Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of running a ranch on her own, Laurel Tracey decides to hire a convict—a man who’s just scary enough to take care of squatters and just desperate enough to agree to a one year post.
The years following the war have been hard on Laurel Tracey. Both her brother and her father died in battle, and her mother passed away shortly after receiving word of their demise. Laurel has been trying to run her two hundred acre ranch as best she can.
When she discovers that squatters have settled in her north pasture and have no intention of leaving, Laurel decides to use the last of her money to free a prisoner from the local jail. If she agrees to offer him room and board for one year, he will have to work for her to pay off his debt.
Former soldier Thomas Baker knows he’s in trouble when he finds himself jailed because he couldn’t pay a few fines. Laurel’s offer might be his only ticket out. Though she’s everything he ever dreamed of in a woman—sweet and tender-hearted, yet strong—he’s determined to remain detached, work hard on her behalf, and count the days until he’s free again.
But when cattle start dying and Laurel’s life is threatened, Thomas realizes more than just his freedom is on the line. Laurel needs someone to believe in her and protect her property. And it isn’t long before Laurel realizes that Thomas Baker is far more than just a former soldier. He’s a trustworthy hero, and he needs more than just his freedom—he needs her love and care too.
I’m often asked about how I decide where to set my novels. Sometimes, like with Pinecraft, I choose a setting based on a conversation. Other times, such as with the Families of Honor or the Crittenden County books, I discover something that spurs my imagination while doing research on the internet.
For this year’s series set in Charm? It seems I couldn’t stay away from it.
Charm is a very small village. It’s nestled near Sugarcreek, Walnut Creek, and Berlin. This means I’ve driven through it numerous times. I’ve even gotten hopelessly lost in the middle of it. Once, I was so turned around by the winding roads surrounded by acres of farmland that I had to stop and ask an Amish man for directions.
But then last year two things happened: I discovered there is a popular store in Charm called Hershberger’s. They sell all sorts of things there…and just happen to have cute little goats that climb on the top of their barn. You can even feed them, which I enjoyed probably a little too much. Soon after that experience, I learned all about Keim Lumber Mill. A beautiful, amazing complex that is both a lumber yard and retail store.
It seemed a popular tourist attraction and a family owned lumber mill were all I needed in order to make up a new series. Well, those two things and the fact that I had some of the best fried pies ever in Charm!
I hope you’ll enjoy visiting Charm with me through the eyes of the Kinsinger family. This fictional family happens to own a very large lumber mill that serves as the backbone of the community. They-and several other families in the area-are recovering from a tragedy. Everyone just happens to have more than a couple of secrets.
I so enjoyed writing these books. I fell in love with the rolling hills and the quaint schoolhouse and the goats, too. I hope you will enjoy The Charmed Amish Life Series as much as enjoyed writing it. And, if, by chance you have the chance to visit Charm before I do? Have a cherry fried pie for me. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.