UPON A WINTER'S NIGHT
Harper’s thorough knowledge of the Amish community lends credibility and authenticity, providing details about the families and how they might handle the outside world — including law enforcement, business, medicine and holiday traditions. A suspenseful murder plot brings complexity, creating the opportunity for Josh and Lydia to explore their mutual feelings. They share emotions that are genuine and new, adding tension to the developing relationship because Lydia wants to respect her upbringing. The struggle Lydia faces between obeying her parents and honoring her heart shapes her into a strong and intelligent woman, and a sweet ending leaves plenty of room for future Amish Home Valley stories.
Lydia Brand works for Josh Yoder and helps care for his animals, especially the camels. She harbors a secret attraction to her boss. He lived away from the Amish for several years, so he’s different from the more traditional men in her community. While searching for a lost camel during a sudden snowstorm, Lydia discovers a frozen woman lying dead in the snow and goes to Josh for help. The woman belongs to the powerful Stark family, and her death may be connected to Lydia’s adoption as a child. When vandals strike and another woman is found dead, it seems that someone will do anything to keep their secret quiet. (MIRA, Nov., 384 pp., $7.99)