Crossroads of the Heart

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Clara Hochstetler is alone in the world. After the sudden deaths of her parents, she lost the only home she'd ever known, in a community where she never felt she belonged anyway. The rest of her family lives in distant Lancaster County, but she's afraid she might not belong there either. Years ago, her father quarreled with his brother, the bishop, and he never looked back. Now, with few choices, Clara begins a journey to return to her roots. But when disaster strikes, she finds herself penniless in a strange city . . . and even more alone than before.

Shane Meyers has his hands full. A high school teacher, he also runs a youth center for underprivileged teens, and he needs all the help he can get keeping things running smoothly. Unfortunately, his twin sister, who cooks for the kids who might not get to eat at home, just broke her leg and will be unable to work for several weeks. When a young Amish woman arrives on his doorstep, he finds himself offering her room and board with his mother and a job at the center until his sister has healed. It seems like the perfect solution, until he realizes that he must put the brakes on his feelings for Clara or someone is going to get hurt.

Clara couldn't be more grateful to the kind Englischers who have taken her in and given her a job so she can save enough money to fulfill her original plans. But she soon fears she's getting too attached to this temporary situation, especially when she starts connecting with the kids at the center, including a troubled Amish boy who needs her. And she's definitely getting too attached to Shane. It is forbidden for a plain girl to love an English man, but she can't deny the feelings that are growing every day.

Her head tells her she must move on to another Amish community. But her heart wonders if Shane's mission to serve the teenagers she has come to love is also God's will for her. He would never lead her to abandon the only way of life she's ever known . . . or would He?

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?