Thursday, August 27, 2015

Amish Turns of Time #3

Brightest and Best

The collapse of a schoolhouse puts pressure on Amish families and their long-held educational values. Ella Hilty anticipates marrying Gideon Wittner and becoming a mother to his children. In a whirling clash of values, Ella seeks the solid ground that seems to have slipped away. Margaret Simpson, an English schoolteacher, wonders if she is losing her last chance at love. As the local authorities draw lines in the sand, Margaret puts romance at risk one final time. All eyes turn to Ella to make a sacrifice and accept a challenge that can bring unity to the Amish and understanding to the English.  

Brightest and Best (Amish Turns of Time #3) 
 Published August 1st 2015
  Shiloh Run Press 
4 Stars

Olivia 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. 
Olivia Newport

I’m imagining you. You walk past as I water my front flowerbeds and we wave. You check the time as we both stand in a long line at the grocery store. You sit in front of me in church. I’m at my table in the coffee shop and you’re at yours.

We may smile politely and move on with our separate lives. Or one of us may speak, a simple invitation to conversation, and the words flow between us.

Here the adventure begins. When we meet someone new, we never know where it might lead.

I’ve been married for over thirty years and have two twenty-something kids. We live in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where the day lilies in my back yard grow as tall as I am. (No short jokes, please.)

Not every piece of my life is pretty, though. Some days I want to throw out whole chunks. But I am living each day looking for the grace of God to me, in me, and through me. Having your companionship along the way will help uncover a lot of great stories.


  1. this one was my favorite of the 3 so far!

    1. I agree Carrie. I really got a sense of community in this book and I really enjoyed it. I loved that the story explains a lot about the Amish education beliefs. Thank you for stopping by.