Jan Drexler’s Journey to Pleasant Prairie series has brought readers all of the endearing, intriguing, and heart-yearning moments of Amish life. An absorbing third installment, Naomi’s Hope, follows Naomi Schrock into her new life and the surprising challenges it brings.
Naomi is settling into her 1846 Indiana Amish community well despite normal growing pains. With the comfort of her parents’ home and her adopted son, Davey, by her side, Naomi’s path seems clear. She tries not to think about the fact that she isn’t at the top of any man’s list of potential wives.
However, when Cap Stoltzfus moves to town and befriends Davey, Naomi finds herself caught between the plans she has made for her future and the tantalizing thought that Cap might be a part of a life she never dared hope for.
When a couple shows up claiming to be Davey’s true family, Naomi and Cap must make a decision that will determine both the boy’s future and their own. But can she bring herself to release Davey to unknown relatives? Will this leave yet another gap in Naomi’s heart when she so desires wholeness?
The incredible insight that Jan Drexler has gained from her ancestry is evident in well-researched storylines and masterfully crafted characters. The Journey to Pleasant Prairie series will stay with Amish fiction readers long after this final installment.
Can you briefly describe your new novel?
In Naomi’s Hope, we catch up with the families of the Journey to Pleasant Prairie series a few years after they have settled in Northern Indiana and formed their community. The story focuses on Naomi, Mattie’s sister, and the son she adopted in Mattie’s Pledge.
Naomi’s Hope is book three in the Journey to Pleasant Prairie series. What makes this story different than books one and two?
The main thing that’s different in this third book in the series is that the families have settled in their new community. The characters are establishing their permanent homes and the families are growing. And we meet a new character, Cap Stoltzfus, who becomes very important in Naomi’s life.
Naomi must face a hard decision when a couple shows up to claim Davey. What was it like to tap into the emotions that Naomi must have been feeling?
The scenes involving that part of the story were difficult to write. I’ve dealt with saying goodbye to children I’ve taught or cared for, but those situations don’t come close to having to relinquish a child that I considered to be mine. But I do know the heartache of submitting to God’s will in a situation that I wish could be different, and those were the emotions I tapped into for Naomi. Needless to say, I used a lot of tissues while writing those scenes!
All of your stories are filled with heartfelt romance. What are some elements you use that contribute to making the romance so special?
My husband and I are celebrating thirty-five years of marriage this summer, and still feel like newlyweds. ☺ Whether I’m writing about a budding romance or the love between a couple who have spent a lifetime together, I remember what makes my relationship with my husband so special—we are friends as well as partners, and God is at the center of our marriage. There is no one I would rather spend time with, and no one who understands me as well as he does.
So from the moment Naomi and Cap meet, their romantic journey has to begin with friendship and trust. Once those are established, love isn’t far behind.
Your writing is full of well-thought-out research that helps make the story feel tangible. What was your favorite piece of research that went into the writing of Naomi’s Hope?
I love visiting the locations for my stories, and Naomi’s Hope is no exception. LaGrange and Elkhart Counties in Indiana are home to me. My family has lived in that area since the 1850s and spending time there helps me establish the setting—–the sound of the rain, the slant of the early-spring sun, the rivers and wetlands, the rhythm of the midwestern voices, and even the odor of a barn being cleaned out after a long winter. Spending time in the story’s setting makes it come alive as I write.
In addition, researching the pioneer stories of the early Elkhart and LaGrange County settlers was fascinating against the backdrop of the setting I know so well. Imagining the open fields and prairies the way they saw it used up many hours when I should have been writing.
Thank you so much for visiting with us today Jan! You can pre-order Naomi's Hope at the links below!