cover image The Amish Quiltmaker’s Uninvited Guest

The Amish Quiltmaker’s Uninvited Guest

Jennifer Beckstrand. Zebra, $8.99 mass market (304p) ISBN 978-1-4201-5612-6

Beckstrand (The Amish Quiltmaker’s Unlikely Match) continues the Amish Quiltmaker series with a sweet unexpected romance between a hardheaded widower and the enterprising baker he has his eye on. A year after Menno Eichler’s wife died of ALS, the overworked sugar beet farmer is on the market for a new frau to mother his small daughters and help out on his farm. Pickings are slim in his small Idaho town, so he travels to his cousin’s Colorado Amish community, where he meets and is instantly taken with baker Joanna Yoder—who promptly writes Menno off because word has spread that he’s focused on simply finding a wife to cook and clean for him. Menno’s cousin draws up a list of the town’s bachelorettes and Menno dutifully dates, and systematically rejects, several of them—Sadie “has a cell phone and giggles”; conversation with avid gardener Naomi is dull—before realizing the problem may be his own businesslike approach to finding a wife in the first place: “You can’t nicely fit people into a set of plans or write them down on a list.... People don’t work that way,” advises a town resident. The supporting characters churn up plenty of fun, and the zippy romance between stubborn, literalist Menno and free-spirited Joanna is a treat (“He was looking for a can of corn, and Joanna refused to be a can of corn,” Beckstrand writes of Menno’s desire to pick a wife as though off a grocery store shelf). Series fans will be smitten. (June)