Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
Today’s guest is one of my favorite authors! She creates rich characters and friendships in her stories that draw you in and make you care for each of them. She is a truly gifted writer and I am so excited to welcome her here today. The first book in her new Amish Mystery series was released yesterday. Hearse and Buggy is an awesome story. She is here to give us a little insight on how the new series was born. Ruth from the Shoo Fly Bake Shoppe in Heavenly, Pennsylvania has sent us some virtual sweets to eat, so relax, help yourself and help me welcome Laura Bradford.
Thanks Lori! Hi Everyone!
For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved the smell of all things new—new cars, the first few drops of a spring rain, new erasers, new babies…
If I stop and think about it though, it’s not the smell of new that appeals to me as much as the new beginning part…
New car = new places to travel.
First few drops of a spring rain = new flowers to smell and new puddles to splash in.
New erasers = fixing mistakes that come from having the courage to try.
New babies = vast potential and the comfort of hope.
So I guess it’s really no surprise that I’ve been beside myself with excitement over the launch of my brand new endeavor, the Amish Mysteries. Hearse and Buggy, the first title in the series, released this week and I couldn’t be any happier.
As a little girl, I remember being fascinated by the rare sighting of an Amish child—their clothes, their shoes, their life so different that mine. But unlike the momentary gawking you’d expect from most kids when faced with someone or something so different than their norm, my fascination was one I was eager to explore. Why did they wear those hats? Why didn’t they wear a pretty necklace? I mean, they look just like us, but they dress, they behave, they live so differently.
Little did I know, at that time, that one day I’d not only be in a position to find those answers, but also live that life…at least by way of my writing.
My work on the Amish Mysteries allows me both opportunities.
Two different times over the past year, I’ve traveled down to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to learn everything I can about the old world Amish in that area. I’ve toured homes, read books, observed their comings and goings, and listened as those far more knowledgeable than me share their wisdom. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot. And I want to learn more.
My series’ protagonist, Claire Weatherly, enables me to live alongside the Amish just as she does—learning their ways, and drawing them close as I do.
I’ve been excited about every book I’ve ever written for one reason or another—a particular plot, a favorite character, a picturesque setting. But Hearse and Buggy (and all of the Amish Mysteries) have jettisoned that first-book excitement into a different stratosphere altogether.
I love the world I’ve created inside Heavenly, PA. I want to work in Claire’s gift shop. I want to be nearby when she and her Amish employee, Esther, are talking. I want to catch my breath along with Claire when Detective Jakob Fisher (former Amish) and his long ago childhood friend, Benjamin Miller, walk by. I want to try Ruth Miller’s Shoo Fly Pie.
And I want to see where these characters take me—and my readers—in the books to come.
I hope you’ll take the journey with me.
About This Author
Laura Bradford is the author of the new Amish Mysteries (Berkley/Penguin). Hearse and Buggy, the first book in the series, is now available. For more information about Laura (and her work on this series as well as the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries as Elizabeth Lynn Casey), visit her website: www.laurabradford.com. There, you can read chapter one of Hearse and Buggy and stay apprised of Laura’s events and all news pertinent to the series (including some fun Amish facts on the “extras” page).
Hearse and Buggy
(An Amish Mystery)
Brand New Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Sarah Oberrender
Heavenly, Pennsylvania has become home to Claire Weatherly. She lives with her aunt Diane who runs Sleep Heavenly Bed & Breakfast. She has left behind her old life in Manhattan and find herself the owner of Heavenly Treasures on Lighted Way where she sells Amish crafted items. Her store is right next to the Shoo Fly Bake Shoppe where Ruth Miller bakes up and sells her tasty treats.
Ruth is a Amish woman with two very protective brothers, Eli and Benjamin. They try to keep a close eye on both her and her business and they are very upset when she seems to be the target of someone doing their best to frighten her by leaving notes and breaking milk bottles on her porch.
The town is shocked when the former owner of Claire’s shop is found murdered in the alley between the two stores. He was not liked by many and had been accused cheating the Amish artists who consigned their works with him to sell. The accusation was made loudly and heard by many. The accuser was none other than Ruth’s brother Eli.
The detective on the case is Jakob Fisher. Jakob was brought up Amish and after his Rumspringa returned and was baptized. Then he decided her really wanted to work in law enforcement so he left his Amish roots behind. Because he was baptized and then left he was shunned by his family. The family that is part of the Heavenly Amish Community. He hits several roadblocks as he tries to investigate the murder because the Amish won’t talk to him. Clare has made friends with many in the Amish Community and offers to be his go-between.
The peaceful town of Heavenly is not very peaceful as Clare finds out much more than she wanted about her neighbors. There is much more going on here than just a few bottles of spilled milk and she is determined to get to the bottom of it!
Laura Bradford is an amazing author! She has created captivating characters in an unique setting that I just know you will love. The Simple Life of the Amish is fascinating to many as we wonder how these people who look just like us live the way we do. Laura is giving us a chance to see how the Amish and the English live and work side by side.
Clare has a young Amish woman working for her and she sells the treasures crafted by her Amish neighbors. The Amish have shops up and down the way. Lighted Way connects the two ways of life. Tourists come to Heavenly to learn about the Amish culture and purchased their goods. Heavenly, Pennsylvania sounds like a little slice of heaven, well except for the dead body and a bit of vandalism.
A wonderful complex mystery with a variety of suspects!!
The author has also laid the groundwork for a little romance. The men that send tingles through Claire and Esther has a crush.
We also need to see what happens between Jakob and his family. Sixteen years have past and there is a great divide.
Think is now my favorite cozy so far this year! If you love cozies like I do you will love this book and like me you will eagerly waiting for the next book in the Amish Mystery Series as soon as you finish this one. Hearse and Buggy is a Heavenly Treasure!!!
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Thanks to the people at Berkley Prime Crime
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”