by Lisa Jones Baker
GENRE: Inspirational (Amish)
Annie Mast and Levi Miller were childhood best friends until his father was shunned. Now, 10 years later, Levi returns to Arthur, Il, and he and Annie discover their bond is as strong as ever. Soon they begin imagining a future together, but that's unlikely to happen. Levi is part of the English world, and Annie is Amish. But together, with love on their side, they may just find their way to an answered prayer.
Annie thought of her beloved mentor. As she focused on his deep red barn in the distance, she pictured him with his faithful Irish setter, Buddy, at his side while he carefully dreamed up beautiful hope chests. But Sam’s weren’t ordinary designs; each was custom-made for the person who ordered it.
He was a talented artist. Something unique about his work made his art come alive. She had never seen anything like it.
Others had tried to do what Sam did, but no one, so far, had succeeded. The chests were his specialty; he had inherited his trade from his father and granddad. In fact, Sam was well-known throughout the United States for his ability to craft unique art into beautiful walnut, oak, and cherry lids.
The chest he’d built for Annie was a precious reminder of their longtime friendship. And her love and respect for him had grown after the death of his wife. Annie had watched his weight drop and his smile lines disappear. Thank goodness he was okay now. And she looked up to Sam as if he were family.
When they talked, decades of age difference didn’t matter. She did most of the chatting, but Sam spoke, too. He related childhood stories. He loved reminiscing about the horses that had driven his buggy over the years. About the coldest winter he’d ever known. About Esther’s butterscotch pie. He’d lost her to pneumonia.
He’d put his most creative thoughts to work as he’d etched an image of the words of a simple sponge cake recipe into oak that had come from his family’s lumber mill.
Since Esther had passed some years ago, old Sam had produced more custom-made hope chests than anyone else in all the Amish communities combined. These works of art were passed down from generation to generation. Customers from all over ordered from him.
Annie walked through the open barn door as she always did. “Old Sam! It’s Annie!”
She bounded inside at the same time Sam waved a welcoming hand, proudly displaying her platter of sponge cakes for him to admire.
Sam grinned and stepped toward her to retrieve the platter. As she handed it to him, Annie smiled. Sam plucked one, took a bite of the small cake, and nodded his satisfaction. She made sure Sam never went hungry. And, in return, as long as she had him, she could confide whatever was on her mind. Today she needed to talk to him about something. Someone, actually: Levi Miller.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Lisa Jones Baker is a multi-published author with Kensington Books. Her debut book of THE HOPE CHEST OF DREAMS series, REBECCA’S BOUQUET, won a Publishers Weekly starred review. A former teacher with a BA degree in French education, Lisa has been on 5 out of 7 continents, is a dog lover, enjoys positive thinkers , volunteering in her church’s food pantry, and strong female characters.
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