Mary Ellis spent her childhood near an Amish community in Ohio and continues to live in an area with a large Amish population. Her knowledge of the Amish way of life is evident in her book and I enjoyed getting to know a little about their communities and the struggles these families have in trying to maintain that simplicity. One of their rules is to have no image of themselves whether it be a portrait or photograph. This means they cannot leave the country because a passport picture would be forbidden. The book is peppered with Amish traditions.
From the cover:
Julia Miller misses her children. They are grown and have families of their own now, but her mother's heart yearns for a houseful of laughter and joy once again. She plans to gather her chicks together in a summer celebration to remember.
At the farm next door, Julia's niece, Phoebe, meets Eli Richl, a young man who charms her - and everyone else - with his exceptional storytelling ability on a rumschpringe trip to Niagara Falls. When Phoebe sketches scenes to illustrate one of his tales, Eli encourages her incredible talent, and together they embark on a lofty and unlikely business venture for two young Amish people - writing and illustrating a children's book. . . Can their love for a good story develop into something that lasts forever, or will memories of the past stand in their way?
A big thanks to Michelle at Healing Hearts for offering the book as a giveaway.