The Amish Teacher's Gift
by Rachel J. Good
Series: Love and Promises #1
Published by Forever
Publication Date April 24, 2018
Genres: Amish Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Pennsylvania Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 18-24, 25-34
Written for: Adults
Widower Josiah Yoder wants to be a good father. But it’s not easy with a deaf young son who doesn’t understand why his mamm isn’t coming home. At a loss, Josiah enrolls Nathan in a special-needs school and is relieved to see his son immediately comforted by his new teacher, a woman whose sweet charm and gentle smile just might be the balm they both need.
With seven siblings to care for, Ada Rupp wasn’t sure she wanted to take on teaching too. But the moment she holds Nathan in her arms, she realizes she’ll do all she can to help this lost little boy. Plus, it gives her a chance to spend more time with Josiah. Falling for a man in mourning may be against the rules, but his quiet strength is the support Ada never knew she needed. Yet with no time to court and a family secret holding her back, how can she allow herself to fall in love?
I would like to thank Celebrate Lit, Netgalley for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
The subject of the special-needs school in The Amish Teacher’s Gift is one I’ve never read about in an Amish book, but it is one that interests me greatly. While in high school, I was blessed to be a helper in a program for developmentally delayed preschoolers for a few hours a day. I have such fond memories of those wonderful children that when I saw the synopsis of this book, I knew I had to read it.
So many thoughts are floating through my head about this book.
The fact that the story dealt with a special-needs Amish school fascinated me. I loved the way that 19-year-old Ada took the time to learn all she could to help her students. The Mennonite school was pretty amazing. The tools they had to help the kids, the multi-sensory environment, everything they had just made my heart happy.
Martha, the bishop’s daughter, had Down Syndrome, yet she was a tremendous asset in the classroom. How amazing the school board would have allowed that, or even thought of having her be the one to assist. What a brilliant idea! Having known several children and adults with that condition, I can see how it would be a great fit.
Several things in the book were just sad. One of them is this. With the Amish community known to be just that, a community, it was terrible that Ada, as young as she was, was solely responsible for her six younger siblings with apparently no support from anyone. Yes, I know. The children are raised so they all help out, but that is beside the point. Someone should have been looking out for them, coming alongside to help, even if just to give her short breaks. I like to think that if I knew of someone in that kind of situation I would be helping on a regular basis.
The mixing of worlds was a great touch. Instead of everything happening just inside the Amish community, Josiah worked for an Englicsh construction company. Buggies and cars alike used the roads they traveled on. It was a nice touch giving a different picture than the completely isolated community often portrayed in Amish stories.
I am looking forward to reading more books by Rachel J. Good. This was a great start to the series.
Guest Post from Rachel J. Good
Sometimes as an author, stories call to you and beg you to write them. This story first tugged at my heart after I spent time with an Amish friend’s special needs child. I thought about writing a book to show how the Amish treat each child as a gift from God. After meeting a hearing-impaired teen girl with Down’s syndrome and seeing how she was encouraged to live up to her potential, the idea grew stronger. This girl later became Martha in the book.
Then at an auction, I watched a young Down’s syndrome boy help the auctioneer by delivering the goods to the bidders. His straw hat tilted a little crookedly, but with a broad smile on his face, he carefully matched items with the correct bidder. He looked so proud of himself and proud to be able to do such an important job. I sat there at the auction and jotted notes for the novel.
Once I knew the topic of the novel, I began my research by visiting Amish schools for special needs, attending auctions to support them, and touring the Community Care Center, where Amish and Mennonite children and adults with special needs get amazing help. The young man in the wheelchair who showed us around was an awesome guide. We peeked into an exercise room, a therapy room, a craft room, several classrooms, a cafeteria, and my favorite—a multi-sensory environment. This room with dark walls lit only by a small row of twinkling Christmas lights had a ball pit (with the plastic balls like some fast food restaurants have in their play areas), a plush recliner, blankets, headphones, and a hammock. Autistic children at the center found this room a great calming atmosphere. I knew this room had to have a place in the book.
I visited a teacher who taught autistic children and learned a lot about programs, therapies, and teaching techniques. After learning the cutting edge techniques she used, I was surprised to realize that the Amish had adopted quite a few of them for their classrooms. I chose a hearing-impaired boy for the hero’s son because I had a nephew with hearing problems, so I could incorporate some of the struggles he had into the story.
I wanted this series to be about the healing power of love, so each book will deal with a different type of healing. When something touches my heart like this, I always pray it will touch the readers’ hearts too.
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To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a grand prize package of a tote, an autographed copy of The Amish Teacher’s Gift, and an autographed copy of Hearts Reunited!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cee3/the-amish-teacher-s-gift-celebration-tour-giveaway