The first reason? Well, it’s a romance about Mennonites. Don’t look so shocked. Mennonites can fall in love as well as the next guy or gal. I know. It’s my cultural heritage. But Gail Sattler added a twist. The hero, Ted Wiebe, is an Old Order Mennonite, not to be confused with Amish. Ted’s community near Minneapolis is portrayed as quite modern, though the women wear head coverings in public. Not that they’re in public much. For the most part, they’re traditional housewives, wearing dresses. One thing about Ted’s people, though. They care about their community and want to reach them for Jesus.
Enter the heroine, Miranda Klassen, who’s been hired by Ted’s church to help write and direct an outreach. Ted’s pretty sure she’ll be a fine upstanding young woman. After all, she’s Mennonite, too, even though she’s from a large church in Seattle. How different can they be?[Cue the laugh line music here.]
Not only does Miranda not wear demure dresses and a head covering–or even sensible shoes for a Minnesota winter–she reads the Bible on her cell phone. (I’ve downloaded three different Bible version apps myself since Miranda gave me the idea!) Even Ted has to admit that her heart’s in the right place, though they repeatedly clash over how this outreach program will be developed. What he never expects is that her heart will capture his.
The bumpy path this romance takes had me reading on my cell phone (ironic, eh?) as I walked my dog up and down our country road. Honestly. I enjoyed it that much. If I had a hard copy, I’d loan it to you.
Here’s the opening paragraphs:
As passengers began to exit the security area, Ted Wiebe raised his sign showing the name Miranda Klassen written in bold, black ink.
A group of chattering women rushed by, their coats billowing open to display skintight T-shirts, which left their midriffs exposed above jeans that were far too tight.
Ted lowered his head so the brim of his hat shielded his eyes. None of these would be Miss Klassen. Being a modest Mennonite woman, Miss Klassen would not dress in the ways of the women from the cities. Pastor Jake had researched her background before examining her portfolio. Miss Klassen came from a highly regarded Mennonite church with a large membership in Seattle.
Miss Klassen would be wearing a sensible ankle-length skirt or dress with heavy black leather boots. In the photo she had sent, her hair was dark brown and combed back. Here, in public, her head would be respectfully covered, probably using a casual veil instead of a prayer covering.
However, the only woman Ted saw wearing a head covering was Sarahâ€™s grootmutta, who had gone to visit Sarahâ€™s cousins in Pennsylvania and was now going to visit more relatives in Minneapolis before returning home. He nodded and smiled graciously to acknowledge the older woman as she walked past him, then returned his attention to the dwindling crowd.
Nearly everyone had already disembarked, yet he still didnâ€™t see Miss Klassen. If she had missed her connection, then he would have to wait for two hours until the next flight, which he didnâ€™t want to do. Despite often being required to travel for business meetings, he always hated the congestion of large crowded airports, including the busy Minneapolis airport, even though it was the closest one to home, and therefore the most familiar.
He continued to hold the sign until the last straggler passed through the security walkway. This woman wore jeans, but they werenâ€™t as tight, so he continued to watch her while hoping Miss Klassen would soon appear.
This young lady definitely wasnâ€™t dressed for Minnesota winters. Her open, waist-length jacket showed only a thin, non-padded lining, and she only wore a bright red T-shirt under her lightweight jacket. As she crossed into the exit area, she tottered on insanely high shoesâ€“open-toed high heels. Not boots. When snow lay on the ground a foot thick outside.Â
I guess you know who that is? You can read the entire first chapter here.
Still need a bit more convincing?