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As Jo Fussner keeps the Marketplace humming, her heart dances with a joyous secret. Jo and Michael Wengerd, a shy nursery owner from a nearby town, have fallen hopelessly in love. When Michael buys a courting buggy, Jo is sure a proposal will follow. But she’ll have to work hard to gain her mother’s approval—because the widowed Drusilla Fussner is convinced that marriage will bring her daughter nothing but heartache.
To win Jo’s hand, Michael enlists his father’s help in convincing Drusilla to give the marriage her blessing—and perhaps even open her heart to new happiness of her own. . . . But just as Jo and Michael’s hope for their future grows, an even bigger obstacle looms. The Amish elders vote to forbid any maidel from working once she marries. Now Jo must choose between the beloved store she’s put her heart into, and the man she can’t live without. Conflicted, Jo will have to trust that anything is possible when true faith guides the way.
Read an Excerpt
“What do you think of my new courting buggy, Jo?” he asked eagerly. “I ordered it from Saul Hartzler’s factory in December, and picked it up last night.”
Jo’s jaw dropped. A courting buggy! As they approached the open rig with a seat big enough for only two, her heart skipped like a happy schoolgirl’s. “It’s beautiful, Michael! Look at the way the wood shines. And what a wonderful shade of magenta you chose for your seat fabric.”
Michael smiled proudly. “I splurged on real leather, too,” he confided. “I figured this was the only time I’d be buying such a buggy, so I wanted it to be first-class for you, Jo. Wait here while I fetch my mare.”
Jo ran her finger along the buggy’s black wood, polished to such a shine that she could see her reflection in it. Deacon Saul was known for producing a quality product—and he hadn’t gotten wealthy by undercharging for his work, either. It wasn’t her place to ask Michael how many thousands of dollars he’d invested in his new rig. She and Mamm had considered ordering a new buggy a couple years ago, but when they’d heard what it would cost, they decided to make do with their old one.
“Gut girl—you’re doing fine,” Michael assured his horse as he approached Jo. “Josie, this is Starla, my new buggy mare.”
“Oh, aren’t you a pretty girl?” Jo said as she extended her hand. The mare looked young and angular, not yet in her prime. Her coat was a deep gray, with an irregular white star centered above her eyes. “You can keep her—and your new buggy—at our place!”
“Are you sure?” Michael handed Starla’s lead rope to Jo so he could hitch up his courting buggy. “I wouldn’t want your mamm to think we were overstepping her authority—”
“Starla can stay with us on my authority,” Jo interrupted. “If Mamm makes a fuss, I’ll take the blame. This is quite a surprise, Michael!” she added as she admired the way his black buggy and charcoal-colored mare looked together. Wasn’t it just like Michael to get all the details right?
He helped her up the steps and into his new rig. “I’m glad you see it that way, Josie-girl. I don’t intend to upset your mother, but I don’t plan on tiptoeing around her bad moods, either. We have a whole new life ahead of us—together. Shall we get on with it?”
About the Author:
In 1983, Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story. She wrote around 70 of those confession stories, and she’s sold more than 60 books to traditional or online publishers. A longtime resident of Missouri, she’s currently writing Amish romances set in imaginary Missouri towns for Kensington. She now lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of 40+ years and their Border collie, Vera.