Hannah's Choice (Journey to Pleasant Prairie Series #1)Jan Drexler
Hanna's Choice is the first book in the Journey to Pleasant Prairie Series. Two young men seek Hanna's hand in marriage. One offers the home she desperately craves, the other promises the adventure of following God's call west. She must choose whether to perform her dutie... Read More
- Product type: Book
- Format: Softcover
- Release Date: Dec 15, 2015
- UPC: 9780800726560
- Volumes/Discs: 1
- Pages: 400
- Publish Date: Jan 19, 2016
- Language: English
- Audience Age Maximum: 0
- Audience Age Minimum: 0
- BISAC: "FIC053000"
- ISBN: 0800726561
Customer ReviewsWrite your own review
- Review from Rambles of a SAHM by Fitzysmom on 2/8/2016
Hannah's Choice combines two of my favorite genres, Amish Fiction and Historical Romance. The story takes place in Lancaster County in early 1842. We quickly learn that Hannah's family has suffered tremendous loss and is struggling to regain their footing. Hannah's mother is in the throes of depression and her father is at a loss of how to help her.
Hannah has been able to seek solace and friendship throughout her growing up years with her neighbor Adam. Now that they are both adults there is a longing to make a move toward marriage but Adam is Mennonite and Hannah is Amish. Neither wants to convert to the other's faith so the relationship seems doomed.
When Amish men from a nearby settlement come for a visit it appears that many things may be changing for Hannah's family. Not only are circumstances possibly changing but one of the visitors is a young Amish man looking to marry and begin a family. Hannah struggles to decide if she fits in that plan.
What I liked about this novel is that there were multiple story lines going on. Hannah's younger sister is headstrong and spoiled. She isn't very taken with the Amish lifestyle and seeks a way out. But there is a very high price to pay.
Adam and his family are involved in the Underground Railroad. Through an unexpected twist Hannah gets drawn into the rescuing. It was interesting to read about the struggle she had with participating.
Hannah's Choice is an intriguing look into the early settlers of Lancaster County and how they grew and expanded their numbers locally and in other communities. I can't wait to read the next book in the series and see how the People are settling into their new homes and lives.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
- Deep Characters and Themes by Claudia on 2/2/2016
I have a confession to make. I am that reader who sometimes, okay maybe often, takes a peek at the last chapter sometime during the first half of a book. Most often I do this during a mystery and I just have to know whether a favorite character survives to the end of the book. Then I can read on comforted or braced for the inevitable. Hannah’s Choice drove me to the last chapter because I just had to know what her final choice would be. This is the only time that I remember really regretting taking that little peek because at that time I was really disappointed in her choice, but by the time I legitimately got to the last chapter I was quite satisfied with the ending. I highly recommend this first book in the Journey to Pleasant Prairie series, but I don’t recommend peeking.
Hannah Yoder lives with her immediate family in a dwindling Amish community in Pennsylvania prior to the Civil War. Amish families in the area are both moving west into Ohio and Indiana, and joining other Anabaptist denominations. The dwindling community poses a major problem for Hannah’s parents: How can they best keep their children true to their faith, separate from the outsiders with whom they are being surrounded. For Hannah the problem is more specific. She must choose between marrying in or outside of her faith. Which is more important marrying in her faith, and keeping her family together by avoiding the bann, or marrying for love?
The author adds an interesting twist to the storyline that greatly enhances the story. Adam, one of Hannah’s suitors, becomes a conductor in the underground railroad. He, his family, and his friends must struggle with their consciences regarding the Bible’s instruction to obey government authorities and the belief that those authorities are going against the teachings of Christ. Which takes precedence?
Jan Drexler is a new to me author. I would say that if you are a fan of Suzanne Woods Fisher, you will become a fan of Jan Drexler. I have! Jan, a descendant of Amish, Mennonite and Brethren immigrants, draws from her well researched family history resulting in a historically accurate story with deep characters and believable dialogue.
I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing Hannah’s Choice for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.
- History, Romance, and Down-to-Earth Humanity by Jessica Alise on 2/1/2016
Hannah’s Choice is a novel that is equally composed of history, romance, and down-to-earth humanity. Set in 1842, the novel follows 18-year-old Hannah Yoder as she tries to make sense of the crossroads where she finds herself. Her family might be moving west to join a new settlement of other Amish, her family is still trying to heal from a tragedy that struck years before, her sister is being tempted away from their way of life, and Hannah isn’t sure what is in her own heart for her future. She is presented with offers of marriage from two very different men who would offer her two very different ways of life, and she also finds herself wrestling with aspects of her faith along the way.
The narration’s point of view jumps between several of the characters throughout the story, giving a clear picture of what is going on with each of them. Their thoughts, emotions, and actions are well described for the reader to envision the story unfolding. From the protagonist Hannah to her childhood friend, her sister, each of her parents, and her potential suitor, the author weaves a story of decisions, emotion, faith, family, and love. It was clear that the author had done her research, both in the characters and the setting.
I found the writing very vivid and captivating; I stayed up late the first night I started reading because I was so caught up in the story and lost track of time! The characters were well-rounded, even the minor characters who only appeared once or twice. Additionally, the struggles that each of the characters faced felt very real; I found myself sympathizing with each of them and feeling their emotions right along with them. The spiritual message is subtle, but it is there, and it is one with which we can all identify: the importance of finding peace in our personal convictions and following God wherever those may lead and whatever the cost.
NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher, Revell, for an honest review.
- Enjoyable to read! by The Avid Reader on 1/20/2016
Hannah’s Choice by Jan Drexler is set in Conestoga Creek in 1842. Hannah Yoder is eighteen years old. She lives with her parents (Annalise and Christian) and her siblings (Liesbet, Margareta, Peter, William, and Jacob. There were more children but they died nine years earlier from illness (all the children got very ill). Since then Annalise has been extremely depressed (and has treated Hannah horribly). Hannah is good friends (all her life) with Adam Metzler. Adam, though, is a Mennonite. He is in love with Hannah, but Hannah is Amish (her father would never approve the match). Christian Yoder is worried about the lack of Amish in the year. More Amish are leaving the area for greener pastures. Christian is worried about the non-Amish influences on his children (he wants to make sure that the stay Amish). Christian gets an opportunity to move his family to another state where a new Amish community is being started. With this news comes Josef Bender who is instantly attracted to Hannah. Josef starts spending time with Hannah. Hannah will have a choice to make? Stay in Conestoga Creek and marry Adam (with all that is familiar). Or marry Josef Bender and move to a new state (a new life). Adding to Hannah dilemma is an issue with Liesbet. Liesbet (at sixteen) fell in love with an Englischer (who was just seducing Liesbet). Liesbet leaves her home (which makes their father more determined to move) and marries her young man. But life is not rosy for Liesbet (it is not at all what she imagined). What if Liesbet comes looking for them and they are gone? Hannah will have to make a choice.
Hannah’s Choice was a good book. It is the first book in Journey to Pleasant Prairie series. I read it straight through late one night. I liked the characters and it was easy to read. The setting sounded so lovely (I do not blame Hannah for not wanting to move). I give Hannah’s Choice 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). If you like historical, Christian fiction, you will enjoy Hannah’s Choice. It is a well-written story and I am looking forward to the next book in this series.
I received a complimentary copy from NetGalley and Revell in exchange for an honest review.
- Whom To Choose by Maureen on 1/19/2016
The title of the book Hannah’s Choice complements the theme of this story, and who will win her hand and heart.
This book takes place in the Lancaster PA area before the Civil War, and with slave hunters coming through the area looking for escaped slaves. We find at the end of this book that the author is related to former Amish, or Brethren who left the area and went to Indiana.
Hannah lives with her family on a farm that has been in her family for generations. It is situated on the banks of the Conestoga River, and we get to journey around on this beautiful land. How wonderful to live with so much family history surrounding them. Some is heart breaking especially with the death of three of her siblings.
When a couple of fellow Amish stop at the farm and offer up an opportunity to move to new land at low prices, Christian, Hannah’s Dad, thinks this will be a good solution to go to where there are more Amish, and to get away from the grief that has surrounded his wife and family. He is also worried about his children going worldly and marrying outside of their religion.
I was quickly consumed by this book and was turning the pages to find the answers, and I struggled, as did Hannah, as to whom she should choose to marry. If she chooses her neighbor and childhood friend Adam, she risks looking her family to the bann, but she can continue to live where she loves, and if she chooses the Josef will she be marrying for love, but she follows her religion.
This is a wonderful read about the Amish in Pennsylvania before it was a major settlement, and life in the 1840’s in America.
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Revell and was not required to give a positive review.
- Compelling Historical Fiction by Ellie Faye on 1/12/2016
Will obedient, hard-working Hannah Yoder manage to keep her family together along the banks of her beloved Conestoga Creek in 1842 Pennsylvania? Will she give her heart to the best friend of her youth, who will allow her to stay in Pennsylvania, but expects her to embrace his Mennonite faith and illegal anti-slavery activities? Or will a new, Amish farmer convince her to follow him into the wild unknowns of Indiana? In Hannah’s Choice, Jan Drexler presents a deep and complex cast of characters whose choices each impact the others in significant ways.
Firstly, the complicated issue of slavery brings a depth to the novel that many works of Amish fiction tend to lack. Drexler delves into the struggle many in this time period must have faced: whether civil laws and authorities deserve obedience when they clearly oppose God’s laws.
In many ways, several of the secondary characters in the novel proved more compelling than Hannah herself. Annalise Yoder’s struggle with depression, her husband’s need to protect and guide his family, Liesbet’s willingness to do anything to escape the confining Amish faith of her childhood, and Adam’s God-given calling to fight slavery even though in involves breaking the law, all beg the reader to turn another page. As a glimpse into a fascinating historical period, and a as a story with real and relatable characters, Drexler’s work is excellent.
The central love story, however, leaves something to be desired. While the choice Hannah must make between her two suitors is interesting enough, the story itself lacked passion. While Drexler makes the point that true, lasting love grows out of friendship and shared faith, this reader would have enjoyed more opportunities to see this process in action. The result was a somewhat unsatisfying conclusion, and the question as to whether Hannah truly did make the best choice.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.