All Souls' Day. For me, the first of November always seems to have a sense of hushed calm--maybe because of the busy-ness of the preceding week. And today the clocks went back, too, which gave the morning an even greater sense that nature was taking a deep breath before winter.
Winter means Christmas--and in only a few more days, our Amish Christmas Miracles collection will be in your hands!
When I was working up my story, "The Heart's Return," I knew only a couple of things. It would be set in my fictional Whinburg Township so that I could wave to my characters from earlier books as they rattled past in their buggies, gaze out at the fields where the men were cutting silage, and admire the beautiful work in the quilts coming out on beds and sofas as the weather got colder.
But how to structure the story? And of all the people in Whinburg Township, who would it be about? Well, I already had a recurring character for whom everyone has been expecting romance: Malinda Kanagy. Blonde, calm, and with a natural sense of authority, of course she would attract the new man in town. And what if that new man was actually an old flame of my heroine, Anna? And what if I could somehow wrap my favorite Jane Austen novel, Persuasion, into the plot?
And "The Heart's Return" was born!
His first choice … her second chance.
Eight years ago, Anna Esch’s parents discouraged Neil Wengerd’s courtship. The family had just had a major blow, and Anna’s leaving would have led to grief and suffering. But obeying her mother’s wishes, Anna said not a word, only refused Neil in terms that wounded him past bearing. Hurt and angry, he left Whinburg Township … and took Anna’s heart with him.
Now Neil is back for a wedding and staying with his sister and brother-in-law, who have rented the farm from Anna’s father. The whole district is buzzing. Not about Anna and Neil—everyone’s forgotten they ever courted. But about Neil and Malinda Kanagy, who is everything Anna isn’t.
Can Anna stand by and watch his family make the perfect match for the man she’s never been able to forget? Or will she realize in time that Christmas is the season for God’s gifts and second chances?
I hope you like this story as much as I do!