The Homestead: Dakota, Book 1

Linda Byler. Good Books, $14.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-68099-213-7

Byler’s latest Amish historical (after Hester Takes Charge), the first in her new Dakota series, is heavy on the Amish and very light on the romance. After the Detweiler farm in Lancaster County, Pa., fails during the Great Depression, Hannah Detweiler and her family head for a homestead in North Dakota, where they expect to find rich farmland. The family’s faith is sorely tested when they’re met with harsh blizzards and a climate ill suited for growing corn. At first, the Detweilers survive due to the kindness of strangers, including the Jenkins family, who have a nearby ranch. But when Hannah’s father begins to lose his grip on reality, Hannah realizes that her family will starve unless she gets a job. Her hard work at Harry Rocher’s Hardware and Mercantile doesn’t leave her much time to think about her burgeoning crush on charming rancher Clay Jenkins, and when tragedy strikes, it may separate the two forever. Byler is Amish, and the authenticity of her narrative shines on every page, as do her impeccable research and skillful plotting. This tale will captivate readers looking for clean Christian women’s fiction with a dollop of romance. (May)