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To marry Gideon Wittmer. That is Ella Hilty's deepest desire. But before Ella can marry Gideon, Ella's 1918 Ohio Amish community finds itself swept up in controversy when government authorities demand Amish children must attend consolidated public schools rather than their one-room schoolhouse.
Englischer and schoolteacher, Margaret Simpson had given up thoughts of marriage years ago, and on the whole, she is content with her peaceful life. But a budding romance and conflict with the neighboring Amish community lead Margaret down a path she never imagined possible.
As the conflict continues, the Amish parents stand their ground against the progressive laws that threaten to erode their culture beyond recognition.
Soon Margaret puts her last change for romance at risk for the only choice her conscience can abide, and all eyes turn to Ella to bring unity between the two communities.
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Shiloh Run Press
Dimensions: 8.38 X 5.50 X 0.50 (inches)
Series: Amish Turns of Time
Olivia Newports novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and twentysomething children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.
KavRCanadaGender: female5 Stars Out Of 5CompellingNovember 30, 2015KavRCanadaGender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Not only did Newport engage this reader, she held her captive right to the very end. Seriously compelling. I couldn't put it down. I lost sleep over this book. Both because I stayed up late reading and because I dreamed about the story when I finally did drift off. Applying cucumber slices to my puffy eyes right after I finish writing this review. :-)
If you're not an Amish reader but you love historicals don't be shy, give Brightest and Best a try. Two heroines, one Amish, one English, will keep both kinds of readers happy. And 1918 is an interesting time period for an Amish novel. In many ways, the Amish aren't so very different from their English neighbours. Day to day life is pretty similar between the two groups -- however modern conveniences such as the automobile and the telephone are beginning to create a wider gap between them.
And I found the whole school issue which is at the core of this story utterly fascinating. Newport tells it from various viewpoints, both Amish and English and it pulled at my heartstrings because I know that many Amish communities went through what this one did before they were finally allowed to educate their own children. I was outraged, appalled, devastated...pretty much emotionally spent by the time I reached the end.
This is as much a book about human rights as it is about the Amish at the turn of the century. A reader can make some interesting parallels to similar modern day stories seen in the media the last few years, which really got me thinking. Definitely the kind of book that has plenty of starting points for discussion so it would make an excellent book club choice.
Oh -- and let's not forget the romance. Sweet and yearning, Gideon and Ella's love story is complicated by the growing dissent surrounding them. Their happily ever after seems as illusive as the hoped for Amish schoolhouse. Page-turning to the very last delectable page.
jenilee220OhioAge: 25-34Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Sweet Amish ReadOctober 17, 2015jenilee220OhioAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I sometimes feel like Amish books tend to be the same story. But this book brought a new, fresh feel to an Amish story. I appreciated the real characters and the trials they face. I appreciated the realistic situations, the slight humor and the wonderful characters. A great read this fall!
Rhonda Nash-hallMadison Heights VAAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5took me back in timeSeptember 14, 2015Rhonda Nash-hallMadison Heights VAAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5If it isn't bad enough that the Amish have a one-room schoolhouse in desperate need of repair and the schoolteacher is marrying which means that a new teacher must be secured quickly, the entire roof collapses on the Parent Committee as they examine the school to determine what repairs must be made. I love that the author, Olivia Newport, has researched the struggle the Amish experienced in seeking their religious freedoms in educating their children and used it as a theme for this book in the series. It reminded me a great deal of my own grandmother, who was born in 1901 and was only allowed to attend school through the eighth grade as only rich children could afford to go to one of the regional boarding high schools in Virginia. She wanted to go to school so badly that she was allowed to attend the eighth grade twice so that she would not have to quit that year. Some of the Amish young people in this story have a great desire to learn, even though their parents have plans for them to remain at home after 8th grade to learn the trades of the parents or become homemakers in the case of the young girls. This book truly took me back in time to another period and certainly a trying one for many, Amish and English. I worked as a public schoolteacher for 14 years and wonder if students today truly appreciate the opportunities for learning they have in our public schools.
I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers of both Amish and historical fiction.
I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
KatrinaWestern KyAge: 45-54Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Brightest and BestSeptember 8, 2015KatrinaWestern KyAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Olivia Newport and Shiloh Run Press has released the third installment in the Amish Turns of Time series. The setting for this story is Geauga County, Ohio in 1918.
When this book arrived I thought it had a beautiful cover and the description about the story looked good. I opened the book and was immediately swept away.
Ms. Newport introduces us to a community that is divided. The war is winding down in Europe and this quiet community is getting ready to face a war at home between the Amish and the English government. This is a story about the separation of church and state.
The Amish have sent their children to a public school for years, but has had input in what was taught to their children. Unfortunately Ms. Coates, the school teacher, has called a meeting about the dilapidated conditions of their school house when the unthinkable happened, one of the walls collapsed. The superintendent and school board have decided to not rebuild the school, but bus the children from outlying areas to the school located in town.
The Amish people are distressed that their children are not exempt from the rules and regulations handed down from the board. Not only will their children be exposed to the English world with no control, but they must also attend school until the age of 16. They are a peaceable community and look for ways to work through their differences. When no resolution is forthcoming they do what they think is best for their children.
I was drawn to the character of Margaret Simpson. She is a teacher at the consolidated school and seeks to understand the differences between the Amish and the English community. She is a true peacemaker, but sees trouble as the result of her actions of trying to do the right thing.
I really enjoyed this story.
I was drawn in immediately to the plot line and the characters. It was like watching a good movie in that it was hard to stop or put down. I would recommend it to anyone who loves Amish stories or a good historical story. I received this story from the publisher for a honest opinion without bias or outside influence as stated above
debhgrtyPlymouth MAAge: Over 65Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5Debs Dozen: Educating the Brightest and Best. A public school education? Or Amish ways?September 4, 2015debhgrtyPlymouth MAAge: Over 65Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Debs Dozen: Educating the Brightest and Best. A public school education? Or Amish ways?
Olivia Newports Brightest and Best is a brilliant book with totally believable characters. The story rehearses the conflict enmeshing Amish people as they sought to win the right to educate their children as they saw best. Their opposition? The requirement of the state to force public education on all children through age sixteen. The time is 1918, just as WWI is ending; the setting is Geauga County, Ohio, where the first recorded conflict took place. This conflict continued until a Supreme Court ruling in 1972.
As I read the book, I was caught up in the conflict strongly on the side of the Amish. To have the state force parents to educate their children in a manner that would violate their religious beliefs is untenable to me. Im not in favor of someone using religious beliefs as an out but I am in favor of allowing parents to determine what is best for their children. That is, as long as what they do does not harm those children in any way. Today we face the same issues with the conflict between public education and those parents who choose to homeschool their children. And we also see the increasing conflict between the government and those who stand for their religious beliefs.
Ella Hilty wants nothing more than to marry Gideon Wittmer and become the mother to his three childrenGertie, Savilla, and Tobias. Before they can marry, the conflict over education erupts when their one-room schoolhouse becomes unsafe for occupancy and their English teacher, Miss Coates, leaves to be married. Margaret Simpson, a public school first grade teacher, is given the assignment to persuade the Amish families to send their children to the consolidated school. Before she makes much headway, the superintendent of schools takes matters into his own hands and involves the sheriffs office to attempt to force compliance. Margaret chafes at the action, in her heart of heart believing the Amish are right.
Youll meet others in the community: Lindy Lehman, a talented woodworker who chose not to join the Amish church, and is estranged from her sister, Rachel, who is married to Ellas daed, Jed. David, Rachels son, who wants nothing more than to continue his schooling, but has passed eighth gradethe age at which Amish children stop their schooling. If youre like me, youll fume at the treatment the Amish received just because theyre different. And then youll blush in chagrin as you realize many people today feel exactly the same way as the English in Geauga County didonly about those of other racesand religions. Brightest and Best (Amish Turns of Time) is as relevant to situations in 2015 as it is in describing the conflict in 1918. Five stars!
To quote her bio, Olivia Newports novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and two twenty-something children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is. More information about Olivia can be found on her website, OliviaNewport.com.
Shiloh Press (an imprint of Barbour Books) gave me a copy of Brightest and Best in exchange for my candid review.
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