The Amish Candymaker by Laura V. Hilton is a sequel to Firestorm and it was the perfect read for a snowed in Valentines Day week! Yes here in the Pacific Northwest we have had a historic snow storm that left the shelves of local grocery stores empty the days leading up to its arrival, and kids home for upwards of a week. I was delighted to be stranded with a stack of books needing to be read (another review coming tomorrow) and this one did not disappoint for a fun, easy, and engaging read. I mean you can’t argue with a story all about fudge and rock candy set in a budding candy shop during the week that is all about spoiling those we love with sweet treats and sweater words.
Having some insights to Hilton’s writing style beforehand really helped me enjoy this story even more. This is quite different than a traditional Amish fiction because it is set in contemporary times and the language, characters’ personalities, and the plot itself reflects a more modern setting. Previously when reading Firestorm this really threw me for a loop. The setting, life choices the Amish characters made, language characters used, and even the strength (particularly in the female characters’) personalities initially felt too modern, or not truly Amish, based in my previous experience with Amish fiction. However, reading these stories reminds me that Amish people live in the same world I do today.
The independent, outspoken, strong-willed Agnes is pursuing life as a single woman and business owner, and that basic premise alone is not as “Amish-like.” That said I found those very characteristics in Agnes to be what created a believable story that is all the more interesting. Then you add in modern language, pet names like “Beautiful” and compliments that include modern terms like “sexy” and just like last time I read one of Hilton’s books I found myself stopping in my tracks. But, the truth is just like the world has changed for all of us, it is also changing for the Amish. They still adhere to many of the original standards, faith based expectations, and lifestyles that reflect their traditional faith while living in a changing world and therefore will be influenced by it.
I loved the candy shop setting, the idea of an Amish man as a traveling auctioneer, the rapid pace of the story and romance and overall it’s just a fun change of pace for Amish Fiction.
I found myself invested in the characters and really rooting for Isaac Mast as he returns home and wrestles with his past and his hopes for the future. I love the potential for future stories in this community, the recipes in the back are so fun, and I thoroughly appreciate the research that Hilton has done to stay true to the Macinack County Amish life. My take, the book is a really great twist on the traditional Amish story, is a quick read, and I am so glad I had it as a companion on these gorgeous snow days. I hope you’ll check out the recipe and giveaway below.
Thanks to Celebrate Lit Bloggers for providing me a copy of the book and for always bringing fun and new reads and authors my way. I love getting to share my honest opinion with you and sharing titles I love. Are there any authors or books I need to add to my 2019 list? Do tell.
About the Book
Title: The Amish Candy Maker
Author: Laura V. Hilton
Genre: Amish Christian Fiction
Release date: February 5, 2019
Agnes Zook finds herself on her own in a small Amish community in Mackinac County after a tragedy kills her family. Most of the Amish call her “off in den Kopf” (strange) since she’s starting her own business and forging her own way in the community instead of relying on the bishop to take care of her. Since she’s viewed as non-submissive and too-forward for an Amish woman, she’s not courted by young men in the area.
Isaac Mast is on the verge of leaving the Amish church. He’s become a sought-after auctioneer and has a thriving business, but he feels confined by the strict rules. When his brother is severely injured in a wild fire, Isaac receives a letter from his sister-in-law, begging him to come to Mackinac County to help out while his brother is hospitalized. Isaac agrees but is unsure how to manage their young children when he has weekend auctions he’s expected to attend.
Agnes may be the answer to a prayer. Sparks fly when she and Isaac meet. But could their differences help them form a deeper connection to their faith…and each other?
Click here to purchase your copy.
About the Author
Laura Hilton is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with more than a thousand reviews published on the web. Her first series with Whitaker was The Amish of Seymour, comprising Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (2012 Laurel Award winner, first place in the Amish Genre Clash), and Promised to Another; and her second was The Amish of Webster County, comprising Healing Love, Awakened Love, and Surrendered Love. Her next series was The Amish of Jamesport, featuring The Post Card, Snow Globe, and The Birdhouse. Her latest books include The Amish Firefighter, The Amish Wanderer, and Love By the Numbers. Laura and her husband, Steve, live in Arkansas with their five children, whom Laura homeschools.
Guest Post from Laura
RECIPE FOR FUDGE À LA AGNES ZOOK
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge
Courtesy of Laura V. Hilton
1 bag (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips
1 bag (10 ounces) peanut butter chips
2 cans sweetened condensed milk, divided
6 tablespoons butter, divided
20 to 30 miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or six regular-size ones broken into four or five pieces each
For the chocolate layer: Line a greased 8-by-11.5-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
In a double boiler or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, combine milk chocolate chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and 4 tablespoons butter. Stir until melted and smooth.
Pour into prepared baking dish and allow to cool to room temperature, then move to the refrigerator while preparing next layer.
For the peanut butter layer: In a double boiler or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, combine peanut butter chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir until melted and smooth.
Pour on to the milk chocolate fudge layer and press pieces of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups into the surface. If desired, group candy pieces in a grid-like fashion for easier cutting later.
Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight or until set.
Remove from refrigerator, lift out of the pan by the edges of the parchment paper, and cut into squares, with roughly one miniature peanut butter cup or piece of a cup per square.
Store in the refrigerator.
Christian Author, J. E. Grace, February 5
My Devotional Thoughts, February 5
Carla Loves To Read, February 5
Among the Reads, February 6
Girl’s In White Dresses, February 6
Britt Reads Fiction, February 6
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 7
The Avid Reader, February 7
Random Thoughts From a Bookworm, February 7
Emily Yager, February 8
Quiet quilter, February 8
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 8
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 9
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 9
Maureen’s Musings, February 9
Bibliophile Reviews, February 10
Vicky Sluiter, February 10
Through the Fire Blogs, February 11
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 11
Daysong Reflections, February 11
Texas Book-aholic, February 12
Janices book reviews, February 12
Carpe Diem, February 13
A Baker’s Perspective, February 13
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14
SusanLovesBooks, February 14
Blossoms and Blessings, February 15
Stephanie’s Life of Perseverance, February 15
Inspiration Clothesline, February 15
Inklings and Notions, February 16
Locks, Hooks and Books, February 16
Pause for Tales, February 16
Have A Wonderful Day, February 17
For the Love of Books, February 17
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 17
Little Homeschool on the Prairie, February 18
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 18
Bigreadersite, February 18
To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away a grand prize of a large and small spatula set and a $10 Starbucks gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d9a6/the-amish-candy-maker-celebration-tour-giveaway