Mountains of Grace

When wildfires threaten her Montana home, Mercy Yoder finds herself torn between the Amish man who proposed without a declaration of love and the Englisch smoke jumper who can’t seem to stay away.

Mercy Yoder loves her students and her life in the tiny village of West Kootenai, nestled at the foot of Montana’s most northern mountains. And she is in no rush to get married . . . much to the disappointment of her parents. In fact, she has turned down the one marriage proposal she’s received. Her beau, Caleb, has yet to tell her he loves her, stoking her fears that they simply aren’t right for each other.

When a devastating wildfire threatens to destroy her beloved community, Mercy and her family evacuate to the nearby town of Eureka. There she meets Spencer McDonald, an Englisch smoke jumper. Her conversations with him are unlike any she’s ever had with a man. She finds his directness and ability to express his feelings refreshing and completely different from Caleb, who is tightlipped about his past.

But what would her family and community say if Mercy chose a relationship with an Englischer? Is Mercy willing to give up all she has known and loved for someone who finally understands her? Or can Mercy find the love she has always longed for closer to home?

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Oftentimes when I write books with strong spiritual themes, I’m exploring what I believe and why. It’s my hope that readers who turn the last page of Peace in the Valley find themselves doing the same thing.

In Peace in the Valley, Nora Beachy is forced to choose between a more personal, charismatic style of worship and the one she committed to when she was baptized. Her grandfather and her cousins encourage her to “have a closer walk with Jesus.” They tell her God doesn’t care what clothes she wears and millions of Christians drive cars. How can having electricity affect her relationship with a loving God?

Old Order Amish use Romans 12:2 (Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.) as the basis for their lifestyle. They stay off the electrical grid so they can’t get pulled into the sinful ways of the world. They believe in a “living hope” rather than the certainty of salvation. They witness by example.

Are they wrong and evangelical Christians right? These are weighty issues that Nora has to navigate. Her future with the man she loves and her family hangs in the balance. As Christians, do we judge our Amish brethren or leave room for their deeply devout beliefs?

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