Where Hope Dwells

Where Hope Dwells (Sugarcreek Amish Mystery #2) by Elizabeth Ludwig

It has been a while since I’ve reviewed one of these so quick recap. The Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries are part of the Christian Inspirational series, so they are clean mysteries. No murder, no swearing, no sex. Mysterious happenings and investigation.

In this series, Cheryl Cooper was ready for a change. Her boyfriend turned out to be a stuck up prig, she disliked her job as a banker in Columbus, Ohio; so when her aunt called her asking her to take over her shop in an Amish community while she goes overseas as a missionary-Cheryl jumped at the chance. She quickly falls in love with the Amish town and finds herself in the middle of a few mysteries.

Plot Summary:

After all the mysterious things that occurred in October (and the last book, Blessings in Disguise) things have calmed down and Cheryl has grown to deeply love Sugarcreek, made some friends, and hopes she gets stay here for a long time.

She also has grown to like Levi Miller, an Amish bachlor, but doesn’t want to cross lines that should never be crossed. So for now, she is just content to be his friend.

Now with it being November, Cheryl has been focusing on getting ready for the holidays. She also has been having to heavily stock her shop with baby items as it seems that everyone is having one, everyone except her.

From my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife

One morning a tourist rushes in the shop and buys a bunch of baby items, running away fast.

Cheryl thinks it is odd, but doesn’t spend a lot of time  thinking on it as Naomi Miller, her best friend and surrogate mother/aunt (also the stepmother of Levi who she is crushing on) has arrived with the blankets they will be taking to her new friend Rebecca.

Rachel was born an “Englisher” and met her Amish husband Samuel, later converting. She and Cheryl have become really close as both find it wonderful to be with someone like them.

Cheryl goes to visit Rachel and see her babies, fraternal twins boys, but while she is there one is snatched from its crib. Now Naomi and Cheryl are set on discovering who the kidnapper is.

Cheryl has three suspects:

  1. The strange woman from her shop has been seen all over town buying up baby items even though she has no child with her. Always in a hurry. Could she have kidnapped the baby and trying to get supplies for him?
  2. Rebecca and Jeremiah Zook lost their little boy recently to leukemia. First Rebecca vanishes without a word and then Jeremiah also takes off. Could one of them have stolen the child and run away with it?
  3. The parents of Rachel disowned her after she left them for the Amish lifestyle. Even after hearing of the disappearance of their grandson they refuse to see her, and are planning on taking a vacation to Europe to adopt a child. Could they have stolen their grandson and are planning on pretending to “adopt it”?

Who could it be? Or is there another person involved they haven’t realized yet?

Thoughts After Reading:

This was not as good as the first one.

I liked Cheryl, Levi, and Naomi investigating together but in this Levi was missing from the whole book which threw the whole dynamic off.

This wasn’t as well paced as the previous novel as Cheryl happens on information rather than being able to actively investigate. The comedic and heartfelt moments were more on pointe in the other book as this one felt extremely rushed. Altogether, this was just too easily summed up and just not good.

I hope the next one is better.

For more Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries, go to Blessings in Disguise

For more Amish mysteries, go to The Lesson

For more kidnapping mysteries, go to What Strange Creatures

Blessings in Disguise

Blessings in Disguise (Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries #1) by Nancy Mehl

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I picked this up in the library as I was interested in the little proverb they had on the first page. These are part of a Christian Inspirational series, so they are clean mysteries. No murder, no swearing, no sex. Mysterious happenings and investigation.

Anyways, on with the review…

Plot Synopsis:

Cheryl Cooper was ready for a change. Her boyfriend turned out to be a stuck up prig, she dislikes her job as a banker in Columbus, Ohio; so when her aunt calls her asking her to take over her shop as she goes overseas as a missionary-Cheryl jumps at the chance.

Cheryl finds herself in Sugarcreek, right next to the Amish community. She runs the Swiss Miss gift shop, which carries all kinds of local Amish products.

Who else thinks of these guys when they hear “Amish”.

She quickly becomes friends with Naomi Miller, an Amish farmer-and her family. Naomi’s daughter Esther and her best friend help out in the Swiss Miss.

Cheryl is learning a lot about the Amish life as the two girls are on their rumspringa. There also are two brothers who meet in her store to play chess, but do not speak as one brother is Amish and the other is shunned.

Things are going well…except Cheryl starts finding items she never purchased or remembers having stocked. They are beautiful items and people want to spend quite a bit to take them home. She sells them, but places the money aside-unsure of who to give it.

Esther also finds a beautiful leather bible, and inside is a note:

“Someone is not who they seem.”

Cheryl is shocked at the note, and wonders what it means.

It turns out the bible belongs to Levi Miller, Naomi’s son. He’s handsome, the same age as Cheryl, and she finds herself admiring him.

Levi doesn’t know what the note means, and Cheryl, Naomi, and Levi decide to stick their heads together trying to find out what it could mean.

Cheryl keeps getting invited to visit the corn maze her neighbors have. When she goes she overhears a man talking about finding “her”. He knows she is there somewhere and he won’t rest until she is found or killed.

Ooops…

Cheryl is upset and discusses it with Naomi and Levi. They begin trying to look into it and stumble onto a secret. An Amish woman, Rachel, is pregnant and has her cousin visiting to help her. Rachel confesses that she lost the note, and it is about her cousin.

Her “cousin” is really a abused friend of a friend hiding out until she can come up with a better plan to escape her husband. Cheryl promises to keep mum about it all, but warns her about the husband being in Sugarcreek.

They give the best description they can to Cheryl, and she, Naomi, and Levi try to figure out who could be the abusive husband. There are three suspects that match the description…

  1. There is a new bus driver for the tourist buses that visit the Amish areas. He claims to be married and started this new route to be home more…but is he lying?
  2. There is a man that is approaching buisnesses about buying their land and shops. It seems legit but he doesn’t ask a lot of questions for a potential buyer.
  3. Cheryl’s neighbor’s have a cousin Stanley visiting and helping with their corn maze. But Levi was told that both of them don’t have any aunts, uncles, or siblings..so how can they have a cousin?

Who is it? And will Cheryl and the gang figure it out before Rachel’s friend is caught? Or will Cheryl be the next on his hit list.

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved it!

The characters were awesome! I loved how they became their own Scooby-Doo crew.

I can’t wait for the next book!!

For more Amish mysteries, go to The Lesson

For more Christian mysteries, go to A Match of Wits

For more mysteries, go to The Key to Midnight

On a sad note, given the context of this book I wanted to add this:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.