Pine Creek Marriage
It must be heartbreaking to lose your husband and the child you're carrying. Amelia Baumann is still dealing with the trauma of her loss. Though some time has passed, her wounds are not healed. Because of the pain she is suffering, Amelia vows she will never fall in love or marry again—and this is a vow she plans to keep.
Looking for a fresh start, Amelia moves to Pine Creek to care for Mary Kurtz, her mother's childhood friend, laid up with a broken ankle and riddled with painful arthritis. Amelia is delighted with her current situation. She and Mary get along very well, and Amelia receives room and board for helping the older woman. She also has a part-time job at the Pine Cone Café.
One day when Mary is out visiting friends, Amelia is frightened when a strange man shows up at the door. He enters the house, and she's armed to swat him with a frying pan but notices a little girl by his side. This man happens to be Mary's nephew, Samuel Kurtz, and the youngster is his six-year-old niece, Ruthie, his brother's daughter. Ruthie's biological dad had married in haste to give his child legitimacy, yet theirs was a loveless marriage. When Ruthie's mom passed away, Samuel claims guardianship of her for his brother says he is not prepared to raise a child. Ruthie is thriving under Samuel's care, and she loves him and considers him her dad.
Samuel and Amelia start off on the wrong foot, and tension abounds between them, for they distrust each other. He wonders why she lives with his aunt, and Amelia is concerned about him being there. Still, when Ruthie and Samuel move into Mary's house, Amelia learns Samuel is buying her property, planning to renovate the barn to start a business making outdoor furniture, and finally settle down.
Meanwhile, Amelia works at the café and tends to Mary's greenhouse business, where she finds her passion in planting and arranging flowers and plants. Nevertheless, she worries about her future, believing Samuel will force her to leave now that he and Ruthie are settling in. Amelia is worried with good cause. Where would she go? Certainly not back home to her overbearing mother, who only wants to marry her off to any eligible bachelor in the area.
Because the Amish deem it improper for an unmarried couple to live under the same roof, Amelia moves into the "daedihaus" house behind the main homestead. Happy to not be forced to leave, she misses the closeness and activities she's established with living with Mary, though she always is at her house to cook or clean.
A loving and loquacious child, Ruthie wins everyone over, especially Amelia. But then Ruthie's mother's sister, Dorothy, arrives claiming she should raise the child because she is married with her own children. Samuel fiercely objects, stating he is following his brother's request to care for her. Samuel panics, thinking Dorothy will stop at nothing to take Ruthie away from him. After much consideration, Samuel devises a plan and suggests he and Amelia marry to create a proper family for Ruthie. Their relationship has warmed since they met, and Samuel starts to develop feelings for Amelia and believes this is the one factor where he can gain full and legal custody of Ruthie. Can he win her over?
Dorothy arrives in Pine Creek, haughty and adamant she will be given Ruthie. Her harsh and callous ways frighten both Samuel and Amelia. They cannot allow Ruthie to go with her. Though Amelia states she'll never remarry, her heart belongs to this child, so she agrees to a marriage of convenience. This way, she can be a mother to Ruthie with a home and the family she's always wanted, considering there is no love between her and Samuel—but could there be?
This book #2 in the Pine Creek series stands on its own, demonstrating the heartbreak of losing a loved one and finding your place in life against all odds. The unity and camaraderie between the members of the Amish community present insightful information about how they live their lives, giving food for thought as to how they manage to thrive amid love, acceptance, and nonjudgement. A quick and easy read, Pine Creek Marriage tenders a happy ever after.