Monday, March 9, 2020

BLOG TOUR and SERIES REVIEW - The Amish Teacher's Dilemma

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Amish Teacher's Dilemma, the third book in the North Country Amish series by Patricia Davids. Since I had the second book for review, Shelter From the Storm, I decided to combine this post with all three books in the series.

Title:   An Amish Wife for Christmas
Publisher:  Harlequin Love Inspired
Genre:   Inspirational Romance
Format:  Kindle
No. of Pages:   224
Date of Publication:   November 1, 2018
My Rating:   5 Stars


Will marriage save her family?

Christmas with the North Country Amish

Bethany Martin has until Christmas to prove to the Amish community that she can raise her siblings—including her mischievous brother—without a husband. Then handsome newcomer Michael Shetler arrives, winning over Bethany’s siblings. He might be the answer to their prayers, but Michael has a troubled past. Can Bethany love a man with secrets…even if it’s the only thing keeping her family together?

Bethany Martin is raising her teenage brother and younger sister. Bethany is also struggling to hang on to her grandfather's farm. She has additional worries, however, and one major difficulty is that her brother has been getting into trouble and their Bishop has decided to send the teen out of state to their uncle. Bethany wants to do whatever she can to help her brother and to keep her small family together. The bishop informs Bethany that if she doesn't find a husband before Christmas - a mere five weeks away - he will have no choice but to act on his decision. If things don't change quickly, Bethany stands to lose a lot, the farm, her grandfather's business and her brother.

Michael Shetler has traveled quite a ways to join a clock repair business owned by Bethany's grandfather. However, when Michael arrived, he had no idea that Bethany's grandfather has passed away. Nonetheless, the business is helping Bethany in her efforts to keep the farm going, so she allows Michael to take over the business. It turns out that he is exceptionally skilled in clock and watch repair. However, what Bethany doesn't know is that Michael is hiding a secret from his past - the fact that he is suffering from PTSD - an issue I've not seen in Amish romance. 

I so loved this story by Patricia Davids. I loved the responsibility Bethany showed to her siblings - the love was so strong, so wonderful. More impressive, however, was the sensitive and delicate way the issue of PTSD was handled. One remarkable factor that played into this situation with Michael was the fact that he found a canine friend that proved invaluable to him during his darker moments.Faith, family and love all played together nicely in this wonderful family.

I adore Amish romance novels, and this book by Davids is right up there as one of my favorite in this genre, as did the following two books in this series. 

Title:   Shelter From the Storm
Publisher:  Harlequin Love Inspired
Genre:   Inspirational Romance
Format:  Kindle
No. of Pages:   224   
Date of Publication:   September 1, 2019
My Rating:   4 Stars


An Amish marriage of convenience

Secretly pregnant and unwed, Gemma Lapp has a difficult choice—face her Amish community or raise her baby alone. But when a storm strands Gemma in the wilderness with her former crush, Jesse Crump, she knows her secret won’t be safe for long. Gemma can’t imagine trusting a man again…until Jesse proposes a marriage of convenience. Could their arrangement lead to love?


In this second book in the North Country Amish series, Gemma Lapp is returning home from Florida pregnant and unwed. She knows she must face her parents and the church and confess her sins. Gemma is unhappy that she is in this position, but is willing to face the consequences. When she runs into Jesse Crump while traveling back home she cannot believe she is all but rescued by the object of her crush. There was a time when Gemma fancied herself in love with Jesse. Her experiences have changed her now. She would just like to make it home safely. 

Jesse has traveled a bit away from home with his English driver Dale while on an equipment sale. Since Gemma has become stranded due to the fact that there is no available bus to take her the last leg of her journey home, Jesse and Dale offer her a ride. However, due to dangerous driving conditions, they are in a car accident. Dale decides to try and walk back to town to get help. Jesse and Gemma stay in the car and try to keep warm. After waiting for hours for Dale, the elements turn severe, they are forced to leave the car and to try and get to the highway. Instead of finding the road, they find an abandoned dilapidated cabin. They stay there until they are able to be rescued.

When Gemma makes it home, she confesses her sins and her condition to her parents, and then to the bishop. Ultimately, her father demands she marries to lessen the shame will bear due to being an unwed mother. Will Jesse be able to step in and marry her for the sake of convenience and give the baby a father? Will their past (and Gemma's crush) lend itself to love and a happy future?

Shelter by the Storm is a wonderful addition to the series. I have read plenty of marriage of convenience books in other romances, but never in Amish fiction. This one was done well and did a fine job of laying the groundwork for what would end up being a satisfying future with the bonds of love for Gemma and Jesse. 

Many thanks to Harlequin and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Title:   The Amish Teacher's Dilemma
Publisher:  Harlequin Love Inspired
Genre:   Inspirational Romance
Format:  Kindle
No. of Pages:   224
Date of Publication:   March 1, 2020
My Rating:   5 Stars


The teacher next door could be the mother they need…

Will she return to her old life…or risk everything to build a new one?

Taking a schoolteacher position in another district is just the change Amish spinster Eva Coblentz needs. And with her new neighbor, blacksmith Willis Gingrich, struggling to raise his three orphaned siblings, Eva is determined to help them heal. But when her relatives insist she come home, Eva must choose between the life she left…and the one she’s growing to love.


Eva Coblentz is excited to become a teacher in a newly formed Amish school. The community in northern Maine is relatively new and until now, the children have been attending an English school. As Eva is getting settled, she soon meets one of her neighbors, Willis Gingrich, a blacksmith. She discovers that Willis is raising his three younger siblings. Their parents were killed in an accident and now Willis is their guardian. All three children will be Eva's students. 

It doesn't take long for Eva to fall in love with Willis's siblings, especially his little sister. She also takes well to the challenge of teaching for the very first time. However, her brother come to visit and shares a missive with her: she is instructed to return home to care for an ailing in-law. 

Will Eva leave the family she is so drawn to or will she manage to stay where she is? It doesn't take long for Eva to feel very drawn to Willis and his family. However, there is something that Willis is hiding - not just to Eva, but to his siblings as well. I don't want to mention exactly what that is because it is most likely a spoiler. But I wanted to touch on it because it is a very serious issue for an Amish fiction. I applaud Patricia Davids to bring this into this sweet romance.

I have read and loved all three books in the North Country Amish series. The Amish Teacher's Dilemma is a remarkable story and is one that I would love to reread. Ms. Davids writes each story so well, and I must admit that I cried more than once while reading all three stories, but was always left with a warm happy feeling as each book drew to a close. 

Many thanks to Harlequin and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy the following excerpt:

The Amish Teacher's Dilemma

Willis thought he had enough time to fix the new teacher’s chair, put four shoes on Jesse Crump’s buggy horse and get supper on the table by six o’clock. It was seven-thirty by the time he came in to find his family gathered around the kitchen table with a scowl on every face. Thankfully, he couldn’t see Bubble but he was sure she was scowling, too.

“I know I’m late. One of Jesse’s horses had a problem hoof and I had to make special shoes for him. I’ll fix us something to eat right away.”

He went to the refrigerator and opened the door. There wasn’t much to see. “I meant to set some ham­burger out of the freezer to thaw this morning but for­got to do it.”

“You should leave yourself a note,” Harley said. He was paging through a magazine about horses. He was always reading. Willis fought down the stab of envy.

If Willis could write a note, then he’d be able to read one. He couldn’t do either. The most he could man­age was to write his name. No one in New Covenant knew his shameful secret. Children as young as Maddie learned to read every day but he couldn’t. No matter how hard he’d tried. There was something wrong with him.

He hid his deficiency from everyone although it wasn’t easy. He’d been made a laughingstock by the one person he’d confided in years ago. He’d never been able to trust another person with his secret. The bitter memory wormed its way to the front of his mind.

He’d been twenty at the time and hopelessly in love with a non-Amish girl. She was the only person he had told that he couldn’t read. He hadn’t wanted to keep se­crets from her. She claimed to love him, too. He had trusted her.

Later, when they were out with a bunch of her friends, she told everyone. They all laughed. He laughed, too, and pretended it didn’t matter but the hurt and shame had gone bone deep. He didn’t think anything could hurt worse than Dalene’s betrayal, but he’d been wrong. She and her friends had much more humiliation in store for him.

He pushed those memories back into the dark corner of his mind where they belonged. He had to find some­thing to feed the children gathered at his table. “I guess I can scramble us some eggs.”

“Again?” Otto wrinkled his nose.

“Bubble says to be thankful we have chickens.” Mad­die beamed a bright smile at Otto.

“Bubble can’t say anything because she isn’t real, stupid.” Otto pushed his plate away.

Willis rounded on him. “Never call your sister or any­one else stupid, Otto. You know better than that. Apolo­gize or go to bed without supper.”

“Sorry,” Otto murmured. He didn’t sound apologetic.

A knock at the door stopped Willis from continu­ing the conversation. Who needed a blacksmith at this hour? He pulled open the door and took a step back. Eva Coblentz stood on his porch with a large basket over her arm.

She flashed a nervous grin. “I’m used to cooking for more than just myself and I made too much tonight. I thought perhaps you could make use of it for lunch to­morrow. It’s only chicken and dumplings.”

Willis was speechless. Maddie came to stand beside him. “Teacher, how nice to see you.”

Eva smiled at Maddie. “It’s nice to see you again, too. How is Bubble?”

Maddie stuck her tongue out at Otto. “She’s fine but kinda hungry. We haven’t had our supper yet. Willis had to give Jesse Crump special shoes so he was going to make scrambled eggs again, but Otto isn’t thankful for our chickens.”

Eva blinked her lovely green eyes. “I see.”

“Do you?” Willis couldn’t help smiling at her per­plexed expression. “Then you’re ahead of me most of the time.”

Harley came to the door. “Let me help you with that.” He took the basket from her and carried it to the table. He began setting out the contents.

Otto pulled his plate back in front of him. “That smells great.”

Harley dished up his own and then passed the plas­tic bowls along. Willis thought his siblings were acting like starving animals. He could hardly blame them. He was going to have to learn to cook for more than him­self. Normally, he didn’t care what he ate or when he ate it. That had changed when the children arrived, and change was something he didn’t handle well.

Eva folded her arms across her middle. “I will be going so you can enjoy your meal in peace. Have a won­derful night, everyone.”

He didn’t want her to go. He stepped out onto the porch and closed the door from the prying eyes of his family. “How’s your head?”

She touched it gingerly. “Better.”

“I fixed the chair. You won’t have to worry about tip­ping over again.”

“I appreciate that.” She turned to go.

“The school board hired me to supply and install the hardware in the new building. I’ll get the rest of the coat hooks, cabinets and drawer pulls installed tomorrow. Have you had your supper? You are welcome to join us.”

“I have eaten. Danki. Don’t forget to feed Bubble. She’s much too thin.”

Willis raked a hand through his hair. “I don’t know why Maddie makes things up.”

She gave him a soft, kind smile. “Don’t worry about it. A lot of children have imaginary friends.”

“Really?” He wanted to believe her. When she smiled he forgot his worries and his ignorance.

“Absolutely. She will outgrow her invisible friend someday soon. Until then, enjoy her imagination.”

“I reckon you have seen a lot of things like this in your teaching career.” It made him feel better to know Maddie wasn’t the only child who had a pretend com­panion.

“This will be my first year as a teacher. I was actu­ally surprised that the position didn’t go to someone with more experience. Perhaps my enthusiasm won the school board over.”

“I think you were the only applicant.”

She laughed and clasped a hand over her heart. “You have returned my ego to its normal size. How can I ever thank you?”

He smiled along with her. “We are blessed to have you.”

She leaned toward him slightly. “We will have to wait until we have Bubble’s assessment of my teaching skills before jumping to any conclusions. Guten nacht, Willis Gingrich.”

“Good night, Teacher.”

She walked away into the darkness. He watched until he saw her enter her house across the way. There was something attractive about Eva Coblentz that had noth­ing to do with her face or her figure. She was the first woman in a long time who made him want to smile.

He went back inside the house. The children were still eating. He took his place at the head of the table, bowed his head for a silent prayer, then reached for a bread roll. It was still warm. He looked at Maddie. “What did you say to your teacher that made her bring food here tonight?”

Maddie shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know.”

“You must have said something.” He took a bite of his roll.

Maddie had a whispered conversation with the empty chair next to her. She looked up and grinned at him. “Bubble says that she told teacher you need a wife who is a good cook.”

He started coughing. Otto pounded on his back while Harley rushed to give him a glass of water. When he could catch his breath, Willis stared at Maddie in shock. “Eva thinks I’m looking for a wife?”

Maddie nodded.

Willis hung his head. Nothing could be further from the truth. There was no way he could keep his secret from a wife. Even if he found the courage to reveal his handicap to a woman again, there was still one pressing reason he had to remain single.

Amish ministers and bishops were chosen by lot from the married men of the congregation. At baptism every Amish fellow vowed to accept the responsibility of be­coming a minister of the faith if he should be chosen. What kind of preacher would he make if he couldn’t read the Word of God? The humiliation didn’t bear thinking about. He would remain a single fellow his entire life. That was God’s plan for him.

He turned his attention back to Maddie. “You were wrong to tell your teacher that I’m looking for a wife. I’m not. Now what am I supposed to do?”

Maddie lifted both hands. “Just tell her you don’t want a wife. How hard can that be?”


USA TODAY best-selling author Patricia Davids was born and raised in Kansas. After forty years as an NICU nurse, Pat switched careers to become an inspirational writer. She enjoys spending time with her daughter and grandchildren, traveling and playing with her dogs, who think fetch should be a twenty-four hour a day game. When not on the road or throwing a ball, Pat is happily dreaming up new stories.

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  1. I'm not sure these books would be for me but I'm glad you enjoyed them. Great reviews.

  2. Great reviews! I'm glad that you enjoyed them.

  3. Yay - glad these were winners for you

  4. Not my type of read but I am glad you enjoyed them.

  5. Glad you enjoyed this enough to read the entire series :)

    Happy reading!

  6. These aren’t my type of read but I’m glad you enjoyed them.

  7. Amazing reviews Robin, I am really glad you enjoyed reading each book in the series. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.