Tuesday, September 24, 2013

First Chapter

 Summer ended two days ago, home-grown sweet corn is but a memory, and shorts are for die-hards. October is just around the corner, and that means my new book The Bargain is available! You can read the first page right now. Enjoy!

“When a great adventure is offered, you don’t refuse it.”

—Amelia Earhart quoted in Betsie’s journal
Monday evening, May 3, 1971

     Betsie Troyer reined in her horse as she reached the outskirts of Plain City. A tear trickled down

her cheek as she tried to pretend she was on a normal errand, but grim reminders were


     As Judith trotted around the corner of Ohio 42, Betsie was barely aware of her parents on

the seat beside her. They were silent as the buggy passed the filling station on State Route 161,

where the English paid twenty-nine cents a gallon to fuel their fancy cars. Cookie-cutter English

houses on postage-stamp lots rubbed elbows with imposing English churches topped with showy

bells and steeples. A row of red-brick storefronts marched proudly along West Main Street. The

glare of shop lights was absent, but Betsie could almost hear the evil crackle of electricity as it

surged through the ugly wires overhead.

     A red traffic light commanded a stop. Betsie glanced at the Seth Thomas clock

ensconced in the white cupola in the center of town: ten past six on a Monday morning. She

gritted her teeth and faced front so that her bonnet served as blinders to block out the English

world as much as possible. Common sense reminded her it was much too early for the lazy

English to shop for their store-bought goods—the English, who already had everything they had

ever desired, anyway. Ach, they weren’t going to get her parents, too.

     “Dat, please don’t you and Mem leave the Amish,” she burst out. “How can you ignore

what you promised on your knees before the church, long before I was born?”

     “Betsie, Betsie.” Her father’s grizzled beard dragged against his suspenders as he shook

his head. “Now that we know the truth and hold it dear in our hearts, Mem and I will follow

Jesus wherever He leads. He knows how sorry we are that we didn’t follow Him sooner.” Dat

sighed. “I pray you and Sadie will follow Him, too. Come with us to Belle Center, Dechder.”

     “Never.” The buggy rolled onto Railroad Street. The train depot loomed ahead, and in

front of it steamed the black beast that would carry her parents away forever.