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?
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t read much Amish fiction. That might all change after The Amish Candy Maker. The snarky banter between Agnes and Isaac had me laughing several different times. Agnes does not wear rose-colored glasses to view the world, but she does love some pink tennis shoes. There was a powerful story underneath the sarcasm. Agnes thinks God no longer hears her. How often do we feel that God no longer listens to our prayers? I found myself sympathizing with Agnes and Isaac. Isaac carries a great burden of guilt which is easily relatable. It has taken over his life to the point that he doubts his own place in the world.
The Amish community of Mackinac County was filled with characters that I wanted to learn more about. Bishop Miah certainly has his work cut out for him with people like Agnes and Naomi around. He seems up to the task, however, if his current spying abilities are any indication.
Both the setting and the plot were enjoyable. Everything moved at a steady pace and I never noticed any drag or slowing down of the storyline.
Both Agnes and Isaac have a great capacity for love. Agnes fears no man will ever love her because of what she was told by her father throughout her life. Isaac believes he is unlovable because of a mistake that causes him to carry around a world of guilt. They both must learn that God has a plan for each of them, and He never ignores our pleas. Sometimes, the answer is no, and we have to be able to trust that there is a reason.
Sometimes, we have to understand that the answer is ‘not right now’. That isn’t the same as ‘no’. That means there is something else we need to learn before we are ready. Stay strong, stay steady, keep the faith…that is the lesson Agnes must learn.
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.