Love secrets? Read on!
Wednesday, April 6th, 2016
Filed under Uncategorized

A Simple Vow.inddSometimes the mere hint of a secret can spark an entire series of books—which happened for me when I began my Simple Gifts series! My editor and I knew we wanted to return to Willow Ridge, and we knew we wanted Nora Hooley and her Simple Gifts shop to be the focus of these stories, but it’s the undercurrent of “something fishy” that sets the stage for a major revelation—a major meltdown—that will change Willow Ridge forever. And it begins in A SIMPLE VOW.

This idea came to me when I was talking with my former assistant, Jim, who lived in Jamesport, MO where I do my research. Jim (who died of cancer last year) was English but he grew up with the Amish in Jamesport and they trusted him with information most of us can’t access. He told me about a “secret bank” Amish communities have—which is no secret to the Amish, of course, but only a few know where the money is kept. He didn’t give me a figure, but Jim said that since the Jamesport community began in 1952, a HUGE amount of money has accumulated. This is money that’s collected in church twice yearly as offering, along with large donations from members who prefer to keep their money in this fund rather than in a regular bank. This money is also the basis for the Amish Aid fund shared with folks who have major medical bills, burned-down houses, and other emergencies to pay for. The Amish don’t believe in insurance, so this is the fund they fall back on in tough times, taking care of their own.

“Does anybody ever dip into that fund without telling the bishop?” I asked Jim. “What would happen if a large portion of that money disappeared and nobody found out—until it was too late—that most of it was gone?”

Jim smiled at the way my mind worked. He told me that if that kind of thievery occurred, no one outside the colony would ever know—it would never make the papers, and the police or other investigators would never be called in, because the Amish don’t allow English outsiders to meddle in their church or financial matters.

My devious mind went into high gear. I’m not saying that such a deception has ever occurred in an Amish community . . . but it could, because human nature kicks in for even the most honorable, faithful members of any church. Under the right (or wrong) circumstances, even the best of us fall prey to temptation.

So when the Riehl family moves to Willow Ridge, we are immediately caught up in the drama when Edith agrees to care for the adorable six-month-old twins a grief-stricken Will Gingerich begs her to take. We meet her sisters, Loretta and Rosalyn, and we wonder if we can trust handsome Asa Detweiler, who has been accused of fathering those twins under dubious circumstances. The story starts at a wedding, where Ira Hooley is marrying Nora’s daughter, Millie, and it quickly spirals into a quest for the real father of those six-month-old twins—

But you’d better keep an eye on the girls’ father, Cornelius.
Just sayin’.

11 comments to “Love secrets? Read on!”

  1. Karen Kitzinger
    April 24th, 2016 at 3:43 pm · Link

    I am in the middle of making the Holiday Banana Muffins and it does not give the amount of flour to use. Please correct this recipe.

    • Charlotte Hubbard
      May 13th, 2016 at 1:06 pm · Link

      So sorry about that, Karen! The amount is 2 cups–and something my editor, copy editor, and myself missed that omission. Thanks for pointing it out–I will correct the recipe here on the website, but in the published book, there’s nothing I can do.

  2. Jackie Pounds
    June 19th, 2016 at 3:49 pm · Link

    Can’t wait for the next book to find out about the “doings” of Edith’s Dad especially and of course the other sisters!!

  3. Donna McAuliffe
    October 4th, 2016 at 5:52 pm · Link

    I just finished the book simple vows, I have read all of the Willow Ridge Books, but now I’m left hanging about the father of Edith, and her sisters.What about that mystery with the money,the questions about the workbench pushed up against the vault.Will you be writing another book,or maybe I missed the one that answers these questions? Can you tell me if the book is already out , or when the new one will be coming, so I can prepare order it. Thank You

    • naomik
      December 10th, 2016 at 2:21 pm · Link

      Thanks for asking, Donna! A SIMPLE WISH comes out in Nov. 2017 to answer some of your questions–and then give you more to wonder about!

  4. Louise Hitchcock
    October 6th, 2016 at 11:50 pm · Link

    I also just finished “A Simple Vow” , I am also wondering about the next book.. I love the Amish books, and I also like a little mystery or suspense in books. This book was a good miss. Can’t wait to read the next book. I also crochet a lot, so my reading comes in when I have crocheted enought. Thank you for the lovey books .

    • naomik
      December 10th, 2016 at 4:56 pm · Link

      Louise, A SIMPLE WISH comes out in Nov. of 2017–with even more mystery and suspense surrounding Cornelius Riehl! Thanks for your note!

  5. Suellen Youmans
    December 31st, 2016 at 4:06 am · Link

    Will you return to Willow Lodge one more time? I can’t rest until the third triplet, Rebecca, finds a nice English man. If you weren’t such a great writer, I wouldn’t be worried about her. Only you can write an Amish book about two Englishers falling in love. Please don’t let me down.

    • Charlotte Hubbard
      January 1st, 2017 at 11:15 pm · Link

      Suellen, you will be pleased to know that I’m writing the book in which Rebecca meets her match right now! It’s in A SIMPLE WISH, which is the 2nd book of the Simple Gifts trilogy, set in Willow Ridge. The first book, A SIMPLE VOW, came out this past spring, A SIMPLE WISH comes out in November, 2017, and the final book, A SIMPLE CHRISTMAS is scheduled to be out in Oct. of 2018. Thanks for asking!

  6. Kate Kleinert
    April 4th, 2017 at 12:51 am · Link

    I hope I am commenting in the right place for the newest give-a-way! I am anxious to read A Mother’s Love. Late in my life, I learned two family secrets. The first one made me angry that everyone else knew except me. The second one was heartbreaking because the secret keeper was so afraid I would think less of him. Nothing could be farther from the truth. So, although a shock to learn, it was very easy to forgive.

    • Charlotte Hubbard
      April 6th, 2017 at 2:27 pm · Link

      Thanks for your comment, Kate–but you must click on the contest post on my FB page to enter for the A MOTHER’S LOVE giveaway! I, too, learned a big secret late in life–that Dad was not my birth father–and everyone knew it but me! That sort of played into Rose’s story as I wrote it. Hope you’ll follow my tour on Facebook, and good luck in the drawing!

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