest of Jacob’s luggage inside the door.

Following Abbie, Daed approached from the barn, so Tony turned away to speak to him. Becky followed Abbie, Katie, and Jacob inside to the warm kitchen. The scent of bread baking filled the air. Pans of cookies waited to go into the oven as soon as the bread was done. Daed’s sweet tooth always expected a couple cookies when he came in from the fields, and their supply had run low.

Katie had already seated Jacob at the long table and had filled the kettle with water, putting it on the stove to heat. Becky grabbed some potholders, peeked inside the oven, and checked the bread. It was nicely browned, so she opened the door and removed the five pans one at a time.

“Care for a crust, Jacob?” Katie lifted a knife.

“Jah, sounds good.”

Becky glanced around in time to see his nod. But his eyes weren’t on Katie. Instead, they were locked on her.

Her heart pounded. Could he feel the strong attraction that made her almost forget to breathe? She told herself to concentrate on the cookies so that she wouldn’t drop them or burn herself on the hot oven rack. But she couldn’t look away. Instead, she wished she could pull up a chair, plunge into his friendship, and delay the inevitable.

The door banged open. Cold wind swirled in with her father.

“So, Jacob. You have arrived. You had a gut trip, jah?”

“Jah.” Jacob’s jaw lifted, his gaze still holding Becky’s. Then he glanced away. She looked at the open oven door and silently slid the tray of cookies inside the oven. She knew Daed had seen the whole exchange. And she knew what he thought.

She didn’t turn to check. After all, he’d be wrong. No man would want her. Not when he learned the truth.

It's Monday What Are You Reading - March 7

Come post weekly and see what others are reading too just so you can add to your tbr - I always do! For more information see Sheila at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books and join in! 

Books Completed Last Week 
Reading Now: 
  • Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton (audiobook)
  • Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran (review)
  • Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich (library, audiobook)
  • The Kensei by Jon Merz
  • Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
  • The Emperor's Tomb by Steve Berry
  • Red Wolf by Liza Marklund

Summary -
Good reading week, though baseball will be starting up this coming week and I'm not sure if it will mean more reading time or less.  We'll see.  I have two boys playing this year and it should be interesting.  They both start practice tomorrow night in two different places.  I am going with the younger son and will probably stay through practice to keep an eye out (he can be a wanderer and he's only 5) so that should allow for some reading time, while peeking and making sure he is still where he is supposed to be.  We'll see - I have a lot of good books coming up for review, plus some bonuses I have received and I can't wait to get to them :)

Best of the weekLove You More by Lisa Gardner, but all were winners this week!

How was your week?