Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Tempted Soul by Adina Senft

Back Cover Blurb

Carrie Miller and her husband Melvin have survived many lean years thanks to the kindness of their church community. They both long for children, but after eleven years of marriage, that blessing eludes them. So Carrie fills her days with managing her home, making artistic gifts and fancy cakes, and caring for her flock of chickens, every one of whom has a name and who under no circumstances will go in the soup pot. Carrie also finds support in her friendship with Amelia Fischer and Emma Stolzfus, and relishes the afternoons they share working on a wedding quilt.

One day, Carrie overhears two Englisch women talking about medical options available to non-Amish women in her situation. She takes it as a sign from God, but Melvin and the bishop see it differently. Then a local teenager, Lydia Zook, becomes pregnant out of wedlock and plans to give the baby up for adoption to an Englisch family—rejecting a blessing that Carrie would cherish with all her heart. Is God leading Carrie to another path to motherhood, or is her longing for a child tempting her to stray from her Amish beliefs?

To Read an Excerpt:


The Tempted Soul
By Adina Senft
Chapter 1

Chickens and babies had a number of things in common. They needed food and protection. They made their needs known with a variety of sounds. And they loved to be loved.

Carrie Miller buttoned her jacket and sat on the top step of the porch, and within a few moments, Dinah, one of her six Buff Orpington hens, had climbed into her lap and settled there with a contented sigh. If ever a woman were rich in love, Carrie was that woman. She had a husband who loved her and wasn’t afraid to show it. She had a home to care for, and friends she adored. And now, three quarters of her flock had now seen her sitting, so they hopped up the wooden steps and clustered around her, some lying on their sides in the early October sun, some preening their feathers, and some circling and waiting for Dinah to leave her lap so they could have their turn.

Her best friends, Amelia Fischer and Emma Stolzfus, would laugh and ask if the chickens also had their own chairs at the table with her and Melvin every night. Or worse, make pointed comments about the intended use of barnyard animals, which God had said were for food. But Carrie just smiled and let them have their fun.

Most days, she enjoyed the chickens as comforting, affectionate companions who would never see the inside of a soup pot if Carrie had anything to say about it.

But on some days . . .

Days like today, when her monthly had made its scheduled appearance. On days like these, she teetered on the edge of grief and despair, knowing she must not fall in, and yet finding it impossible not to. On days like today, even the chickens couldn’t help. Her left arm tightened around Dinah’s fluffy golden body, making the shape of a cradle that in almost eleven years of marriage, had never been filled with what she wanted most—a child of her own.

In their district in Whinburg Township, Pennsylvania—in every district, every Amish community, no matter where you were in the country—the Kinner were celebrated as a blessing from God.
Some women had families of eight or ten, a miracle Carrie could hardly comprehend. In Whinburg, five or six was the average number, and if you weren’t expecting by the end of your first year of marriage, why, the married women would start asking gentle questions.

Some were more sensitive than others, when it became obvious their humor and concern caused her pain. Some, like her mother-in-law Aleta Miller, saw it as their duty to act as a kind of coach, blissfully unaware that their remarks and hints and general helpfulness on the subject were enough to make a person run for the chicken coop, where she could find acceptance and blessed, blessed silence.

And some, like Amelia and Emma, had stopped asking at all.

This was only one of the reasons why Tuesday afternoons meant everything to her. The three of them met every week, in the two hours before Amelia’s two boys got home from school, ostensibly to work on a quilt, but really to refresh themselves at the wells of each other’s friendship. There were some weeks, when Melvin’s work on the farm had not produced as well as it might have, that their time together literally saved Carrie from physical hunger. Certainly it saved her from a kind of hunger of the heart—the kind that a husband, no matter how beloved and caring—might not even know existed.

And today was Tuesday.

Emma had an eye for the little gifts that the gut Gott sprinkled upon His children from the largesse of His hands. For Carrie, Tuesdays were among those gifts.

“All right, you,” she said to Dinah, sliding her hand under the bird’s feet and gently setting her on the warm planks of the porch, “it is time for both of us to give up our idle ways. I’ll be back in time to put you in the coop, and the pork roast will be cooked and ready for Melvin’s supper.”

Dinah stalked away to inspect the flowerbeds, the rest of the flock scrambling to their feet to follow her, just in case they missed out on something.

The quilting frolic was to be at the Daadi Haus where Emma lived with her elderly mother, Lena. The Stolzfus place being way over on the other side of the highway, it meant that either Carrie planned forty-five minutes’ walk or simply hitched up and drove. But today, as on most days, Melvin had the buggy to go to Strasburg to talk to one of the businesses there about building shipping pallets. She could take the spring wagon, which was their only other vehicle, but decided against it. Walking was good for you, and she often observed more on foot than she might when she was watching traffic and keeping an eye out for hazards that might spook Jimsy, their old gelding.

Besides, she knew a shortcut or two that Jimsy couldn’t manage, and that included a walk along the creek that ran through the settlement. It was a good place to watch birds and see the occasional fox or raccoon, and an equally good place to pick flowers and leaves to make things with.

By the time she let herself in through the back gate of the Stolzfus place, she had spotted out a loop of autumn-red Virginia creeper and some wild grape that would make the perfect base for an autumn harvest wreath. Her sister Susan’s birthday was coming up, and she knew just the place in her house where it would fit perfectly.

Emma waved from the back porch of the Daadi Haus. “You’re early! Amelia isn’t even here yet, and she’s only ten minutes over the field.”

“I didn’t want to rush the walk on such a pretty day, so I left a little sooner.” Carrie hugged Emma, then held her at arms’ length. “You look so happy, Liewi. Wedding plans must agree with you.”

If you wanted to transform a plain, workaday woman into a beautiful one, just apply happiness. It worked so much better than face paint.

Emma’s smile flashed and her green eyes sparkled. “They do indeed. Every job I finish, every jar of tomatoes I can, every quart of beans I put up has brought me closer to November first. I’m canning my way through the calendar, vegetable by vegetable. By the time we get to potatoes, I’ll be married.”

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Author Bio 

Adina Senft grew up in a plain house church, where she was often asked by outsiders if she was Amish (the answer was no), she made her own clothes, and she perfected the art of the French braid. She holds an M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from
Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania, where she teaches as adjunct faculty. 

Writing as Shelley Bates, she was the winner of RWA’s RITA Award for Best Inspirational Novel in 2005, a finalist for that award in 2006, and, writing as Shelley Adina, was a Christy Award finalist in 2009. Three of her books have shortlisted for the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award for book of the year. Of her fiction, publisher and industry blogger W. Terry Whalin has said, “Readers will be lost in the vivid world that [she] paints with incredible detail and masterful storytelling.” 

A transplanted Canadian, Adina returns there annually to have her accent calibrated. Between books, she enjoys traveling with her husband, playing the piano and Celtic harp, and spoiling her flock of rescued chickens. These days, she makes period costumes and only puts up her hair for historical events and fun.

To connect with Adina, go here:


Adina is giving away a copy of The Tempted Soul. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown


Anonymous said...

I like how Adina has these chickens where she can hold them and talk with them. When I was growing up we had chickens, but only for laying eggs and to feed us. They would run away if you tried to catch one. I've been wanting this book of yours since I first saw it. I'm hoping she can get help with being able to get pregnant. Please enter me for the book.
MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

Amy C said...

Such a wonderful post with Adina. I would love to read her newest release.

Library Lady said...

My husband and I had chickens when our kids were smaller.
Our chickens would lay green/blue eggs with double and several times triple yolks.
Thanks for entering me in the giveaway.
Janet E.

Diana Flowers said...

Hmmm...not so sure about chickens...scared they will peck me, but would love to hear Adina play the Celtic harp. That has to be beautiful! I also would love to win this book---what a wonderful cover! Thank you for the opportunity!


HomePlace Gatherings said...

I live in Amish country and even lived in Strasburg for a year! I'd love to win this book and read about an area that I am familiar with.

priviesandprims at yahoo .com

Jennifer said...

IT's hard reading excepts because you get involved in the story and then all of a sudden you have to stop and wonder what's happening next! The cover looks lovely!

KayM said...

This one sounds like a very touching story. Thank you for offering a copy.
may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

Cindi A said...

Thanks for the opportunity to enter the contest. This looks like a book that I'll enjoy. Amish fiction is my favorite genre.


Nancee said...

Adina is a wonderful Amish fiction author, and "The Tempted Soul" is more than likely as good as her other books. I'd love to win a copy of this book. Thank you so much for featuring Adina and her newest release!

Judy said...

I would love to win a copy of The Tempted Soul. This book sounds good. A little different from your ordinary Amish fiction. Love it!

Judy B

Jo said...

Thank you for the opportunity of reading this book. It sounds great! I do enjoy reading Amish books and the concept to this one is somewhat different.


Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

squiresj said...

Please enter me for a chance to win this book.
jrs362 at hotmail dot com

Wendy Newcomb said...

I love Adina's books, thank you for the chance to win her new one.


Erin said...

This sounds great! Would love to win this book. Thanks for the giveaway :)

Erin S
emstclair {at} gmail {dot} com

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this story

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Adina Senft said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone! So glad you liked the chickens, LOL! I've been rescuing them for 10 years now, and every bird has a different personality. Some love to snuggle, some are adventurous, some are just so comical you have to laugh. The one in the picture is JoJo, the Queen of Everything. At the moment I have 15 birds ... and a carrier in the back of my car, because you just never know ...

There's a lot of chickens in Carrie's story because she's a little like me that way. And notice the eggs on the cover? In a story about infertility ...? The art department at Hachette is so smart :)

Emma said...

The Tempted Soul sounds wonderful. Thank you for the giveaway.

Teela said...

I would really like to win this book and read it. Please enter my name in the giveaway.Thank you, Teelayoung at hotmail dot com

Rose Milligan said...

I just finished watching Beverly Lewis' The Shunning and The Confession. I'm intrigued to read another book about the Amish and adoption. Thanks for having the giveaway.


Unknown said...

Looks like anothe fablous book that I need to read!
Cheryl Baranski

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