A Better-Than-Happy Ending

Harvest of BlessingsA funny thing often happens when you begin writing a new book: even though you had all the characters in your head and all the major story points plotted out, the ending can be quite a lot different than you’d originally pictured it. I love when that happens! And in the case of HARVEST OF BLESSINGS, the fifth book in my Seasons of the Heart series, Nora Glick Landwehr’s story becomes a turning point for the town of Willow Ridge—and a springboard for a new series!

Nora has a tough row to hoe. After sixteen years and a failed marriage to an Englisch man, she returns to Willow Ridge to reconcile with the family who cast her out when, at sixteen, she became pregnant out of wedlock. Almost out of spite, Nora left that baby on her brother’s doorstep and pursued the only life she believed she had open to her.

Well, it didn’t work out. Her handsome Englisch husband left her for “someone more interesting and sophisticated” but Nora was smart enough to press for a large, lucrative divorce settlement. So when she shows up in the Old Order Amish town she grew up in, she’s got a lot of black marks on her record . . . a lot of people to ask forgiveness of . . . a sixteen-year-old daughter who has no idea that Nora is her mother. It doesn’t help that she buys the biggest house in town—which immediately links her to Hiram Knepp, the deceptive excommunicated bishop—and that she shows up in a red sports car wearing short shorts and a sparkly blue ball cap.

I knew going in that Luke Hooley, Nora’s commit-a-phobe neighbor, was going to chase after her from the get-go. I did not expect Luke to evolve into Nora’s biggest supporter and best friend when it seemed that no one in her family would welcome her home. And while I also knew she was going to convert the big horse barn on her property into a consignment store for Plain crafts and gift items, I had no idea that she was a crafter herself (she creates 3-D banners of Plain people and farm scenes) nor did I anticipate the store’s immediate success and the overwhelming support Nora gets from the characters we’ve met earlier in the series.

I also knew that Millie Glick, whom we’d met in earlier books, would be in for the shock of her young lifetime when she finds out that this flashy redheaded woman in the red sportscar is her mother. Millie experiences my own feelings of betrayal and disbelief, which I so vividly recalled from learning that the dad who raised me was not my birth father—except Millie was only 16 and I was 40 when we made this life-changing discovery. When you invest your own very personal experience into a story, you risk dredging up all the muck again and perhaps getting people in your family upset again, as well.

But in this case, my investment paid off not only in an emotionally authentic story—but also in a spin-off series! My editor and I didn’t want the Seasons series to get too long (off-putting to readers who’ve not discovered me until the fifth or sixth book), but we didn’t want to leave the town of Willow Ridge, either. So starting in 2016, Simple Gifts will continue this homey little town’s story and Nora Hooley will be the anchor character in a series that centers around her shop of the same name. It was a payoff I’d never anticipated—an ending even happier than the one I’d planned to write in the first place!

23 comments to “A Better-Than-Happy Ending”

  1. Sue Brown
    March 3rd, 2015 at 2:31 pm · Link

    I love the Seasons series. Couldn’t wait for the last one to come out. I hope I can get some one get it for me. I can’t drive for a while.

    • Charlotte Hubbard
      March 3rd, 2015 at 2:37 pm · Link

      Sue, have you considered buying this book online? It’s available at all the major stores like BN.com, Amazon, etc.–or you can even go to the HARVEST OF BLESSINGS link here on this website and click an order like to buy it, as well. Thanks for asking!

  2. Rosemary
    March 3rd, 2015 at 3:25 pm · Link

    Can’t wait to read this new book. Love reading your books, don’t ever quit! You are a very talented author, and person.

    • Charlotte Hubbard
      March 3rd, 2015 at 4:17 pm · Link

      Thanks so much for your compliment, Rosemary! I have contracts taking me through the beginning of 2017 and I intend to keep writing these books as long as editors and readers want to buy them!

  3. Kalliekae
    March 15th, 2015 at 9:17 pm · Link

    Just read the entire series and really enjoyed the books. When I finished Harvest of Blessings, I knew you had left the door open for another sequel. However, I love the idea that you are now going to start a new series. I just hope you keep Hiriam in the new series and refer back to the old characters such as Miriam and Ben occasionally. All of them contribute so much. Thank you for giving your readers strong character development and interesting, realistic stories.

    • Charlotte Hubbard
      March 15th, 2015 at 9:49 pm · Link

      Thanks for your note, Kalliekae! You are somewhat right: the new spin-off series set in Willow Ridge will give mention to some of the beloved characters of the Seasons series…but the whole idea behind the NEW series is so readers who discover my books, say, at book 10 (no such book, just explaining here) they won’t think “oh no, I have to read 9 books to catch up!” So the new series, called Simple Gifts, will really be a fresh start for readers who don’t know all the back history of Miriam’s family and Hiram’s wicked ways with them. You’ll find out more in October when THE CHRISTMAS CRADLE brings the Seasons series to a close!

      • Glenda
        September 19th, 2015 at 5:25 pm · Link

        Dear Charlotte,
        If any one reads a book from the middle of the Seasons of the Heart series and is dismayed to find out that there is a whole history in Willow Ridge that they have yet discover, I say too bad for them! The characters that you have created in the Willow Ridge community deserve to be built upon as your readers get to know the other twenty some families living in the area. With ties now to Cedar Creek (and by association to Clearwater and Bloomingdale), this seems like a wonderful opportunity to not only introduce new characters but to follow the faith of those that we already know and love through the peaks and valleys of their lives.

        The only thought that I can imagine a reader having after falling in love with the community of Willow Ridge for the first time is the heartfelt prayer of “Please, let all of these books be in print!”

        • Charlotte Hubbard
          October 14th, 2015 at 7:04 pm · Link

          Glenda, what a fine thing to say–thank you so much for supporting my series no matter what direction it might take! I’m amazed–and pleased!–that these Amish romances have remained so popular for so long, and yes, my future books have a lot of potential ways to evolve! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Selina
    August 26th, 2015 at 8:13 pm · Link

    Love the entire series and cant wait for the next one. I cant believe Christmas cradle brings the series to a close…does Rebecca get her own story? off to read the Cedar Creek series

    • Charlotte Hubbard
      October 14th, 2015 at 7:06 pm · Link

      Selina, THE CHRISTMAS CRADLE might end the Seasons of the Heart series, but it also opens the door to the Simple Gifts series,which debuts in June, 2016 with A SIMPLE VOW. This spin-off series features Nora Hooley and her Simple Gifts store and introduces the Riehl family into Willow Ridge. I have something/someone in mind for Rebecca in the future, yes! Thanks for stopping by!

      • shari Bowen
        December 2nd, 2015 at 1:34 pm · Link

        So glad to hear that in some way the stories will continue. I am sad to see the series end. I am at the very end, last chapter, of the Christmas Cradle and am so sad to seethe series end. You are talented and so loving in your writing. Listening to your books keeps my goal to follow God’s plan for my life uppermost in my mind. Please keep writing the beautiful loving books!

        • naomik
          April 6th, 2016 at 5:46 pm · Link

          Thanks so much, Shari! You’ll be pleased to know that my Simple Gifts series, which begins in June with A SIMPLE VOW, takes us back to Willow Ridge! Stay tuned!

          • Christine
            January 3rd, 2017 at 9:09 pm · Link

            So happy to hear about the Simple Gifts series. I have SO enjoyed all the characters you created in the Seasons of the Heart series. I read a book a day on average so it didnt take me long to read all of that series. I am almost tempted to wait for several more books in the Simple Gift series but I dont think I can wait.
            What other complete series would you recommend ?
            Love your writing style. Love the Amish stories. I have always so respected their life style. I went to Lancaster County this last fall and bought a beautiful quilt from a lovely Amish woman. An heirloom quilt for certain. Thank you again. Blessings, Christine

  5. Cynthia Ribet
    April 13th, 2016 at 1:40 am · Link

    I have been enjoying the Seasons of the Heart SO MUCH. But I have trouble finding them at the library and they do not have numbers on them so that I can find them in order. Not much fun when you already know what is going to happen because you read them out of order.
    and no, I didn’t think to google it first.
    But am always looking forward to go back and be a part of the families.

    • Charlotte Hubbard
      April 13th, 2016 at 12:15 pm · Link

      Cynthia, if you’ll email me at email hidden; JavaScript is required, I can send you a list of ALL my books, in order. Or, you can look on this website, and the covers are presented in order on the Books page–pull down and see them by series. Thanks so much for taking the time to send me a note!

  6. Myrintha Jeffrey
    April 14th, 2016 at 10:08 pm · Link

    I just finished reading your Seasons of the Heart series. I read a lot of Amish books, but this series is outstanding. You are an excellent author. I am looking into finding the other books you have written. You could certainly be a minister. You did a great job. Non Christian people need to read your books You could certainly touch their souls. Thank you for writing this series. It was excellent.

    • Charlotte Hubbard
      April 15th, 2016 at 6:49 pm · Link

      Myrintha, you’ve made my day! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed my Seasons of the Heart books. For more titles, check out the Books section on this website (www.CharlotteHubbard.com) and you’ll find that I’ve written some as Naomi King, and I wrote a faith-and-family historical series, Angels of Mercy, set after the Civil War in KS/MO. Feel free to email me at email hidden; JavaScript is required for any titles you might want. Thanks again for your nice note!

  7. Donna
    May 1st, 2016 at 4:35 am · Link

    I agree with Myrintha … Excellent series! Can’t wait for my library to pick up the new one as well. I will also email for a list of your books. Thank you for the wonderful clean entertainment.

    • naomik
      May 13th, 2016 at 12:54 pm · Link

      Thank you, Donna! What a wonderful thing to say!

  8. Sharon
    March 1st, 2017 at 3:27 am · Link

    I’ve read all of the seasons of the heart series. Loved them! One question – was it Hiram that died or was he so crazy that he sent someone poor soul to blow up the building dressed like him? Getting ready to start on Nora’s series.

    • Charlotte Hubbard
      March 2nd, 2017 at 7:29 pm · Link

      Well, it would’ve made another interesting twist if Hiram had sent in some other poor soul to do his dirty work–but I think if you reread those pages, you’ll determine that Hiram did indeed die. Had I left him alive, I would’ve left future books open to his meddling, and I felt the folks in Willow Ridge were ready to turn the page and start fresh. Thanks for asking!

      • Sharon
        March 2nd, 2017 at 8:39 pm · Link

        Thanks for giving me closure on Hiram. I agree with you – it was time for him to be out of the picture. Looking forward to your new book coming out later this year.

  9. Good job
    April 18th, 2017 at 2:20 pm · Link

    Good post, keep

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