About the Book
Book: Shielding the Amish Witness
Author: Mary Alford
Genre: Amish Romantic Suspense
Release date: April 1, 2021
Seeking refuge in Amish country puts everyone she loves in danger.
On the run after discovering her brother-in-law was behind her husband’s murder, Faith Cooper can think of only one safe place—her Amish grandmother’s home. But when danger follows Faith to the quiet Amish community, her childhood friend Eli Shetler is her only protection. And their survival depends on outlasting a relentless killer…one who has nothing left to lose.
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About the Author
USA Today Bestselling Author, Mary Alford, loves giving her readers the un-expected, whether it be in a rugged mountain setting or a peaceful Amish community.
Her titles have appeared on the USA Today Bestselling List, Publisher’s Weekly Bestselling List, and have been finalists in the Daphne Du Maurier award of excellence, The Beverly, The Maggie, and The Selah Awards.
Mary lives in Texas with her husband, two very spoiled cats, and a sweet rescue dog name Cody. Mary is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Face-book and Twitter or any social platforms listed at www.maryalford.net.
More from Mary
As a reader, I love books that are part of a series. There’s something comforting about being able to revisit characters that are special to me and meet new ones along the way. You get to go back to your favorite place and hang out with the people who make you smile.
It’s like coming home.
When I set out to write a series about five Amish brothers, I knew exactly where I wanted to set the series. The West Kootenai Amish community in Montana. West Kootenai is a remote community with sweeping mountain views surrounded by vast wilderness spaces. The perfect setting for suspense, along with a chance at redemption and a second chance for the hero and heroine. I love that.
In November, I introduced Covert Amish Christmas, the first book in the series that featured Aaron Shetler, the oldest of the five brothers.
In Shielding the Amish Witness, we meet Eli Shetler, a widower who has returned to West Kootenai to try to start over after his wife’s death two years earlier.
Eli is reunited with his childhood friend, Faith Cooper, who is running from a relentless killer who was once part of her family.
The book takes the reader through the breathtaking countryside of West Kootenai and into the homes of the Shelter family. We get to catch up on what Aaron and Victoria have been up since last we met and are introduced to some new family members. That’s the wonderful thing about series.
So, come with me on a trip to the beautiful community of West Kootenai, Montana where I hope my characters will make you feel right at home.
In writing about the Amish, I’ve come to love preparing their dishes. I’ve tried many recipes, from Amish Pizza to Friendship soup. But one of my all-time favorites is Amish Fry Pies. They are SO good!
Today, I thought I’d share the recipe for Amish Apple Fry Pies. I love this delicious desert and I hope you will as well.
AMISH APPLE FRY PIES
(recipe courtesy of neighborfoodblog.com and a favorite of mine)
For the filling:
- 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons cider
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
For the dough:
- 2 cups flour, sifted
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup HOT milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the glaze:
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 Tablespoons milk
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
- To make the filling, combine the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla in a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat until juices start to form, about 3 minutes. Make a slurry by whisking together the cider and cornstarch. Stir this into the pan, turn the heat up to high, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened, about 3 minutes longer. Remove from heat and set aside.
- For the dough, cut the butter into cubes then use a pastry cutter to work it into the flour. Continue to cut in the butter until it’s in small pea-sized lumps. In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and salt together. Slowly pour in hot milk, stirring constantly. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Stir together until a dough begins to form. Turn the dough out onto parchment or wax paper, and knead it until it smooths out, about 1 minute.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal sized pieces and roll them each into a ball. Use a rolling pin to roll them out to about 6-inch circles. Fill each circle with 2 Tablespoons of apple mixture. Fold the dough in half over the filling and pinch the edges together to seal. You can flute the edges or use a fork to crimp them. If the edges aren’t sealing properly, wet them with a little water.
- Heat the oil in a deep saucepan to 350 degrees. You can test to see if the oil is ready by sticking a wooden spoon into the center of the pot. If small bubbles form around the handle, you’re ready to go.
- Place the pies in the hot oil one at a time and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to dry.
- Repeat with remaining pies.
- While the pies fry, make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth. It’s best to glaze the pies while they’re still warm. I use a pastry brush to brush the glaze on one side then let it dry, flip them over, and glaze the other side. You can put two coats of glaze on for extra sweetness if you like but wait for the glaze to harden in between coats.
- Pies can be stored uncovered for 2-3 days. If you want the glaze to remain hard, do not place the pies in a plastic bag or sealed container. Just leave them on a wire rack or pan.
“The foundation holding her world together crumbled and she realized everything had been a lie. There was nothing perfect about her life.”
A word to the wise: do not read this book if you are looking for a laidback, cozy-style mystery! With the exception of the epilogue, from page one until the end this is an adrenaline-fueled race that will have you looking over your shoulder for any villains. Though perhaps not especially unique for being set within an Amish community, Mary Alford does make Shielding the Amish Witness stand out for the interesting comingling of characters. Faith Cooper, fleeing her brother-in-law after discovering evidence linking him to her husband’s murder, turns to her grandmother and the Amish community to which she belonged years ago. Her childhood friend, Eli Shetler, has also returned after tragedy, and he makes it his mission to protect Faith. There is so much at stake, including hurting hearts, and an outcome that only God can determine.
As I read Shielding the Amish Witness, I kept thinking about how cinematic it is. It is very easy to picture this book as a Lifetime movie or as an episode of a true crime show, although the story itself is fictional. In some ways it reminds me of a clean horror movie, with the evildoer an indestructible force who always manages to get right back up and keep coming after the victim. I have to admit that while the cinematic aspect is one of this novel’s greatest strengths because readers can visualize the scenes, for me it is also a deterrent to some extent. I think it’s important to note, however, that I do not have any personal experience with the situations in the story, or with law enforcement, so I am not certain which situations may be commonplace. In my opinion, the scenarios feel a tad too dramatized and too repetitive, which stretched the credulity for me. I felt frustrated with how the characters seem to be stuck in a recurrent cycle, but at the same time I believe there is a lesson here. So many times we, myself included, do the same thing when it comes to sin and our relationship with God. We know what things we should avoid, and yet we still tend to fall into the same traps over and over on this journey through life, and until we confront whatever causes us to stumble and deal with it, there won’t be change. Thankfully, Jesus is with us every step of the way, and we can, as one of the characters in the story advises, “Live your life in the now and in the future. Don’t look back.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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To celebrate her tour, Mary is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
I’m definitely checking this out too! Thanks for the book rec!
Hope you enjoy it! Mary Alford’s “Amish Country Murder,” also part of the Love Inspired Suspense series, is excellent, too.
I used to know some people who came from that community.
Interesting! I used to go shopping in Amish country, which has many Amish-run stores to cater to Englischers.
Thank you for sharing.
My pleasure! Thanks for stopping by!