Linda Byler grew up Amish and is an active member of the Amish Church today. She is the author of the bestselling Amish romance novel series, Lizzie Searches for Love. Linda is also well known within the Amish community as a columnist for a weekly Amish newspaper.
The setting is the beginning of an Amish settlement in colonial America in the forests of eastern Pennsylvania. There, a young Amish couple, Hans and Kate Zug, are in their ninth year of marriage, still waiting to have a child. Then, one April morning, Kate finds a Native infant, wrapped in deerskin and placed next to the spring where she went to fill her water bucket.
Kate and Hans cherish Hester, despite the pointed question of Hans’s mother??What makes you think you can raise her Amish, with her Indian blood?”
Struck by his daughter’s unusual beauty, Hans insists on choosing the fabric for her handmade dresses. And when his and Kate’s first son is born a year later, Hans despairs of his homely face and nearly bald head. In fact, Hans continues to give his fullest attention and affection to Hester, even as eight more children are born to him and Kate.
Hester glows as she grows, an unmistakable beauty both inside and out, and charms her adopted Amish community. But then, an elderly Lenape woman hands Hester a package of medicinal herbs to rout an infection that is threatening Kate’s life. A trust passes between the wizened and the youthful Native women. In that moment, Hester recognizes that she belongs to two worlds, both intent on possessing her. When Amish Indian Hester realizes that she must leave her tension-filled home for her sake and her father’s, she takes only two possessions: the leather-bound book of remedies left for her by the old Lenape woman and her memories of the Amish ways.
Mary Stoltzfus is thirty years old, splashed with freckles, and unmarried. In her Amish world, that qualifies her to be called an old maid. She is living her quiet schoolteacher life in the Lancaster County Amish community when she gets a surprising invitation in the mail one day. Would she come to Montana to teach?
Of course not, she decides, fully at home in eastern Pennsylvania, where she can go out to eat in dozens of restaurants, do her laundry in a newfangled washer that’s powered by compressed air, and hire a driver if she wants to go farther than her horse and buggy can comfortably take her. What is there to do in Montana, she sniffs.
But soon she becomes annoyed by the cracks in the floor of her one-room schoolhouse, the noise of the nearby road, and the two eighth-grade boys who try to make toilet paper cigarettes and nearly burn down the privy.
Before long, Mary is on Amtrak, “just to take care of her curiosity,” she explains to her mother. She arrives at a desolate station and meets Arthur Bontrager, who had signed the invitation and has come to introduce her to Beaver Creek School, dirt roads, and the fancy shed where she would live. When she settles into this world of mountain ranges and pine-tree majesty, her old buried questions—about why no man had ever been her match—have come along to live with her. After she’s injured by wild dogs on her walk home from school, Mary faces new questions. Is she weak if she accepts a Bouvier des Flandres dog from Arthur’s friend? Who is the young woman in the photo at Arthur’s house? And why does she suddenly care? Does she really belong back in Lancaster?
Who is responsible for setting the barn fires that continue to keep the Amish of eastern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on edge? Who is responsible for seeing that they are stopped?
In this third and final novel in the Lancaster Burning series, author Linda Byler takes us inside the home of Davey Beiler, the leader of this Amish district. He clearly feels the heat in more ways than one. Some of the younger members of his church are ready to testify against the man who has allegedly started at
least several of the fires. Davey counsels patience and forgiveness.
But when Sarah, Davey’s daughter, spots flames late one night in the widow Lydia’s barn, Sarah refuses to let the fire win. She gets the horses out just in time, but not before a beam explodes overhead, knocking her to the ground as the barn rages in flames all around her. In that moment, Sarah’s life ?turned darker than black.” Gone were her lovely good looks, her life as a teacher, and perhaps the attention of the two young men who had been so drawn to her.
No one suffers more torment than Davey, who wonders if he was really responsible for Sarah's accident. If he had agreed to have police guard the Amish farms, as some wanted, Sarah would not have been hurt.
The Amish may be peace-loving, but they are not without their tensions. Author Byler, who is herself a member of the Amish, writes a tautly told story, full of dark fears, difficult dilemmas, and deep love.
Barns are burning in Amish author, Linda Byler's, second book in the ‘Lancaster Burning' series, and no one knows who's doing it or why. Can Sarah Beiler end the terror that is pulling apart her community, even as her own heart is pulled between two young men? Barns are burning in the Lancaster County's Amish community, and no one knows who's doing it or why. Sarah Beiler's barn was the first to burn and it was quickly followed by two other barn fires. The entire Amish community is on edge and wrestling with how they should respond to these seemingly random crimes. Sarah thinks Ashley, whom she's learned to know at the local farmers market, knows more about the fires than she will admit. But Sarah can't convince her to share her secrets. Should the Amish consider police protection as Sarah's cousin, Melvin, insists, or should the community continue to follow their traditional peaceful approach to violence as Sarah's father, Davey, the local minister, counsels? Then another barn burns, this one more devastating than any other, and the community again rallies around the distressed family. Even in the midst of this chaos, life must go on for Sarah and her family. But now it feels as if nothing is normal. The local Amish school board asks Sarah to take over teaching a school where the students are out of control. How will she handle obstinate Amish kids and their defensive parents? Matthew is asking if the Amish church is the right fit for him. Will Sarah follow him if he decides to leave the community? Sarah's mother can't stay out of it and keeps urging Sarah to pay more attention to Lee, the well behaved Amish man, who helps anyone in the community in need. How will Sarah respond to all of the forces that are pulling her in different directions? She is Davey's daughter, after all, raised to love and respect the long-held traditions of her people. But will the outside forces become so great that she gives up her parents' ways and decides to leave her community? Will her father agree to police protection for the vulnerable Amish farmers especially for those who are widowed—or continue to insist that God will provide?
One barn fire might be an accident, the Lancaster County Amish community believes. But two barns burning just weeks apart is suspicious. Sarah Beiler wants to protect her family, even though they don't like Matthew, her new boyfriend. Book 1 in Amish author, Lydia Byler's, series"Lancaster Burning." The Amish community of Lancaster is being terrorized by barn fires. David and Malinda Beiler's barn was the first to go. The clues are sparse, but Levi, the Beilers' oldest son, happened to be awake in the middle of the night and spotted a white vehicle driving past the house with its lights off. Sarah, David and Malinda's daughter, observes her parents' agony. Not only is she afraid, and wishing she could protect her parents, she's entranced by the flirtatious Matthew Stoltzfus. He's dating her friend, Rose, but when he tenderly bandages Sarah's hand after she burned it at the barn raising, she wonders who he's really interested in. When a second Amish barn burns for suspicious reasons, the Amish grow more restless. "We're too quiet too much of the time," a group of Amish men tell David Beiler, their minister. Seriously considering police protection, the increasingly tense community questions their traditional nonresistant approach to violence. Sarah now finds herself at odds with her mother over her choice of boyfriends and uncertain about how to respond to the attention of Lee, a newcomer to Lancaster. Not only that, she wonders if her dad is a wise enough leader as her community reels from within and without. Everyone is on edge as the losses mount and suspicions undo the usual steadiness of these people.