A SIMPLE HOPE Rosalind Lauer
Lancaster Crossroads
, Book 2
Ballantine
ISBN:  978-0-345-54328-8
March 2014
Amish Inspirational Romance

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania - Present Day

Injured in the recent accident where a car crashed head on into the passenger van he and his friends were riding in, James Lapp is paralyzed from the waist down.  His legs are useless now; he can't tend the orchard he loves, and the helplessness has caused him to become an angry and resentful person.  When his doctors recommend a new and very expensive medical treatment, James jumps at the chance to participate.  But James's father and the Bishop both agree:  James' inability to walk is his God-given cross to bear, and he must learn to live with the disability.  The treatments are too expensive for the Lapp family, and getting James to the city is nearly impossible.  James, however, is determined to find a way to continue treatment, no matter what.  He must walk again.

Rachel King has been in love with James for years, and, before the accident, they planned to announce their engagement.  But now James refuses.  He will not speak of marriage or a future with Rachel until he can walk.  All Rachel desires is to be James's wife.  And she dreams of the two of them married and living together in town.  She would support them by selling her paintings, only James won't hear of it.  He accuses Rachel of taking his father and the Bishop's side.  Rachel is beside herself with worry.  If only James would speak to her, talk to her.  Therapist Dylan Monroe was visiting the Lapp farm to counsel James, and Nurse Haley Donavan helped with his therapy, but now Mr. Lapp has forbidden all Englischers to enter his home.  He wants James to break away from the Englisch idea that he might walk again and accept his fate.

Teenager Shandell Darby and her friend Gary have been riding around these country roads for over a week, but now Shandell wants to go home, back to Baltimore.  Gary refuses.  He's having too much fun, joy riding around the Amish countryside, stealing from the small stores and farm stands.  Fearing for her safety, Shandell decides to escape.  She hides inside Elsie Lapp's Country Store, forcing Gary to leave her behind when he drives away in an angry fit.  She telephones her mother, who refuses to come rescue her.  Pride prevents her from telling Elsie the truth, so Shandell lies and leaves the safety of the store.  After hours of walking the dark country roads out of town, Shandell finally finds an abandoned shack in an orchard where she can sleep.  There is no electricity, but there's a wood stove, a chair, and a bench she can sleep on.

Rachel has A SIMPLE HOPE for her and James's future, but they have many obstacles to overcome.  James simply wants to walk again so he can work in the orchard rather than in the family office as his father wants.  And when James discovers Shandell hiding inside the sugaring shack, he helps her by taking her food.  Rachel tries to get James to open up and speak to her, and finally, when she discovers Shandell, she and James are drawn closer by this secret they must keep from their families.  A SIMPLE HOPE is the second book in the Lancaster Crossroads series, following A SIMPLE FAITH (November 2013).  (A 77 page novella for Kindle is also available, A SIMPLE CROSSROADS (July 2013).  Both books stand alone, but reading the first novel will greatly enrich the experience as A SIMPLE FAITH details the accident that involved so many of the characters in these stories.  The third novel, A SIMPLE CHARITY (Fanny Lapp's story) is coming soon.

Meanwhile, don't miss A SIMPLE HOPE, a touching and heartfelt novel!

Diana Risso