Hannah’s Courtship by Emma Miller
Looking back over her life, Hannah Yoder could see how blessed she’s been. She had married Jonas, the love of her life, born a house full of daughters, five of whom are presently married with Rebecca preparing to be married in the Fall. That left her with Susanna, her special Down’s Syndrome child, and Irwin, her foster son. She lived in a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse on a prosperous farm in an Old Order Amish community in Delaware. Now she was a widow at fifty. To supplement the farm’s income and to remain somewhat self-sufficient, she has taught in the local Amish school for the past five years. She is surrounded by good friends, family and a close-knit community. But even with all that, sometimes she felt something was missing.
Albert Hartman was Seven Poplar’s veterinarian. He had worked hard to study for and establish his practice in this community. Time has slipped by before he’d hardly noticed, and now he was in his mid-fifties, unmarried and alone, only months after his father had passed. He loved his work, sharing the responsibilities with his nephew John, but the spark had gone out from his life. What was all that effort for anyway? What did he have to live for? John and his wife Grace had suggested he take up a hobby. He gave it some thought and felt he would enjoy raising alpacas for fun.
As the local vet, Albert had known Jonas and Hannah Yoder for many years. They were neighbors. He was respected in the Amish community even though he was himself Mennonite. One day he visited Hannah to check on her pony; he asked her if he could board his small herd of alpacas in her second barn. It was empty now that Jonas and most of the daughters were gone. He and Hannah agreed to exchange veterinarian care of her stock for the boarding and acreage he needed. His own property had no barn or outbuildings. After this exchange, Albert stopped by twice a day to care for his animals. Sometimes Hannah would stop in to help him or watch the alpacas. If Rebecca and Susanna were home, she would ask him to share a meal with them. The Amish had strict rules about men and women socializing together.
They found plenty to talk about. Susanna has been friends with a neighbor boy since they moved into the small community. Their son David also had Down’s Syndrome. It soon became evident that the two young people liked each other enough to want to do what every other young Amish adults did–they wanted to court. Hannah didn’t know what to do about it. She talked to friends and Albert about her concerns and prayed for wisdom. In all the uncertainties of her situation, Albert wanted to be there for Hannah. It finally occurred to him how much he cared for her. He wondered if she cared for him the way he did for her. Could a Mennonite man court an Amish woman?
The author, Emma Miller, has given her readers an intriguing glimpse into an Amish community and how they handle unique circumstances. Some of her other books are about Hannah’s daughters: Courting Ruth, Miriam’s Heart, Anna’s Gift, Leah’s Choice, Redeeming Grace, Johanna’s Bridegroom, and Rebecca’s Christmas Gift. With deep insight into human nature, first hand acquaintance with country life in Delaware, and understanding the special dynamics that accompany large families, this story stirred my heart. I could feel with Hannah the ache of a mother’s heart over a special child with the desire to hold on too tightly, and to be overly protective.
What I found most compelling about this story was the sweet romance that developed between Hannah and Albert. Hannah is wise and kind, and Albert is strong, responsible and head over heels in love with her. It was heartwarming to read just to what lengths he would go to marry her. If you enjoy reading Amish books and good romance stories, then you will love this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of Harlequin Love Inspired. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”