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When four maidels join forces to turn an abandoned barn into an Amish marketplace, the unmarried women have community in mind. But their fledgling enterprise promises to reap surprising rewards for each in turn, including the gift of unexpected love . . .
For Regina Miller, the new Morning Star Marketplace is a chance to share her secret work with the world—without revealing herself. Old Order Amish forbid the creation of art without purpose, but without a husband, Regina has been free to explore the joy of painting in her attic. Yet when Gabe Flaud’s curiosity leads him to speculate that Regina herself is the painter, the full weight of their community’s judgement falls on her shoulders. When Gabe stands up to defend Regina, questioning the Order’s restrictions, he reveals his own guilty secret and is shunned along with her. Forced to turn to each other for companionship, the young couple must learn to balance their own needs with their deep faith … and a love that will show them all things are possible.
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Read an Excerpt
Regina entered her bedroom, stepped onto her large wooden trunk, and then opened the short, narrow door in the wall so she could climb the wooden stairs to the attic.
What if nobody wants my paintings, or worse yet, ridicules them? And what if folks figure out that I’m the artist—and that I’ve been living a lie for years? Best to nip this in the bud before I have to tell any more whoppers and get caught in them.
And yet, as Regina stood in the center of her secret studio, something deep inside her longed to display the work that so satisfied her soul. Nearly every evening, after a day of staining furniture, she spent a few hours in her hideaway, painting nature scenes.
Regina needed to paint the way most folks needed to eat and breathe. Her schoolteacher had complimented her artwork when she’d been young—and her parents had allowed her to take a short watercolor class at Koenig’s Krafts when she’d entered rumspringa. Dat’s brother Clarence was a preacher, however, so he’d been adamant about Regina joining the church at an early age. She’d secured her salvation at seventeen by being baptized, but she’d forfeited her innermost soul: in the Morning Star district, members were forbidden to create art for art’s sake because it was considered worldly and it called attention to the artist.
Regina had obediently tucked her paints and brushes into her wooden trunk, but she’d felt the loss of her art acutely. After her parents had died when a train collided with the bus they were all riding home from a wedding, Regina had kept herself sane by taking up her paints again, setting up her easel in the attic—out of sight when anyone came to visit. At twenty-two, she’d been rather young to live alone on her family’s small acreage but moving in with Uncle Clarence, Aunt Clara, and their young daughters would’ve killed her spirit forever.
Bishop Jeremiah had taken her side and had dropped in on her often until she’d gotten a little older. Martin Flaud had hired her because her father had been one of his finest craftsmen—and because Regina had proven herself to be more meticulous at staining and finishing than any of his male employees. She’d survived the rough, lonely times by working hard at the factory, and by surrounding herself with the quilts and curtains Mamm had made and the furniture Dat had built for their cozy home.
And so the last ten years had passed . . .
Regina had willingly given up any chance for marriage—because she couldn’t reveal her sinful pastime to a husband.
Gazing at the nature paintings that surrounded her on that Sunday afternoon, Regina felt torn. Why had God given her a keen eye and the talent to render woodland scenes, flowers, and wild creatures on paper if He wouldn’t allow her to paint pictures of His creation openly and without guilt?
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 50 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.
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