The Sugarcreek Surprise
Antique Store Owners Offer Romance Advice to a Smitten Carpenter
Welcome to Sugarcreek, Ohio, where the Amish schoolteacher has a determined admirer. Tragically losing her parents as a child, Lisa Miller has grown up being afraid of loving and losing. She dedicates herself to teaching at an Amish schoolhouse and helping the grandparents who raised her, all the while avoiding the advances of newcomer Paul Herchberger. Paul enjoys antiques and meets Orley Troyer while looking for unique old milk bottles at yard sales. Orley and his wife offer prayers and advice as Paul tries to reach Lisa’s closed heart. But when secrets are revealed, will Lisa use them as an excuse to close herself off again?
finds himself fascinated with Lisa from the moment he meets her. She seems familiar to him, but he cannot
imagine how they could have met. As Paul
spends more time with Lisa, he finds himself falling for her. Paul is not sure how to get Lisa to open up
her heart to love. Paul meets Orley and
his wife, Lois at their antique shop, Memory Keepers while searching for a
special milk bottle. Orley and Lois
offer advice to Paul on how to break past Lisa’s walls as well as their
prayers. Just when Paul believes he is
making progress with Lisa, a secret comes to light that has the door to Lisa’s
heart closing. What will it take for
Lisa to be open to love?
The Sugarcreek Surprise by Wanda E. Brunstetter is the second Creektown Discoveries novel. It can be read as a standalone for those who have not indulged in The Walnut Creek Wish. I thought The Sugarcreek Surprise was well-written with developed characters. The story had a good flow and moved along at a steady pace. I liked the characters in this story that included Lisa’s grandparents, Paul’s Uncle Abe, Lois and Orley Troyer, and the sweet, Maggie. Maggie is a dog that follows Lisa home from school and becomes devoted to her. There are good life lessons in the story. Lisa needs to learn that you cannot close yourself off from close relationships just to avoid pain. Pain is a part of life just like love. The two work hand in hand. Faith is an essential element in this tale. We get to see the importance of prayer and trusting God. My favorite quote from The Sugarcreek Surprise is “We as humans can only do so much, but Jesus can work out any problem no matter how big it is.” There is some repetition in the story especially about Lisa and how she does not wish to marry. The ending will leave you smiling, and I am glad there was an epilogue. I am eager to read the third novel in the Creektown Discoveries series. There are two recipes at the end along with discussion questions. The Sugarcreek Surprise is a touching Amish tale with a protective pooch, a distressed schoolteacher, a caring carpenter, gentle grandparents, sweet students, and a gracious God.
Q & A with Wanda Brunstetter
What made you decide to write Amish stories?
I have had an interest in the Amish for many years, even before I began writing. When I met an Amish family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania via one of our Mennonite friends, I knew I needed to write about the Plain people.
Will you be writing any non-Amish fiction books in the near future?
Although I have no immediate plans to write another historical novel, I may add a sequel to one of historical novels in the future.
How did you get your connections with your Amish friends
in the communities you visit?
I make new Amish friends in every community I visit. Many of them know who I am and will approach me to strike up a conversation. Some are introduced to me through other Amish or English people that I already know.
How do you come up with new ideas for the storylines in your books and what do you use for inspiration?
Spending time in Amish communities helps with storylines. Also, I often create scene ideas based on things that have happened to me, someone I know, or have heard about. I've always had a vivid imagination, so that helps too!
Which Amish communities have you visited?
I have been to Amish communities in Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Montana, and Florida.
Have you ever considered living the Amish way of life since you have so many Amish friends?
If I had been raised by an Amish family, I'm sure I would have remained Amish. However, living with and relying on some of our modern conveniences would make it difficult to live an Amish person at this stage of life.
Are you able to speak or understand the Pennsylvania Dutch language of the Amish people?
I know a few Amish words, which I sprinkle throughout my novels, but I'm not able to speak the Pennsylvania-Dutch language fluently or enough to carry on a conversation.
What is the most difficult part of the writing process?
Every aspect of writing has some challenges, but the most difficult part for me is writing the first draft which requires not only scene ideas, but when to begin and end each chapter.
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