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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Guest Blogger Mary Ellis and Living in Harmony


MARY ELLIS grew up near the Amish and fell in love with them. She has now written nine bestselling novels set in their communities. When not writing, she enjoys gardening, bicycling, and swimming. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Her debut Christian book, A Widow's Hope, was a finalist for the 2010 ACFW Carols.

by Mary Ellis
Published by Harvest House


A Tragedy…a Refusal…a Shunning
Will Their Young Love Survive?

Amy King—young, engaged, and Amish—faces life-altering challenges when she suddenly loses both of her parents in a house fire. Her fianc√©, John Detweiler, persuades her to leave Lancaster County and make a new beginning with him in Harmony, Maine, where he has relatives who can help them.

John’s brother Thomas and sister-in-law, Sally, readily open their home to the newcomers. Wise beyond his years, Thomas, a minister in the district, refuses to marry Amy and John upon their arrival, suggesting instead a period of adjustment. While trying to assimilate in the ultraconservative district, Amy discovers an aunt who was shunned. Amy wants to reconnect with her, but John worries that the woman’s tarnished reputation will reflect badly on his beloved bride-to-be.

Can John and Amy find a way to overcome problems in their relationship and live happily in Harmony before making a lifetime commitment to each other?

Readers, buy your copy of Living in Harmony today!


What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I just returned from researching the Amish and Old Order Mennonite communities of Kentucky to prepare me to write book three of the series, A Little Bit of Charm. I traipsed all over Barren and Casey Counties in search of horses and buggies and those who prefer a slower pace of life. I stayed at the home of my best friend in Somerset and took along her three grand-daughters to keep me company. They received a priceless education that surpassed anything found in textbooks. And having them with me opened more doors and lowered many people’s defenses. Who could resist three charming little girls?

Although I live within an hour of the largest population of Amish in the country, a writer truly needs to visit the area, since there are so many regional differences. For instance, in Waldo County, Maine, the setting of book one, Living in Harmony, the Old Order Amish allow no rumschpringe, no courting buggies, no youth socials (everyone is present for all get-togethers) and no working in the English world. However, their church services are in English, not Deutsch, to encourage “drop-ins” from the local community.

These Old Order Amish have an ecumenical outlook on Christianity, similar to New Order Amish (which makes up only ten percent of the population. And they built a meetinghouse to use for church, Sunday School (yes, they have it on “off” Sundays) weddings and fund-raising events, instead of meeting in each other’s homes. I find interesting stories in every community I visit.

Last fall I researched the Amish of Audrain, Randolph and Boone County, Missouri, in preparation to write book two of the series, Love Comes to Paradise. I found the Missouri Plain believers to be the most private and reserved of all I’ve met thus far. But one lovely wife and mother who ran an in-home bakery provided me with plenty of information and a few amusing tales. Just when you thought you had these fascinating people figured out…

I hope you will look for book one of the New Beginnings series, called Living in Harmony, just released.

Hurry and subscribe to my newsletter at by August 16. I will be giving away 10 free copies of Living in Harmony to newsletter subscribers.

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Thank you, Mary, for sharing with us today.

Reader Question: What are you doing this year for vacation? Or if you've already gone, what did you do?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a free autographed copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.


Mary Ellis said...

thanks so much for inviting me, Tiffany. You have a beautiful blog. And lovely readers and guests.

Amy C said...

We have not or will not vacation this year. We have a toddler and an infant. So finances are limited right now. I'm hoping, maybe dreaming, of going to Colonial Williamsburg next year.

Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

EJ said...

Wow - I didnt realize that there were any Amish in Maine. I'm an Arizona native who moved to Iowa 5 yrs. ago - so still have lots of places in the midwest to explore. Last June a friend from church was getting married in Ohio, so I mapped out a week long trip for our family that took us first to Chicago, then to Shipshewana, IN; then to Holmes County, OH. We ended our week long adventure in Western Ohio just in time for the wedding. Elaine