When I tell someone about my new Amish romance series set in Mississippi, the first question is “Amish in Mississippi?”
Yep. There’s an Amish community in Randolph, Mississippi, just outside of Pontotoc. This is just over an hour south of where I was born and raised. It’s a ‘new’ community and has only been there twenty years or so. They’re Old Order Amish and are part of the very conservative Swartzentruber sect. No indoor plumbing, no running water. No phones in the barns. And of course no electricity or cars. They aren’t the most conservative Amish, but they are very close.
The community in Randolph, when compared to others I’ve visited, is sparse. It’s apparent that life is a bit harder for Amish and English alike. The summers are hot and dusty. There are no decorative plants in the yards or on the porches. There are no manicured lawns. Time and water are precious and can’t be wasted on frivolities.
The Amish here are also a bit more reserved, but there are opportunities to talk with them. Most every house we visited has a small shed/outbuilding store on its property. Signs next to the road tell potential buyers what’s available. Aside from a lively conversation with a sweet Amish woman named Elizabeth, we bought the best sauerkraut, blackberry pie filling, and fresh tomatoes, both green and red. Other items available were goat milk products like soap and lotions, glycerin candles in jars, and beaded accessories, the kind you might make in summer camp. The most striking thing we noticed at these shops was the consistency of the products. All the potholders in all the shops were the same style. The beads used were all the same shape. We figured that was the control of the bishop.
Sparse and dusty are the best words to describe the country there in the summer but it is also beautiful in its simplicity. And driving down roads we’d never traveled before, stopping at houses and stores along the way to see what was available was like a treasure hunt. So if you get the chance to go, do so with a smile and a pocket full of cash. It’s well worth the trip.
In Pontotoc, Mississippi, the Amish way means a chance to rebuild, renew, and rekindle a love from long ago . . .
Fifteen years. That’s how long it’s been since Hannah McLean set foot in the Amish community where she was raised. Through it all her heart has never forgotten Pontotoc—or Aaron Zook, her first love. Now widowed, and left with little more than her hurting teenager and her prayers, she returns home, even knowing she and her son may be turned away.
When Aaron learns Hannah has returned, he nearly falls to his knees. He’s a strong man, but lately the care of his three motherless children and family land have been more than he can handle. Now providence has delivered the first woman he loved, and with her, the rush of feelings they once shared. But will his simple, removed way of life leave Hannah longing for something more, or can they begin anew, finding a new way forward together?
Praise for Amy Lillard and her Wells Landing novels
“An inspirational story of romance, faith, and trust . . . will appeal to fans of Wanda Brunstetter and Beverly Lewis.” —Library Journal on Caroline’s Secret
“A beautifully written romance with an adoring character. Lillard writes stories readers can relate to.” —RT Book Reviews on Just Plain Sadie