Shannon here: Kelly Irvin shares insight into her latest Amish Romance, Peace in the Valley. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for a copy. Deadline: Sept 19th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Kelly:
Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.Romans 14:13
Writing the three books in the Amish of Big Sky Country has been a journey of discovery for me as an author. I didn’t know when I pitched the idea of setting this series in three communities in Northwest Montana that I would embark on a journey that required me to examine what I believe and why. Each book begins in the same place and time: West Kootenai where members of the small community must evacuate because of a massive wildfire threatening the countryside. Three friends go their separate ways. Little do they know that each one of them will encounter people who test her ability to articulate her faith and to live it.
God often does that. He places people in our lives who help us stretch in our faith. He opens doors to places where we find ourselves searching our hearts as we are tested by circumstances. In the third installment, Peace in the Valley, Nora Beachy travels to Libby to stay with family members who have adopted a different theology and way of worshipping They still consider themselves Amish, but they drive cars, play musical instruments, and wear “English” clothes. Even more importantly, they espouse the belief that a “closer walk” with Jesus is available to every Christian. They want Nora to have that closer walk.
Nora has never had to articulate her faith before. She’s bombarded by a world totally different from her own. If she embraces this new lifestyle she’ll lose the man she loves, Levi Raber.
Levi loves Nora so much he begs her to live up to her baptismal vows. The Amish live their faith and show it by example. They believe in a “living hope.” He begs her to leave Libby before it’s too late. When she decides to stay, he seeks his bishop’s counsel. When I asked a group of readers what they thought of his action, they unanimously criticized his decision. To me it showed how much Levi loved her. Even if I don’t agree with his theology, I respect his faith. He was more concerned with her eternal salvation than his own wants and needs. He would risk losing her in order to save her. I wonder if I would do the same to hold a loved one accountable. Would you?
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church. . . (Matthew 18:15-17)
I hope reading Peace in the Valley encourages readers to ask themselves this question: what are they willing to risk in order to hold their fellow Christians accountable? How do they do that without passing judgment? These aren’t easy questions, but the answers can be found in Scripture, in fellowship with other Christians, and through regular church attendance. Just remember, the answer always begins with love.
About Kelly: Best-selling author Kelly Irvin’s latest Amish romance is Peace in the Valley, is the third and final installment in the series, Amish of Big Sky Country. She is the author of the Every Amish Season series from Zondervan/ HarperCollins, including Upon a Spring Breeze, winner of the 2018 Readers’ Choice Award in the long romance category. The series follows the Amish of Bee County Series, which included The Beekeeper’s Son, subject of a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, calling it “an intricately woven masterpiece.” Among her other works are novellas in eight collections. She is also the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both from Harvest House Publishing.
She has also penned five inspirational romantic suspense novels, Closer than She Knows, Over the Line, Tell Her No Lies, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.
Kelly’s novels, The Beekeeper’s Son and Love Redeemed, were finalists in the 2015 and 2016 contemporary romance category of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Carol Awards Contest.
About the book – Peace in the Valley: After a devastating wildfire sweeps through her town, one young Amish woman is shown a different way to practice her faith . . . but pursuing it could cost her everything she holds dear, including the man she loves.
Nora Beachy loves her life. She works in the community store in West Kootenai, takes care of her family and courts with Levi Raber. She and Levi plan to marry, but Levi wants to wait until he has the money to buy them a house before he pops the question. Nora doesn’t want to wait. Is there something keeping Levi from marrying her?
Nora’s peaceful existence is swept away when wildfires threaten her family’s home. She’s forced to evacuate to Libby where she stays with family in an Amish community that embraces a charismatic style of worship rejected by her own parents and the Kootenai district elders. Nora’s drawn to the emotional, powerful style of worship, the musical instruments, and the more relaxed lifestyle. She knows she’s headed for a shunning if she doesn’t stop breaking the rules, but she can’t understand why both forms of worship aren’t lovely in God’s eyes.
Nora’s stuck in the middle. She loves her family and doesn’t want to lose them. She loves Levi. But she must make a decision: return to her traditional Amish life or embrace this new way of worshipping and living. Will she sacrifice her relationship with Levi and her family for a different kind of faith?
Question for Readers: Peace in the Valley has strong religious/spiritual thread. It’s the basis for the conflict. How do you feel about books heavy on religion? Do you prefer a light Christian world view or do you appreciate meaty spiritual/religious content?
Come back Sept 11th for Kathleen Fuller!