Sunday, June 20, 2010

surprise giveaway!

I'm so pleased to surprise you readers with a giveaway, compliments of my author friend, Ann Gabhart. This is her brand new release and it's bound to be as wildly popular as her first two bestselling Shaker novels: The Outsider and The Believer. All three of these stories are set in Kentucky's historic Shaker Village. I had the privilege of endorsing The Seeker and I think it's Ann's best novel to date.

If you'd like to be in the drawing, please leave a comment here and tell me so. I'd love to hear why you think the Amish/Shaker genre is so popular right now and why it appeals to you. I have my own ideas and will share them but wanted to ask you readers first as I always learn something! The names will go in a separate Shaker bonnet and I'll announce the winner this coming Sunday, June 26th. Then Ann will sign a hot-off-the-press copy and mail it out.

~Please join me Wednesday for another peek at Morrow's world
~On Friday I'll be drawing our second winner for a signed copy of Courting Morrow Little
~On Sunday I'll announce the winner of The Seeker

Bless you all!


  1. I haven't read a lot of Amish novels (and no Shaker ones... yet--yes please enter me in the drawing), but they appeal to me much in the way a time travel novel appeals, if they have both "Englisher" and Amish characters. You get a modern character's perspective on a culture that's as different as another time period, in so many ways. Those differences in outlook, expectations, and lifestyle make for great conflict and story possibilities.

    That's what I see in them, anyway.

  2. Please enter me in the drawing. ;)

    I have to say it amazes me how the Amish books have grown in the last few years. They're even listed as a separate genre on CBD. I think they are popular because people are looking for escapism, and a simpler way of life. I think it's the simplicity that really appeals to readers.

    For me, the Amish genre is like any other. There are authors I like, and there are others whose writing does not appeal to me.

  3. For me I find the Amish lifestyle refreshing. Simple, pure, unobstructed.
    The way of our life is so fast and crazy. The day-to-day has a tendency to control us. Our schedules become our "home" instead of our family time being our "home".
    There are times (many times) that I long for more simple days such as the Amish have. I know they work hard but they also know when to relax and spend time with family and friends.
    They have a balance to it all that the rest of us can't seem to grasp.

    I hope you and your boys are having a good summer so far. We keep getting teased by the sun. It will come out for a couple days and then we get hit with rain again. The lawn is a jungle!!

  4. Thanks so much for a chance to win this, Laura! I would love the opportunity! :)

    There was actually a post by Cindy Woodsmall on the "Seekerville" blog a while back that addressed this same question. It does seem that the Amish books are so intriguing because the Amish live without many of the "modern conveniences" that we have. Their way of life is more simple than our own, and it's attractive in comparison to the hectic/busy/convoluted/complicated lifestyle many of us have. I admit, it would be nice to have more simplicity and to have a deeper sense of community. :) But all people groups have their own hardships and pain, as well. Hence these Amish novels.

    Thanks again, Laura! (And your interview is up on my blog! Yay!)



  5. Oh, how fun! I have "The OUtsider" and really enjoyed it, I find the Shaker faith and culture so interesting. While it seems like such a foreign concept to us in modern times (I dont think I could ever consent to being seperated in a community from my baby or my husband) I can totally get why people did it back in the day....when many marriages weren't so easy, and pioneering life was so rough and sometimes so disasterous. I think I remember reading that women were more likely to join the group....which I can understand. It was a place of community and belonging and feeling valued and not isolated.

    I imagine that this genre, like Amish fic, is so popular because it peeks into a way of life and spirituality that is so very different from the lives of most readers, but takes place in a landscape and history that we know well.

    But while I love the furniture, I could never be a shaker ;)

    Do include me!~!

    PS: on a sidenote, a while back I went into an Amish shop and found that they sell all those Amish romance novels! I thought this was extremely interesting, I wonder if they read them? ;)

  6. I've been fascinated by the Amish culture ever since I visited Pennsylvania Dutch country when I was 12 years old. I think it's because they live in such a "historical" way right in the midst of our modern times.

    While I love their simple ways, I don't envy some of their flawed, very strict religious beliefs. In my favorite Amish novel, by Beverly Lewis, an Amish girl joins the Mennonite faith and learns how she can have a very real, personal relationship with Jesus.

    I've only read one Shaker novel and it was about a girl escaping from her community. I don't know much about the Shakers---except that they separate the men and the women and they make really good furniture :-)

    I'd love a chance to win. Thank you and thanks to Ann!

  7. I agree with the simplifying life concenus. We're pushed and pulled in so many different directions in this modern world that society has lost its core values. So the idea of ditching all that in favour of a plain life is intriguing.

    I think it's what we've all wished for at one time or another. But could we actually do it? And if so, at what cost? The only two Amish books I have read explore that angle and they did it really well.

    I also see some parallels between the Amish guarding their tradional beliefs and Christians guarding theirs.

    Society is changing way too fast, especially on moral issues and it isn't 'cool' to voice an opinion that isn't trend-setting. The Amish have set themselves apart by their dress and lifestyle. No one has to guess at their take on current moral standards. They clearly stand united in their faith.

    Other Christians however aren't part of the same kind of united front. A lot of us are cast adrift -token believers in communities where it isn't the norm to attend church, let alone believe in God. While we can gain strength and a sense of belonging in our church families, the rest of the time (in fact, the majority of our time) we spend fighting the tide of conformity that is in direct opposition to God's commandments. That can get wearing after awhile.

    Hope that makes sense!

  8. What a WONDERFUL surprise Laura!! I would LOVE a chance to win Ann’s book :) I have never read any Amish/Shaker books, so I don’t think I’ll have anything of substance to add to this discussion- sorry :( But it’s wonderful and very enlightening to read everyone’s thoughts about them :)

    I actually just read an excerpt of Ann’s book “The Seeker” on Amazon (love their “surprise me” feature!) and WOW!! It was amazing!! I had no idea what I was missing!! The excerpt also involved a kissing scene, and let me tell ya, as a girl with a great fondness for kissing scenes, it was one of the best I have ever had the pleasure of reading ;) Now I’m just dying to read her book!! And if the Lord’s favor doesn’t shine upon me for Sunday, then first thing Monday I’m heading to the Christian book store and picking up a copy. Saw it there the other day- it was on the same shelf right next to Morrow :)

    Thank you Laura!! Praying you have a beautiful week!!

    Amanda Stanley

  9. I've only once been to the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill in Kentucky, and it was a delight. I can't wait to look for Ann's books!

    On the CML front....FINISHED it this afternoon! Oh my. I didn't cry until the end - and then I think it was as much because it was OVER as how beautiful it was in its entirety. Wow, Laura. When does that next book come out? :)

  10. would love to read ann's latest novel...thanks for the chance :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  11. I love to read Amish novels like those written by Beverly Lewis. I really appreciate the simplistic way of life. It reminds me of the way things might have been back when my grandpa was a child. Also, I love books with details about old-fashioned homemaking. Many of the Amish novels that I've read are chock full of those sweet little details about every day life that I love to read about!

  12. One other thing that I forgot to mention: I live in a very busy city and when I pick up a book set in Amish culture my imagination escapes to a place that is soothing, peaceful, and a lot more slow paced than the concrete jungle that I am greeted with each day. It's like a mental vacation to a relaxing bed and breakfast!

  13. Lori, I haven't read a lot of Amish either - my love of the 18th-c. gets in the way:) You're so right about the great conflict and story possibilities therein. Makes me wish I had a penchant for that genre. Glad you want to enter the drawing ~ looks like you're not alone:)

  14. So true, Michelle, about who is writing and how they are writing them, just like any genre. A return to a simpler way of life and escapism is key to their popularity, I think. My favorite Amish story to date is Lewis's The Postcard, read many years ago. Since I don't read much in this area, I know there's a world of others out there! Glad you want to read about the Shakers. They're so fascinating.

  15. Lisa, Yes, we are being attacked by our lawn, too, and the sun is sooo fickle! I'm afraid we might not have much summer (Randy heard a dismal outlook today). But we'll thank the Weatherman anyway, I guess.

    You are so right - simple, pure, unobstructed. I must admit to having thoughts when I was younger about joining an Amish community. I went to college in Ohio and they were everywhere or seemed to be. Now, knowing more about them, I'd be more inclined to join the Mennonites.

    There's something so appealing about slowing down and turning off! And I even love their kapps and the way they dress. Consider yourself entered!

  16. Amber,
    You're so right - even the Amish have their share of ups and downs. No group is perfect, that's for sure. Woodsmall is supposed to be the cream of the crop for Amish readers. I've not read one but see them at Walmart a lot. Might just be temped to pick one up in future. Thanks for entering the drawing - and for that fun vacation post!

  17. Heather,
    That's fascinating that the Amish read Amish novels. There are so many of them! I've always wondered if they do:) The furniture is so beautiful like you said - and those Amish buildings with those free-standing staircases are to die for! I spent Thanksgiving there many years ago and can tell you there food isn't bad either, especially Shaker lemon pie:) Into the drawing you go!

  18. Mary,
    You've made such an important point and one I've struggled with. The Amish seem to rely mostly on works and not a personal, saving relationship with Christ. I don't know how they handle the spiritual aspect in Amish novels, but there is a huge difference between real Christianity and the Amish religion/legalism. The Mennonites seem to have bridged the gap but I'm no authority. Thanks so much for bringing this up.

    So glad you want to read Ann's book!

  19. Kav,
    Great thoughts. Love that you mentioned their moral code or beliefs - that really does set them apart. Their lifestyle is all about fidelity and family and hard work - so admirable. Their sense of community is something Christians should take note of as we've largely lost that today. I am saddened that we can go to church and not even say anything beyond a cordial hello, then go our separate ways, etc. I also love the fact that together they can raise a barn in a day!

    Thanks so much for entering the drawing:)

  20. Hi Amanda!
    It's never quite the same till you log on here:) And you're so right - not only do Ann and I release on the same day (at least contractually), we're beside each other on the shelf:) And there's no other author I'd rather be on the shelf with! When I see her books or mine spine-shelved, I always turn them face out. A little authorial trick:)

    So glad you want to be part of the drawing. I'm sure Ann will appreciate your enthusiasm! I sure do:)

  21. Hi Karen,
    Thanks for stopping by - I should mention, too, that Ann is giving away her books each week on her blog as well. So readers can double your chances of winning here or there:)

  22. Oh Regina, Welcome words!! Thanks so very much for reading and enjoying:) I'm so happy and blessed. Knowing you hated for it to end and cried makes me want to do the same! In fact I shed a few tears at the end myself. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had back to back books by authors and there was no 9 month to a year wait? I think heaven will be one big library where the books never end (and there are no fines and due dates or waits!). Bless you bunches. Your name is in the hat for Ann!

  23. New Mom,
    So happy to see you again:) I'm still smiling about your Lael/TFD post!
    You've said so eloquently and succinctly what my editor said about reader attraction to the Amish lifestyle. Love the B&B analogy. For me, like you, it's a return to an old-fashioned way of life vicariously. I imagine city dwellers especially love "living" in Amish country even for a few pages.
    Thanks so much for entering the drawing. I really enjoy all the book talk here:)

  24. Regina,
    I just remembered what I forgot - lol! You asked very thoughtfully about my next book. It's due out next summer and I'm finishing editing/polishing it now (The Colonel's Lady). Very different than TFD or CML. I'm getting a bit nervous now that my deadline is approaching. Will be interesting to see what my editor thinks. Prayers appreciated! Bless you.

  25. Names in the hat via Facebook:

    a little reminder to moi:)

  26. This is a great surprise giveaway. Thanks for having it.
    Please enter me. I like the Amish books because it seems like a quiet, peaceful kind of life, even though it is a hard life.
    Trinity Rose

    wandaelaine at gmail dot com

  27. Hi Wanda,
    Good to see you here - happy to enter you in the drawing! The more we talk about Amish/Shaker novels, the more anxious I am to read another one. I think you'll really like Ann's books. They have that peaceful, rural feel that gives you a blessed escape.

  28. Blogger is playing tricks this morning - Judy left a comment but it ended up over on the Memorial Day post. So please consider yourself entered, Judy:) Bad blogger!

  29. I enjoyed the Believer. I was not familiar with the Shaker faith and I found it fascinating.

    I pretty much agree with everyone who commented before me about why the Amish/Shaker books are so popular. The culture is so different from what we are used to, especially since we are so dependent on technology today. That people can and do live without it seems nearly impossible to understand.

    Thanks for such a great giveaway, Laura!


  30. Oh I would love to have this book! I read her first two and just couldn't stop talking about them. The Shaker lifestyle is so fascinating because it's just so unbelievable, to me at least. I really don't understand why couples would join a community where they couldn't be with their spouses and children. We should all be glad it didn't really catch on or none of us would be here!

    I have read alot of Amish books too. I enjoy them because, like most of the other comments said, we appreciate their simple life. It's not easy, but it's not the fast paced, complicated life so many of us have.

    We read to transport us to another place, and/or time.

    Thanks Laura


  31. Barbara,
    So happy to meet an Ann/Shaker fan:) I know that makes Ann smile, too! I'm just amazed at the overwhelming number of people who love this genre. For all the reasons you listed. I read Ann's first book, The Outsider, then when I met her at the Kentucky Book Fair a few months ago, she signed The Believer for me. I think her second book, The Believer, has the most amazing, appealing cover!! When I saw it I knew it would fly off shelves. Thanks so much for chiming in, Barbara. So glad to have you in the giveawway!

  32. OOOO, I'd love to win this book.

    It's probably not a very original thought, but I think we like Amish/Shaker stories because this world is moving so fast. We like to look back at simpler times and good old, get in the dirt and work hard lifestyles. It shows human connections and a connection to the soil in ways that we seldom see today.
    It makes me go to a warm and fuzzy place where I can pretend I wear a bonnet, churn butter, and walk the field to call my husband in for dinner.

  33. I haven't read any Amish novels but I did live near a lot of them in Northern WI and was always amazed at how they live. I am not saying everyone should live like the Amish but if we each changed one of our ways to be more like theirs it would be a better world to live in.

  34. Oh..Forgot to mention..Enter me in the drawing :) Please

  35. I'm with you, Kristen, about churning and wearing a bonnet (I love them even if Lael didn't) and calling your husband home for supper. There is something so lovely and pure about all that. So glad you want to be in the drawing! Thanks a bunch!

  36. Nancy,
    I agree so much - if we changed our ways even a little bit and tried to harness some of the Amish wholesomeness as a way of life, we'd be much better off. I think they are so blessed to live w/o cell phones and all the rest! Thanks for being a part of the drawing!

  37. I just received the Seeker from another blog giveaway.

    I love the cover of courting Morrow

    I'd love to win a copy of that one. Thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  38. I have read a lot of Amish/Shaker novels and love them. I guess its because their way of life is so different from mine and I love to read about their belief. Also the school shooting that was in the news last year brought a lot of interest worldwide to them. I would love to win the book.

  39. Thanks so much for entering! It's been fun seeing how many readers like Amish fiction. It definitely has wide appeal.

  40. Thanks to everybody who entered Laura's giveaway for my new book, The Seeker. While my books are often compared to Amish books, the Shakers weren't really all that much like the Amish. They were ready to invent anything to make their work better and more efficient and they were celibate and lived as brothers and sisters. The Amish have a strong family tradition. But the Shakers are an interesting group and most who have read the books have enjoyed learning more about the religion that has almost died out now. A handful of Shakers still live in Sabbathday Lake, Maine.

    I'm sorry all of you couldn't win, but it was fun reading your comments. Thanks for you interest and I'll be sending out the winner's book this week to Regina.

    Thanks Laura for doing the book giveaway. You have so many great reading friends.