Christmas at Promise Lodge
by Charlotte Hubbard GENRE: Inspirational Romance (Amish)
Promise Lodge's first wedding is cause for celebration—but the bishop's narrow-minded wedding sermon doesn't sit well with the Bender sisters, especially widowed Mattie Schwartz. She believes marriage and family aren't the only important gifts God gives--even if she suspects her tender feelings for Preacher Amos Troyer run deeper than simple friendship. Amos hasn't given up hope that stubborn, spirited Mattie will change her mind about taking another husband, but when an accident threatens to change his life forever, he wonders if the Lord has sent him a message. He'll need faith, hope, and charity to find the right path—and a Christmas blessing to convince Mattie to walk it with him.
As Mattie passed through the large dining room, she smiled at the way white tablecloths had transformed the old, careworn wooden tables into the perfect setting for their celebration. Her younger sister, Rosetta, was setting a glass to the right of each plate. Christine’s girls, Laura and Phoebe, were going down the sides of the tables with forks and knives while Mary Kate Lehman followed them with the spoons.
“Looks like you’ve got a gut system going, girls,” Mattie said brightly. “How many folks can we seat at once? Today will be the first time we’ve filled this room.”
“A hundred and fifty—which includes the wedding party up on the eck,” Rosetta replied, gesturing toward the raised table in the far corner. “We figure most of the guests will fill up the first sitting, and then we worker bees can eat during the second sitting.”
“It’ll be gut to see our friends from Coldstream, along with our cousins, aunts, and uncles who’re scattered around Missouri,” Phoebe said. She turned toward Mary Kate with a smile. “We used to live about three hours from here, but the bishop’s son Isaac was causing so much trouble—”
“Setting barns afire and drinking with his English friends,” Laura put in with a shake of her head.
“--that our mamm and aunts decided to move away,” Phoebe continued. “And as if that weren’t enough, Isaac came here with one of his buddies thinking to get back at Deborah for calling the sheriff.”
“But we sent him packing!” Rosetta recalled with a chuckle. “I doubt the Chupps will come today, what with the three of our households plus Preacher Amos and the Peterscheims moving here to get away from them.”
Mary Kate stopped placing spoons on the tables. Her hand slid over the swell of her belly as her eyes widened. “You—you’re sure Isaac won’t be coming?” she murmured fearfully. “After that English fellow pulled off the road and—and tackled me in the ditch, I don’t ever want a man getting that close to me again, or even looking at me.”
Mattie hurried over to the bishop’s daughter. “Mary Kate, don’t you worry about a thing,” she murmured as she slung her arm around the girl’s slender shoulders. “If my boys or Preacher Amos spots Isaac Chupp, they’ll be swarming around him like Ruby’s bees. Here at Promise Lodge we don’t tolerate men who bully women.”
Many moons ago—like, in 1983 while she was still a school librarian—Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story. This launched her into writing around seventy of those “true confessions” stories over the years, and she’s been a slave to her overactive imagination ever since. Over the course of her writing career, she has sold nearly 50 books—most recently, Amish romance series she’s written as Charlotte Hubbard or Naomi King.
Charlotte lived in Missouri for most of her life, so her Amish stories are set in imaginary Missouri towns. These days she lives in St. Paul, MN with her husband of 40 years and their Border collie, Ramona.