A Long Way Home

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Phoebe Byler is grieving the loss of her father. She and her mother are cobbling together a living, keeping their home by selling quilts and baked goods in their Ohio community. How long they can manage is anyone's guess, but Phoebe will do everything in her power to save the farm . . . well, almost anything. Marrying the boy next door would solve all her immediate problems, but it would create a bigger one: she doesn't love him.

Luke Pearson is a man without roots. He's lost his job at a small museum and given up his apartment in Florida. While contemplating his future, he accepts a job as an antique car mechanic on a cross-country road race. He's never felt quite comfortable in his world, preferring the simplicity of the old-fashioned machines he works on to the breakneck speed and complicated technology that threaten to swallow him up. When the Depression-era car he's riding in is involved in a collision with an Amish buggy, requiring him to stay in the rural Midwest to make repairs, he begins to envision what a rewarding life might look like. What he doesn't expect is to develop feelings for Phoebe, a strong, beautiful Amish woman who knows exactly where she belongs.

While Luke works on the car in her father's barn, Phoebe gets to know the kind, handsome Englischer and finds she likes him very much, maybe too much. He's only here temporarily, but her heart is starting to feel like something permanent is happening. Her emotions, though, must take a back seat to a more immediate issue: An allegation has been made against Luke's employer as a result of the accident, and Phoebe is the only independent witness. She will have to put aside her reluctance and testify in court. But will telling the truth cost her the man she now knows she can't live without?

At first their obstacles seem insurmountable. But with love to guide them, home may be waiting at the end of their journey . . . if they take the trip together.

The Characters

Being the eldest child often means having more responsibility. With four younger siblings, Sarah Beth has a firm understanding of the weight she must bear.

After the passing of her Grossmammi -- a loss almost as devastating as the one the King children endured 12 years earlier when both of their parents were killed in a harvesting accident -- Sarah Beth, 24, is left to look after her special needs sister, Cora, 17, and only brother, Toby, 14. As for her 12-year-old twin sisters, Lovina and Luann, other family members felt it would be best for the girls to live with relatives in another church district, decimating the King family once again.

Family is everything to Sarah Beth! And she is determined to get hers back together ... even if that means putting off her thoughts of courtship and starting a family of her own. But why does her heart beat wildly when she meets her handsome new neighbor, Elias Stutzman? Is she drawn to the allure of his deep blue eyes ... or maybe it is the secrets they are hiding?

Life has been anything but easy for Elias ... abandoned by his Mamm who jumped the fence to Englisch life when he was just a kid ... passed along from one distant relative to another ... running with the wrong group of "friends" who always kept him on the outer edge of their circle.

Now, at 29 years old, Elias longs to be accepted for the hardworking man he is today and leave his past behind him. Hickory Meadows, known for its welcoming folks and strong sense of community, could give him the home he has always dreamed of having -- and possibly a family of his own.

But the shocking damage done to his buggy shop soon after his arrival makes it very clear that he is not welcome. Elias knows only a few people, so who would try to run him out of the church district? Maybe it was just a bunch of bored kids. Perhaps he pushed Sara Beth, his attractive new neighbor with the feisty spirit, a little too far. Or has someone from Elias's past discovered his new life?