A Single Dad in Amish Country
The Butternut Amish B & B Book 2
June 27th, 2023
Their Amish Secret
Amish Country Matches Book 2
April 25th, 2023
Patricia Johns’ books, A Single Dad in Amish Country and Their Amish Secret are both endearing stories. Readers will go through the emotions with the characters from pain and sadness to hopefulness and love. As with all her books people are drawn to each character and their feelings.
The plot of A Single Dad in Amish Country has an emphasis on single parenting. Hazel Dobbs and Joe Carter both raised daughters without a spouse. She has a college age girl, Maddie, while he has a four-year-old, Lottie. The plot centers around flying. Hazel is staying at an Amish B & B as she prepares for her second life, no longer just Maddie’s mom. She is studying for her dream job of becoming a pilot.
Joe is attempting to raise Lottie on his own, a girl filled with an abundance of energy. She connects with Hazel immediately since she is in awe of airplanes. Lottie wants to go flying to see if she can find her mother, not understanding why she does not have one. Through Lottie, Joe and Hazel form a bond that grows stronger as the pages turn. As sparks fly and feelings grow stronger, they are concerned about how they can compromise in a relationship without either of them losing focus of what they want in life.
Also, back from book one is Belinda Wickey, the owner of the B & B, and her neighbor Eli Lapp. Between them and Belinda’s donkey, Eeyore, humorous scenes are created with great banter.
In Their Amish Secret the couple is not English, but Amish. Claire Glick is the manager of a B & B and during a major storm finds at her door Joel Beiler, a man who she fell in love with but abandoned her. After she has no choice but to allow him to stay with her and her son, Aaron, it becomes obvious Joel is the father. Although both have feelings for one another, they must overcome the fact that Joel has a serious illness.
In both these books the main characters are trying to figure out what they really want out of their lives. The stories are about love and living one’s dreams.
Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for both books?
Patricia Johns: There are two books out. For A Single Dad in Amish Country, I knew I wanted to work with a single dad within the miniseries. I had the same elements and characters from the previous book. I wanted to contrast the Amish world versus the English world. Flying plays an important role and to an Amish person it is shocking. The heroine, Hazel, sees the Amish attitude, as holding people back, a liability to little girl’s dreams.
The other book, Their Amish Secret, has the heroine, Claire, getting her own happily ever after. This is about what makes a happy marriage and what can the affect of a serious illness have on a marriage.
These books contrast each other, the first one has an English couple, and the latter book has an Amish couple. A Single Dad in Amish Country is an Amish adjacent book, meaning they are not Amish but form a relationship in an Amish environment. Their Amish Secret does involve a relationship between an Amish couple that must navigate the Amish framework from where they live.
EC: How did you come up with the idea of flying in A Single Dad in Amish Country?
PJ: As a young woman attending a university I was bored. I really wanted to learn how to fly. A friend and I went to a pilot school. Her family was much better off financially than me. I went for a few lessons but unfortunately could not afford the rest. However, my friend did continue to get a license. It is an expensive hobby.
EC: You make references to flying that has an impact on the character’s personal life?
PJ: Yes. This is all from my experiences. Hazel told Lottie, “You might find yourself in all sorts of storms, but when you climb up high enough, it’s a whole different view from above.” I felt this as a passenger in a plane. It is intoxicating. I also put in “turbulence in life is not the end of the story,” and “Hazel belonged in the clouds and should not be grounded.” When someone is passionate about flying, like Hazel, it is not easy to let go of, something that has factored into her identity. She looked at her life, sees the world through the lens of flying and everything it offered. Taking flying away would be taking away a huge part of herself. I also identified with this passion.
EC: How would you describe Hazel?
PJ: She already sacrificed as a single mom, putting everything into her daughter. This point in her life should be about her. She has a different mindset now close to forty than she did when she had her child out of wedlock at nineteen. The idealism is burned away at her age. Her daughter is now an adult, and it is time for Hazel.
EC: What about the young four-year-old, Lottie, Joe’s daughter?
PJ: Because she is hooked on flying it was able to form a connection between her, Joe, and Hazel. Hazel knows how hard it is to raise a young child, but she has fallen for both Joe and Lottie who is so loveable. Lottie reminds her of her adult daughter Maddie at that age. Once a mom always a mom and Hazel thinks this, whether it is young Lottie or older Maddie. “A long time ago, when Maddie had been a bouncy little girl, a whole lot like Lottie, Hazel had been able to fix absolutely everything. If only that part could stay the same.” We as moms, like Hazel, want to sweep away the big kid’s problems of Maddie like the little kid’s problems of Lottie.
EC: How would you describe Joe?
PJ: Charming, sweet, loving, protective, stubborn, and puts everything into being a single father. He is overwhelmed. Lottie is already showing signs of trauma in not having a mother. Joe has this idea in his head about what is needed for his daughter.
EC: What about the relationship between Joe and Hazel?
PJ: They are very liked-minded but at different stages of their life. They both love their children with everything they have. They are similar in the way that they love. When they discover this, they find a lasting connection between the two of them.
EC: In the other book Their Amish Secret the hero’s illness plays a major role?
PJ: Joel sees it as a liability, does not want to let Claire down, is too proud, and feels humiliated. He is stubborn and does not want to move on because he feels shame from his illness. His identity was that he was a strong man who could take care of people. He now must develop another part of his identity. He needs a deeper way to connect to Claire.
EC: You have an older couple, Gloria and Ted Nassel-what role did they play?
PJ: I wanted them to be a contrast to Joe and Claire. They show that as someone gets older, they lose their strength, but not their love. Tom is deeper and wiser and is a role model to Joe who must understand that as a younger person. They were able to advise Joe and have him think beyond his own tunnel vision about his own problem.
EC: The next books?
PJ: The last book in the Butternut Amish B & B Series comes out the end of October this year titled, A Boy’s Amish Christmas. It is set at the B & B. Brett Rockwell is the younger brother of a Senator, from a wealthy family. His nephew and he are going on a trip together, staying at the B & B, but they’re snowed in. Also, at the Amish bed-and-breakfast is tenacious journalist Emaline Piper. Brett lets slip a shocking truth—a story that could make Emaline’s career. There is also a settling of the relationship between the B & B owner, Belinda, and her neighbor, Eli.
Between these two-book series I will have a cozy mystery published, Murder of An Amish Bridegroom out in December of this year. It is set in an Amish community where someone dies by having an icepick plunged into his chest. My sleuth is an Amish woman, Petunia Yoder, Blueberry, Pennsylvania’s youngest old maid, at twenty-two years of age. She is unmarriable because she is mouthy, opinionated, and snoopy. She teams up with a police officer to solve the murder.
The next Amish romance book will be out in January of next year, titled An Amish Mother for His Child. The plot has Verna Kauffman having an arranged marriage to a virtual stranger getting almost everything she’s ever wanted—a husband, a daughter. But a list of childcare rules gets in the way. She and her new husband, Adam Lantz, have opposite views of marriage and raising children.