Amish school teacher, Miriam King loves her students. At 26, she hasn’t met anyone who can convince her to give up the Plain school at Pebble Creek. The newcomer Gabriel Yoder steps into her life, bringing his daughter, an air of mystery, and challenges Miriam has never faced before.
Miriam King and Esther Schrocks taught together in a one room schoolhouse. The two teachers looked similar in appearance, had the same temperaments and could have passed as family. Esther was engaged to marry Joseph. Miriam was still single and it bothered her that other people thought she should be married, but it was her own choice to remain unwed.
Miriam taught grades one to four and Esther taught grades five to eight. This particular morning a tall man neither teacher had ever seen before entered the school room holding the hand of his daughter. He had a long beard which meant he was married. The little girl’s name was Grace and she was eight-years-old, her father’s name was Gabriel Miller. They had just moved to the area and purchased old Mr. Kline’s rundown farm on Dawson Road.
Gabe chose to live a solitary life with little Grace after his wife, Hope died. He wasn’t keen on making new friends in Pebble Creek. He was a good carpenter and planned to repair the old dilapidated farm on his own and he wasn’t going to ask for help from anyone. He and his daughter had left Indiana and come to Wisconsin to escape the looks of sympathy and now he had what he wished for – a new beginning with Grace.
It didn’t take long for Miriam to realize that Grace didn’t speak. She was very concerned and stopped at Gabe’s farm after school to inquire why he didn’t tell her that Grace doesn’t speak. Gabe was quite put out and didn’t have an answer other than “she’ll speak when she’s ready.” With that Gabe told Miriam he’d mind his business and she should mind her own then wished her a good-night. Miriam decided the child had a right to speak and since she spoke before, she thought between herself, Doc Hanson, and even Gabe, Miriam was determined to set that voice free.
A sudden and severe snowstorm blew in. Everything for as far as the eye could see was blanketed in white yet the snow kept falling, heavily, and would for hours to come. Gabe had to get to the barn to tend to the animals and told Grace she was to stay inside unless she needed to use the outhouse. If she did she was told to hold onto the guide rope there and back. Grace instead decided to go outside and play with her pet mouse, Stanley. Stanley got away from Grace and by the time she found him she was lost in the forest. Later that evening when Gabe realized how long he’d been gone from the house he hurried back only to find the house empty. He called Grace’s name over and over, checking every room in the house. He quickly discerned she must be in the outhouse but didn’t find her there either. Realizing he needed help, he drove his horse to Miriam’s home and she sent out the signal that all the neighbours were needed. Soon a massive search was underway in the middle of a blizzard for little Grace.
Did they find Grace or was she another loss in Gabe’s life? How does Miriam fit into the picture with Gabe?
This was an exciting and well-written story that I would recommend to my friends.
Thank you to NetGalley for the preview. To be released July 2012.