Friday, February 13, 2015

Another "Amish Classic" -- The Matchmaker

Sarah Price's The Matchmaker is a delightful read -- filled with the spunk and spark that seems to exude from Sarah!  In this series, she has found a clever way of borrowing from classic literature and retelling the story creatively from a new and different perspective.

This book has something for so many different readers:  Well-established Amish fiction fans can enjoy the setting in their favorite genre.  Those who might be interested in getting their feet wet in the Amish fiction world will have the chance to pick up lots of tidbits about that lifestyle -- from an author who has spent much time with the people she writes about.  Lovers of classic literature should enjoy the familiarity of the storyline.

Emma Weaver, despite her good intentions, manages to create quite a complicated web among her friends and families.  Looking for answers to the questions of how the relationships will be untangled and then put back together keeps the interest level high in this engaging story.

I definitely believe you will find the time spent with The Matchmaker very worthwhile!

Thanks to Sarah for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book: 

When Emma’s interference in her friends’ lives backfires, will the consequences be more than she bargained for?
Emma Weaver is twenty-one years old and has found a passion for playing matchmaker with her friends.  Her neighbor, Gideon King, warns her aboutinterfering in people’s lives, but she disregards his advice and plans to set upPaul, the son of the bishop, with her friend Hannah.
But when Paul misinterprets Emma’s attention, believing she has feelings for him, he begins asking her to ride in his buggy after Sunday singings and shows up at her house for Friday evening visits.  As she tries to repair the damage that’s been done and mend the hearts that have been broken, she finds herself in trouble with the community.  Will she learn her lesson andstop meddling in the affairs of others?  Will she find a love of her own?

A Special Treat:
Sarah graciously took the time to answer a few questions about her writing and about herself.  I hope you enjoy this insight into who she is and how she works.  I know that I did! 

1.     I understand that you actually live in Lancaster County with an Amish friend part-time.  What are the major differences in your time there and life with your family in NYC?  How do you manage those differences?

Not so much anymore. On May 31, 2013, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a lot of issues from my treatment and my first plastic surgeon did a really lousy job that created eighteen months of corrective procedures. During that time, I couldnt drive so it was hard to get out to Lancaster. Im hoping to get back into my regular routine of traveling back and forth over the summer.
I must confess that spending time with my Amish friends in Lancaster is amazing. When I drive back home, I can feel the peaceful calm slowly disappearing. Our society is so wrapped up in conspicuous consumerism. Too many people deal with who has what better than the next person. Its a sickness, truly. And I have a theory that the stress of our self-imposed expectations creates so much pressure that it makes us very irritable. Leaving Lancaster on a Sunday evening and commuting to NYC the following morning was very eye-opening. It definitely made me want to move to Lancaster and we were looking for houses when I was diagnosed with cancer. One day

2.     Because of your personal experiences, are there any insights you have gained into Amish life that you would like to share with your readers, things the average person might not have the opportunity to learn?

Each of my novels contains insights that most people would never experience. For over twenty-five years, I have been directly involved with multiple generations of different Amish families. That was at least six years before the movie, The Witness, was released and introduced the Amish culture to mainstream America.
The biggest insight into Amish life is that they are peopleindividualsand, as such, they are just like you and me. Amish society contains people that are good, not so good, happy, depressed, loud, quiet, adventuresome, shy. They are not cookie-cutter people.
I really get upset when someone contacts me about how all the Amish have puppy millsor all the Amish abuse their children.Well, thats simply not true. Do they have puppy mills? Sure. Do ALL Amish have puppy mills? Not at all. 
One of my dogs, Tobi, is from an Amish puppy mill.He was less than one pound when he stole my heart. He was happy, healthy, and raised in the house as were the parents. I visited another farm that sells puppies and it was like a spa: little swimming pools, large grassy play areas, the mothers with their puppies, nursing in the sun on clean blankets in the fresh air! I would have liked to live there!
But of course, there is always the people that mistreat the puppies or overbreed them. Are they ALL Amish? No. I know for a fact that there are larger and more horrible puppy mills among non-Amish than Amish.
It just goes back to people stereotyping the Amish. One size does NOT fit all.

3.     Would you share with us about your writing process:  Where do you write?  When do you write?  Do you snack while you write?

I can write anywhere. During the nice weather, Ill sit down at my husbands equestrian facility and write at a picnic table so I can watch the goats, horses, and donkeys. In colder weather, I might go to the library or, just this past week, I sat in the back of a dance studio, music blasting and people taking lessons. I wrote over 3000 words in two and a half hours!
Usually, however, I sit in my library which is attached to our bedroom. I love being surrounded by books and looking out the picture window at the trees. Usually I have my little dog, Tobi, next to me. Hes my writing companion and a great brainstormer!  Actually, when I have to brainstorm, I usually pace back and forthTobi either watching me from my writing chair or, if Im downstairs in the kitchen, hell follow me.
There is something unusual about my writing process that most readers do not know. When I start to write a new story, I have an idea in my head. Thats it. As I sit down to write, I can see the story unfold in my head. Its like watching a movie and I write down what I see, hear, smell, and feel. The story tells me where it wants to go. Sometimes my publishers will ask me a question about how the book ends and I must drive them crazy when I tell them, I dont know yet. I havent seen the ending in my head!
And as for foodNo. I have a very happy condition right now called no appetite.  I dont know if its from the chemotherapy or the combination of medications Im taking. I usually eat one meal a day with the family at night. I might grab a piece of fruit in the morning, but thats it.
I do, however, drink tons of water. I have a small refrigerator in my bedroom that is stocked with bottled water.  Between two to three cups of coffee in the morning and at least three large bottles of water, I can write for hours! And I usually do. I write up to fourteen hours a day and usually seven days a week. Its a passion, not a hobby, for me. 

4.     Is there anything special, unique, fun, crazy that you would be willing to share about Sarah Price?

Wow. Thats a loaded question! I wouldnt even know where to start! ha ha ha
Lets seeDont ever double-dog dare me to do somethingchances are that Ill do itif its safe and legal, of course.
There is a lot of craziness that occurs in the life and household of Sarah Price. We were actually in the running for an MTV reality show because we have such unusual pets (a house-pig and, at the time, a zebra). But we lost out to a family with an ostrichwhich is mind-boggling since clearly a pig and zebra are much more interesting. 
For the most part, every day is an adventure. I like to have fun and I love to meet people. Ill basically talk to anyone which drives my children crazy. They refuse to go out to stores with me because I stop and chat to complete strangers.
Although, I must admit, Im not a big winter fan. Im marking off the days until both kids are in college so that my husband and I can head south to Belize for January, February, and March! 

If you would like to learn more about The Matchmaker and visit other tour stops here is the link to take you to the Blog Tour List

About Sarah:

The Preiss family emigrated from Europe in 1705, settling in Pennsylvania as the area's first wave of Mennonite families. Sarah Price has always respected and honored her ancestors through exploration and research about her family history and their religion. At nineteen, she befriended an Amish family and lived on their farm throughout the years.

As a masterful storyteller, Sarah Price prides herself on presenting an authentic Amish experience for her readers. Many of her stories are based on actual people she has met and her own experiences living among the Amish over the years. Sarah now resides in Morris County, New Jersey with her family.

While she started out as an Indie author, she signed on with Realms, an imprint of Charisma House and Waterfall Press, an imprint of Brilliance Publishing. Her first book, First Impressions: An Amish Adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was released in May 2014.

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