Love by the Numbers
After a buggy accident claims the life of her fiancé, Lydia Hershberger makes a fresh start in Jamesport, Missouri, managing a gift store. It isn’t long before she meets the young man hired to handle the bookkeeping—Caleb Bontrager, whose handcrafted cuckoo clocks are sold in the store.
And it isn’t long before Caleb has made up his mind about her: bright and sparkly but not right for him. Alarmed by his attraction to her, he determines to settle down with someone more practical. Less sparkle. More logic. But he can’t seem to shake his feelings for Lydia. //
When false allegations by the bishop back home catch up with Lydia and threaten to ruin her reputation, can she clear her name and find lasting happiness? Or will her sunny disposition fade away into heartbreak?
Guest Post from Laura V. Hilton
Story Behind the Story – Love by the Numbers
Caleb was a minor character in couple of my Amish books – I think he first made a by name appearance in Amish Wanderer and Christmas Admirer. A minor character. Lydia was a very minor one-time appearance in those stories, too, a girl who happened to be in the room with Bethany and Susanna at a wedding. (This story is stand alone!) But I knew when Caleb first saw Lydia that they would end up together by the way he reacted to her presence. I wondered what their story was.
March and April is tornado season in Arkansas (and in many other states) and in 2011 we had a bad one. I was out and about that day, driving to the county seat with my five children, and there was something in the air. It was heavy, hard to breathe, and the sky was black off to the west. I’m sure I broke speed limits racing to Melbourne, and then home again so we wouldn’t be out in the storm.
Later that afternoon, tornado sirens went off. One went over our house – even from the basement we could hear the sound of a train roaring overhead. Scary. And still thanking God it didn’t touch down. Highland, Ash Flat, and Evening Shade, Arkansas were hit hard. Buildings completely gone. When we drove out that way later in the week there were pickup trucks in the tops of trees. Other things in odd and unusual places. I always wondered how they got the treetop pickups down. I would’ve stopped to watch if I’d been out there when it was done. I did hear that some of those trucks weren’t damaged at all. Unreal. My two sons and my husband both helped with clean up and my oldest son went with a crew to Joplin, Missouri, to help with clean up there.
There has been other occasions I’ve been out in tornados. Once I was in the Walmart parking lot when a tornado went through a town west of it. We could see the funnel touching down from where we stood. It did hail when we were on our way home, praying our house was still standing. It was.
On a different note, in 2016 my oldest son came home with a kitten. She was the sweetest thing ever, and he named her Rosie. Sadly, I was highly allergic to her. I couldn’t even be around the children after they played with her. They’d have to go change clothes and wash their hands, otherwise I couldn’t breathe. Rosie was full Siamese, blue eyes and all, and she was so adorable. I allowed my son to keep her in the shed. I was about four chapters into the story when Rosie found some poison (I think, not sure) and died. We all cried.
Also about the time I was writing this, a very dear friend of a lot of writers died. I told my street team I was going to name a character after her, and was told a lot of writers would be. I agreed. And a lot of their books were released already. But Aenti Judith in this story is named after Judy Burgi. I still miss her and pray for her family.
One of the verses my daughter had to memorize in Sunday School was 2 Corinthians 4:8-9. ‘We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.’ Perfect for the faith message in Love by the Numbers! I love how God always provides the perfect verse for my characters’ faith messages. I’m pretty sure this verse is one I never memorized, and I never would of thought of it on my own, but God put it in my daughter’s lessons for Sunday School, so she had to memorize it – and thus I did too since I help my daughters learn their verses every week.
I hope you’ll enjoy the story!
Because of Him,
Laura V. Hilton
Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with almost twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write and Putting on the New.
Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.
When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.
Book Review by Bree Herron
I think it is interesting how different each Amish story. The dialect, personalities and setting are unique to each book. I really enjoy Lydia’s story and her blooming love.
Lydia is a sparkle of love and fun for Caleb in this story. Caleb is as sturdy, and constant as the clocks he makes. These two are easily going to become reader’s favorite, with their sweet personalities and faith in not only the Lord but in each other. Though that does take some time.
The tense moments of Lydia returning to Ohio, after being shunned were some of my favorite points in this book. It took a lot for Lydia to travel back to her family and community to face the accusations against her. This point in the story was a beautiful reminder that we can ask for forgiveness and we can offer it as well.
” I live. Life is fun.”
‘She radiated sunshine and happiness.”
This was a great and quick read for me. I really enjoyed Lydia and Caleb’s story, each providing me with a laugh and smile. I loved how the author made this a unique book by truly getting a dialect that is fitting for the area (or what I imagine it to be). I loved that there were differences that made the book stand out from other Amish stories. Especially, with Lydia and her shunning.
Eager readers for a new soul-feeding Amish story, can rejoice in Love By The Numbers.
Have you read a book by Laura? Which one? Share your thoughts here!
**DISCLAIMER: I was provided an opportunity to read this book as an Advanced Reader Copy in return for a fair and honest review.
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In honor of the tour, Whitaker House is giving away
Grand Prize Package: Love By the Numbers, Healing Love (Amish of Webster County #1), and The Snow Globe (The Amish of Jamesport #1) by Laura Hilton; “The Angels Cry Holy” scented candle in tin with lid from Abba Jerusalem
1st Place Package: Love By the Numbers, The Snow Globe (The Amish of Jamesport #1) by Laura Hilton, and Whitaker House/Anchor Coloring Book with Colored Pencils
2nd Place Package: Love By the Number by Laura Hilton and Whitaker House/Anchor Coloring Book with Colored Pencils!!!
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